Mastering the green-eyed demons

Jealousy is an unsustainable state, yet the feelings that cause it feed on themselves –  and each other –  to constantly bring that state into consciousness.

I say it’s unsustainable; it can be sustained but it will drive you fucking crazy.

It’s an ambivalent emotion. It’s very passive-aggressive. It’s the inner turmoil between being deeply insecure yet almost arrogant when faced with perceived slights. The insecurity makes you feel inadequate, as though literally everyone is better than you in some way. It makes you feel as though you don’t deserve anything good because you simply aren’t good enough somehow. Then our brains use one or more of it’s wonderful mental shortcuts (that in reality often just hinder our reasoning) to find “evidence” that this is, in fact, the case. The sudden increase in anxiety triggers a further ‘fight or flight’-type response and then you either end it or force a confrontation because you’re panicking like hell that the horrible little voice is right and you really are a worthless piece of shit.

This is all subjective. This is all how it arises in me. This is what I deal with. That’s why I’m comfortable calling it arrogance – that’s how it feels to me.

However, I’m emotionally unstable. I’m aware that although I can recognise emotions, I sometimes misidentify them. I also have the same mental hindrances as everyone else so I can’t always correctly identify why I’m feeling a certain way, be it through denial or some other bias. This feeds into the insecurity. I know it’s wrong of me to demand things from another person, whether it’s time, gestures or even reassurances. That makes me feel even worse. I don’t want to be demanding. But the problem is still there. The feelings escalate. I hate myself for being needy but hating myself is what started this fucking problem in the first place.

So I don’t know if it actually is arrogance. It feels that way because it’s some kind of need and I’m conditioned to think I’m terrible for needing anything at all. I can’t objectively examine this part of me at this time – I’m not far enough away yet.

Understanding this isn’t particularly useful right now. I have no clue how to fix this. The obvious answer is to work on not beating myself up so much but it’s difficult for some people to understand how much of it is automatic. It’s like being brainwashed. You have to have a million fucking epiphanies for every one of the negative thoughts but it’s hard to even catch them in the first place. Minds aren’t as easy to control as you would think. I don’t have to put any thought into putting myself down in the same way you don’t have to put any thought into breathing.

Have you ever had sleep paralysis? Where you wake up and you can’t do anything and you can’t breathe and you’re mentally screaming at your body to wake the fuck up and inhale and then you suddenly, violently, snap out of it? That moment of panic when you realise your mind isn’t controlling your body like it’s supposed to is similar to the moments when I can step back momentarily only to realise that I’ve somehow caused a whole load of trouble again because my mind can’t seem to control my emotions – or my reactions to them, at least.

It’s not quite the same, obviously. I just want you to know that the feeling of ‘oh shit, autopilot isn’t working and I’ve got no idea how to work the controls’ that you get with sleep paralysis is how it feels when I try to regulate my emotions. Best intentions and crossed fingers ultimately make useless co-pilots.

Writing it out makes the emotions seem more important than they really are. I didn’t get much from CBT but I did learn that I am not my emotions. (I disagree that I’m not my thoughts, although that’s an entirely different discussion.) You don’t have to worry if I say I’m sad. Misery is an old friend and he wanders off a lot. We all have a friend who is just there, someone for whom the reason why we ever became friends in the first place is long-forgotten (yet frequently questioned). But they are still comforting, in their own miserable way. It’s only when they’re actively trying to kill us that we need worry.

I need to write it out though. If I don’t, I’ll forget it and then have to go through it all again. This isn’t something that can be fixed by being given an answer. You need to feel it.

Some people, when they’re dealing with negative emotions, are able to take their minds off the problem by doing something to keep them busy. Work, for example. I’ve never been able to do that. I can’t ignore what I’m feeling. I have to feel it. But what fucking use is it, really? I wish I’d taken up the guitar or something instead.

8 comments on “Mastering the green-eyed demons

  1. I’m like you – I have to process emotions straightaway, even at work or something. I have processed them at times by using humor or surreal sarcasm. Or by just driving for a while, listening to music. Writing helps sometimes, unless you find you’re writing about the same thing over and over. Then it just helps you to know what’s hurting you.

    • Sometimes writing it over and over clears your mind just enough to have the epiphany you really need to get to the root of the problem. Unfortunately when I deal with emotion, I tend to just mope about and fuck up because I can’t concentrate. I’m much better than I used to be, but if it spirals and I lose control then that’s it: I might as well just go home to bed and cry.

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