Yeah, that’s right. Let’s talk about feeling miserable. In one of my previous posts, I said that I haven’t been blogging too much over the past year because things got tough for me, emotionally and psychologically.
I thought that I should only talk to people when I figure things out, when I am able to say, it was tough but it all worked, I am doing great now and sure you can too.
But you know what? I realised that this is an absolute non-sense. I really do think that we need to talk about the reality of life the way it is, not the way some new-age social media psycho-babble wants us to believe it should be.
The self-development highs and lows
More than four years ago, in the midst of one of the very dark nights of my soul (yes, I have been through many), I threw myself into healing and self-development. I read voraciously on the psychology of relationships, recovering from trauma, codependency, healing and attracting the life you want. I meditated like crazy.
It was a tough, tough time, after having been ruthlessly discarded by a narcissist who manipulated me into believing he was the love of my life. But back then, I knew I had a tonne of issues that needed to be addressed and I had faith that once I address them, things will start working out.
I took full responsibility for my situation and for a while, it seemed to work. My social life was getting better, after every down, there was an up, I felt that piercing every pocket of trauma in me led me closer to my goals.
And then, last year, I started getting in touch with something in myself that was much deeper and much more sinister than what I have expected. It was my victimhood. Now I don’t mean victimhood in a negative way. There is a lot of stigma around being a victim in today’s ‘let’s think positive culture’ and I think that is really toxic. It’s cool to be a villain, it’s cool to be an abuser, it’s not cool to be a victim. Victims are blamed and shamed and told they are making unfounded allegations, that they are hysterical and blah blah blah. Victims are judged by people who had never been through hardships and who lack empathy. The abusing sociopaths refuse to accept or admit their wrongdoings (think about Prince Andrew or the horrid lawyer Derschowitz and their reactions to the Epstein revelations), and instead are trying to persuade those around that the victims are lying and/or completely crazy.
Getting in touch with your victimhood is tough. Not only because by opening up about your victimhood you risk further victimisation and shaming. By getting in touch with your victimhood, you are also getting in touch with your helplessness and powerlessness. And that sucks because all the ’empowering’ messaging of today is about you being able to transcend and control your life and manifest whatever you want. But if you have ever been a victim, you know how untrue that is.
I have been a victim of a narcissistic man who, after putting me on a pedestal and pretending to be so damn serious about me, trashed me in the most horrific way. I did nothing to deserve that. Not in the wildest dream would I have imagined what I was getting myself into. My only sin was that I was naive, gullible and ignored a forest of what I today understand to be red flags. My only sin was that I didn’t love myself enough and believed in resolving conflict and looking for the good in people.
I was a victim of a toxic family. I have done nothing to deserve that. I will never know why I rubbed my narcissistic mother and my similarly toxic father the wrong way as a little child.
Yet, the victimhood, in my case, goes deeper. It’s in my DNA. The story of my family is a story of victimhood. My ancestors were brutally victimized first by Nazi Germany, then by the communist regime in post-second world war Czechoslovakia. My great great grand father had risen from poverty in the 1920s only to die in the most miserable circumstances in Auschwitz. He’d done nothing to deserve that. He fought against Germans and was reportedly helping the Jews. His only mistake was that he didn’t leave his country when he could.
In fact, my entire country has a terrible unprocessed collective trauma. The victimhood of my nation goes all the way to the Austro-Hungarian empire and the time of the Thirty Years War.
All this trauma and victimhood is part of my collective unconscious, it’s part of my DNA. Acknowledging this deep victimhood in me was one of the most intense emotional experiences. It was an experience that made me feel utterly defeated, a part of the wrong crowd. The crowd that never gets through.
But I believe that no one should feel like being part of the wrong crowd. I believe that the best people are those who had suffered the most. I do believe that people of privilege, good fortunes and luck tend to be disgustingly superficial, entitled, self-important and delusional and that their control of the collective narrative has to stop.
And that’s why I think we all need to talk about feeling miserable, about feeling helpless facing the realities of life that are or were beyond our control. We have to create an honest human community based on true empathy and sharing, where no experience is unwelcome to talk about.
Suffering makes people better
Only if you have been victimised, only if you have truly gotten in touch with your helplessness, will you be able to feel for others in the same position.
One of the hardest lessons I have been through over the past year was accepting my hair loss. I have been suffering from hair loss since the age of 14. My once shampoo commercial level beautiful hair that everyone complimented me on got, gradually, to the stage, where I do seriously worry what future holds for me hair-wise.
Last week, I finally made it to a hair loss support group, mostly consisting of people suffering from much more aggressive types of hair loss than what I have been dealing with. I was by far the one with the most hair in that group. They all sat there, in a park, having left their wigs at home, and just were so at ease with their affliction, that I suddenly knew that whatever happens to me, I will be able to handle it. I was in awe seeing their strength, the beauty that doesn’t come from hair but from within.
I felt accepted and understood and it was lovely. I haven’t had this experience with any of my friends, hairdressers or doctors that I have talked to on my quest to solve the problem.
The truth of life is that there are things you cannot change even if do everything possible. I couldn’t change my family, I couldn’t change the fact that I got ensnared by a narcissist. It appears that I am at the mercy of my hair loss.
The pressure, the shame, the self-blame
With all those empowering new age gurus and coaches around, the person who is not coming out at the other end and continues to struggle is made to feel responsible. Maybe they are not trying hard enough? maybe they have a too negative mindset? Maybe their frequency is too low? Maybe they have too much anger in them?
This all is really toxic. It puts the struggling person into a position of more self-doubt and shame. If it works for everybody else but not for me, I must be doing something wrong, that’s the thought that creeps in.
But this all is bullshit.
These super successful super happy, ‘I solved it all gurus and coaches’ might be, and frequently are, in total denial of the fact that they have been dealt better cards than the person that continues to struggle.
It’s about as pretentious as Ivanka Trump, the synonym of nepotism and privilege, trying to persuade people that she has achieved everything she has through her own hard work (yep), or Meghan Markle, a woman who rose to the A list status through the most old-fashioned and anti-feminist way possible – a marriage to wealthy privileged guy – trying to pose as an epitome of feminism.
Nope, we don’t all have the same starting position and comparing ourselves to these people, who are in fact, frequently just self-important, entitled and delusional, is a way to hell.
That’s why I believe we need to talk about the truth. We need to talk about feeling miserable and don’t be ashamed if things are not working out.
The Jungian view
I don’t remember in which of his book it is but Carl Jung says that real growth, the breakthroughs towards higher levels of psychological integration, only come in the moments of the greatest anxiety and turmoil. My experience confirms that. It’s only in the moments of the greatest emotional suffering that we are forced to give up our illusions, delusions, and defenses. We do cling strongly to these defenses, delusions, and illusions. We have adopted them to protect ourselves from the dark and heavy realities of life, from the unpalatable and unfashionable emotions such as helplessness and powerlessness, from fear and anxiety.
It’s easier to believe that you can manifest whatever you want in your life by increasing your frequency, right? It’s hard to accept your helplessness and powerlessness. It’s hard to accept that bad things happen to good people and that sociopaths tend to do the best in life. It’s hard to accept that all your kindness, empathy and love won’t change how certain people would treat you. It’s hard to accept that maybe all the healthy lifestyle you commit to won’t solve your issues.
Once the defence breaks under the pressure of truth, you get into a full state of crisis. But through that crisis, you get the chance to integrate psychologically on a higher level of maturity and humanity, as a being more grounded in reality, more in acceptance of the darkness of life.
Only then you get to embrace life for what it really is, warts and all, and only after that can you take effective action in your life based on what is, not on what you want to be.
Don’t give up but wear your scars with pride
After going through my helplessness crisis, after pondering the sense of it all, after having doubted the meaning of all my striving, after going as far as researching the means of committing suicide, I feel that I am now getting to a better place. I know that I will not quit. I will not stop striving, I will not stop my healthy lifestyle no matter what happens with my hair. I will not stop writing, in fact, I will write more. I have a shitload to say.
But I will stop feeling bad for things that happened to me that I wasn’t responsible for and couldn’t change – the emotional scars inflicted by my parents, the horror of coming out of an entanglement with a narcissist, my hair.
I am going to talk about all this. I am going to speak the truth about what life is and will no longer feel shame. The shame that they want me to feel. The shame that is not mine because I was not responsible for what had happened to me.
Just like my wonderful friends from the hair loss support group, sitting in a park, completely at ease with their hairless heads, I will wear my scars with pride. They made me who I am today and guess what? I am freaking proud of this person. She means so much to me and I will let her speak her truth. And I want everyone to do the same.