Gentle Realizations: Shame and Sabotage

I wrestle with my “Shadow” in my meditations in a sort of self-clearing psychological exercise. These ideas come from that deep self-reflection.

In my youth I often felt as though I was shamed by my mother. I remember her telling me often that I was “too smart for my britches.” Her in ability to deal with an inquisitive ADD intelligent boy was often felt to be my fault. As I grew and compensated for this in order to win her love and affection I would undercut myself, hold my tongue. but never for long against her provocations, and so receive the inevitable withdrawal of affection.

In school I was in between the really “smart kids” and the second track I remember in Junior High (Middle School for my European family and friends that one semester I would be in the upper track and I couldn’t follow the really smart kids due to “bad study habits.”” which was really ADD and boredom. I would be at the bottom of the class. So I got relegated to the “second track” or the juvenile delinquents and I would get straight A’s.

At about this time I got really sick with mononucleosis and was bedridden for over 6 months. This was a severe fatigue illness which meant that I slept 20 hours a day and could not walk the 6 steps to the bathroom without aid. I gained 50 pounds of weight and went from a skinny kid who loved to run into a fat kid who could barely walk. When I went back to school I was shamed for being fat and unathletic. I remember more shaming from being forced to run a lap around the track and nearly passing out by a coach who just thought I was a malingerer.

I stopped liking team sports. I was no jock. I took up surfing, skateboarding, non team sports that I did with one close friend at the time. We also got into guitars and ham radio as more artistic and intellectual pursuits. I also did not like competition. I went from action to contemplative interests. I got interested in pacifism, free love and psychoactive substances. I gave up on the free love and psychedelics, I’m still a pacifist though. Now my compensatory method of desensitization is wine.

In psychology we build up compensations to shield our egos from the hurt and the compensations hide the negative stuff from our conscious appraisal. I find, in my meditations on them, that some of these I labeled as sabotage. But a realization came to me that if we think about it sabotage is a work of violence against the enemy. And my compensations, were all about protecting me from the vicissitudes of working hard for approval and suffering withdrawal of affection from the women that I’ve loved. Compensations are not self sabotage, but self love.

The ability to face our hurts, my hurts, as an adult and to separate what is truly my responsibility and my true emotions from the actions and emotions of others is one way of working through the compensatory walls and re-owning our memories.

Not sabotage but love.

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