I was thinking about my family the other day and thought that maybe part of my function might be to, at the very least, not contribute to the dysfunctional crap and maybe even to undo some of the insanity.
Then it hit me: I think that is what I am trying to do in every area. There is a biblical proverb: “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it.” Meditation’s purpose is to observe the mind and to learn how not to react to it. Self-control is that time gap between having a feeling and acting on it. Every time I meditate, I am un-training myself. Buddhism is the deliberate undoing of all forms of religious thinking. It is ultimately subversive. Buddhism doesn’t say, “Think this, not that.” Buddhism says, “That opinion is just a thought. You will have another one in a second. So?”
I have spent many years learning about systems thinking and corporate culture. In times of great change, like what we are living in now, those who eventually win are the ones that know what people want and can guide their fellow humans into creating new habits. That means undoing old habits. Most people are creatures of habit and, if you can get someone into the habit of using your product, you now have a market base. But all of this means undoing people’s old habits, often so slowly that they don’t realize they are being retrained at all.
I think my gift is one of asking questions. Why are you doing this? Why do you believe that? Is this really a risk worth taking? Have you thought about how others will respond? Most people operate on automatic pilot and have never thought of these questions. Sometimes, I really piss people off by my questions because I will push them until they say something out loud they didn’t want to say. “You just have to take it on faith!” means that they just lost the argument. Facts and reason are not on their side and so they assert faith instead of logic. Another good one is, “Because that’s how I was raised!” because it translates into,”This is what my mommy and daddy told me, therefore it is true.” This is why I don’t get along with religious “authority figures”: independent thought is anathema to them. I don’t take their pronouncements seriously without fact-checking them first. I am submitted to logic, reason, and science, not their self-professed “authority.”
I am subversive and looking for a job. I’m not sure that’s a great combination. I do not blend into corporate culture because I see through it. I understand the techniques and goals. But if what you want is someone that can give a fresh reality-based perspective or get you to see what it is you really want, I’m the one for you. I am going to have to find a place that is all for independent thinking and not mind control. That’s all there is to it.
In the past couple couple days, I have been updating my resume and work history. These are things I have not done since 2012. I never thought I would go to all the trouble of getting an MBA and then doing nothing with it for five years. I simply assumed I would be working and updating everything regularly. Silly me.
The shame comes from not having contact with my professional references for years. Cindy who? Being Asperger-y, I have little felt need for social contact. It just doesn’t occur to me to keep up my social contacts. There have been times when, looking back, I have realized that someone was probably deliberately snubbing me and I either did not notice or was just so relieved to have that person out of my life that I was incapable of taking offense. So-and-so doesn’t like me? Phew. That means I don’t have to worry about them getting all up in my business. I am not always the most socially aware person.
While contemplating updating these things (for my time with Michigan Rehabilitative Services), it felt familiar. What I had done was to give myself absolutely nothing else to do. I used to do this all the time at school. I would have a paper I extremely did not want to do and I would go to the library, where I could play solitaire on the computer until I nearly lost my mind until I finally got bored enough to do what I was there to do in the first place. If I stayed at home, I would do laundry or the gazillion other things always needing doing. I had to give myself no choices. At all. How do you graduate college? One freakin’ paper at a time.
This is why I had to sell the house. I could not take care of Barry and the house and hope to prepare for a future without him. The house was sucking up my time and energy. It had to go. So now we are in an apartment that requires a minimum of upkeep. There is just nothing to do. Barry sits and watches TV. All day. Every day.
Now I have an abundance of books to read, some of them given to me by my New-Age-y friends. I should not have to purchase any books for a while on Amazon. Not having a list of books to buy from Amazon is alien to me. I need nothing now, except some more office attire, which I am building one piece at a time.
Soooo…… I need nothing and have nothing to do. This keeps me focused on doing what needs to be done. I have almost no distractions. I designed things this way. Because I know myself.
Of course, this came from reading a book. It is The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts. The book is from the early 1970s. Little of it is new to me. But this is what I read that struck me so greatly, “When you abruptly change your beliefs, then in the group you no longer have the same position—you are not playing that game any longer….The status quo which served a certain purpose is gone, new elements are introduced, another creative process begins….You are setting out to experience the most fulfilled reality that you can.” (Pages 76-77) This is not brain surgery.
What hit me was this: I’ve done this before. I did it in my late teens and early twenties. I remember it so clearly. I remember how painful it was to have my life not working on any level. My beliefs and attitudes were simply not working. At all. It was bad. So I went to therapy, just like my family had always said I needed to do. I was dating Barry, who was in AA and so I was in Al-Anon. I remember the first time, as a young adult, that I disagreed with my dad. I was now living by new more functional beliefs and values. I was so confused. I thought my dad would be proud of me. I was actually saying and doing things that worked. What a concept. I scratched my head for a few days before I figured it out: I was rejecting my parents’ values. If I had been forty, it would have been very different. To reject my dysfunctional values was to reject my entire upbringing. Of course, my dad was offended.
The last time I went through this process, I pretty much lost my family. I walked away. My brothers were doing drugs. I was tired of feeling manipulated and never being taken seriously (which, by the way, has never changed). It has been very hard to lose my family of origin. However, I do not regret it in the slightest. Things were chaos back then and the last thing on earth I needed was to be in the middle of the fan-hitting. I had been wrongly blamed in the past for creating arguments and the only way to highlight my not-being-at-fault was to be far, far away when everyone was going crazy. Getting myself out of the middle of that drama was the wisest thing I have ever done.
But the price was very high. Of course, I don’t want to do this all over again. Duh.
However, I have no choice. I am starting my life over and preparing for Barry’s death. This is not pretty. Barry’s dad died at the age of 68 and Barry turns 66 in September. The odds of him living that long are slim, but, then again, I didn’t think he would live this long.
Part of me is excited and relieved, all at the same time. I think I was treating this upcoming phase as something brand spanking new. So many dots got connected simultaneously. For some reason, I feel far less afraid. Yes, I am starting over, but I am doing it with thirty years of additional education and experience under my belt. I’ve dealt with a gazillion emotional issues and am no longer having my emotional ass kicked by my unmet childhood needs in various religious settings.
My hesitance comes from that underlying question, “What (or who) will I have to lose this time?” But I feel a lot less afraid now.
I went to my shrink yesterday. I wanted to talk about how embarrassed I was to not have worked since getting an advanced degree and not having any contact with my former references. I am dealing with heavy shame.
As it turned out, Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) had faxed over their forms, wanting him to fill out exactly what disabled me. He read to me some of his responses, most of which echoed precisely what I wanted to talk about fixing. Woohoo?!
I have no self-esteem. Great! I am filled with shame for no valid reason. Swell!
What is funny is that on the 30th, I have a neuro-psych eval, just like the one the psychiatrist said Barry didn’t need. So I am having one. Okayyyyyyyyyy………How dysfunctional do I need to be to get help from MRS? Perhaps I shouldn’t let them know how suicidal I was pretty much all of 2015. Or that, in the past few years, I have had several “close calls” auto accident-wise and felt more than a little disappointed to still be alive.
What I know I shouldn’t do is to be honest and say that my goal in life is now, and always has been, to get the hell out of Michigan! MRS is a division of the state government. Also, my shrink said that I could work 20 to 30 hours a week. That would be unbelievably difficult while Barry is still alive. But it’s all about my getting my foot in the door. I would be working close to every day. Barry would not like it, but maybe this is exactly what he needs to get used to. I am so done putting my life on hold indefinitely for him.
I feel very grateful to my shrink for his articulate help delineating my dysfunctions for my career benefit. Also, he said I had “major depressive disorder.” What he is doing is very kind. But to say that I have mixed feeling is quite the understatement. Oh well, what else is new?