04 December 2007

Return of the Inner Fascist

"For most of us, the state we're in most of the time is distraction" ~ Joseph Goldstein

Hubby is out of town until Wednesday, researching an article he's writing, so I was left to my own devices last night. I enjoyed the silence, caught up on some reading and then watched television for a little while. That's when things started to fall apart.

My Inner Fascist made a reappearance. She's been under control for months, but she made a reappearance last week, relentlessly reminding me of what a terrible person I am. It's good to know she hasn't lost her edge. Last night, the little Black Shirt reviewed some memories and found me lacking. The harangue began and I started crying.

At first, I thought I was crying about the television program I'd been watching. The program were a little sad, but since I raised my antidepressant medication, I haven't been crying much. It finally dawned on me that it was the terrible words, the crushing failures enumerated that brought me to tears.

I discussed the Inner Fascist with my with therapist last week. She asked me how I manage to stop that critical voice left over from childhood, when perfection was required in order to survive. I told her that I'm a master of distraction. I've lived my entire life coping by distracting myself. I'm a pro. She wondered whether the Inner Fascist is a manifestation of that very survival mechanism.

What a concept! Of course! Instead of hating my parents when I was a child, I found it easier to hate myself. When my life was too terrifying, I distracted myself by launching into a litany of my own faults. All children, on some level, take responsibility for all of the bad things that happen to them, to their parents, to their world. Many, many bad things happened in my family.

Life would be better, my family would be better if I were better. I could ease my mother's pain and sadness, I could calm my father's rages, if I could only be more obedient, smarter, kinder. My father would have no need for a second family living in my own house, he would cease to find other children more worthy of compassion than I if I could be more worthy of love.

The Inner Fascist came along to help me focus less on the real causes of my anguish and to make me toe the line. She believed that rigorous criticism could still save the day. As time went on, the voice became more insistent and the list of requirements grew. There was a long period in my life when nothing I ever did met her standards and she noted each and every one of my imperfections, no matter how small. She noted them loudly and without compassion. The child who needed her help to survive became consumed by a constant cruelty. As if the outer dark wasn't cruel enough.

The Fascist lives on. When I'm anxious or angry or sad, she chimes in with the many ways I've failed. She stomps on me with her boots, rages against me and, by doing so, forces me to focus on something other than, say, going to Houston tomorrow.

I was unable to silence her last night, though I returned to my book about an NBA player to distract me (from her distraction). I slept very little. Today, I'm too tired to worry about Houston. The Inner Fascist has taken off her boots and black shirt. I hope she sleeps long and peacefully.

03 December 2007

Dreams of Crazy Land

I dreamed of Crazy Land last night and woke with a rapid pulse. It was an anxiety I couldn't identify at first. Why, I thought.

I was fully awake and wondered why Crazy Land is so scary today. And then it dawned on me. Thursday. Houston.

Working frantically on some Crazy Land business so I can finish by the end of the day on Tuesday. I guess I'll be catching up on everyone on Monday.