Thursday, May 9, 2013


I was conditioned to hate myself for the first eighteen years of my life. My mother would punish me if I got a single grade below a C. It was most common for her to ask me, "What's wrong with you?" after, say, I had lost a brand new wristwatch or broken another pair of glasses. Over and over, it was hammered into me that there was something wrong with me. Since I wasn't a stupid kid, I concluded that whatever it was that was wrong with me was the reason my mother never really loved me the way the mothers on TV or in the movies would love their kids.

My brother was (is) two years older than me. He remembers our father better than I do. He would take out his frustrations on me by slugging me in the arm. He would make up games about it, and I, desperate for some kind of affection, would play along. Other times, if I was watching TV by myself, he would come in the room and snatch the remote away, turning the channel to whatever he wanted to watch. "What are you gonna do," he'd say. "I'm bigger than you." So now, I'm small and weak and there's something wrong with me.

The bullying I got from my classmates only solidified, codified this perception of myself. Since it was all I'd ever known, I had no clue as to just how much I hated myself and how screwed up I was.

Five years of college and one suicide attempt later, I found myself in a relationship with the worst woman in the world. She treated me like dogshit and told me it was my fault. To me, that was how things were supposed to be. It was all I'd ever known. Except, this woman kept escalating the abuse until it got physical. Then it got truly evil. She would lie to people in front of my face. She lied to the police. She was and is a genuine psychopath. She manipulated everyone around her. When I finally saw through her bullshit and started calling her on it, she would freak out and do things like hitting me over the head with a garden hose. Since I knew the cops would believe her lies over my truth, there was nothing I could do. I lived the last six years of our sixteen year relationship in this state of mind.

I doubted my sanity. I wondered if all the crazy shit she spouted at me was, in fact, true. Like when she would deny what she'd said not ten seconds after she said it. And she was so serious, so adamant in her position that I wondered if, in fact, I hadn't heard her correctly, that it was really me who was screwed up.

Five years out of that relationship, and I can see the truth now. I see how completely twisted and wrong she was. Just like my mother. Just like my brother. Just like my classmates. They were all wrong to treat me the way they did. And because I endured so many years of constant harassment, I have been programmed to hate myself.

Self-hatred undermines everything. The smallest details of simply being human become sources of blind, screaming rage. If I tear off one too many sheets of toilet paper. If I forget that one thing I went to the store to get. If I leave out one step at my job and have to backtrack to fix it. Silly, minor, inconsequential stuff that shouldn't mean anything--it all becomes proof of my complete worthlessness, and justification for my raging hatred.

When I'm around other people, I clamp down on the rage. I learned the hard way that it scares people. Like, really fucking frightens them to see me slamming my fist repeatedly into my thigh or the nearest hard surface until my hand is swollen and bleeding. So I don't do that around people anymore. I keep it to myself. Thus, when I'm finally alone and something happens, there's extra fuel behind the rage. All the anger I kept bottled up gets released at the first opportunity. I've lost a few things I really cared about in those kinds of fits.

The cold, intellectual, emotionless Spock side of me realizes that this is a very unhealthy way to live. My lizard-brain survival instinct doesn't want to die any sooner than is absolutely necessary. So, I think to myself, what do I do? The answer is always "get treatment." I have a disease, I'm told. The disease is depression. At least, that's the best label I've found, because I'm pretty sure the DSM doesn't have a single diagnosis for "raging self-hatred that's the result of 34 years of programming by evil fucks who didn't care about anyone but themselves." That's a little wordy. Doctors like three words, max, for a diagnosis. Borderline Personality Disorder. Bi-Polar Disorder. Paranoid Schizophrenia. Et cetera.

So, treatment. How does one treat programming? With more programming, except this programming is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Dr. Drew once described it as "re-wiring your brain." What it boils down to is programming yourself to no longer have these "undesirable" thoughts and feelings.

So, why is one programming bad and another good? How is the organ that was conditioned by outside forces supposed to now condition itself from within? And why should I believe the people who stand to make money from me for their treatment? Aren't they going to tell me anything they can to get me on their couch so they can bill me ridiculous amounts of money to re-program me?

I already know that treatment isn't going to work. For programming to be effective, you have to buy into it the way I bought into it for many years. Now, I'm utterly opposed to programming, and I'll resist it in any form. Whatever therapies or techniques a therapist prescribes for me, they'll be undermined by my own core belief that I'm being programmed again.

Anti-depressants are the worst kind of medicine. They force the brain to behave in unnatural ways. They're the chemical equivalent of an old Henny Youngman joke: "A guy goes to the doctor and says, 'Doc, it hurts when I go like this.' Doctor says, 'Don't go like this.'" Doesn't exactly solve the problem of why it hurts in the first place, does it? That's anti-depressants.

The one thing I've found to be effective at all is illegal, and there are other physical side effects that make it less than ideal. Plus, I'd lose my job if I failed a drug test. So I'm pretty much fucked.

The worst part is when someone spouts some simplistic crap to me like, "You need to lighten up." As if I have a choice. That kind of bullshit does several things at once. It directly states that I have a choice when I don't. It then implies that I'm making the wrong choice, which is a judgment about me as a person. And it also tells me that the decades of baggage and programming that I drag around behind me every day is, to other people, a simple one-note issue that can be solved as easily as blowing my nose. All of which only serves to reinforce my self-hatred that much more.

I've been programmed into this. I'm supposed to program my way out of it. It's all bullshit. I just want to be me, free from the self-hatred. I don't want to be what someone else thinks I should be, and that's what programming does. Even if I'm the one doing the programming, it's someone else's code that I'm writing into my brain.

Maybe I should just kill myself and be done. There doesn't seem to be much point to trudging any further.

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