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“I hate everybody!” plus Cary rambles on about rambling on

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Dear Reader,

I thought that every time I do a column I would write something but today I don’t really want to write anything about myself. I really do not like writing about myself. Or do I? Actually, what happens is that initially writing about myself is frustrating because I do not set out with a topic. I find it hard to find my own subject. So I just dive in, and am unsatisfied with what I write because it is vapid. But then out of that awareness of vapidity will arise a subject.

Now, there’s some wisdom in that: Just beginning to write will bring one to one’s subject. It is intolerable to write gibberish; that is a built-in mechanism: We eventually find what is meaningful because to jabber on is painful. I don’t know if it is painful to everyone; some people jabber without showing that it pains them, and thus inflict pain on others. But they must be in some kind of pain! Perhaps they are not aware of the pain they are feeling. Me, I have a low threshold of pain, psychologically. I can easily slip into feelings of abject despair. So I cannot jabber senselessly for very long. I seek meaning like a life raft. The chaos that surrounds us is terrifying, and when my own consciousness mimics that chaos, I panic. I must find something that means something. What arises from that encounter is my subject, which starts out to be my own orneriness, or my own resistance, or my own reluctance to write about myself.

I write all the time. I write morning pages sometimes. They help me stay sane. Morning pages help me identify the hidden themes that are likely to crop up throughout the day.

Here’s something of possible interest about human nature. I noticed the other day that when I met people the first thing I was asking them was, What part of the city do you live in? What neighborhood? As I was falling asleep I was wondering why I was doing that. Then I realized, we had the real estate man out here looking at our house. We are thinking of moving. I’m not sure exactly why we would move but having lost my job and being in a very expensive city, and not wanting to work too hard, wanting a slower life, and less house to take care of (this house is big, actually; and it’s got what is for San Francisco a big backyard). There’s painting to do. There’s a lot of work that has to be done on the house and I just, after my cancer surgery, I’ve really changed my attitude toward the house. I like it and all but I’m not as interested as I once was in learning all the trades.

I thought sheetrock was really interesting at first. I wanted to learn plumbing and electrical. Just to know how to do that stuff. So I learned a lot about that but now it’s not interesting to me. I just want to live in a house.

What was interesting was how unconscious was this force that was driving me to ask people where they lived. I got great satisfaction out of hearing where people lived, but it wasn’t connected to any conscious, analytical plant. Maybe it should be. Dennis lives near 22nd on South Van Ness. Judith lives at 23red and Potrero. I’m just storing these little addresses away. I’m like a walking Google map.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday, so I’m answering a letter:

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Dear Cary,
 
Today, Happy Easter, I have reached the point of determining that I hate everybody. As churlish as that may sound, it makes sense when I really start to think of how my intimate partners and family have consistently betrayed me in spite of the fact of me doing the right thing, holding up my end of the bargain, being supportive of them, trying not to allow them to put their “crap” on me.

My dad was abusive emotionally, mentally and physically (yes, he is an alcoholic.)

When I think of my marriages (yes, multiple) the one that I had children with and tried to keep together with another alcoholic for 12 years was fouled up because of his attachment to his messed-up family instead of ours. There were times when we seemed to make inroads to intimacy and love, but then he would go back out to the insanity of alcohol and drugs. The end came to me when he went on a coke bender with his sister, while my mother was on her deathbed.

The most faithful earliest intimate partner whom I should have married, but remained close friends with, confided in me TWENTY years later that although he wanted to marry me and had asked me several times, his father threatened his inheritance and my life if he did.  Different culture. By the time his dad died, I had already been married and was done having kids.

So here I am.  Pissed as hell. The last marriage I had after seeking recovery for codependency turned out to be a big lie too. He said everything I wanted to hear, until we got married.

After I made choices to turn my life around and make a better life for me and my kids, I had to ask myself, Why do I have to do all the work in this marriage and what the hell am I getting out of it?

It gets worse. I dropped out of my church, because although not as dogmatic as most “religions,” what they were preaching was absolutely not helping me cope with the circumstances of my life. I was really tired of feeling like I was the only one responsible for the continuation of an institution that would only condemn me for trying to live my life as I felt was best for me.

The most recent love of my life (which was yes, unusual because of our age difference) was stifled because of the determination of his family and what they wanted for him as well.

Cary, it’s not like I am sleeping around, drinking or drugging. Just trying to maintain a home for my teenage kids and work independently. But there did come a point in time when I said I am totally sick of feeling like the “taskmaster” for everyone, especially my intimate relationships.

In walks the young love of my life who for once made me feel like a complete woman, just the way I am. Only to be shunned because he can’t follow his own heart and be with me instead of the traditional way the family thinks things should be.

I had even been to a marriage counselor, who really didn’t help me other than saying our age difference was typical for an affair.

So here I am. I hate everybody. I am so fed up with everybody’s horse****  and no one being authentic or intelligent enough to carry on a decent conversation.

My darker side is about to come out in the worst way, as I am ready to start having unscrupulous sex with any man ready to go.  I don’t even know how to go about that. How do you do that without getting AIDS? 
 
There is so much more vitriol but I am sure you probably have seen the heart of the issue I am having already with my very rude awakening. Please help me unravel the crap so I can get to a better place.
Thanks.
Rudely Awakened

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Dear Rudely Awakened,
This is the kind of letter that in the old days I would spend a few days on. I would read it and think about it for a few days. But I don’t have that luxury anymore. And maybe that’s a good thing. So I am going to say a few things that may help.
For one, I don’t know enough about you to venture a guess. I don’t know what culture you are from, or how old you are, or really much of anything except that you are fed up and angry. And I know you’ve had some marriages and are now on the verge of doing something reckless and possibly self-destructive.

OK, that’s a start. I do know what it’s like to feel fed up and like doing something reckless and self-destructive. Maybe there is a clue there, having to do with your codependency. Here’s a thought. Maybe your codependency is linked to a poorly developed love for your self. That would account for why you feel like a taskmaster and a victim.

Maybe you have reached a point in your recovery from codependency where you are ready to make a new leap. Maybe your anger is a signal that it’s time to truly leave behind your codependent husk and emerge as some new being. Maybe the anger is the kind of anger that burns off a residue.

But as I say, I don’t know enough.

Here is what I suggest, though. I suggest you do some more reading on codependency and try to find in yourself the connections between how you were raised, your father’s alcoholism, your known codependent traits, and get a sense of the typical spiritual trajectory of a codependent. That is, consider that personal psychological growth occurs in stages, and those stages are marked by a feeling of crisis. Recognize that you have reached some kind of crisis which it is your job to enter into and understand. This may be done by talking it through  with other people in Al-Anon, if you are connected with that program. It may be done by taking a thorough route through the steps of Al-Anon.

That would be my interpretation: That you have reached a point of personal crisis that has a meaning which is yet to be determined.

So identify the things that are happening. It may be that long-buried feelings are starting to erupt, and those may be connected to your father and your family. I do notice that family plays a big role in your dissatisfaction. It may be that while you are identifying the family conflicts present in other people’s lives, what is driving that is your own inner conflict with your own family and your family history. So I would look for mirrors and echoes. That’s what I would do. Look for mirrors and echoes and order and consistency. Look for the patterns and ask how they have brought you where you are. Ask how you can change those patterns.

To do this, you will want to refrain from acting out. Rather than act out your frustration, sit with it. Talk it through. Write about it in a journal. Be aware. Just seek awareness.

So, as I said, knowing so little about you as an individual, that is all I can offer. I hope it is helpful.

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7 thoughts on ““I hate everybody!” plus Cary rambles on about rambling on”

  1. Cary, you wrote, “I write all the time. I write morning pages sometimes. They help me stay sane.” You reminded me of this little bit that Ray Bradbury wrote:

    “My waiter friend, Laurent, working at the Brasserie Champs du Mars near the Eiffel Tower, one night while serving me Une Grande Beer, explained his life. “I work from ten to twelve hours, sometimes fourteen,” he says, “and then at midnight I go dancing, dancing, dancing until four or five in the morning and go to bed and sleep until ten and then up, up and to work by eleven and another ten or twelve or sometimes fifteen hours of work.” “How can you do that?” I ask. “Easily,” he says. “To be asleep is to be dead. It is like death. So we dance, we dance so as not to be dead. We do not want that.” “How old are you?” I ask, at last. “Twenty-three,” he says. “Ah,” I say and take his elbow gently. “Ah. Twenty-three, is it?” “Twenty-three,” he says, smiling. “And you?” “Seventy-six,” I say. “And I do not want to be dead, either. But I am not twenty-three. How can I answer? What do I do?” “Yes,” says Laurent, still smiling and innocent, “what do you do at three in the morning?” “Write,” I say, at last. “Write!” Laurent says, astonished. “Write?” “So as not to be dead,” I say. “Like you.” “Me?” “Yes,” I say, smiling now, myself. “At three in the morning, I write, I write, I write!”

    “My tunes and numbers are here. They have filled my years, the years when I refused to die. And in order to do that I wrote, I wrote, I wrote, at noon or 3:00 A.M.

    So as not to be dead.”
    ? Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

    1. Good stuff here. This new approach of giving a glimpse into the process, followed by a response to the LW makes for interesting and educational reading. To the LW I would add: You’re in the trap of feeling sorry for yourself. While that’s not a bad thing, no matter what people say about it, it doesn’t do you any good. It doesn’t matter at all who all is to blame and for what. What matters is that you take charge of yourself. It’s OK to hate everybody, nobody cares anyway. But make an exception for yourself and start to treat yourself as well as you wish others would. Something you would benefit to learn about: The difference between blame and accountability. If you discover the effectiveness of accountability, you can become accountable for every aspect of your life experience. That is the only way to have power. Read Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

    2. Ugh, the previous comment went into the wrong place. To Ensenadasailor I wanted to say Thank you for that excerpt!

  2. Cary, that was a lovely response. As always, you give a thoughtful, considerate and helpful response. I wish I could be that giving.

    My response would be something like this. If you are thinking of having unscrupulous sex with any man willing, you do not hate everyone, you hate yourself. Don’t do this, don’t repeat the patterns of looking for love through meaningless sex.

    Now is the time to separate yourself from the events that hurt you, time to reflect on why you are hurt, why you didn’t know how to protect yourself from those people. What warning signs did you avoid and what was the result of that? Not faulting you or judging. These are questions you must ask yourself for recovery.

    I have been through what you have and more. I am 50+ years old and have survived, now doing quite well. How? I learned to protect myself, to give without sacrificing my entire being, to be cautious when warranted, to avoid unhealthy people, to sever relationships that were disparate.

    The result was I had more time and energy to focus on myself. I understand my past and the choices I made. It wasn’t easy to face my true self but I now know who I am and it was worth it!

    I am nearly content with being single. I do wish to find the love of my life but I will not compromise my self to do so. I am guarded and realistic.

    Sex? I read about a 90 day intimacy policy and have been practicing that. Get to know someone for 90 days before having 100% sexual relations. After 90 days (or less), you will find if you are compatible with that person, or not. By doing this you may avoid involvement with someone who is sexually compatible but not compatible in daily life. In other words, you can separate chemistry from reality.

    The best advice I was ever given was “you have a great gut instinct but you fail to follow it, follow your gut instinct, you will never be wrong”. Yes, that sick feeling that I had in my gut was right but my heart wanted something different. Follow your gut reaction!

        1. You are most welcome, Grace!

          You strike me as a very insightful person. Good for you (and the rest of the readers of Cary’s Advice Column.) I gleaned some great things in your reply.
          When the spirit inside moves you, to give a reply, I hope that you will. You have a lot to offer to fellow/sister readers.
          Thanks again for your contribution to the situation at hand. You gave LW something to think about.

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