I didn’t mean to yell at you

Life has a way of making everything seem normal after a while. It’s an adaptive mechanism. Regardless of how weird it would seem to someone else, if you experience something often enough, you will start assuming that that’s the way it’s “supposed to” be (even if it feels wrong).

A friend was talking on the phone yesterday. He raised his voice, ever so slightly, and after a pause he said, I’m not yelling! And i thought to myself, obviously he isn’t… is he? Now, granted, the person at the other end of the line was joking; nevertheless, they made a valid point, and I didn’t notice.

Because the pitch he adopted didn’t seem at all unusual to me; I had heard it too many times before, always followed by, “I’M NOT YELLING!”. What was communicated was incompatible with how I perceived the way it was communicated. I couldn’t hold two conflicting beliefs about reality at the same time, so being the trusting kid that i was, I dismissed my own feelings and went with what Mommy told me, because she knows best, right?

I’d like to qualify this whole post by once again pointing out that I do not intend to blame anybody for anything. If i seem to talk a lot about how i was wronged by other people, that’s because that may have been how I experienced it at the time, not because I believe that they intentionally hurt me or that they are bad people. I love my family and friends dearly, and I can absolutely accept that there is more wrong with me than there is with them.

Furthermore, let me just acknowledge the absurdity of what I’m doing: at any point in time, there are people in the world going through indescribable suffering, and here I am indulging my first-world sadness about Mom losing her temper sometimes… as if I was perfect.

Some hypothesize that mental illness is a natural extension of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In other words, (some) humans will always find something to be miserable about. I certainly will always find something to hold a grudge for. Not because I want to, and believe you me, I feel shit about it. But I can’t help feeling hurt.

Even if i did hate or resent anyone — and I don’t, but let’s just pretend for the sake of argument — you can be sure that I would still hate myself thousandfold worse.

Wait… what was i talking about again? Ah, yes, Mom yelling. …is one of those things I feel bad about feeling bad about. But then again, denying feelings I think are “trivial” only gives them more power over my life.

It may not seem obvious from the few posts I’ve published so far, but you don’t realize the extent of my self-loathing. Right now I’m in limbo, suspended in this strange state halfway between counterproductive, defensive self-hatred, and realizing my actual flaws/shortcomings and possible ways of fixing them. But I’m gonna have to get through piles and piles of garbage before i can see the important stuff.

I’m selfish. Impatient. Manipulative. Lazy. Entitled. Sometimes I can even be mean for no apparent reason. I could go on endlessly. That’s been more or less my internal monologue since… forever, basically. And I want to change. But I believe that my feelings and irrational beliefs are preventing me from accepting these qualities in myself enough to be able to change.

Antidepressants are weird… I don’t recognize myself anymore. The sheer idea of getting a blog and practically broadcasting all my thoughts as they occur to me (never mind starting a facebook page, which is the very thing i said i wouldnt do) runs counter to everything i believed about myself. Yet for some strange reason drawing attention to myself in this way feels… right, and i feel more true to myself than ever before.

I can’t wait to find out which of my flaws are integral aspects of my personality, and which ones are amenable to… therapy, for instance.

I hope I can learn empathy, most of all.

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