Learned behavior: Unlearned behavior

Tomorrow a bullying will happen.  My father and his girlfriend are driving 1,000 frozen miles to bully my aunt.  We’re both scared.  Angry.  His MO is to get you in a situation where it’s difficult to leave – a restaurant where the food has just been served, or a car miles from home, and start in.  You leave bloody and bereft of any feelings of self-worth.  He’s proven his case against you theologically: He’s against you, God’s against you, you are a piece of shit.  His draconian actions against you are totally warranted.

When I was very little, my mother would make us confess all of our sins to her every night in the dark, and ask for forgiveness.  I remember white baby-print sheets bunched in my hand, tears, and “you have to tell everything or you won’t be forgiven and will go to hell”. Every secret sin, mean feeling, childish jealousy, and plea for privacy was harboring sin.  I felt worthless, naked and ashamed. All information garnered could be used against you later.  Scientology without the hardware store components. Thus began my nightly reviews of all the evil I have done, which continue to this day.

But back to my aunt who will be bullied tomorrow.  We are scared, trying to think of how to minimize the damage, cowering, making plans for getting away.  A wall of anger in me wants to stand up and threaten my dad with something he so dreads that he will keep his maw shut.  It’s still bullying when you protect someone else by bullying, isn’t it? But not protecting is complicity and falling into learned behaviors of helplessness.  You can’t win.  Just a little something to beat myself up about later.

It’s beginning to make sense why he didn’t defend me from bullies when I was in school.  He thinks victims are weak and deserve what they get if they don’t stand up for themselves.  Well.  I think it’s time.

 

Just do it

When I am depressed or suicidal, I can always count on one friend to remind me that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, that it’s always darkest before the dawn, that everything happens for a reason, and that when God closes a door, he opens a window.  This happens at the end of a conversation when she is trying to dismiss me nicely.  It’s a little explanation of what I’m doing wrong  Being depressed is a bad decision which I can correct by by force of will, and I have foolishly chosen not to.  It’s a blame and shame game. My friend never doubts whether there really is light at the end of the tunnel, or where the window would be for young girls sold into slavery and prostitution in far-away countries.

You get bitter or you get better.  Just let it go.  Why can’t you just get on with it?   Memories tend to fade for most people, but mine are as vivid and detailed as if they happened yesterday.  But mine imprint. It plays horror movies and excruciating conversations in my head over and over and over and over.  My friend assumes I could pick up the remote and shut it off, and just say: Be gone!  Go!  And all would be well.  I just refuse to.  Blame and shame, untrue and cruel.  Like Trump sayings, repeated often enough, our clichés are believed.

Just believe in yourself, and you can be successful and happy.  Just say over and over to yourself “I am worthy of love.  I am worthy of healing.  I am worthy of greatness.” Self-esteem is a floaty thing when you’re delusional: Sometimes I think I can run the world, and sometimes the voices tell me I am a worthless piece of shit and need to die immediately.  Sometimes I’m a well-respected professor with a BFD Ph.D., and other times I’m an inmate in a psych ward unable to see what’s reality and what’s just in my head. Believing in yourself doesn’t have nearly the power to change the world that people think it does.

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and you’ll start having positive results.. If I only put the effort into changing to positive thoughts, I would be fine. It’s so simple; why haven’t I done it?

So stop telling me that there’s light at the end of my tunnel.  I keep moving forward out of habit, not hope.  I’ve made lemonade, and drank  it, offered you some.  It’s not communion wine, and I don’t get the salvation from it that my friend thinks I should. Down deep it’s blame and shame that I’m just not putting forth the effort.  I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel because I’m stubborn, lazy and blind.