Yesterday I got to spend time with two thoroughly excellent ladies. It is kind of funny that I am referring to them that way because one of them is dealing with a situation at work where she has to tell someone else in her department, “Uhhh stop sending group emails to “Dear Ladies”.”
Two women who inspire me came out of hiding yesterday. One is a preschool special ed teacher (talk about a special breed of saint) and the other has a background like mine and she now has a masters in social work. After dropping out of high school in 9th grade and never completing high school.
One of my friends is not a parent and the other has one kid. I am on a very different life path than either of them. I am really glad that my kids get to know a lot of women who have entirely different interests. My children mostly know women who work. My children mostly know people who have nothing in common with us other than being breathing monkeys and all.
You don’t have to be like me. I am doing what I must do. I know it is kind of weird.
I am so grateful to talk to other people who are fascinated by the vagaries of humanity. It is nice to get to talk to people and say, “Yeah we share ____ bad habit and ______ good habits. Whoo hoo!”
Noah got to ask the social worker friend and I why we care so much about the opinion of people we don’t like and don’t respect. Why don’t we just get over it already? He’s been pestering me on this one for a bit now and I haven’t given him a useful answer. It was kind of nice for him to get to ask another person who is as angry and difficult as I am. I am NOT ALONE. muahahaha
Yes, Noah you are right. Our lives would be better in every way at this point if we didn’t care.
When you are a white trash kid who depends on a lot of charity… you have to care what people think or they don’t give you any help.
I got out of poverty because of a lot of white privilege. People who would help me just an inch here and there. If I didn’t give a shit what they thought I would have behaved even worse than I did and I wouldn’t have gotten the help.
Historically in my life not caring was more dangerous than it is now. At this point it is a legacy bad habit that I do need to change. It is a coping method that *used* to be necessary and it is still around when I don’t need it any more.
I kind of have a long list of personality problems I am already working on. I haven’t really had time to deal with this one yet. I’m too busy figuring out how to not scream at my kids all the fucking time. It’s really hard. Now I understand why my mom beat the shit out of me.
But I will not pass it on. And that requires a lot of truly active thinking on my part.
If I go on “auto pilot” then I am nasty, shrieking, and violent. I hurt people with great joy. If I want to behave differently then I need to really think hard about it all the fucking time. That doesn’t leave a lot of spare brain cycles for fixing the stuff Noah thinks I should get around to.
I know you are right. I know that is on the list of things I need to change. I get it. But there isn’t a neat little switch attached to my body some where. I don’t get to just decide, “I am going to stop being angry and afraid; all of a sudden I am going to just massively increase my apathy.” Sorry, my nipples aren’t that kind of dial or anything.
I know it “would be better for me” if I could stop having intense emotional reactions to the fact that there will always be people in this world who hate me and wish I would die. Yup, my life would improve in every way if I stopped feeling so bad about that. I know. I know. I KNOW.
It has been nice over the past few days to see people I have known for so long. They have been commenting on how different I am. I don’t hit people any more. I don’t even mean like in a bdsm sense. I hit people fucking constantly for most of my life. It has taken years for Jenny to stop flinching when I come near her. I have had to work really hard at not being scary any more.
I understand that this isn’t an “everyone has it” problem. Please can it be ok that I am working on this problem first instead of the “caring too much” problem?
Seriously. I need to care what people think of me. Fewer people, sure. I agree. I do need to care. Not as much as I do. Yes yes yes the strangers who hate me can fuck off. I get it.
The caring runs on a background tape I never take out of the deck and examine. It’s just kind of there. It is an unfortunate feature of my personality that just exists. I don’t consciously go turn it on. I don’t try to increase my anxiety. It’s just there.
Sometimes people have unconscious reactions. It happens.
So it was nice for Noah to get to talk to both of my friends yesterday. They are very different and share very different sides of my interests. Good grief am I grateful that he got to meet someone as angry as I am who is out doing stuff in the world. She has as many anger problems as I do and she has to just fucking master them, like yesterday.
She is very inspirational to me. I confess that I have a hard time taking advice from people who are not inherently angry. If you aren’t like me then you won’t understand what advice I need or why I need it. She gets it. She gets it better than almost anyone I have ever met.
Why are my very closest friends all former child prostitutes? They can understand me. They don’t flinch. They don’t judge me. They understand why I am angry and they think I need to keep the anger but figure out how to manage it. They are the only fucking people not telling me to just “get over it.”
Dad lectured my friend and I last night about how we need to stop getting so angry. We should learn how to deflect rude/awful/whatever things with humor so that people will like us more.
I did not light up like a roman candle and I feel proud of myself for this. I did leave the room soon after.
Fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you.
I love Dad with great intensity but man he is hard for me to deal with sometimes. I view it as practice for dealing with all the people I hate. I don’t know why Dad has managed to cross the line into being so strongly in my affection. He has all the markers of someone I would like to set on fire. But he gets a pass. He has earned it from me.
My friend and I discussed our sixth sense, “I can spot a rape/incest/severe abuse survivor at thirty paces.” I can see it on peoples faces even when it happened decades ago. I just know.
I’m sure I miss people. I’m sure there are people who are better liars than I think. I doubt I miss many because I find them all the fucking time and statistically they aren’t the majority of the population.
It was nice being able to talk to someone who really gets what I want to do with an incest database in the future. Most people feel confused as to why I want to go talk to a bunch of incest survivors. Won’t that be depressing?
I am somewhat unlikely to ever “stop being an angry person”. I think that short of being so stoned I cannot form a coherent thought process I will always be someone who has intense emotions. I feel a lot of anger. A lot of sadness. A lot of fear. Basically all the time.
I don’t understand people who just kind of drift through life apathetically. That is not my way and I don’t have a lot of desire to be like that.
I want to get shit done. Anger is very motivating. Fear is very motivating. Sadness isn’t. I try to lessen how sad I feel. I don’t have as good of a reason for being sad any more. I’m really grateful for how nice to me Noah and my kids are. My sadness is bigger than them and outside of them and mostly they block it out kind of like an eclipse.
Letmetellyou having kids doesn’t block out my anger. Holy shit they piss me off sometimes.
I want to have grown up children who have lived in a low stress environment. I can’t get visibly freaking-out-angry any more. I just can’t. It is not on the list of permissible actions.
I can’t cut myself to maintain control. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.
I’m getting rid of my broken habits as fast as I can. I am sorry I can’t go faster but I can’t.
I feel like such a disappointment. So what about what I have done. I am measured by how far I still have to go before I qualify as a good person. I’m not sure I will ever make the jump. The gorge seems so wide.
I am so grateful to the two women who took a break from their normal lives to come talk to me today. They inspire me in very different, complimentary ways. I want to be more like them even if they are polar opposite in some important ways. I like conflict.
It is harder hanging out with Dad than the other friends as the trip goes on. I am having a hard time with my expectations and entitlement. I have some picture in my head of what a “dad is like” and I’m just wrong. I can’t take it out on someone else that they aren’t living up to the pictures in my head. I’m pretty sure I have succeeded at being nice to Dad the whole time we have been here.
Man I’m having a hard time with the constant “teasing” that feels like taunting to me. I want to fight. I want to fight so fucking bad that sometimes sitting very still and not reacting makes me sweat.
No, I can’t just “deflect it with humor”. That path is closed to me. What I could do instead is break your nose. How about if we try it my way and we will see whether your way or my way is more fun for me?
I really struggle with dealing with people sometimes, “Yes–you think everything is funny. You want to make everyone standing near you the butt of whatever joke is floating through your mind this second. I get it. When you do that I am going to react with rage, violence, and perhaps I will inflict a lot of pain when you try using me that way. Please just leave me alone.”
I say more or less that. It doesn’t slow down how often I feel mocked and taunted. “Why can’t you take a joke?” I just can’t. I’ve been god damn telling you so for almost a decade and a half. ARE YOU FUCKING DEAF?
At what point is it bullying instead of playing? If I ask for twenty years for someone to stop making fun of me and they won’t am I entitled to break their kneecaps? I think I should get to start escalating at some point.
This is why I used to hit people all the time. Dad made fun of me less often when I punched him as hard as I could each time I was the butt of the joke. Now that I don’t hit him any more he makes fun of me a lot more.
Why in the fuck is it a good idea for me to stop hitting people? I am having trouble remembering right this second.
Recently Shanna had a situation where a playmate was hitting her a lot. We have talked about it a few times afterwards. We’ve talked about all the things she can do when someone is hitting her. I made it very clear that if she tries two or three things to get someone to stop and they don’t it is ok to hit back.
I don’t think it is ok for me to hit people just because they have said something I don’t like. If someone hits me first I have every right in the world to start breaking bones.
Man. Why doesn’t anyone hit me any more? I’d really like to get in a fight. I’ve had a lot of adrenaline for a while now.
I talked to Shanna a lot about how when you end up in a fight with a friend it is important to not hit in the face. You can damage people easily, accidentally and they don’t tend to forgive you for that. If your friend punches you in the arm and you punch them in the arm back… that’s probably something you will be able to get past in your relationship. Once you break someones nose they don’t forgive you.
Why is caring about what other people tied into this? Because for me not hitting Dad really hard when he pisses me off is part and parcel of the anxiety about other people disliking me.
I want a relationship with someone who will hand me the crumbs of affection Dad is willing to give me. Even though it doesn’t come anywhere close to a real parental relationship. Even though it is always very crystal clear that he has “real children” and then those play partners he tolerates calling him Dad.
I feel so pathetic that this is the best I can share with my children. It is the pinnacle of what I have to offer. No, he will never treat you like his “real family”. I hope you never notice.
He is nice to the kids. He is nice to me. But he’s also an asshole. I’ve known that since the first fucking time I met him. I love a lot of assholes. Just go through my list of friends. I don’t hold the fact that someone is an emotionally unavailable asshole as a reason to not be friends with them. Sometimes that is all I can get.
Noah likes being alone in a way I just don’t. Noah spent his childhood trying to get alone time and failing. I spent my childhood desperately wishing that someone would like me and that people would stop hitting me and raping me and that I wasn’t always alone in a room listening to people laugh. If I came in the room the laughing stopped and the yelling started.
We will always react to stress differently. I need that to be ok. I can’t change it.
Dad would like it if I found his humor funny. I don’t. I’m not sure what to do about that either.
I’m never all that keen on the social solution that involves me just having to shut the fuck up about feeling hurt by someone using me as the butt of the joke over and over. For some strange reason.
You can’t change other people. You can’t decide that their personality should be different so you will just bully them until they conform. You can make them learn how to avoid problems with you but you can’t make them change.
I am learning a lot of this with my kids. I can’t make them be different people than they are. I have to help them learn how to manage their own particular quirks but I can’t just decide to make them different.
It is honestly kind of hilarious having to help Calli learn how to not hit people when she is angry. She really struggles with how intensely mad she gets. She wants to make people bleed when she is pissed. I get it, kid.
Sometimes when she is ramping herself up I will pick her up and carry her away from whatever is making her mad. She will fight me at first. She wants to get right back to the fight she was in the middle of so she squirms really hard to try and get away. I carry her into a calm, dark room.
I say, “I think I can see that you are very mad. Am I right?” Scream/sob answer, “YES!!!!!” “That’s really hard. I’m sorry you are having to struggle with that feeling right now. Are you sure you want to hit when you feel that way though? Do you want someone to hit you when they feel mad?” “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” “Ok. Then we need to find a different way of managing this. If you hit then other people will hit you back.”
I think that is one of the parts that gets me. I don’t like being hit back very much. That’s a lot of the reason I actually stopped hitting people. Noah hits really hard if you hit him first.
I want to show my children how to be a functional adult. Functional adults don’t beat up their friends. (Well… only at special parties with pre-arranged negotiation. That’s different.)
Dad is giving me all he has available to give me. I could be mad that what he has to give is so inadequate compared to the scope of my need or I can be grateful that he bothers at all. No one else has.
Sometimes it is really hard talking myself into consciously being nice and grateful for things that are so inadequate compared to my needs. Why in the fuck should I act nice when someone hands me an ice cube but I needed a glacier to do what I need to do.
You act nice or people go away. You act nice or people don’t give you the time of day. You act nice or you end up alone and hated. You act nice or you might as well already be dead because the whole long shitty life will be so painful that it really has no upside to enduring it.
Dad asked me if I thought I had kids because I was trying to relive my childhood and make it better. He said it in that “Do you understand you are broken and bad and you shouldn’t be doing that” sort of way. My response was, “Oh heck yes I know I am doing that. I write about it extensively. I am very consciously and deliberately trying to find out what a healthy childhood looks like.”
He said, “Oh. I don’t read anything you write. I’m not into that kind of thing.”
I said, “Yeah. I didn’t have any suspicion that you might actually give a shit about what is going on with me.”
He looked a bit taken aback but didn’t respond.
Sometimes it is kind of weird for me that I put so much of myself out into the ether and I just pray that people care. I pray that someone will read it. Someone will give a shit. I know that the vast majority of everyone doesn’t care and never will.
I have to be ok with that. I can’t tone down so that I attract a wider audience. I can’t stop talking about uncomfortable things so that emotionally stunted men will feel entertained by me. Yeah, that’s not my niche. Go watch Chris Rock.
It is hard dealing with the fact that people “caring about me” will rarely intersect with my needs getting met. The caring doesn’t actually do anything for me. I need actions. I don’t get them much. Sometimes I do. Noah is working himself into an early grave much to my shame.
I am not fair to Noah. It is not fair to anyone to have to live with someone as needy and pathetic as I am.
I am sorry that I have so many needs and no way to fill them.
I wish I had a dad who thought I was good for something other than fucking or hitting.
In this lifetime it seems like those are the main early things that people liked about me. I am stupid enough to let people hit me really hard. Hell, I even like it. It seems an appropriate thing to do to me.
I slept more last night than the previous two nights but Noah and I went to bed bickering so I had trouble sleeping again. That probably factors into my right-this-minute emotional instability.
Instead I’ll just come out here to the couch and cry.
I wish I could stop caring what people think of me. I wish I could not care about Dad making all these comments. I wish I could.
I don’t know where the dial is. Can someone please show me?
I’m afraid that the first step in ignoring people not liking me is for me to like myself enough to make up for them.
I’m not sure I will ever be able to do that.
Dad was asking me, “Well why don’t you just _____?” I said, “Are you familiar with PTSD?” “No.” “Have you ever heard of hypervigilance?” “I’ve heard the word and I could guess what it means.” “I am not physically capable of just doing what you want me to do.” “Well try harder.”
I want to hit him in the head with a baseball bat sometimes.
“I don’t know anything about your medically verifiable long list of problems but I still think you need to just get over it and act how I want you to act because then I will get to have more fun.”
Let me jump right the fuck on that for you. Since you are so god damn important and all.
I feel like a petty, whining baby.
If I try to be kind to me I can see that I’m not just whining. I’m processing. Maybe life shouldn’t be as hard for me as it is… but it is. I have to get through each day. I can’t just ignore my physiological response to my life. I have to deal with it. I have to acknowledge that it is real. I have to treat it like it matters.
Yeah, I know I don’t have to be important to anyone else. I get it.
If I want to get through each day while smiling and being nice to my children then I need to have some space somewhere in the fucking world where I am allowed to have all of these feelings.
So I write. That doesn’t mean I am whining. I don’t make people fucking listen to my fucking feelings in person. I’m god damn aware that no one cares.
If I stopped caring what people thought of me then my ability to self-censor would evaporate.
It is genuinely hard for me to censor the stuff that goes through my brain. I think about self harm and suicide and incest and rape about as often as other people think about food. I can’t talk about it almost at all because most of the world will react with violence if I am stupid enough to bring up these topics. These are things I am supposed to pretend don’t exist. I’m breaking the veil by talking about them and I should be punished.
I have to care what people think if I am going to make sure I don’t say anything “inappropriate”. If I just cared about what I thought I would not have so many friends. I really like my friends. I don’t want them to leave me.
Even though I am a petty, pathetic, ungrateful bastard. I try as hard as I can to be grateful for what people have to offer.
I’m really sorry that I have so many needs and that I am so aware of them. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that I wish I had a parent who would love me. I will do my best to not take it out on all of the people who just can’t love me that way. I understand that this is my problem and I need to shut up.
Sometimes it is really hard. 4,000 words in. Sometimes writing it is all I can do. I’m sure as fuck not allowed to talk about it. That would be rude or something.
No one can give me what I want. I know. It isn’t anyone else’s fault I feel this way. I know. It is my fault.
I should just stop caring.