Alrght, God, here’s what I’ve got:
All the addictions I’ve tackled thinking they were The Problem never actually were The Problem, right? The alcohol, the overspending, the shitty romantic entanglements – they were problems, but never The Problem. The Problem was always the Guilt/Shame. Always. Before I started recovery/therapy/whathaveyou, it was just Shame; then when I started some 10 years ago with therapy and Steps and this seemingly-endless descent into my psyche, the Shame began to meld into Guilt at the realizations of what I was because of the vices I’d been hiding behind.
I know. We’ve covered this. Just hang in there.
And Guilt, it seems, is where I’ve stayed. Somehow, I have allowed it to become my Lord, my ultimate motivation, and my master. It’s a sick addiction, because I fool myself into believing that this pain of Guilt is somehow paying for the wrongs I’ve done, when, really, it’s just perpetuating this horrible part of myself that is always “recovering” but never, you know, “healing.” I kid myself that, by feeling Guilt for my faults, it makes them right and shows that I am a conscientious person with morals and a soul. What it actually means is that I’m stifled by this very real, crippling fear of doing anything productive because my Guilt convinces me I’m going to continue to screw things up.
And so it goes…
This is not news to anybody, actually. I remember having this conversation with one of my spiritual mentors 7 emmereffin’ years ago.
But in the crashing breakthroughs that have been tearing through my mind in the last few weeks, I’ve been handed the very honest reality that I am what Julia Cameron calls a “Crazymaker”… which, incidentally, are precisely the types of humans I hate the most. I once had a lover who was a Crazymaker, whose dishonesty and betrayals made ME crazy and possessive and psychotically paranoid in an ongoing state of unnecessary fervor that isn’t at all indicative of who I really am. That’s what Crazymakers do; they lead lives that cause the people closest around them to act crazy, too, in response. I hate those types of people. And yet, I have been that type of person to the people who love me the most. (In AA they say, “If you spot it, you got it.” Them drunks is pretty smart…)
My husband grew up Catholic. Even he has told me I have more Guilt than anyone he knows. Yikes.
The Guilt of the Crazymaker realization cut me off at the knees emotionally. I had to take a deliberate “time out” to sob, pray, and get myself together for about an hour yesterday.
THE THING IS THIS: I definitely realize that the Guilt and the Shame HAVE to be removed from the equation if I’m going to actually [finally effing] progress and [finally effing] get better. The Guilt-driven mentality is much like an abusive relationship; I feel enlightened when I am conscientious enough to accept my faults and atone for them, but then I pummel myself into paralysis by keeping these faults in the front of my conscious mind all the time. I hold myself hostage for my mistakes, even when they don’t exist anymore; even when they’re decades old. The whole thing is ugly and sick and really, really gross and is absolutely nothing more than a mental prison of sorts.
This is an embarrassing recurring motif in my life. Oh, I recognize that I keep coming back to it. A lot. And that I’ve written about it ad nauseum. And, yet, I have absolutely no idea how the hell to get rid of it. Not at all. I’ve begged God to take it from me; I’ve meditated on clarity and mindfulness and living in the moment and letting go of Guilt and absorbing Love into all my being; I’ve started carrying mementos on me to remind me to receive Love and implement those gifts positively; I’ve done rituals; I’ve done visualizations in which my alter-ego wages an epic battle against Fear and Guilt; I’ve done hours of work through hypnosis; I’ve opted to no longer acknowledge Guilt as a power over me (only to find that it’s really more of a lifestyle at this point.)
And I’ve still got nothing. I still subconsciously jump back into the routine of doing nothing but continually apologizing, only to turn around and self-destruct with shame. Fucking gross, Liz.
So here’s what I’ve been dealt:
~ A husband who has patiently watched my erratic behavior worsen since we met with patience and an unnecessary amount of faith in my character and who rejoiced when we learned there’s something new we’ve been missing; that there’s hope to move forward in a new direction after years of feeling like he’s babysitting his spouse.
~ A family who still takes my calls despite the complete insanity I’ve put them through and still volunteer help whenever they can. Still.
~ A beautiful daughter I somehow haven’t royally screwed up yet.
~ A job working to promote something I love and believe in.
~ Friends who are still patiently loving me and reading this ongoing, monotonous, redundant, uninspired saga, and coaching me through mental breakdowns – even after hearing about them for an entire friggin’ decade - for reasons unbeknownst to me (honestly.)
~ A wonderful location of residence that I adore.
~ My physical health.
~ A doctor who is an objective, calming, reliable source of information and whom I trust. (FINALLY.)
~ A bright, shiny, new recovery plan that has me trying to figure out exactly who I am versus what is my mental illness and making sure I’m not overmedicating every single quirk out of myself so that I’m all milquetoast-y. (See: Doctor I really trust.)
~ A Guilt complex I really fucking do have to be done with in order to stop ballsing things up and really no idea how to do that.
~ Some fear about what I’m supposed to do next.
~ Some fear that I have no idea who I am outside of my mental fuckwithery.
~ A lot of fear that my thoughts aren’t to be trusted these days.
So that’s the hand I’ve been dealt, God. I’m ready to play with others, but all I know is solitaire. Help?
Thanks for the Hand.