Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Hero

I picked up a pamphlet entitled, Adult Children of Alcoholics my freshman year in college. Believe it or not, I was suffering from anger management issues (I know, I was shocked too); I decided to seek therapy.

Okay, fine. This shit is supposed to be honest: By decided, I really mean my significant other convinced me therapy was healthy and necessary. Logically her argument made sense. However, it still took a shit ton of convincing (and I'm forever in debt to her for that) because of the way I was raised.

Born to Pakistani parents with traditional values, I was taught I can "will" myself to fix any issue. Does this sound familiar? And although this terrible ideology helped me develop some wicked will power, I learned some things can't heal themselves on their own. Off to therapy.
Wait, WTF? Did he just admit to seeing a shrink?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I'm South Asian and I sought therapy on my own. That's in bold, motherfuckers. I guess I really must be crazy. Thanks Mom and Dad.

My initial therapy sessions helped me learn what's on the surface and a little underneath. It generally takes a few months to make some breakthroughs and begin the process of change, but I did figure out why I was so highly motivated: I wanted to prove to myself that I could be the best despite my upbringing. I believed I could succeed despite my father being emotionally vacant, yet always available to beat the living daylights out of my mom every night. I believed I could succeed despite my mother then taking her frustration out on me physically and emotionally. I give you Exhibit A - The Emotional Blackmail:
Ex. A. "You better get straight-As. It's your ticket to college and you need to go to the best because you need to make money to get me out of this house. I didn't stay in this marriage for nothing. Remember, you owe me."
My guess is hearing Exhibit A every night for the first eighteen years of my life helped initiate the Superman complex I suffer from. It's even easier now, given I'm a teacher. There's absolutely no way I can go to bed knowing I don't have a great lesson planned for my kids. Although I've gotten slightly better at dealing with this, I still fall into that trap sometimes.

One thing I still haven't figured out yet is my love-hate relationship with abandonment. There are times when I fantasize about everyone leaving me - all my friends, family, etc. Other times, I dream about leaving them (don't kid yourself, you know you've thought about it too). "What would the world be like without me?" is an all-too familiar question I've used as a lullaby to fall asleep to. It's terrible, but I can't help it. As an "adult child of an alcoholic," I desire to please and help others. At the same time, I'd rather be alone. Mind fuck.

I thought by my mid-20s, I would have my shit together. It seems I'm far from it. Want to know a secret?
I often feel nothing
Absolutely nothing. It's the result of years of numbing myself. It is this mental block that is preventing me from growing as a person, being honest about my feelings, etc. It's just so much easier to ignore what's going on inside and focus on the task at hand. Or maybe focus on everyone else's needs. I'm disgusted with the fact that regardless of how I feel, I can somehow always find the motivation to do work. I don't want to escape anymore, but it's just so fucking convenient.

And what about my students? Who will tell them to seek therapy? A lot of them come from troubled backgrounds, abusive relationships, and broken homes. They won't all be as lucky as I was. Wow. I didn't even realize it until I re-read this paragraph, but I almost got carried away on their needs rather than my own. Shit.


Maera said...

Ah - I remember having the triple A conversations with you years ago: the Alcoholic father, the Anger, the Apathy. Interesting to know these thoughts still float around in your head, but 18 years of programming is a long time.

It would be interesting to know how being a teacher actually helps you with these issues or if it does at all.

Mr. T said...

YO Mista!

Thinking that you should have your shit figured out my your mid twenties is a wonderful fantasy in which i also shared. I think the more years ticked past after 22 the more pressing the issue of sorting my life out became, with ever more anxiety about actually doing it, doing it right and becoming someone worthwhile. That is how I came to teaching! Sound familiar? But teaching is not the answer, teaching is a realization and a beginning. So be content that you have made the right and most difficult step, that your life is on its way to begin sorted out, as well as your emotions, needs and desires. As hard as it is now, at least we are on the path to reaching that which we seek. And we are pretty lucky to have our broads along the way to make sure we keep at it. So keep at it!

bon Voyage!

Mr. T

Mista said...

Thanks for your comments.

@ Maera - Yes, I think it is more helpful. Helps me relate better to my students.

@ Mr. T - Yeah I guess you're right. When you're younger, you don't really have to deal with your own crap - you can just live life and live in the moment.

Also, I'll be sure to whack my "broad" over the head with a club and drag her by the hair into a cave as well...

BJ said...

"...because you need to make money to get me out of this house. I didn't stay in this marriage for nothing. Remember, you owe me."

Wow - mind blowing post. I can not even begin to tell you how many times I have heard this. I thought I was the only one. Thanks.