The Enemy That is Me

April 12, 2003

I feel as if I have taken the poison of my addiction and tainted my wonderful wife's life. Before me she didn't have enormous financial problems and I seem to create bigger and more dangerous ones all the time. Because she is married to me she is tarred with the same brush as me. How can I say that I love her, if I subject her to the pain, frustration and uncertainty that I seem to need?

I know that I have a very serious problem in that I am addicted to situations that are dangerous to me. Situations that have humiliating or dire consequences. Not paying my bills on time, not keeping up with my taxes. Serious problems with serious consequences. I have run afoul of these problems before. I have been served papers in order to get me to pay off debt. I have had my electricity and gas turned off, more than once. I have been without cable and phone service. And yet I still manufacture these kinds of problems for myself.

I know that no one does something repeatedly unless they are getting something from it. As sick as this sounds, I know that some part of me gets off on having continual chaos and insurmountable difficulties in my life. Last weekend, with the help of Michele, I was finally able to break down some of the barriers I have erected around this feature of my personality. By keeping it hidden, even from myself, I could pretend to have a normal life. Outwardly I seem to be getting along just like everyone else. Inwardly I am lost and confused.

Even having admitted that I have a seriously bent aspect to my personality, I still find myself ignoring reality and thinking about how wonderful it will be when a miracle happens and everything is okay again. I keep imagining winning the lottery or inheriting the money I need to get out of the current hole. I know that even if someone donated the money I needed, that the real problem would still exist.

In my view of the metaphysical world I believe that we are here to learn lessons, some harder than others. If you refuse to get a particular lesson through your life's events, it is repeated again and again, each time with more emphasis. It is obvious to me that I am plainly not getting a lesson here, and equally obvious that I am not allowing myself to even see what that lesson might be about.

Knowing that I seek out destructive situations isn't enough. I need to understand what being in that situation brings to me that I feel I need. My fear is that while outwardly I don't enjoy the attention my destructive habit brings, inwardly I feel I am deserving of this attention. That somehow I am unfit to be happy or normal. Until I can feel worthy of not having chaos and insurmountable difficulties in my life, I know I will continue to create them and gravitate towards them. I hate knowing this as I feel helpless to stop this cycle.

I want to feel loved and okay, but until I can tell myself, and truly believe myself, that I am okay, I know I won't let those feelings be my truth. I guess a part of me has never believed that I was lovable, or likable, or deserving of praise. The fact that I get these messages from the people in my life has to be balanced by some huge bad. Is that the key? Do I feel better when I can offset the praise, like, affirmations, and love I receive from others with derision and scorn? And since I don't get derision and scorn on a regular basis, do I manufacture situations where I can feel it?

Oh, how true this rings. And how awful it feels. I can see situation after situation in my life where I sabotaged the good coming in from others, with scorn from myself, so as to wind up where I felt I deserved to be.

I have met the enemy and he is me.

How do I defeat myself and win myself at the same time? I wish I could somehow cut out or destroy that part of me that can't accept love or praise, so that I might, just once, truly feel good.

For if I can't learn to truly feel good, then I am afraid that I will eventually want to stop feeling at all.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.