Education Not Relevant
I have spent the past few years learning how to love myself. The past year has been very intense because I have seen just how shaming my mother has been clearly for the first time. This past year has been truly revelatory. My chronic, crippling toxic shame has an obvious source. I had always wondered why on earth someone with as much education as I have attained would have zero self-confidence. I always (mis)took the shame as my issue–and went to therapy most of my life to no avail. The reality is that you can never resolve a feeling that is not yours to begin with, no matter how strongly it was imposed upon you or how disabling it may be–and all the talk therapy in the world cannot help. You can only recognize it as being external and not claim it as your own.
It was with the help of my current psychoanalyst and her suggestions of Gabor Mate and the Crappy Childhood Fairy that I came to understand that my continual shame attacks were little more than being neurologically dysregulated to an extreme degree. Now I can deal with the symptoms instead of feeling like I am unfit for the world I live in. The dysregulation came from not getting certain basic needs met as a very young child. My dysfunction was pure survival back then. Trauma with a “small t,” as opposed to being actively abused, which would have been trauma with a “big t.”
Self-hatred served me well as a small child. But it has crippled me as an adult.
However, now, through meditation, I have continual awareness of my self-hating thoughts. They are beyond tiring. But I have space between them and myself now. I hear the thoughts and I no longer believe them.
And I have been getting glimpses, or perhaps hearing saner voices in my head, of wiser thoughts. One such thought recently was, “It doesn’t matter how much education you have if you hate yourself.”
I have a Master’s degree. And I still feel like I am always doing something wrong at work. I see the disconnect. I feel the irony. Every single little thing that comes up in my life is just a variation of this issue. And it exhausts me. I hope this phase does not last indefinitely.