Chaos Attraction

Maybe It's Got Nothing To Do With Me

2004-12-14, 9:12 p.m.

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So I'm on this message board for the dis-engaged, and I mentioned my fridge entry from a few days ago on there, saying that I was pretty disturbed to have Those Urges come back again when I am not in the right place to deal with them. (Ironically, mentioning them seems to have made them go away again, YAY, but that's not the point of this entry.) Anyway, one person there and I kind of started getting into a discussion that has been pushing buttons on me. (In the freaked-out way, not a seething-rage way.)

She was saying that she didn't think I have to be An Adult before finding someone- that what I should be doing is thinking I'm great already instead of making myself into some perfect person before I can find someone. And that I shouldn't feel that I'm unacceptable as I am, because I'm not.

Oh, did I heartily disagree with that one. I promptly posted stuff y'all have heard before (yesterday, actually), about how no sane, good fellow would put up with the likes of me because I'm a complete pain in the ass and a late bloomer, and only jerks, flakes, and weirdoes would ever take me on, and even THEY get fed up with me. And that sure, I'm fine when I'm single, but when someone has to deal with me as a girlfriend, it becomes very clear that there's a lot I do wrong and a lot of problems I cause just by being me, and that I have to improve before the situation can improve, or else anything is doomed. In other words, "Yes, I do." Stubborn bitch, c'est moi.

Her response to that, well...I've been musing over it since I saw it.

She asked what the heck I meant by what problems I cause just by being myself, and then said she didn't accept logically that I wasn't acceptable already. She said that I come across as smart, funny, creative, and often wise beyond my years (heh, depends on the subject there), and she suspected that I think of myself as a crappy person because of how my family sees me. And that what I should be doing is realizing that I'm a good person and find someone who feels the same, and then work on improving my negative self-assessment.

Okay, here's what I started out writing as a response. We'll call it Version #1.

I'm very difficult to be in a relationship with. I don't like compromising. I don't like or understand "wespeak" and "wethink" and how to operate in a couple. I am not domestic. I'm terrified that being in love means that I have to become domestic and get locked in the kitchen without shoes. I throw hissy fits if a guy asks me to cook or clean or do his laundry because I don't want him to think of me like I'm his maid or mommy. I don't want babies of my very own. I'm really stubborn and obnoxious about all of that. If I'm mad or upset with my boyfriend, I absolutely won't tell him about it, and when I have told them about it, it went badly, so I still don't think I should share my negative feelings. I have constant, exhausting drama surrounding me. My family doesn't welcome anyone I date into the family. Every 3-4 days, I have some sort of screaming/crying match with my mother, and all of my exes have complained about this. Every time I go home to the parents' for a weekend, I am a raging bitch to deal with for the next week. I am not "easy to be with" in the slightest on a long-term intimate basis.
I can't be myself and be acceptable as someone's long-term life partner. None of this promotes successful couplehood. No matter how wonderful I am when I'm not someone's life partner, it doesn't make up for the fact that I'm an asshole in relationships. Smart, funny, and creative does NOT make up for that.
And yeah, my self-image sucks. No doubt about that. But there is basis for it sucking. All of the above stuff are things others besides the parents have complained about with regards to me, and complained about OFTEN. Again, smart and funny doesn't matter when compared to the things I am a problem about. How am I supposed to go around thinking I'm 100% wonderful when I know I'm difficult?

Which can all be summarized as "Waaaaaaaaaah, I suuuuuuuuuuck, I should be dragged out and shot NOW, and I'm not listening to anything nice being said about me at all. It's not even acceptable to say nice things about me because I am such a horrible person."

The third paragraph is when I um, finally realized that what I was saying was the summarization above. "See, this is how bad I suck! I suck, I suck! Nobody should ever ever say anything nice about me, because I SUCK!"

Missing the point, eh?

At which point I stopped composing the response for awhile and went on to do work stuff. She e-mailed me later that day to see if I was offended, which I wasn't. I wrote back that I was going to respond, I'd just been busy.

Here's Version #2, second verse, almost the same as the first! I'm trying to improve and be more positive this time, but... that ain't working.

I am genuinely a pain to be with as a girlfriend. There are things that have been complained about by more than one ex- that I'm not domestic enough, that my family really just needs to be told to piss off already and I won't do it, that I don't put the guy first, and I don't operate well as one of two when I'm much more used to being one of one. In those respects, I think it's legitimate to say that I am not a good partner for someone if I continue to have those traits, which aren't a problem when there isn't someone else being strongly affected by my choices with regards to a lack of domesticity/how I deal with the family.
But, yeah, besides that... I've never had self-esteem and thought I was 100% wonderful in my life. I've been getting "YOU SUCK!!!!" messages from my peers since kindergarten (hell, I got held back a year because I was a nerd compared to the other kids- my entire class hated me on sight. I wish it was an exaggeration to say that.), and as for my parents, they are classic controllers out of the "Toxic Parents" book. No idea if you ever read that one, but the controller's goal is to make sure they won't be abandoned, so they tear down the kids to make sure they'll feel crappy enough to stick around- or they just get guilted to hell.
I think at the very core of my being, there is a chorus of voices screaming, "YOU SUCK!!!!!" I don't know if that's something that could ever be fixed at this point even with years of therapy that I can't afford. (Also another thing exes complain about- "why can't you get some self-esteem already?") How does one get over it, anyway? Chant "I'm so wonderful, I'm so wonderful" fifty times a day?
I generally get along with people, but if anyone has any problems, I become a cringing mess, too. Whee!
In short, while I may be a nice person, I am way too much of a mess to have a relationship work out.

This time it's, "I still suck, but I'm trying to say it in a nicer way, and then admit why I think I suck, and that I'll always think I suck, and this is why I am inadequate for relationships."

You know what? I may be biased here, but even I'm starting to see a problem with my whiny-bitch answers.

I'm determined to see myself as being awful in this realm. Determined not to think that I am any good to someone. That anything nice I may be doesn't matter because I'm such a toxic waste dump of a personality to anyone who gets to make out with me.

Why is that?

Yeah, a good chunk of that is upbringing. That "I suck is at the core of my being" bit is true. I do think that's what a good chunk of my personality is based around, and I hear that voice all the freaking time in my head every time I fuck up. "Oh, I'm the stupidest person in the universe, I lost it!", "I was such an idiot at 21 I should have been dragged out in the street and shot for my stupidity,", etc., etc. You know how that goes. I think a lot of people I know do that- I know Jess does, I've seen her. It probably is usually the girls who had Parents With Issues that do this.

I made myself go reread Toxic Parents again (great for the holiday season, plus it's one of the few books of mine I can FIND in the rubble), to rub it into my head that I'm thinking this shit not because I suck, but because it makes my parents feel better to make me feel like I suck, because if I'm all confident and self-sufficient I'll flee the coop. I can't find the exact quote about that, and I just tried looking a bunch of times, but that idea of it just floors me: "I'll do anything to make her feel like crap, so long as she stays with me because I feel like crap." How incredibly ugly that is. Real loving there. No wonder I always hear the "I suck!" chorus in my head when I got brought up on that.

Okay, y'all know I'm a John Mayer fan. You may or may not know that he just put out an EP with a few versions of the song "Daughters" on it. I bought it off iTunes, even though to be honest, it's my least favorite song of his. But hey, it's a collection.
I never thought about that feeling, that I didn't like it as much as the others. The line about lovers turn into mothers annoys the crap out of me and always has (yeah, I know, he did it to rhyme, but my childfree soul doesn't like the assumption that I'm guaranteed to be a mom anyway), and I figured that was it. I hadn't paid that much attention to the whole meaning of it- girl gets abandoned by dad, boyfriend gets stuck dealing with her issues and is all, "Thanks a lot for fucking her up, jackass!", but in a less obscene and rhyming manner. (Hee.) But it hit me listening to those last night: it's not just girls who are fucked up because Daddy ran off. It's all the girls out there who got fucked over mentally at an early age, and then their poor schmuck boyfriends who never did anything to them get screwed because they have to deal with this poor girl who's more fucked up than they ever dreamed she would be. (It's a song my exes probably relate to, should they have heard it.) In short- that means you too, Jennifer.
(You know why I like this guy? It's like he's been secretly hanging around my apartment or listening in on my phone calls or is really one of the guys on 3WA chat using a pseudonym. Like, you're a dude- where do you GET this stuff that was floating around in my head from on your own?)

The one line keeps going through my head: Maybe it's got nothing to do with me. And maybe it doesn't. Maybe it's not that I utterly suck, it's that it makes other folks happier for me to think that I suck. Yikes.

But part of it too is sheer old gunshy as well. I'd rather think of myself as a toxic person who's abstaining from relationships out of a desire to benefit humanity by not inflicting myself upon them, than just another Nice Girl who hasn't gotten lucky yet and may or may not ever get lucky, regardless of her personal qualities. Because I'm more comfortable with thinking of myself as the most horrible person on the planet, and certainly can cite enough reasons at the drop of a hat why I am so horrible. Me as someone wonderful? That's just WRONG. That's not how the world works at all! You must be crazy to think that way! Look, see, here's 119 reasons why I should be shot! Admit that I'm awful, admit it! Then I'll feel...

Well, who knows how to answer that question. I guess I'm just used to feeling like crap and it makes me more secure than feeling happy would. Because who knows how long that'll last, and crap is forever! And I'm used to being put in my place anyway.

So, where does all of this revelation leave me?

Don't know, really.

I have that work shrink appointment Thursday. We'll see. Obviously I need like twelve years of weekly therapy and this one-shot isn't going to be up to doing much in the face of that, but better than nothing.

In the meantime, I probably won't have much time to write some fresh entries for a few days. I'm going to pre-write some warped holiday music reviews to post on the days I can barely get online to post something, so you'll get a breather from Jen's Never-Ending Holiday Psychodrama.

We shall see, I guess.

In the meantime, I'm off to go send in my response to that girl's question, and see what she thinks.

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