My Whole Existence is Flawed

In the middle of making dinner tonight I had a little moment of clarity. I realised that I perceive there to be something fundamentally wrong with me, in any and all my interactions with people and in the way I conduct my life. There’s just something I’m doing that’s not right, is the feeling.

When I did cognitive behavioural therapy the goal was to identify a negative core belief like that one, then work to shift it to something more positive by challenging it day to day. The shift didn’t happen for me. For one thing, the time the program required was asking too much. You had to take little notes of your problem-thoughts all day long and then systematically challenge them in the evening with counter questions and ideas. It could have been that I was using a bad book, but just today on the radio I heard that cognitive behavioural therapy, when used in working with convicted paedophiles, had zero impact on reoffending levels- which suggests it’s not the most powerful technique in the world.

There were interesting elements though. One of the key exercises was to identify finally the core belief that needed to be shifted. I have the feeling there really is a core belief there. At the time I never did manage to get it into words despite mulling over it for quite a long time on a few occasions. But it seemed to come into focus more tonight. There’s a faint welling-up of teary emotion going on somewhere in me just now when I think about it. I still can’t put it into words precisely which is odd. There’s some feeling of inadequacy involved. But it’s more that I deserve to be scorned and I have no prospect of a joyful life. All my schemes, big and small, are undermined by the thought ‘You know how that’s going to end up’. It’s not always a conscious thought but is always acknowledged on some deep and convincing level. It’s a total bummer. Why isn’t it my default attitude to be excited by possibilities, rather than this?

There’s anger rising in me at the thought of people putting my avoidance behaviour and negativity down to cowardice or immaturity. Are most people actually dealing with this kind of built-in handicap, but bearing it by means of strong character/better strategy? Or do most people have positive core beliefs? Does anyone have a positive core belief? Lucky fucking bastard if do.

I’m attracted to the idea of turning a new leaf this minute and working as hard and as smart as I can at everything I do, with no let-up. Like there might be some redemptive power of hard work that would rid me of all this. But then I can see there have been times where I’ve worked hard and still felt less-than or weird when I had to talk to people. And also hard work isn’t enough in some instances. Styling yourself, decorating a room and things like that, hard work doesn’t cut it. You need a positive self-image in place first to have any peace with those things.

For now I’ll say that CBT doesn’t work and that the best way for anyone to start to develop a positive self-image would be to work hard at something they’re well-suited to.

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15 thoughts on “My Whole Existence is Flawed

  1. I had precisely that feeling from time to time during my life – that I oughtn’t to have been born, that I don’t fit in, I”m not meant to be here, I’m just ‘wrong’. Not so much now, I don’t know why. Maybe time cures all. The feeling came, I’m sure, from being ‘different’ as a kid and being bullied a lot.

    • That’s cool that it’s gone. I fear it’s made me a bit mean and selfish as well, the state of perma-misery. Btw I really want to know what your beef with literary fiction is? That’s authors like Jonathan Franzen and John Updike as far as I understand. You don’t like that kind of thing?

  2. Have you tried a different type of therapy? A close friend of mine had (what sounds like) a very similar issue, and had success with hypnotherapy to get to the core of where the self-loathing/doubt came from.

  3. I wonder about the effectiveness of CBT too. People (well, studies) say it works..but when my daughter had issues (she thought she was hideous) she just couldn’t be bothered putting the work into change. 2 years later she’s got over it anyway though – guess laziness works too! Anyway, core beliefs – yes I really do think we have them and sometimes they’re destructive. I have a few – that I’ll always bounce back, that I can do anything I set my mind to …on the other hand there’s lots of things I’m too lazy to set my mind to, which kinda gets me out of that one.

    • i suppose I have some core stuff that isn’t completely negative as well as the big negative belief. I don’t think I could become properly depressed for instance, which is good. I definitely do not believe I can do anything I set my mind to however. That’s alien to me, you big alien. My stats tell me you’re in Mexico. How odd.

  4. Sounds good! I’ve recently overcome a seven-year stint with anxiety and depression, and would like to think that I know where you’re coming from.

    Thanks! I ran from the stage for four years, but have recently gone on a tear.

    Maron? Haven’t listened to much of him. I’m more of a Bill Burr kinda guy myself!

  5. Actually I have a feeling that writing a blog as personal as this is – and I’ve only just started reading – is a very good way to begin to find an inner positive core.

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