Sabotaging My Self

You know the alarm that kicks in when you’re about to do something stupid? The little sensor that is tripped when you step into a danger zone and are about to do something you’ll probably regret.

Mine is defunct.

The self destruct button is jammed down, by default, and I seem to have been programmed in reverse. Instead of stopping before I step over the line, I ramp up the speed on the descent and it takes someone else to step in and say

Stop.

The eating disorder is the obvious example; but doesn’t appear to have re-set the switch. I am daring to see how far I can push things – like work, and relationships, and life – and I don’t quite sense the danger until someone else comes along and says, “what the hell are you doing?”

To which I reply, unexpectedly, “waiting for you to see how terrible I am” -

Because you’ll reach the same conclusion at some point.

This is not a great formula for successful living. There’s a touch of self fulfilling prophecy, a big dose of sabotage, and no way of knowing when I’m entering red – because that’s been the agenda, all along, hasn’t it?

So, whilst the manifestation’s a little more subtle now that I’ve taken the eating disorder as far as it could go (because it’s not about annihilation; it’s the punishing bit between); there’s a pattern emerging, and it looks like I’m going out of my way to make sure that happiness doesn’t win –

Which means that I step over the line, without really noticing what I’m doing; and, like some warped game of dare, I push – and pull – at life, and challenge anyone who gets caught in between: If I go far enough, will you stop trying to save me; and, if I ruthlessly push you away, will you start seeing the Melissa that I see?

Which means I keep snapping connections (because they’ll only start to hurt); and resist caring (because it comes back to the same person in the end); and maintain the need to apologise for my existence (because success would infer deserving); and I rarely pause to consider the consequences of any action –

Because, the alarm that is meant to kick in when you endanger yourself is now faulty; and, the sensors that are meant to warn me when I’ve gone into the red were suspended, some time ago, when I decided that I wasn’t worth being saved.

Which means that, unless I do a little re-programming, I am pretty likely to self destruct or sabotage any happiness –

Because I’ve already decided on the end.

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7 Responses to “Sabotaging My Self”

  1. Ah dear. So hear this. That place where the warning blasts go off only when we do good, right? Only when we eat appropriately, only when we Take our drugs and work hard on therapy. Air horns go off because as we begin to heal, as we take those first real steps…the new stuff the right stuff IS the danger. Or we just freeze it altogether.

    I get that I am being somewhat hypocritical to point this out but I will anyway. Your last few sentences…because you’ve already decided. What would it be like to decide something different. I absolutely hate those people who say you just have to decide yourself happy and that’s not really what I mean to imply here. Just, wondering I guess what it would be like to try to grow a mind that’s a tiny bit open to alternatives??? Know what I mean?? Just, try to imagine, as will I. ;)

  2. Afterglow05 says:

    Melissa – this is a very brave post. You are definitely putting yourself out there. I totally understand how you’re feeling. While I know what I’m doing is wrong and will ultimately have consequences, it doesn’t seem to matter. How do we ‘un-jam’ that button? Rooting for you!

  3. Julie says:

    Hang in there Melissa – and keep searching for ways to break harmful patterns. You are so worthy of wellness. I send you much strength and courage from across the globe.

  4. Abby says:

    I wrote something about this awhile ago and it comes down to, “Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.” I just totally get it and have yet to figure out a way to want to be successful in something other than pushing myself to point break. It’s always a test–a little good happens and instead of pushing myself to see how much “healthier” I can be, I challenge myself to make sure I can still fall back on what I know best–self-destruction.

    This is actually completely counter to how I am in other aspects in my life–I strive for success in a positive way when it comes to work, school, people, etc. For some reason, I feel the need to constantly test the limits of my own body…but what is the limit, and what do I hope to accomplish? Great post. I’m with ya.

  5. Melissa says:

    Thanks so much for all these comments; and, especially, the reminder that I don’t have to stay on the same path. Self destruction can be visual and physical, but it can also be insidious and internal; and, I suppose that the first step is being aware -

    The next will be to come up with the solution or, at least, unjam the button so that the alarm works!

  6. GirlAnon says:

    I can really relate to the section where you said:

    ‘ I am daring to see how far I can push things – like work, and relationships, and life – and I don’t quite sense the danger until someone else comes along and says, “what the hell are you doing?”

    To which I reply, unexpectedly, “waiting for you to see how terrible I am” -

    Because you’ll reach the same conclusion at some point.’

    I’ve discussed this with my counsellor, and despite all the evidence to point out that my partner loves me, I am still waiting for him to see how awful I am and live in fear that when he does, he’ll leave me. He is the kindest, most patient man and knows all my dark corners, and is still here a year and a half down the line, but I daren’t ask him what he likes about me in case there is nothing to say. It is sad, and of my own making, that I feel this way.

    Food is the other ‘biggie’ for me. I’ve developed a fear of being hungry – not all that obscure given my avoiding food and feeling hungry for so long. I often eat rather than wait to feel hungry as if the huger will bring back the depression and sadness. Yet my health is suffering and I am deeply unhappy about being overweight. I can’t seem to see how to eat healthily without feeling like I’m restricting, on a diet and reverting to my ED, so I am in permanent sabotage mode.

    I’ve also realised that some of this is linked to my fear of losing people, and an odd idea that if they love me when I’m as unloveable/fat as I am now, then maybe it means they love me, but if I was a healthier size, how would I know it wasn’t for my body?

    Seeing that written down, it doesn’t look as logical as it feels. I’m not sure how being a healthier weight/size and love are linked at all. And how, if I’m happier with myself, that could be anything but good… All I know is that I cave, I panic, I binge. And then I feel like the world is falling down around me.

    Have got off the point a bit, but I meant to say that you’re not the only one who is out there, testing, checking to see what other’s think. Waiting to be found lacking. I’m not sure what the solution is yet; I’m finding that having people who truly love me around me helps.

    I lost my earring this weekend, and was heartbroken. I do love those earrings, but it was more the point that I’d lost them and it means I can’t be trusted with things. My boyfriend took me by the hand and gave me a beautiful gift that he would only have given me because he can trust me. And it broke my heart again. If he can trust me at a time when I can’t trust myself, it gives me hope that one day, I might feel that way too.

  7. melissa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I think you’ve touched on some really key points – like the trusting yourself and the relation between physical and emotional acceptance – that really help my understanding of what’s going on for me.

    I hope that awareness is the first step – because we’re on the way!