Looking glass self

A quick note here, before I am off to bed (not having finished the work for my performance appraisal that was due today….)

I was cycling all day. I was okay for a few hours, and then cycling. Cycling between feeling afraid in my body and feeling numb, with this unpleasant in-between state where I wasn’t in my body, but could feel the fear and had vivid pictures of self-directed violence in my head.

I think the trigger is being seen, even by myself. I can be in my body and not have an awareness of myself as an observer of myself, and I can be an observer of myself without being in my body, but I cannot do both. And it seems that some kind of social function—Cooley’s “looking glass” self is coming online again and I am starting to see myself, but it’s scary.

I think because my experience of having been seen as a child, myself as I imagined my family saw me, was assaultive. It was hateful, contemptuous and shaming. So the person I imagine other people see me as, and that I hold in my head as my self-image, is someone so wretched she deserves to be physically destroyed. I am coming out of myself more and connecting with other people more also connecting to myself more and it’s reminding me of that. “Oh, that’s me. Me needs to be destroyed. Me is terrible.” And I have gotten through life by largely suppressing my awareness of that “it’s me” feeling.

I don’t really know what to do about it, but maybe it suggests a direction, because these days, I’ve kind of got nothing. I don’t know how to soothe myself. Nothing really seems to work. Not beyond a few hours.

3 thoughts on “Looking glass self

  1. Rachel March 26, 2016 / 7:30 am

    Seeing yourself is really scary, it brings up so many difficult emotions and thoughts. Also, I just had the thought that this performance appraisal may be exacerbating the self-hatred and destruction, heightening all of the emotion. I know that any time I have any sort of evaluation, the feelings of worthlessness are exponentially greater. And not completing something, also gives fuel to the self-hatred fire. Anyways, I hope you feel better soon, both in your body and mind.

    • Ashana M March 26, 2016 / 7:42 am

      Thanks for understanding. I don’t really know. For certain, it makes me see myself. I am doing this for C, entirely. Otherwise, it would be better for me to go home or to go elsewhere and earn a decent salary. I think that became really clear in the last month to me as I examined my financial situation. And my relationship with her is an authentic expression of myself. Me with her is really the most me that I am. Even if most of the time I am thinking how do I meet her needs, it is still me. I am thinking about her needs because I am me, and a different person would not be thinking that. I think it makes me feel a lot of shame and a lot of fear, that it is not going to be okay to be me.

      • Rachel March 28, 2016 / 12:36 am

        I agree with you, I think we are most “ourselves” when we see ourselves in relationship. I think relationships and other people mirror our insides to us, in how we respond to other people, what we feel, and what we do. So it makes a lot of sense to me why you feel most yourself when you are thinking about C; it draws out the inherent goodness and love and values that are intrinsically you, that were terrifically stifled, stomped on, and denigrated from infancy. Its somewhat of a return home, when you find someone who touches you so deeply .That you can find that innermost innocent and true part of you again.

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