A few moments ago, I was typing up a short e-mail to my Lovely Wife about what I’d done this morning. I had a few hours off, and I’d meant to get some work done, but I ended up just putting around and not managing to accomplish what I’d liked to – no big deal. Every time I wrote a line to Lovely Wife, though, it was filled with this weird level of hatred/self-loathing towards myself.
Stuff as simple as, “I was a complete idiot and got nothing done this morning,” all the way to, “I guess I have to make sure I don’t treat it like time off, like I always do, and manage to screw things up.” Wow. I’ve always known that I have an incredibly awful and self-criticizing internal monologue. In darker times, though, I just not quietly and accept what it says.
What struck me this time was the fact that while typing it, I realized how completely awful it all was. Every sentence, initially, contained some sort of self-loathing anger in it. It had so many depressing parenthetical phrases that I thought I’d dragged up something from my 16-year-old emo days. It’s as if I’m hell bent on pointing out every flaw I have to everyone around me, just to make sure they realize how much of an awful person I think I am.
Look at me! I’m a miserable human being who’s worthless because he wasted his morning! Pay attention to me!
It’s an awful combination of narcissism and pessimism. I guess if I’m going to fail, I should do it loudly so that I at least get the attention.
I went back and deleted several lines, but the new ones kept having those negative phrases. I’d couch them differently, but it was like I couldn’t put together an e-mail that didn’t have at least a few swipes at myself. I went through a little of my backlog of my daily e-mails with my Lovely Wife, and it was more of the same – every positive statement basically included an Eeyore-esque bit about how things would just turn downhill eventually.
“I’m doing well, but…”
“I’m getting things done, but…”
“Sure, I have my shit together now, but…”
It’s like I can’t type out a single positive thought without qualifying it somehow. God, that’s annoying.
This really isn’t a new revelation; many of you that know me well know how my thoughts seem to get tangled up in these spirals. Looking at it from a more objective standpoint, though, really shocked me. If this is the stuff I catch, how much is just slipping by because that detector has been off so long?
Resolved: I will be more careful with my negative wording. I will allow myself to have unqualified successes. I shall acknowledge negative thoughts, but not let them dig in too deeply.
I mean, sure, I can start all this, but I’ll probably just screw it up in the end.