Monday, August 18, 2014

"As a result of your childhood, what pathogenic beliefs have you developed about yourself?"

I know I have pathogenic beliefs, finding a causal chain back to childhood is harder. One thing that helps is that my memory gives emphasis to certain events.

Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed perhaps the strongest and most reliable trigger for me is to witness an inconsiderate act, particularly of incompetence. I dissociate and often go into violent ideation. (which apparently isn't a word, but by which I mean I have violent revenge fantasies). As a cyclist I see something that triggers me pretty much on 30% of my rides.

Starting in my mid-teens my sense of security got undermined when my parents started having trouble at work. I've spoken to my mum about this, about a year ago - but basically, she felt powerless over the situation where particularly my dad's job was under threat. One way she attempted to take control was to clue myself and my siblings up on the impending possible disaster of unemployment for a man entering his 50s. How we would have to move to Melbourne (where the job opportunities are) and probably couldn't afford the lifestyle we were living.

While my mum no doubt got some comfort from talking to me about the fears and anxieties of her and my dad's job situations. The feeling of powerlessness was transferred, and I dealt with it - having no outlet myself at the time - by escaping into violent revenge fantasies as to what I would do to my parents antagonists if I had power. I saw them (the antagonists, not my parents) as stupid and self centered, playing for the short term political game while destroying the lives of people actually doing the productive work.

The most clear cut pathogenic belief I walked away from childhood with is a belief that I am dangerous. Which if you console yourself with revenge fantasies to dissociate from your own powerlessness, I think is understandable. For my fantasies to work I had to believe they were possible. It still, writing about it seems odd to me that despite having no history of violent behaviour, no criminal record certainly, but I can't even remember the last time I got in a fight, I think it was in year 10 science class, and that was because I pushed Tony too far with my jibes. At the time I was an avowed pacifist though, and the fight died out quickly because I refused to struggle.

I stopped being a pacifist and haven't been in a fight since. Where was I. Yeah it seems odd that with no real history of violent behaviour, it seems strange to me that I don't have to exercise mental restraint to not wig out. That my beliefs about my own dangerous nature are not founded.

Then there's the shame. I don't think I ever could reconcile my belief that my parents antagonists were stupid myopic incompetents with the fact that my parents seemingly couldn't handle them. I also guess from my escapist fantasies, believed that I could.

I do think, I left my teens with a deeply felt need to prove it. What I've struggled in life to find, is an opportunity to do so. Virtually nobody attacks me. Ever.

I've work(ed) under incompetent managers, but almost never directly, and never without access to competence higher up in the chain of command. Even then, my own position was never under threat. I've invested a lot of my life into becoming a soldier in a time of peace. Thus I feel constantly that I have this unrealised, unvalidated well of potential. It doesn't manifest so it can't be acknowledged. It makes me look at the context of my life and feel like I haven't achieved anything.

I find myself self-arresting in two ways. One not having people to 'unleash' on because they don't fit my criteria, the other being that I hold back on expressing myself, standing up for myself because I tell myself I'm dangerous and it is out of consideration of their feelings, their well being.

I also perhaps separately, to all of the above, became conscious through primary school and early high school (when I left the public system for private) of the intense privilege I have received, not only materially but as a winner of genetic lottery as well. Unasked and undeserved. Culturally and socially the guilt I feel actually gets reinforced quite often. When in reality the circumstances of my privilege were initially beyond my control, on the genetic + epigenetic side, they always will be. Thus I should feel neither pride nor shame.

Yet I feel both at different times. I am capable, certainly capable at looking down on others. I am also very capable of looking to others and wondering if with less 'privilege' I would have had a much easier time achieving what I seek in life.

I think last year, when I realized I was actually different. Wired up differently, differently abled, it was a big step forward in my recovery. Previously the pride had been out of control, because I thought what I had achieved through my capabilities, was the result of my own efforts, and didn't recognise the roles of luck and opportunity.

Next question.

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