In which I am a bad person

I feel like a bad person in so many ways. This morning I am consumed with guilt. Here is an explanation of my crimes.

1. I pathetically miss Ron and feel abandoned. I ruminate on whether to send one of the many emails I wrote him while he was away but didn’t send. Will I feel worse or better if I send it? He likely wouldn’t respond until late at night or tomorrow, would that feel OK? How pathetic will I be if I send an email, when I want to be strong and independent and allow him his time off?

2. I do little work. I can work at home, but I get depressed at home – my emotions take over too much, and I don’t do much. I’m getting paid for completely goofing off. I hate myself.

3. I am using and misleading a friend. I invited my friend T over for dinner again. This time we did kiss a bit, and things got somewhat romantic. He is sweet. But so shy and so slow. He suggests things we might do together in the future and I don’t want to do any of them. I like him for company, so I won’t be alone. I like the physical contact. But I don’t want to spend a lot of time with him, or talk to him a lot, or see any future.

We watched a DVD, Harry Potter, and held hands. I could let my kid side out, so at the scary bits, I groaned and held his hand tightly, so I wouldn’t be scared, I complained about characters I didn’t like, I booed the bad guys. Very satisfying.

I’m totally using him.

4. I am not phoning and visiting my mother, who is fighting to overcome the worst health crisis of her life. I should be up there cooking, cleaning and providing cheery company. Instead I avoid. I must go there today though.

5. I am not phoning my son, who started a new job and whom I’m worried about. It is stressful calling him, so I avoid. Must do this today.

6. I read kids’ books now, instead of adult. I like the quests the kids are on, to prove themselves, to emerge out of childhood into adulthood. And my kid part likes these stories, and can’t relate to adult fiction. I’m regressing.

7. I failed to vacuum my house, and it looks frightful. I’ve also failed to plant flowers for my balcony. And to buy a table for it. I am lazy and irresponsible and can’t complete any simple task.

8. And I am a bad bad bad bad person altogether.

Art: Julie Taymor

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10 comments
  1. Sigh…. know that feeling… dont have any advice or wise words just wanted to say that I am listening.

  2. gniz said:

    I know these feelings too. From the earliest times I can remember, I have been sure that I am a "bad" or evil person. I can name far more "bad" things that I've done than what you just listed. Some of these things include saying intentionally cruel and hurtful things to people close to me, and when I was younger, being physically abusive towards my family members and others.And yet, over time, I have worked to be that better person and to forgive myself for the hurts I have caused others. I try to be kinder, to be gentler, to hurt myself and others less and less. The doubts and fears still creep in and sometimes that voice pipes up, telling me that I can fool others but deep down I'm still that bad person.But the less I believe that voice, the better I am able to become. It seems to me now that this voice has arisen from all the criticism and harshness I experienced as a very young child. And all of the unkind things that were said and done to me created these reactions in me where I believed it about myself.When you grow up in a toxic environment you are going to develop toxic behaviors as self-defense mechanisms. It's just how it goes. But I have started to see myself more and more as a good person who was hurt and confused during a great portion of my life. That's a more nuanced and realistic view.The things you listed aren't so bad, Ellen. But that voice and feeling inside of you has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with the toxicity you're struggling to purge in therapy and in life. Continue to let it out, continue to release all that pain and try and be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to be the good person that I know you are.Best,Aaron

  3. Svasti said:

    I think you're being really quite harsh on yourself. Which is one of the lovely traits of mental health issues – we're so, so hard on ourselves. But if it was someone else saying these things about themselves, we'd be understanding and forgiving. Know what I mean?It's so hard when someone we wish was in our life wants space or to not be in our life any more. Been there, and it's painful. You aren't pathetic, you're just hurting.Attempting to be functional when you don't FEEL great… well that's really tough. Whether its work or cleaning – just know you're not alone. And think about this – there's plenty of people who probably goof off for no reason whatsoever. At least you know if you were feeling better, you would be working. With your friend T, it's hard to know if you are using him. Perhaps he's getting what he needs out of hanging out with you, as much as you are with him. Many years ago I had a friend that I used to hang out with and kiss a little. Nothing ever came of it but we both enjoyed our time together anyway. Have you talked to him about any of this? Family stuff is H-A-R-D. Really. My mother and I… yeah, not happening at all. But all of these things you're criticising yourself over, this is just where you're at. It won't always be like this, and right now you're doing what you need to in order to get by.Please be a little kinder to yourself – you really, really need a break. xo

  4. I agree with the others: try to be a little easier on yourself. You're doing the best you can at this point with what you have available. You've made a list about all the ways that you're a bad person. Now try to make a list about all the ways that you're a good person. I imagine you'll be able to find quite a few good things, and you may even be able to turn some of those bad things around.- Mike

  5. I do agree…you are being very harsh on yourself…but we all seem to do that at one time or another. But what you are describing are "THINGS"…THEY ARE NOT WHO YOU ARE INSIDE. They are your reactions to stressors in your life…even housework can be stressful. And just think about where we learned how to react and who taught us to react. THEY ARE NOT TRULY YOUR REACTIONS. I would bet they are coming from the past. This is just my interpretation…I mean no offense nor am I trying to tell you how to react or to feel. I am sorry you were feeling such disdain for yourself when you posted this. Please take care. I do not believe you are 'bad'.

  6. Ellen said:

    @ UC – Thanks, and glad (or sorry) you can relate.@ gniz – I really appreciate hearing your story Aaron, thank you. You have climbed out of a lot of bad stuff I can see…and I think that is exactly the dynamic for me also. Bad early experiences looking for reasons in the present. I am actually trying to release it by writing it out, not to beat myself up further, as you say.@ Mike – OK, will do Mike, thanks. You and me both, OK?@ Interruption – Thanks. I seem to have a feeling of 'badness' coming from my past…it is a struggle. Oh, and I never take offense at an honest thought or comment. @ @ Svasti – Yeah, I am doing what I can to get by. Thanks for the kind words. Interesting you had a similar friend experience as me. I've mentioned to T that we don't have that much in common, but I still like hanging out…not sure what he took from that though. @ @

  7. Ellen all I can share when I feel as crappy as you do, that you are not bad. You are surviving your pain. Guilt and shame are one of the hardest things to overcome. Here listening

  8. diver said:

    Hi Ellen. Just wanted to say that I think 'Bad Ellen' is pretty sweet – the goofing off, the naive affection, the questy literary interests, the lack of vacuuming, the Harry Potter movies. Nothing 'wrong' with any of that as far as I can tell.Pretty envious about the kissing though. I haven't had a decent kiss this millenium. I think I've forgot how 😦 It's good to keep in practice I suppose.Great lead picture by the way, made me laugh.

  9. Ellen,You are so NOT a bad person. You are one of the kindest people that I know. I think that guy is lucky to be able to have a little time with you. He would probably be home wishing he could spend time with someone. Who cares if you vacuuum…everyone loves dust bunnies. Take it easy. Chill out. You earned to be nice to yourself.Moms and sons can go one more day without you.You rock Ellen!Flannery

  10. Ellen said:

    @ JBR – I'm sorry you feel crappy also JBR. Guilt and shame – those are exactly the problems. take care@ diver – he he, so you go for the 'bad apples' then….There are two ways of seeing things for sure, thank you. Yes, you must find someone to kiss! The pic mede me laugh too. :-)@ Flannery – That is so sweet, thank you. I'd forgotten everyone loves dust bunnies. 😉

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