It’s a general question, not the result of an especially bad day. I can manage most of the time, although not always well. I find, despite being an intelligent, fairly focused, reasonably hard-working person, I often struggle to carry out even basic tasks. I seem to be busy all the time, but it’s hard to find time to exercise. Dishes pile up sometimes. Abruptly, I realize I am behind at work. It’s not that I think life ought to carry on with constant smoothness, but other people do what I do and also run marathons. Or write books. (And suddenly it clicks in: they hire people to clean up after them…ah, the simplicity of life with with a cleaning service…)
So let’s leave that and deal with the emotions. I am tired a lot of the time. And even when I am not tired, I am sad. It would be nice if I could just shut out the emotional turmoil inside, but I have realized that’s not the way. It is why I am tired, and maybe why I am sad. Better to be curious and learn to modulate emotions so that I have them and also think about having them at the same time.
I got up from where I was sitting just as I thought this and went into the kitchen to make dinner, aware that I did not feel ok, and I just observed myself doing this. I felt bad.
It crossed my mind suddenly that the cooking strategy I had in mind was to put more water in the “curry” (It’s not curry, but that’s what we call it here), turn on the electric wok, and go lie down again while things got hot. Clever. But the thought I realized I had without knowing it is I’m lazy. It’s a lazy way to get through life.
All these years, I have silenced this grumpy, angry, critical voice, but I don’t need words to know what I think. It just becomes harder to examine. But the assault on my self-image remains the same.
I thought this and pondered the anger for a while. I have a fairly good idea what it stems from. So if you think an event is caused by internal factors, then you feel secondary (or self-conscious emotions): pride, guilt, shame or hubris. If you perceive they are caused by external emotions, you feel primary (or basic) emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, happimrss, or surprise.
Dissociating parts of myself means failures are perceived as bring caused by other “mes”. External cause. Therefore, anger. It’s not a huge mystery. And yet it is. What’s the bad thing I feel angry about? Why, in the privacy of my own home, is there always a bad thing to be angry about?
I pondered that too. I thought about the instinct of anger to hurt and it’s relationship to revenge. I thought about the little girl in my class who is so fixated of revenge, she needs two years to learn the material of one year. Hitting people is more important than passing in primary school.
I thought it’s about an instinct to harm wedded to confusion. I have been, I consider further, wounded, but I don’t know why or how, so maybe if I just act angry, someone will figure it out for me.
I have plenty to be angry about, but this seems like my mother’s strategy: every blow a plea to be understood.
I think I have learned it. I think I go on listening to her anger, which was a confused anger, detached by famiky dysfunction and a failure to stay regulated enough to engage in the kind of linear thinking you need to be able to do in order to assess cause and effect.
The constant question: why am I so wounded? How and why have I been hurt translated into purposeless refusals and relentless complaint s.
I sill do it. A time-saving strategy is laziness…everything I do can be played that way: if you look for fault, you can find it.