The Art of Self Destruction:
Clouds always seem to come in over me even on the brightest days. It baffles me. I try to understand and make sense of how this keeps happening, but the wind storm that erupts in my heart makes it all a blur; it shuffles everything up in my thoughts and uproots what seem to be my greatest points of strength in a split-second of time.
The effect is that of an emotional twister inside of me...seemingly destroying all the things I have deemed strong in who I am, dirtying, dissolving my hope like a massive desert storm.
SHAME, the Aftermath of the Storm
Time and time again I am visited by its destruction, and time and time again it always leaves me disorientated and scraping for anything in me left unscathed. I dread its effect on me...I try to run and dodge its presence, but time and time again it hits me all the same like a blow to the head. I grow weary of its face...that face of anger and rage...that unsatisfied hunger for self-sabotage and destruction.
Its aftermath brings shame as I hide my face away from its shadowing effect, ashamed of the defacing it brings...ashamed of "what it makes me to be".
Each time it hits I swear I will never let it near me again. I pray for deliverance and wisdom...but it always finds me...in the recess of my mind, in the dark places of my soul where it knows I cannot hide.
For so many, the pattern of self-destruction continues to run a hellish circle around us, mocking and screaming at us that we will never break free of its ties. It many times brings us an overwhelming emotion that we will never win, because each time we begin to make progress, fear comes in like a bucket of water to a burning ember and our progress comes to a painful halt. Why do we do it? Are we afraid of what that success may bring?
Does the familiar place we exist now seem somehow safe to us and therefore we continually fall back to it even though there are greater things before us? I believe so. So many decisions that we make on a daily basis are subconsciously affected. For instance, you may have the willingness and the vision to lose weight which you have carried your entire life, but subconsciously it is difficult to unlink your identity with being over-weight.
The thought of being thin almost scares you, it is unfamiliar and strange and therefore you wonder, will I still be me? These subconscious things affect more than we know. However, there is so much more to the puzzle of self-destruction than mere meets the eye.
The beginning of this article gives a small window’s view into the mind of someone tormented by inner pain. Yes, it describes me.
Despite one's best efforts to rehabilitate themselves into a kinder version of themselves, the pain streams inside of them like an undercurrent, hidden below the surface. It goes unnoticed until a trigger occurs and it explodes out in violent words and mannerisms, like an erupting volcano.
The power that courses through the person in this triggered moment can be unfathomable, and when it has reached its end and has subsided, the aftermath can be overwhelming. I have dealt with this eruptive pain for much of my adult life. It sickens me when it occurs.
Many times in the moment it happens it is as if it’s not me looking out through my own eyes, but someone else entirely. The shame that follows is by far the most devastating aspect of this cycle, and many in our society turn to numbing alcohol, drugs, pornography and unfortunately, the most lethal pain number, suicide. But there is hope for those who fight this, and it lies inside the recess of our mind.
Many times we find ourselves wandering around the same maze over and over again, doing the same motions each time and taking the same ways we always take. When we continue to meet a dead end we are frustrated with our stupidity, but really, our focus needs to be in a different place.
Vladimir Nabokov said famously: “I mean, I have the feeling that something in my mind is poisoning everything else.” It’s easy to relate to the point he is making, in that our chosen outlook is actually the culprit for the continual corruption of our cycles.
When we explode in anger and throw our coffee mug, we try to cover our tracks by then being extra nice, extra loving or more caring…but the reality is that we are only slapping a temporary band aid on a very large wound. Unless we cauterize that wound, the bleeding with undoubtedly come again, just as strongly if not even more violently than before.
The wound will continue to bleed until we fix it. Symbolically speaking, this wound many times lies in our very hearts. To end the madness we must come to the place of accepting that we are indeed…wounded.
This is the point, after the storm has died and we are left alone in its aftermath, that we have the most amazing window of opportunity. This is when that pain and shame will begin to come. Here’s the breaking point.
Instead of lying down and drowning in how you failed, pick yourself up and take responsibility for the fact that you are imperfect. Say the things out loud so you can hear them, all those things that are the triggers to your explosions.
Maybe you’re tired of feeling inferior, maybe you feel walked on, and mistreated, disrespected, unloved, unvalued, used, betrayed, forgotten…the list goes on and on.
Pinpoint your triggers and look them dead in the eye. Face them, accept that they are real and don’t be ashamed of them. Do not put yourself down for feeling them but accept that they are there.
Now give them up to God, ask for His help and ask for forgiveness for acting out in these things. Realize these things are not you! These things are not who you are! If you step on a tack you scream because you’re in pain, not because you just like the sound! Identify the culprit to the behavior.
Let your mind feel the clarity of knowing that the dark moments are not you and they are most definitely not who you are. Take a walk somewhere beautiful and give yourself permission to enjoy the wind on your face. Forgive yourself for anyone you have hurt.
If the shame tries to come back, mentally address it and dismiss it as a lie. Shame acts as a weighted net, trying to trip up and silence the truth of who we are.
Walk boldly, recognizing the truth behind why there’s thunder; and enjoy the simple fact that: “It is always darkest before the dawn”. My, and the truth is burning mighty bright!