Damage (Un)Control

Are we ever free of our demons?

So I feel broken. Damaged. Troubled. My parents broke up and I broke – they split and I split, but not just down the middle, all over. Like a vase that breaks – it splits all over; it shatters. Yet they broke up when I was 10, and I am now 28. I suppose the thing is, when you don’t realise you are broken there is, in turn, no need to get fixed. Because, like shattered glass, you can still appear whole – it still stays in place, it doesn’t fall down, it’s just a bit…messier, uglier. And undoubtedly less sturdy – less able to take things at it from then on. More likely to shatter to pieces when something does. So even though you would expect things to be better 18 years on, it’s not – in some ways it is the same, in some ways it is worse, as you feel as though you should have moved on from the breakage but you haven’t. People expect you to, but you haven’t.

Broken is the impact in that moment. Damaged indicates a life-long impact. Troubled suggests a daily torment of the damage. Yep, I’ll take all three, please. NO, I TAKE IT BACK! Gah, too late. Sorry, it was gut instinct. Because, actually, I quite like the damaged, troubled soul – I quite like the pain and the sadness and, OH, the torment! I’m not a fan of clichés but it is that whole reminds-you-you’re-alive business of feeling pain. In that, I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all. Although, paradoxically, when I have felt numb I have then felt sadness at the feeling-nothingness of being numb. So even my emotions* let me down, JUST LIKE MY PARENTS. Thanks, emotions, you sure know how to kick me when I’m down (and I’m looking at you, Numb).

* I just googled “is numb an emotion?” as it almost seems to be an oxymoron. I therefore considered referring to my “anti-emotions” but was unsure that would make sense (as if emotions do, anyway!) Please therefore take “emotions” to be a broad term that also encompasses non-emotions, or even things that try so hard to be emotions yet really aren’t (hungry, for example, is always trying to make its way into my emotions. Whata wanker.)

I also hate myself for being oh-so damaged. I hate myself and berate myself, more often than not out loud so I also feel insane as well as damaged. I mean, I may as well have them all while I’m at it – PSYCHOLOGICALLY DISTURBED, you might say. Don’t you just love a good label?! No, me either. So there I am, in my sister’s living room, having necked half a bottle of gin and watching First Dates, sobbing uncontrollably at the naïve man talking wistfully and hopefully about love, gazing at my tear-stand, red-and-puffy reflection in the window (NB: staring at yourself with a strange mixture of self-pity and curiosity – I actually look quite GOOD when I cry, how can I recreate this look “naturally”?? – is in fact a requirement of said uncontrollable sobbing), muttering out loud about how damaged and troubled I am, to then LAUGH AT MYSELF, OUT LOUD, for being such a nut case. And thus the vicious-deranged-cycle continues.

The crazy thing is I don’t actually think I’m crazy. Just sad. And then sad about being sad, and seeming to not be able to change things for myself. Not being able to remove the imprint of my upbringing, AKA ROBBED CHILDHOOD, or strip away the habitual conditioning of my subsequent behaviour. Because we find ways to deal with these things, don’t we – to cope, to manage, to SURVIVE. And they work at the time, so we then adopt them as trusty companions; loyal confidants to whom we turn whenever we have the slightest struggle, so that all of a sudden they are part of our ways of being – of responding, of relating, of living. To then remove them, to find other ways of responding to life’s difficulties, would mean almost starting again. Going back to the time you first took on that behaviour. The problem is I’m me, now, not me, then. I have so much other stuff with me, intertwined with that behaviour – how do I isolate it? How do I target just that? I’m actually asking you – this isn’t a rhetorical question. Answers in the Suggestion Box, please.

LS.

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