I am sitting here alone (my preference) reflecting on the past few months. I have recently realized how much self-abuse I inflict on myself that causes me to become a so-called ‘suffering cow’. Why on Earth, you might ask, would I cause myself so much pain and anguish? Well, there is always a cause and mine is called ‘Goodness, Strength and Superiority at all costs’. Since I use these layers of thinking and behavioural patterns to make my life miserable I started to call them all ‘the Self-Abuser Squad’! (God Bless my sense of Humour!)
As I was contemplating over the passing year that we are leaving soon behind, I realized that I sacrifice my chance for a good life on the altar of ‘Holy Goodness’. It often reminds me of the Bible where it says somewhere that the ones who are good with inherit the Heavens, or something similar. Well, I am not sure if it is my expectation; however, there is a desperate need inside of me somewhere to be considered really-really good that may even be called ‘Holy Good’ because it makes me feel superior to others. I suspect that, behind my need for being good is a fear of not being good enough and my need to feel superior is a strong sense of inferiority.
The only issue with me trying to be ‘so good’ and ‘above all’ is the price I pay for it, amongst many, the highest is my relationship with God, because in my tiny brain, somehow in my drive for being good and exceptional I blame God for making me a ‘sacrificial lamb’ in the name of Goodness because He only loves the good ones, the ones that suffer the most. I know that none of it is true but my Squad’s existence is based upon these beliefs.
So, how does my Self-Abuser Squad operate? They simply make sure I suffer in the name of Goodness , Strength and Superiority.
My life, constantly, seems to be in turmoil. It is full of drama, layer after layer, caused especially by a reoccurring theme, I call, ‘safetynetlessness’. It feels as if I am inconstant free falling without a safety net underneath me. This is one of the main layers of my Squad because this one has the power to stop me, at any time, to do what I am about to do, no matter how ‘high’ I am on life. This debilitating layer, somehow, is also my most reliable ally in making sure that I sustain pain and suffering in my life via creating situations and circumstances that are pretty uncomfortable and scary. It also makes me feel that I am in lack of things that I essential for my well-being, one of many is my freedom of choice to do what I please. It also makes me feel bound to and reliant on others’ kindness and mercy as a net replacement which would not be a problem if I did not use it to avoid putting down boundaries. I feel that I owe them something in return for their kindness and mercy.
And here comes the next layer of my Squad the ‘meritless’. This layer makes sure that I never get what I think I ought to in basically any area of my life since I form no right to any success or achievement in any way. As a result of this dramatic thread in me, my life is not even close to what I would call joyous or creative. It is rather miserable. I noticed, that even at times when I manage to elevate myself above my insecurities and/or my ‘undeservingness’ and create circumstances that allow me to have more freedom of choice my Squad still makes sure that I am provided with a thread that makes me suffer. For instance, there is an additional layer that I call the ‘geographical side-kick’ which makes sure that different places make my life unbearable in different ways. Some of the ‘geographical side-kicks’ ensure different kinds of ‘safetynetless’ or feeling of ‘meritnessless’. The Game of the Squad stays but the rules change from place to place.
I also noticed, that these layers above, also make me be fearful of having any means at all and living without the daily challenges of not having the appropriate resources. Part of the reason is what the Squad tells me: “when you don’t own anything you don’t owe anything” and that “only good people are made suffer so they prove their loyalty to God against all odds” in my grandma’s voice. In return, I can feel like a ‘the heroin enduring all odds’, that somehow makes me feel special and good about myself. How ‘holy’ stupid!
It saddens me deeply to see how much I am ripped off by my Squad, who actually mean well, when I look at myself and see how many different talents I possess and how small appreciation I allow myself to receive for them. My Squad makes sure of that. Each time I attempt to do something that is meaningful to me, where my talents could be used and a whole lot of appreciation is at sight, my Squad steps in and creates situations whereas I must leave the creative project at once in order to addend to some immediate dramatic occurrence in my life – mostly related to somebody else, because I need to feel good about myself – or it twists and turns events in a manner that I eventually find myself lack of resources that would support me to carry on with my project. Whichever is the case, the aim is that I am stopped and forced to do divert from my course and crawl back to some old and boring.
But my Squad does not end here!
There are a couple of more layers of patterns to make sure if the above layers fail to make me feel miserable, there are others to join forces. There is one, in particular, which is a hard son of a gun. Self-abuse put in the hands of others with which I give others permission to hurt me in different ways. All in the name of being ‘holy good’!
I don’t really have a name for this Squad member because it is a fairly complex one, a regiment within the army. It goes like this: the regiment somehow makes me use others and circumstances to make sure that I feel disappointed, betrayed, let down, and disrespected.
People, who unknowingly agree playing in my betrayal game, do something that I take as a violation on our friendship and I consider that a betrayal. I don’t exactly understand how it works; it seems that there are some ‘ideals’ that I hold true for myself and when others do not comply with these ideal, I consider their behaviour a betrayal. As a response to my self-ignited disappointment I turn away from these people whom I feel have let me down. I withdraw my care and love for them and move away from them.
In most cases people who do ‘disrespectful’ to me are not ill meaning; they only assume that their behaviour is OK with me because I don’t object. I remember that when I was younger I, at least, screamed and shouted when I was treated bad and to let others know that something was not OK. Not any more, I don’t do or say anything anymore. When it gets too bad, I uproot and leave without saying a word.
This regiment has a subdivision called ‘walk through me’ wearing a signs saying ‘free crossing, walk over me!‘ on its forehead. The way it works is that it simply does not allow me to put down any boundaries around me or to stand up for myself when I need it the most. This ‘boundarilessness’ subdivision forms part of another part of this regiment that I call the ‘suffering cow’. This subdivision orders me to suffer together with others because if I do I can get a bit more of ‘feeling good about myself’ in some inexplicable and weird way. Therefore, I constantly find myself in situations where I suffer other’s drama without me particularly being involved in them.
Occasionally, I get in these intertwined soap-opera like dramas and allow them to have an impact on me in a way that they transfer me into a place where I feel scared and frozen, not knowing how to exit the situation. I sometimes wonder if it is me who is actually in need of so much drama that is why I attract them or I just feel obliged to stick around for moral support.
However, it is also true to say that I grew up in a family with a whole lot of drama and I remember wondering as a child ‘what does it all have to do with me?’ I used to engage in them more actively by offering creative solutions or even trying to sort them out for different family members. Mostly though, – maybe this is an improvement on my behalf – nowadays, I am rather a witness to others’ pain and anguish and ‘my job’ seems to be reduced to a sufferer via not putting down any boundaries or separating myself from them and their dramas. The whole game is set up until the last bit of detail. My subdivision tells me that I am obliged to stay with these major sufferers through their drama and should allow them to either let it down on me or get away with actions that is hurtful in the name of ‘empathizing’ with their them. At the same time it is allowed that others act disrespectfully and/or abusively with me while suffering their dramas on the grounds of their pain is greater than mine and/or their previous good ‘deeds’ towards me making me indebted to them. As a result, I never seem to say “NO, it is just so not OK what you are doing!”
They make me feel strong, goooooooooood and superior, though!
Naturally, there is a linking subdivision that is not satisfied until I put others in front of me in satisfying their needs. Others’ needs are always more important than mine. I feel obliged to be the ‘older’ who allows the ‘little other ones’ to take what they need first and then I try and meet my own needs from the left-over. And this is my Big Game, this is how I gain a ‘true’ sense of goodness, strength and superiority’ about myself. I feel that I am a good and strong person when I support others putting my stuff or my life on the side while they have a go at life and I don’t say ‘no’ to any of their requests while I am in great need of the most basics of life.
The downside, amongst many, is my relationships that suffer my Self-Abuser Squad the most. By now, they are non-existent. On the request of my Squad I turn into the leader of my Squad, a harsh officer, who requests the best, perfection, and if we fail to comply, we are doomed and punished harshly. Just to make sure I still stay ‘good’ in all this, I start feeling guilty and blaming myself for not being more patient or understanding with my family and friends. By now, I managed to turn the whole story against me and we are back at where we started: self-abuse.
It is hard to see where it all starts or finishes because all the layers or so called regiments and subdivisions of my Self-Abuser Squad are like a web that nets across my whole existence.
After all the contemplation on my Squad, I arrived to the point where I feel I’ve had enough of trying so hard to be good, tough and superior. After all the awareness that I possess, what is it still about me that make it impossible for me to induce changes that would create some stability in my life and would make my life journey more joyful and less burdensome?
I think I know the answer to that question. It is more important for me to be seen as a ‘good suffering Samaritan and the Heroin’ than to be seen simply ‘happy’. Somehow being happy does not have value to me.
At the end of the day, there is nobody to be good or strong for. The only person who would truly appreciate my goodness and strength is me and this is the person who gets the least of it.
So, the bottom line is HONOUR. Who is going to HONOUR me if I don’t HONOUR myself for who I am instead of what I pretend to be?
On a final note, I am also curious to see what it is that I can finally bring in – after feeling so sorry for myself for decades because of the hardship that I had to endure with my Squad on my back – when I am free and myself again, the real me. I am so excited to know what it is gonna be like and what it is that I will offer, that special something, that unique quality, that I see present so profoundly in all who I consider ‘freed’. I consider these qualities aspects of God that we all individually embody and express in the world – also for God to be able to experience Himself through these qualities. I wish so much to e free to live that quality whatever it maybe. I don’t mind not being ‘very good, strong or superior’ any more!