I hate myself.
I say those three words in conjunction with each other on a fairly regular basis. Most of the time, I’m joking – if I’ve screwed up while trying to do something easy, for example, I’ll roll my eyes, laugh and say oh God, I hate myself. Sometimes I say it in a half-kidding, half-serious way, like if I’m really frustrated with a situation that I feel is somehow my fault. Sometimes, though, I really, really mean it. Oh fuck do I ever mean it.
I hate every little thing about myself, but what I hate the most is how annoying I am. I hate the grating sound of my voice, the way I start to cry, publicly, when I’m too worked up or angry, and I especially hate what a goddamn Pandora’s Box my stupid heart is. The minute I open it, everything awful flies out. Worst of all, once that happens, I can’t seem to stop talking about all of the awfulness. It’s like there’s another me, standing there watching myself go on and on and on about everything, and I can see the glazed, irritated look on the other person’s face, but I can’t seem to stop. By that point, I’m annoying even myself, but I just keep on going, digging myself in deeper, thinking that the words that got me into this mess will somehow get me out of it.
I hate how often I look to other people for reassurance.
I hate how insecure I am about myself.
I hate how no one can fix this but me, but for some reason I seem to keep asking the people who love me to put me back together.
I’ll believe anything about myself, so long as it’s bad. I can hear a thousand nice things about the way I look, or how smart I am, or how great my writing is, but the moment someone criticizes me, I assume that they’re right and everyone else is wrong.
I sometimes think that one day I’ll go in for surgery and they’ll cut me open and there won’t be anything inside of me, nothing at all, just a black pit of self-loathing that goes on and on and on.
I sometimes think that I don’t believe in good things anymore, just things, regular, plain old things, each with their own unique capacity to hurt.
I sometimes think about myself and I feel sick. Actually, physically sick, like, the type of thing where you taste bile at the back of your throat.
The hardest part about all of this is the tendency to purposefully, if subconsciously, damage everything positive in my life. Because I know that I don’t deserve anything that makes me happy, so I set little traps, miniature emotional minefields for myself and other people to ensure that I stay miserable. And then I stupidly act surprised when these tactics work.
God, I hate myself so much.
And before you ask, yes, I see a therapist. I’ve seen a string of them. They always want to talk about stuff that happened when I was a kid, or how I feel about my parents, or when this all started. And I answer these questions as honestly as I can, but those answers never get me anywhere. It makes no difference knowing how or why you got somewhere when you know that you can’t go back by the way you came, and all the ways forward seem blocked
Part of it is probably that it’s easier to hate myself than anyone else. If someone else hurts me or upsets me, it’s so much easier to turn all of my bad feelings inward. That sounds counterintuitive, I know, but think about it this way: if I’m angry at someone else, then I have to use up all kinds of mental and emotional energy being upset with them, plus I have to take all this time explaining to them why what they did hurt me, and on top of that I may not even be in the right anyway. In fact, I’m really bad with conflict, so if I try to argue with someone about who was right and who was wrong in any given situation, I will invariably end up feeling like everything was my fault. So it’s much less complicated to assume that everything bad that happens is because of me, and leave it at that.
If I were a different person, I would probably try to kill the way I feel about myself with drinking or drugs. I would go out and do self-destructive things, I would lose control, I would, for even just a few minutes, feel completely different. But I’m not that type of person – for one thing, I’m terrified of not being in control of myself. For another, I have a kid, which isn’t really conducive to that type of lifestyle. So instead I sit at home and seethe with anger at myself, anger at how stupid I am and anger at my inability to change. I sit and make a list of all the ways that I’m toxic to other people, all the ways that I’m unintentionally hurtful, all the ways that I keep fucking up.
And then I go to bed and I don’t sleep and in the morning, when I get up, I’m still my own stupid self.