Friday, September 05, 2008

Balance, Isolation, and Separation from the Self

I had one hell of a therapy session this week, wherein the therapist so completely outlined the problems that I nearly cried.

"I don't fit in anywhere." - Bill Hicks.

As far back as I can remember, I've always felt like an outsider looking in and wondering why. The consequences of attempting to be "in" only reinforced the original notion. Opening up to others often resulted in judgment, ridicule, and embarrassment. There was nowhere that I felt safe. Not even with family.

I haven't exactly hidden Dad's alcoholic, violent past, but it's not something I voluntarily talk about. When asked why I didn't tell anyone about it, at the time, I assumed it was a normal thing. I had nothing to compare my experiences to. Early on, it was understood that almost everything on television was fantasy. He never left a mark, so even if I did tell anyone, there would be no evidence. I also never made the connection between alcohol and violence until much later.

Not having an explanation of why it was happening, I rationalized that I must have done something very bad, that I must be a horrible person, not worthy of happiness, love, or life.

It never occurred to me that Mom would try (or should have tried) to protect me. I assumed that she felt the same way, but she never acted like it. Somehow I could tell that she was afraid, too.

So I lived with the fear of getting throttled at home and at school.

In school, the contradictory responses of classmates was too confusing. The weird, slow kid who just wants to be left alone got picked on just for that. When he opens up and tries to play in their reindeer games, he gets picked on.

I decided it would be easier getting picked on for the former instead of the latter. What they don't know won't hurt me. Either way, my peers confirmed what Dad had taught me to suspect about myself, that I wasn't good enough*.

* - "I'm not good enough", a core belief revealed two sessions ago.

What exacerbated things was being a half-generation older or younger than most family members. There's one cousin who's my age, but she lives half a continent away, and we're so dissimilar, you'd never believe we're related. I spent most family gatherings in a separate room, escaping from life in comics; reading, writing or drawing them. At the time, the political discussions among the adults bored me, as did the Barbie-playing crew of kids.

My sister didn't help things, either.

When she was a toddler, she annoyed the hell out of me. She'd jump up & down in her crib, keeping me awake at night. I'd be miserable at school the next day.

How could you tell the difference?

Yeah, yeah. Funny.

Then we moved and got separate rooms, and I became more protective of her, as big brothers are wont to do. And as the baby of the family, she was spared most of the punishments, despite being the troublemaker. But as she got older, she became shallow and self-centered. She began to resent my existence. Erin went as far as to say that she was embarrassed by me. I gave up on being a brother to her.

"Why haven't you told your family about being in therapy?"

Because they have so much, too much to worry about as it is.

"Did you hear the words you just said? You've written yourself out of your own family. You believe you're not worth the trouble of your own parents' love."

"Do your friends know about what your father did?"

Some do.

"What does it feel like to tell them."

It's strange. I have to separate myself from it so I don't re-live it as I tell them.

"You become an outsider in your own life so you don't feel anything. And I don't think you do it in just that kind of situation. Over the past few weeks, I've noticed that you censor yourself to a degree. You're trying to balance how much of the inner and outer You to reveal, because that fear of judgment and rejection is overwhelming. You've been doing this your whole life; it must be exhausting! I can see your body is reacting to telling me all this -- "

(At this point in the session, I'm seated in a quasi-fetal position. Still upright, but very tense and somewhat curled up.)

" -- and I want to know what you're feeling now."

Fear, anger, remorse, lonely, tired, sad.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


My clearly insane twin sister Jerry Sizzler (three sequential links, click each of them!) - er, my friend Francis has a few blomics to share. Naturally, I love the Darwinism one the best.