Self-Sabotage.

I have always been a giver, but how much of that is out of guilt? I made a lot of poor choices as a kid. Namely that I used to have quite the reputation as a thief. I’m talking anything from a small item to money. Always from people I knew. I don’t really get the urge to do that anymore. It was never done out of necessity. It was as if the desire would come over me and I just did it impulsively. I have come to learn that this could have been a sign of the bipolar at a young age, but I don’t tell my family that. I don’t like to talk about it with them. I think that they might see it as an excuse. If they come to the conclusion or correlation on their own then that is fine with me. I wish that I could tell them that it was the reason for things, but I really don’t know. All I know is that I don’t feel that way when I am taking my medicines.

The trouble is that I feel like I am forever trying to make up for the shit that I have done. I am trying to be the daughter, sister, and friend that I truly feel like I am. So I overcompensate. I put myself in debt to make sure that everyone has what they need and admittedly, things they don’t. I buy elaborately priced items that I know they would love, put off a bill of my own to make sure that I am doing everything in my power so that they don’t get that feeling I gave them. The feeling that they have lost control of things and I am off living my carefree life.

They shower me with words of gratitude and it doesn’t feel deserved. It feels like I should be doing these things because of the things I have done in the past. I feel like I owe them. Honestly, I don’t even feel like my mom would speak to me if I didn’t do these things because I feel like when she thinks or mentions my past she is disgusted with me. I am disgusted with me.

It’s disheartening when I really think about the reach and ripple effect that my mental illness has on my life. It has been about seven years (I think?) since I last stole something and yet the guilt feels like yesterday. Honestly, I don’t think I ever truly felt guilty about my acts when they happened. If anything, I felt guilty that I got caught. I felt bad for me. That is the one thing that makes me feel like my mental illness WAS the cause of the chaos. Yes, I made the choices. But the feeling that I was untouchable and didn’t care about the consequences? That isn’t me.

I think that everyone wants to explain away their faults and mistakes. I don’t want to be the person that doesn’t take responsibility for their actions. I also don’t want to be the person that can’t move on. I changed my behavior, dug into the root cause, apologized, made amends, and yet now I am enabling more reckless behavior. I don’t know that the feeling of betrayal and anger will come rushing back to my family members should I stop helping and doing. I also don’t know if I am strong enough to just let them go should they decide that I still have making up to do.

I know deep down that if people are only okay when you are doing for them, then they are not people I need in my life. I just know that it wouldn’t be completely unfathomable for them to still harbor anger with me. Realistically, I don’t think that it would go as far as total disconnect from my family, but my conscious is a funny thing. The way I treated them is an ultimate betrayal and I just don’t know how to shake it.

I can see how this is a sort of self-punishment or form of coping, but I find myself wondering if anyone else has made such poor choices and also experiences mental illness? I feel like a criminal (honestly I was in the grand scheme of things) and a fraud.

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5 Replies to “Self-Sabotage.”

  1. Most of us have things we would like to erase. Expensive presents don’t erase them. Loving them now and being the best person you can be will make them fade into the past. Eon’t let the past weigh you down. Give up the guilt. It doesn’t help you or them. The thing is you have to keep doing it anytime it comes to mind. Just say “go away you don’t matter any more.”

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! If the people in your life only want to be around you because you buy them expensive things, that says a lot about them too. If all they want from you are material things then they are taking advantage of your generosity (and guilt). Sadly, gift giving won’t erase the past. I hope that one day you can move beyond your guilt!

  3. I have very similar feelings of guilt for past behavior. & I definitely over compensate for them as well & people please. & it’s the worst when people still condemn you for the past. Thank you for being so vulnerable as it was relatable to me & I was having those night where I needed this

  4. I totally understand. I have made many poor choices over the years. Some of it was probably the schizoaffective disorder and some was just me. I had many regrets for years but have now given it all to God. I know that He forgives me and I know that He can help others to forgive me as well. I rely on His grace and that gets me through each day. Thanks for sharing your struggles through your blog. It is inspiring to know that we are not alone.

  5. I understand and have struggled with guilt from my temper tantrums. I suffered from Asperger syndrome growing up and kids would pick on me cuz I’d have my “ticks.” Well, in turn. I’d angrily hit people or yell in my temper tantrums and even talk back to my teachers and peers in elementary school. I’ve locked my cousin in a closet and threw a bottle at another cousin because I got angry and couldn’t handle my emotions (and the bottle my one cousin fueled my fire to do it and I went a long with it). It may not be as extreme, but in high school I felt so guilty for all these things that I denied myself speaking privileges and would not even allow myself to ask any questions in class on stuff I didn’t get because I asked questions vainly in the past. I also denied myself of any happiness or flirting lest I become the bad self I was. Needless to say, I denied myself a life and learning opportunities. It took myself two years or therapy to get over this and even then I was still shook. But a philosophy that helped me and still helps me is that if I am making the effort to change myself and I have the right mindset of being kind, managing my impulsive actions, I am not who I was and that is all I owe people…is to just be the current person I am now and have that desire and mindset to always learn and put in 100% effort to change for the better. I am not using my syndrome as an excuse if I’m actively trying to be a better person.

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