DISCLAIMER: This post includes talk that might trigger depressive thoughts.
I have finally arrived at the last station of the depictions of the Life Traps, and as all of them tie together and enhance each other in my life, this last one often takes the cake. Heavily related to the Trap in the last post of the series, Hypercriticalness, the Trap of Shame, of being defective, cripples my everyday life.
A brief summary based on what the book, Tunne Lukkosi by Kimmo Takanen, tells us of the Life Trap of Shame:
I believe I am unworthy, meaningles, and bad. I must’ve been born this way. It’s hard to believe anyone would really love me, seeing I’m lacking so much. I am so worthless that you shouldn’t waste your positive feedback on me, I have not earned it.
I avoid people to survive without them knowing how bad I am. I will hide my mistakes and very rarely go into them. I don’t talk about my thoughts or emotions either, the shame of them needs to be hidden from the world. I avoid eye contact, I don’t want people to see me or my shame/pain.
Criticism, be it perceived or real, makes me defensive and angry. I take it as an attack on my person and will retaliate. Often this turns into being demeaning and critical about other people, especially my husband. When I make another person feel lower, I don’t have to feel so low myself.
Like gasoline to the flames
If you’ve been following along the series, you know that I often turn on my husband. Not because I want to, or because I’m planning to, but because I get so insecure, scared, and hurt that I see no alternative than to defend myself. What sucks about this is that as a Borderline person I will regularly perceive things to be something they are not. Mr. Vana might just be trying to help me figure out something, only to find out I got defensive as I thought that he is stepping on me.
The perceived threats in a Borderline’s life are many, and when this disorder gets paired with all of the Life Traps I’ve been taking a closer look at, it gets difficult to go a day, nay, to go few hours without some sort of emotional confrontation. The feeling of not being enough and hating on myself only makes it worse.
You see, I’m terrified of being abandoned. To be left alone. But where does this stem from? By doing a substantial time meditating and thinking about it whenever I felt up to facing my darkness, I came to the conclusion that it all boils down to me being worthless.
Cult of worthlessness
That’s what it could be related to. I have been living such a life that allowed me to brainwash myself (among the other influence I’ve been under for my early life and relationships) into believing that I have no worth, no value whatsoever. I was never good enough as who I am since I was pushed and prodded, even demanded to be someone else. Someone better.
The sad thing is that this pushing may very well have started when I was a toddler, from my swimming days. When a child is continuously pushed into being better, there is no solace in being leisurely when the lights go out. That’s all I knew. That I need to be better. And when I wasn’t improving enough, I felt shamed. Failure = shame.
These days, whenever I get a meltdown, it’s always about the same topic. The pain that makes me bash my head to the wall stems from the place of terror very known to me: Maria, you are so worthless, good for nothing, and because of that you will not be loved and you will be left.
The fear is paralyzing
This fear drives my whole being. I’ve never been worth anything if I wasn’t benefitting someone else. And if the one giving me feedback is not amused with me, I feel like dying on the spot. Don’t even get me started on the kind of things that happened when I got called into the office of my superior for a chat. I felt so ashamed because I couldn’t work in an environment that was already acknowledged as being very bad. I quit that day.
When I get feedback from anyone, I typically take it as a personal attack. Just moments before I started writing this post, my husband looked over to my screen and commented on the YouTuber I was watching, saying they were such a poser. I took it personally. Why is he always criticizing what I do? Why is everything I watch such shit, does he think I’m shit?
As I’ve said many times before, my value came from mirroring other people’s reactions towards me. I learned that who I really am is something to be ashamed of, something to keep hidden and never let surface. I mean come on! Some of my earliest memories from a past relationship are in regard to incidents where I wanted to wear a springy Christmas elf hat on my head, and the ex would tell me that if I do that, he doesn’t know me. I know it was summer but so what?
The pain is real
The pain of feeling defective, like I was born wrong and faulty, is immense. Always take it seriously. Having gone through what I have, I wouldn’t wish for world peace if I got my genie – I’d wish for all the children and even adults to have the knowledge that they have value as who they are. Nobody deserves to feel this way and have it destroy their adult lives because the fear won’t let them do anything they dream of. And dreams matter.
While I’m pro being a realist, I wish I wasn’t sneered on when I wanted to be a writer. I wish I wasn’t pushed to be like many other sad sobs on the planet. I wanted to be a scout, I want to write my heart out, and I wanted quiet and understanding. I didn’t get any of those in my past.
The future is not so bleak though, I’ve gone from bad to worse on the list of things to disappoint your parents with. I can’t work due to my disorder, and the only thing that doesn’t kill me if I work on it is writing, the lovely hobby as people call it. I left my ‘’proper and noble-born’’ Finnish partner and ended up marrying a gorgeous man from the middle-east. And I’m now a housewife. What a tragedy!
Yet, here I sit, writing, smiling, thinking about feeding my husband. Keyword: smiling. I’m smiling so much more these days. I still feel like I’m not good for anything most days, but I’m diligently working on it. I keep giving myself credit and compliments, I’ve earned it. And my husband, the one my now expelled circles thought terrible, twisted things about? He is by my side, helping me recover from a lifetime of trauma, neglect, and the feeling of being inherently defective.
Let’s practice some shamelessness in the comments! Tell me what you are proud of/good at.
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