Control

The weather in my mind:  I’m floating, everything is quiet.  I love clouds, I love them.  On the other hand, there’s nobody left in this world. I’m alone and I’m slowly falling down to nothingness.  Even the things that seem to be there are only imaginary.  It is not a world imposed on me, as any interruption from real life is intercepted by huge striking lightning.  I want to float quietly into a spiral of self destruction.  I often feel like I don’t know how to live in the real world.  For weeks it has been like that.  The real world is too heavy and undesirable. Maybe I am a fictional character who accidentally crossed a barrier and is lost trying to cling on a world that doesn’t exist.

I know I’m not that deluded.  I have been off medication for weeks, I am depressed. It’s not a shock. Depression sometimes is seductive, it lures you in.  Not only I cannot live in the real world; I don’t want to.  Why try then?

There are lots of things I’ve been meaning to blog about but haven’t.  One of them is: When is it counterproductive to keep pretending you’re not a victim of something? Trying to pretend you’re not tied up with cuffs won’t set you free any faster.  Acknowledging cuffs are keeping you from moving is a step into finding the keys to get out (certainly a step ahead of pretending they’re not real). I think having depression is like having invisible cuffs. You don’t move and you shift between feeling like the idiot who can’t move although they have no restrains at all, and realising the cuffs are indeed there but not being able to get rid of them.  In between, you also wonder why the hell you have them in the first place.  And you also wonder what the big deal is; you can just stay prisoner. You probably brought this on yourself.

As always, I took it personal, but when I first thought of the question it was actually about something else, say domestic abuse.  When looked from the outside, you can’t believe someone would tolerate such thing.  They also hide it, and in some cases, they defend their partner, and get mad at anyone trying to intervene arguing it is a private matter.  Why don’t these people just break free? They must like being treated like that.

Going personal again, I don’t have direct experiences with domestic abuse, but I do with peer abuse.  Bullying.  As a kid. I recently told my mom about this, kind of carelessly, and she was shocked.  Then I remembered: I would not let people know it.  It was the ultimate secret because to me it was my fault.  Being bullied meant I lacked some sort of strength to fight back; it meant I lacked wit to use words as a weapon; it meant I was in a situation  that was out of my control, but it should have been in my control.  It meant I was inadequate in many, many ways, and there was nobody responsible but me.  I never told my teachers or parents just like I wouldn’t confess the worst of the mischiefs.  It was MY fault, and humiliating to the bone.  So I swallowed it up, letting myself being constantly beaten up (more  psychologically than physically), because at least I was taking control this way.  It is easier to blame the problem on something you can potentially control -yourself- than to do it on external influences.

Somehow the problem extended to my early teens, when I was a master on smiling at the person who had just hurt me, laugh it off and get it out of my chest later alone, preferably in the bathroom, where nobody could realise how much it affected me, unleashing a cascade of attempts to gain control that were mainly based on self guilt.  I powered guilt in order to get control.  “If it is my fault then the ball is on my court. And it IS my fault, otherwise why are so many people able to get away with it? I mean, even my own younger brother gets to step on me, so it definitely  must be my flaw.  It’s also an incredibly humiliating flaw and I must keep it secret.”

I am almost 22 years old and I can’t say I’m quite over it.  I keep on downplaying it -“yeah I have always been a nerd and introverted and stuff so people picked on me all the time. HAha.”  Yes, the ball is on my court. I don’t know why I obsess on the ball being on my court now, when I can rationalise that it was not.  (or was it?) That it was a situation out of my control.  But it is utterly ridiculous to claim to be a victim of something.

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One thought on “Control

  1. There are lots of things I’ve been meaning to blog about but haven’t. One of them is: When is it counterproductive to keep pretending you’re not a victim of something?

    The denial of victimhood is a coping mechanism. When you are in an actively destructive situation—such as bullying in your teens—denial acts as a dampener of pain. The pain brought on by the abuse itself is massive. Yet when you superimpose the pain from lack of a control, it becomes unbearable. The human mind cannot handle it. In order to protect itself and stand a greater chance of surviving such a situation, denial is a necessity. It is only meant to be temporary. The mental equivalent of protecting vital organs if it means sacrificing limbs. The longer it persists, the greater the damage. If you take the time to fully look at the damage whilst you are living it, you increase your vulnerability. A full investigation must wait until such a time when you are in a safe place, away from the abuse.

    Unfortunately, this may take a long time. Worse, if the abuse takes place during your childhood, it will adversely affect your personality. People see comfort in what they know. They inevitably repeat the circumstances of their childhood, thereby ensuring the abuse goes on longer, and therefore delaying the deep introspective analysis required to escape the situation. Most people are unaware of these details and in so underestimate the difficulty in removing oneself from an abusive environment. Some even go as far as to think the abuse victim had it coming for being so weak.

    It is a misconception that infects even those who are suffering from abuse, leading them to believe they are worthless. Most people even believe that telling someone they are a victim and that they must escape their situation, should miraculously be enough. It only betrays their level of ignorance. All the victim hears is that someone that knows very little about them or their life, has taken it upon themselves to judge their life choices and find them lacking. All of this mind you, without having any real understanding of their reality. An abuse victim does not feel safe. To get them to risk retaliation from their abuser, they must be provided with a strong support network. Yet, most people who tell the victim what to do, are not offering support—only judgment. And if they are, it is only temporary, which is extremely inadequate and not worth the risk.

    In your teens you blamed only yourself because whilst destructive and untrue, it was an illusion that helped you cope with your reality. Yes, you could have told your teachers and parents. It would have made little difference unless your parents could move you to a new school. Bullies can spot individuals who have been previously abused. Their livelihood depends on it. It would have been only a matter of time before the bullies in that school did the same. What then? Another school, and another and another until you graduated? If you told your teachers, they would have confronted the bullies. Your word against theirs. Furthermore, the bullies would have increased their abuse to teach you the consequences of retaliation. The only real solution would have been to change the nature of your abusers. This was beyond your control, which brings us back to denial. It is a powerful coping mechanism. You have gotten quite good at using it—it makes only sense with your years of practice. Laughing in the face of those who wrong you is a tool. The objective is to prevent your abusers from knowing which words hurt most. Without this knowledge, they cannot tailor their abuse and therefore increase your pain.

    You are in a situation that is very difficult to escape. It is always counterproductive to pretend you are not a victim when you really are one. This is not the point. The real questions are: when does denial it outlive its usefulness? And most importantly, are you ready to handle the pain that comes from truly acknowledging your victim status. It can be very empowering. Yet, make no mistake. The pain you feel now, is almost nothing compared to what you will experience when you truly unveil your past pains. You will relive them. Fortunately, as you do, you will also experience a strong sense of self-worth and accomplishment from having survived it.

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