every day is a new beginning, take a deep breath and start again
Yesterday I fouled up again. I wrote a post called It’s Too Bad That Love Is Blind, which was both a bit negative and quite misogynistic, and that is not the way I generally feel about the world these days. I guess I was having a bad time yesterday. You may already be aware that I have some very bad interludes in my quest to be a very cool guy living a really great life.
For years I suffered from an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) ~ which really fucks up your life. Now I have had a proper diagnosis, but have still had no treatment for this malady. To a large extent that’s OK, I can walk a long way down the road to recovery using self-directed therapy, which actually means buggering-on and doing the best I can to do things that will help me to get better. With the help of two very close friends I am much, much healthier in body, mind, and spirit than I used to be.
And wouldn’t you know that both of those very close friends are very remarkable women.
I quite firmly believe that without their help I wouldn’t be here today. Some 10% of suffers of BPD commit suicide, (which is about 1,000 times more than in the average population), but far more succumb to accidents, alcohol and drug abuse, and general ill health caused by a poor diet and bad personal care. A couple of years or so ago, before I was on the road to recovery, I managed to contract pleurisy, double pneumonia, and somewhere in there I also broke 5 ribs, (and I have no idea how that happened). I believe I would have died without the help of those remarkable women.
One of the symptoms of BPD is extreme and rapid mood swings, and in my case my emotions veer between happiness and anger, (poor labels but they’re the best I have). The extreme and uncontrollable emotions I suffer today are nowhere near as extreme and uncontrollable as they used to be, and the negative episodes are fewer and father between. Yet, sometimes there are days I am so angry I could cry, for no good reason whatsoever. I guess yesterday was one of those days.
The tears I cry are just as wet and painful as anyone else’s, and the emotions I feel are real. However, these feelings occur for no good reason except that somewhere in my childhood Borderline Personality Disorder was hard-wired into my mind.
Some say that crying is cathartic. And that there is nothing wrong with a grown man shedding a few tears. All I know is that almost unbearable mental anguish will have my crying tears of frustration. I also know that tomorrow will be a new day.
after all, tomorrow is another day
living with a personality disorder is to live in toxic confusion
Our personalities are made up of how we are programmed to feel, think, and then what we do about those thoughts and feelings. A personality disorder means that your emotions, thoughts, and actions cause devastating and long-lasting problems in your life. I have suffered from a serious personality disorder for most of my life ~ so serious that it qualifies as a severe mental health problem. The symptoms manifest as character defects such as anger, jealousy, paranoia….. in fact just find a list of character defects and from time to time I’ve had them all. There are some more serious symptoms than that, up to and including a 10% chance of suicide.
The only way for me to live a life of genuine and long-lasting happiness and success is for me to work on my character and personality, particularly those areas I’d prefer to hide. Overcoming and eliminating flaws in my character and defects in my personality is not easy ~ trust me it’s
fucking very difficult. I’ve been carrying this personality disorder around with me since my early childhood, and the character defects are hard-wired into who I am, or rather who I was.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is who you really are, while your reputation is merely who others think you are. ~ John Wooden.
There are some simple tests that can tell me who I am, and exactly what borderline personality disorder has done to me. However, I have found that I need to constantly watch myself and remember what I see, what have I done that was utterly inappropriate? and why? When do I have to attempt to suppress my emotions? and when do I have to try to hide my true self? What embarrasses me about myself? (other than everything) What changes have I made that worked? and what have I tried to change that completely backfired? or just didn’t work at all?
In moments of anger or stress the uncontrollably negative parts of my personality surface, totally destroying the carefully crafted image of a very cool guy, living a really great life, that I’ve been trying to portray. However, in order to reprogram the defective parts of my subconscious mind I have to constantly ‘act as if’ I am that cool guy ~ it’s a form of self-hypnosis, sometimes called Habituation. It’s acting differently to how I feel.
If you think you may have one of the 9 different personality disorders, then you need help, and your first step is to go and see your doctor. At least you may get a proper diagnosis. Whether or not you ever receive appropriate treatment is another matter ~ medication is inappropriate for many types of personality disorder.
If you are thinking of living with someone who suffers from a personality disorder, I wouldn’t unless you’re prepared to devote lots of time and attention, love and understanding ~ and even then I’d suggest you think twice.
Some say that having a personality disorder is like having third degree burns over 90% of their emotions. And that if they could find a way to check-out without hurting anyone else they would. All I know is that I am recovering from a very serious mental illness.
it would be nice to have multiple personalities
one of them might be happy
Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.
There seems to be a lot of angry people in the world today, mostly angry that recent events didn’t turn out the way they wanted, and the future is looking very different to the way they wished it to be.
Angry people are not always wise. ~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Even very recent events are beyond our control. The past is the one part of our lives over which we have absolutely no influence, none whatsoever. No amount of regret, bad feelings, or anger can ever change what has already happened. All that anyone has any control over is what they do right now, and what they do right now will shape the future. If people choose to feel angry about the past, then they are denying themselves the opportunity to enjoy the present, and thereby create a better future.
Life is difficult and painful. This is the first of The Four Noble Truths. Things often don’t turn out the way we would like them to. Dwelling on the past and being angry about it isn’t necessarily the best way to make either the present or the future a better and happier place.
We don’t have to get angry, and we don’t have to stay angry. There are other and more positive emotions we can create from our anger. More often than not our anger does not get us what we want. Anger often turns inward and makes angry people bitter, twisted, and ineffectual.
Anger is an acid than can do more harm to vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. ~ Mark Twain
We shouldn’t suppress our anger, but there are positive and constructive alternatives to aggressively inflicting our anger on other people. Intentionally hurting other people is almost universally a bad thing. All to often angry people won’t listen to calmer counsel. All too often angry people will not listen to opposing viewpoints. All to often angry people try to shout their opponents down.
If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. ~ Noam Chomsky
We can use anger to spur ourselves on to greater and better things. The energy, the adrenalin, the drive our anger arouses in us can be used to make positive and healing changes to the world around us. We all need to learn to tame our temper.
The best fighter is never angry. ~ Lao Tzu
We don’t always have to get mad. We don’t always have to get even. We don’t even have to tell other people that they are wrong, stupid, ignorant, uneducated, ungentlemanly, and childish. We can keep our opinions mostly to ourselves, and instead work quietly for the greater good.
We may not like recent events like Brexit, President Trump, Populism, and a lot of other crazy stuff going on in the World today, but getting angry and then belligerently expressing your anger probably isn’t the answer. More often than not, anger isn’t nice, it isn’t often pretty, and it isn’t really healthy. People die from too much anger.
And, depending on who has been in the wrong, then every once in a while, a sincere apology helps. Sometimes.
these thoughts are mine, and mine alone
We cannot control our emotions.
Various psychologists, behavioural scientists, and sundry people in white coats, disagree a little on just how many human emotions there are. They also tend to disagree on exactly what these feelings do to us.
However, trolling through their divergent opinions, and adding a little basic common sense, we can come up with a more or less definitive list of the main human emotions. These are; Anger, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, and Love. Personally I’d add another, I think Lust is a very powerful raw emotion. Or maybe Lust only affects men?
We can call these raw emotions by other, more polite, names. Lust is transformed into desire, and many of us call the feeling of desire Love. How many men have said; ‘I love you’, when what they truthfully meant was; ‘I desire you, I want you’? I know I have fallen into that despicable sexual trap in the past.
For most of us, by far the strongest emotion is . It’s what keeps people in dysfunctional relationships, lousy jobs, and mind numbing routines. We are afraid of change, we fear abandonment, we fear loss of status, most of all we fear death.
Those of us who have, or have had, a psychological / mental illness have an intimate relationship with fear. The emotionally disturbed are often a maelstrom of Fear and Anger.
For aeons the heart was thought to be the seat of emotions, especially Love. Now, most respectable scientists profess that the brain is where emotions live. Although, some left field professors say that the gut is where emotions begin. Me, I’m neither respectable nor a scientist, and the last time I wore a white coat was at a costume party. I don’t know where our emotions live, and I don’t know exactly how they work.
However, I do know where your emotions come from.
Our emotions and instincts are hard-wired into our body, mind, and spirit. They originate as far back in time as when the first thing crawled out of the primeval slime. Emotions and instincts are what drove the survival behaviours of things that could never be described as intelligent life. What do you think drove the raw savagery of Tyrannosaurus Rex? What do you think makes sharks such a successful life-form?
Instincts and raw animal emotions bypass the intellect. Emotions have nothing to do with intelligence and common sense. Emotions are powerful in exactly the same way that thought isn’t. From the moment life began emotions controlled the behaviour of all life forms, and emotions still control human behaviour today.
Intellectually, a man can know that some particular woman is bad for him, yet will he willingly give her up? Probably not because his emotions completely override his common sense. If she thinks about it, a woman may know that it’s stupid to stay with a man who mentally, emotionally, physically abuses her ~ yet how many women are trapped in abusive relationships because their emotions won’t let them leave him?
Most of us will do almost anything to assuage our emotions. Some of us will go to any lengths to satisfy our raw emotions ~ up to and including the death of self and / or others. Emotions are the most powerful driving forces in each of our lives. Positive, or negative, or a mixture of both, we are each controlled by our feelings. All that intelligence and intellect does is to overlay some civilisation on top of our innate savagery.
Me, Us, You, Them, can do something about these emotions that drive our every action. We can’t stop the feelings, and we can’t control the feelings, but we can control what we do.
You may get so angry with your partner that you want to stab them in the eye with a sharp knife. You may fear the outside world so much that you never want to leave your home. You may think you love someone so much that you willingly sublimate your identity just to please them. Yet our intelligence and intellect will eventually tell us that we need to escape into the broad sunlit uplands of rationality.
At that point you may seek counselling, psychiatry, medical help, inspirational speakers and writers, or self-help groups. Trust me, none of that will do you any good at all. These people will probably tell you to control your emotions, and that’s as impossible as turning back the tide.
The only thing we can do is accept these emotions and at the same time unconditionally accept ourselves. We must recognise that life is difficult, painful, and mostly beyond our control. We must be prepared to make some brave choices. Leaving the one you’re with may tear your heart in two, but that’s just a raw primeval emotion, the feelings will pass, and the sooner we make those brave choices the sooner our emotions will stop torturing us.
Your emotions are utterly beyond your control. Your emotions also lie to you. Your emotions may make you feel bad or good, but those are just feelings, they have nothing to do with reality. The reality is that your emotions lie to you, that’s their job, they developed to keep a cave-man alive. In this day and age we need the sense to accept our emotions for what they are, a very broad brush indeed.
See beyond your emotions. See the world in it’s true colours. Enjoy your emotions when they are good, but don’t get carried away. Live with your emotions when they are bad, but accept bad emotions as the storm flags they really are. And, at this time of year, let yourself feel the innocent joy and of love of Christmas.
these thoughts are mine and mine alone
MEN ARE NOT THE SAME AS WOMEN
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and people in white coats from many branches of science are usually prepared to admit that there is a difference between the brain of the average manly man, from that of the average womanly woman. However, these same smart people will also often admit that they have no real idea about what causes one person to develop behaviour patterns largely associated with one sex and not the other. Scientists can even measure the differences between the brains of men and women, and there are a lot, but knowing how big the differences are doesn’t say much about how they come about.
As one glaringly obvious example, females handle language in a different and more specialised part of their brain than do males. In general women are far more naturally articulate than men, and use a greater number of ways to communicate. But why? It could be that it’s genetic and down to the obvious biological differences between men and women which makes our brains work differently. It could be that men and women have totally different race memories. Or, it could be that it’s mostly down to different nurturing, conditioning, education and experience. With no apologies to Feminists or the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender, (LGBT), it turns out that it’s all three. Some differences between the sexes are hard-wired and immutable. Some differences between the manner in which the sexes behave are down to basic biology.
The genetic bias is intense enough to cause a substantial division of labour between women and men, even in the most egalitarian of societies. Even if the sexes receive identical education and equal access to all professions, men are likely to have a disproportionate role in politics, business, engineering and science. Women have a disproportionately greater role in child-minding, and in nurturing professions such as medicine. Sociobiologists believe women are genetically programmed for maternal feelings, for superior verbal abilities, and for performing repetitive tasks not requiring deep thought. In contrast, men are genetically suited to more logical and analytical thinking and have superior spacial awareness.
Men and women are so different that we may as well be different species.
Men need to solve problems, and women need to talk.
There are large behavioural overlaps between the sexes. It is possible for a person with a woman’s biology to think they are really a guy, (gender identity), yet still behave in a feminine way. Some women have more masculine traits than other women. Some women can even throw a ball, or use a wrench correctly, or tell left from right. Some men have more feminine traits than other men. Some men can do multitasking, hold a conversation, or even choose clothes in matching colours. Nonetheless, the standard, comical, caricatures of men and woman are mostly correct in that men are inarticulate insensitive brutes, and women are chatty emotional and nurturing creatures.
What this means that men and women react very differently to situations. Women tend to feel things more deeply, and with a far greater range of emotions than do men. Women keep score, and never forget. Within seconds, most men will have forgotten something insensitive they said to their significant other, thinking it didn’t matter anyhow, and that they were right all along. In contrast, women will feel that hurt to the core of their being, try and assign a wider meaning to the insensitive comment, think about their relationship with their guy, look for hidden meanings, add the hurt to the list of other ‘bad’ things their guy has done, and usually forgive him. Eventually.
Women are always forgiving men for something we have done. Often guys do very dumb stuff, but often guys have no idea why what they did was so bad. That’s because men and women look at the world differently, and women tend to care far more than men. Most men could care less about other people, especially about people who mean little to them in practical terms ~ which is basically 99.9% of the entire world. Most women are genetically programmed to care about people, and when their guy is disparaging toward someone they care about, then women tend tend to become very upset. The problem for most guys is that most women care about most people, in one way or another.
In general, it takes a real effort for a man to think about, care about, understand, or even acknowledge the existence of anyone outside of his immediate family and small circle of friends. In general, women want to know everything about everyone they meet. In general woman have a much wider circle of friends than most men, care about them, remember names and faces. Women even remember and care about birthdays, anniversaries, special dates…
These gender differences can cause real problems in relationships between men and women. Often men are very unthinking and unfeeling creatures, and there isn’t much a guy can do to change his underlying genetic programming / race memories / conditioning. So men tend to upset women.
Because all men have some feminine traits, the things that guys do which so upset women will sometimes also upset men.
And, so what? As behavioural scientists know, most men could care less about the feelings of others. Most of the time, most men have such a shallow and narrow range of emotions, that they themselves don’t feel much more than the most basic things. Some say that all human behaviour can be reduced to four, (possibly six) basic emotions. these are; happiness, sadness, fear / surprise, anger / disgust. Well, that ‘research’ had to have been undertaken by a bunch of guys because even I know that the emotions of womanly women are much more complicated and complex than that. Men see things in straight lines and in terms of black and white. Women see the whole of the world in all of it’s colours and complexities.
The bottom line is; Men should think twice before they say or do anything. If a guy can’t think of anything nice to say, he shouldn’t say anything at all. If you really want to hurt a woman, then just be an average guy for a while.