Despite my very best intentions, I have not fulfilled the changes I want to make in my self-criticism and self-denigration, (see Related Posts below.) This fact easily becomes more self-loathing: I am never more than a step away from “I will never be able to succeed in this or any other effort I make, so stop trying.)
My effort to eliminate situations in which I call myself dumb or stupid or an idiot is one of my biggest struggles. I was a drama queen, even as a child, and along the way, every mistake became a catastrophe. I play the wrong card in Solitaire: You are such an idiot. Incorrect grammar or spelling or punctuation: You know you are wrong. What is wrong with you? And a big one — any suggestion that I am doing something incorrectly: Obviously, I will never be able to get this right, so I quit. The best example of this last in my earlier life was my reaction to my private French Horn instructor; here is a very short description of that disproportionate reaction:
When the time came to choose a college, I chose U Maine, where I would be in the band under my favorite conductor of all time. …[But] along came my laziness and distaste for working at anything. The French Horn Professor at the college wanted me to change my entire approach to playing — he was right, and I would eventually have become a better player. But instead, I dropped out of the music department and stopped playing the French Horn at all. What a crying shame — but I was fast approaching crisis that first year at college, and my life management skills were suffering accordingly. I had one semester as a history major, and then dropped out of school to get married.
In my teenage years, I became quite good at playing the horn. Of course, the perfectly reasonable suggestion by my instructor might well have spurred me on to further accomplishment; instead, I dropped the effort of six years because I felt I was being criticized. This hint, that I was not the perfect musician I believed myself to be, was to me a catastrophic condemnation of the efforts of all my teenage years. The thought of changing, of leaving behind any of that work, much less all of it, seemed impossible even to consider — I chose instead to take my bat and ball and go home.
This was the same strategy I utilized when I received a death sentence, complete with age, from my diagnosing doctor, regarding diabetes. He told me I wouldn’t live a long time — I decided that, if following the rules couldn’t save me from an early demise, I wasn’t going to bother to follow the rules. Oh, my decision wasn’t instant, by any means, but over the first six or seven years as a diabetic, I found all kinds of ways to break the rules. Eventually, I didn’t care if rules existed — I flouted every smart choice about my health in favor of a damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead approach to living. Perhaps if I had understood, deep in my gut, that my life choices would make a difference, I might have stuck more closely to a healthier way of life. But that doctor knocked all the sense out of me with his prediction of my early death, and I was lost before I got started.
All these years later, I am still a drama queen — a recovering one, maybe. I want so much to overcome this ridiculous habit, and I know it can be done. I catch myself, at times, in the act of self-condemnation, and I must remind myself that the whole world doesn’t run that way. Dr. N. and I are going to try some color therapy on Monday — I am anxious to see the results. The light therapy is working, so I’ve no reason to believe this other method won’t. I am anxious to get to it — because self-loathing really sucks.
Related Posts: http://diabeticredemption.com/2011/11/08/listening-to-my-inner-voice/