Panic-driven soliloquies roam the catacombs of her consciousness; strewn with misanthropic motives, crouching corpses, and decaying dreams dolor. Suddenly exploding from the shadows, more electrifying than life, are the fluorescent ghosts of fear, of loss, of pain. Shrieking banshee wails startle the mind into urgency, released by invisible fingers squeezing the triggers of her automatic weapons from the past. Although no longer needed, these armaments, in the form of thoughts, emotions, and visceral re-creations; burst abruptly into full-on battle readiness. Her heart pounds precipitously, chest tightens, and she startles into florid fight or flight. Her thoughts narrow to attack or retreat, her emotions burst into either rage or fear, and her body tenses up for what comes next.
Have you ever noticed thoughts, feelings, or physical responses running in the background of your life? They may not be rational, reasonable, or relevant. They may be distorted, delusional, or destructive. They may seem paranoid, hysterical, or crazy. You may notice them, and you may not. If you do, you probably keep it to yourself. Under stress, or when surprised by trauma triggers, they may move into the foreground for a while. If they do, then you will probably try to create justifications for your change in mood, attitudinal shift, or explosive rage. You may do this by attributing your unusual bbehavior to something external to yourself, like your partner, parents, neighbors, or coworkers; your home, environment, neighborhood, or job; your health, finances, appearance, or government. When we react unusually to such internal stimuli, our inclination is to immediately identify something outside of ourselves to blame it on. This projects the responsibility outward on to another person, place, or thing; makes us the victim of its occurrence (rather than the responsible party); and enables us to continue avoiding that which lingers in the shadows of our mind.
Do you know what I mean? Are you aware of having automatic patterned thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations in response to comments or situations that do not warrant them? You know, like when you say one thing when you are thinking something totally different. Or when you think something based on your issues when nothing was said or done in relation to them. Such issues could include things like inadequacy, victimization, or control; gender, race, or age; fears of rejection, abandonment, or loss; core beliefs of unworthiness, unfairness, or unapproachability. The defenses supporting such issues might include hypersensitivity to criticism, being highly competitive, needing to be right, perfectionism, hypersensitivity to perceived unfairness, a distorted sense of equality, hyper-vigilance (especially around matters of acceptance and fairness), always trying to prove others wrong about something, being controlling, having a distorted sense of control (if you are not 100% in control, then you believe you are being controlled by another), avoidance, denial, changing the subject, and misplaced humor.
Please consider the following example, and then take a deep look inside yourself for any lingering ghosts, ghouls, or goblins. If you find them, please do not judge yourself. Simply become more aware of them, and then decide whether or not you still need them to help you cope, or if they are actually creating obstacles for you now. Sometimes that which was the protector in the past becomes the problem in the present.
“Good morning Angela! You look amazing in that dress!” “Thank you Grace!” you simpered a little too sweetly. ‘I wonder what she meant by that. Is she fishing for a compliment? Is she saying my dress is too slutty? Did she not think I looked good last week? And what about my hair, my nails, my shoes, and my purse? Did she not like them? I mean, I just spent $500 on this Louis Vuitton, and it should have gotten her attention.’ you surreptitiously surmise, fake smile still plastered across your luscious, quivering lips and angel face. “Are you OK?” she gently asked. Your own sputtering cough jerks you out of your secret little world. “Huh hmmm … Um, why yes! Of course! How ‘bout you?” you ask, trying to keep your tone from revealing your growing paranoia. “Why is she asking me that? What, is she psychic? OH MY GOD!!! Can she see it in my eyes?! Am I that freaking obvious?! What am I going to do? What does she suspect? My makeup should be covering up my hangover. I look super hot! I know I do! I saw myself in the mirror! So what is it that she sees, or senses in me? OH MY GOD!!! There’s no way she could know about Ken, is there? he is still at my house. OH MY GOD!!! Did she drive past my house and see his car??? Do I smell like sex? No, I couldn’t, because I slathered some #5 across my chest and legs before leaving, to cover up any intimate odors, and get ready for more! So what is it!!! Why did she ask me that?’ you suspiciously wonder, your twisted mind spinning at an accelerating rate. “Grace, why did you ask me if I am OK?” you blurt ambivalently, as if fighting against your own will. “Oh, no real reason.” she replied calmly. “You were just seeming a little preoccupied and looking worried.” “Thank you Grace. I was just wondering.” you politely respond, doing your best to disguise your mushrooming madness. ‘She IS psychic!!! OH MY GOD!!! What am I going to do!!! I wonder what else she knows! Does she drive past my house and spy on me? Is she watching me right now? Should I quit my job? She is probably just jealous! She is a fat old bitch with a boring life who wants a taste of my gourmet life!’ “OK then, have a wonderful day Angela!” she said warmly. “You too Grace!” you replied sweetly.
Do you have programs running in the background of your mind? If so, are you usually aware of them? Have you gotten so used to them that you do not pay attention to them anymore? Are you sometimes irrationally worried, jealous, insecure, paranoid, afraid, or angry? Do you allow your mind to spin and develop such illusion? If so, how does this affect your life? Are you allowing your past to control your present?
Photo Credit: YCanwood via DevianART