About a week ago I read someone online about how many people are addicted to suffering. This sounds all psychologist mumbo jumbo at first, but then I read a bit more and realized – this guy on on to something here.
Maybe “suffering” is the wrong word. Maybe GUILT is the better word. At least that seems fitting for me.
Even the last Rambling Ronni blog post I wrote I talked about feeling too much all the time. Not just thinking too much. But FEELING too much.
And after reading this guy’s article about being addicted to suffering, I had to ask myself – why? Why do I let myself take on the burdens of the world? Why do I emotionally punish myself for all injustices I see or read about? Why?
I think it’s because, ever since I was a young child, I’ve been made to feel obligated to feel bad. If I did something wrong, I should feel bad about it. If I said something mean to someone, I should feel bad for it. If I couldn’t get organized enough to accomplish my potential, I should bad about it. If I recognized my privilege in contrast to another’s injustice (even if it wasn’t in direct correlation to an action of mine), I should feel bad about it.
I don’t think this was just me either. I think this is how the vast majority of us were raised. Made to feel bad as a means of controlling behavior and thoughts.
And if you grew up in a religious community, as I was, it was likely even worse. The fine line between having compassion for others and feeling guilt for what we have was not often fully explained. We were told, on a near constant basis, how BAD humans are. Selfish at our core, evil by nature, beyond all hope…until we are saved by the figure of Jesus. He suffered for us. And we should feel GUILTY. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Guilty for our sins. Guilty that this Jesus guy had to endure pain and death for us. Guilty if we question the validity of this atonement. Guilty if we think too much and doubt a central belief of the faith we’ve been taught. Guilty that other people in the world don’t know this Jesus story and won’t therefore be “saved” from eternal damnation like we supposedly will.
And even if you didn’t grow up in religion, this same thing happens in modern politics and society to a sickening degree. Earlier this week, I was in a small group of other moms. The topic came up of a local guy who runs a nearby popular educational kids farm. The guy had apparently tweeted some misogynistic and racist tweets, and then deleted them. I didn’t read them, and the other moms didn’t mention specifically what they said, so I can’t attest to the severity of their content. But either way, the other moms were discussing how they were now boycotting the farm and how the guy shouldn’t be allowed to continue running programs for children.
I asked calmly if the tweets had been from the official farm account, or just the owner’s personal account. The other moms didn’t seem to understand why this question had any significance. I told them I thought it made a huge difference. That unless the farm had stated these beliefs as official farm policy, that punishing the entire farm (and everyone else who works there) just to ‘get back at’ the owner did nothing to make actual, lasting change in the world. The other moms looked at me dumbfounded – probably because they were trying to figure out if *I* was a racist too, lol, because I mean, who in their right mind actually defends both sides of free speech anymore??
Blah, blah, blah. It was an awkward conversation and I’m pretty sure that again, I made zero friends.
But the point it – this whole idea of “shaming people into submission” is so so so prevalent in today’s world that most people aren’t even able to realize that they’re doing it anymore. We don’t agree with someone, so we try our darnedest to make them feel bad about it. We try to force them into feeling guilty for all their shortcomings. We tell them that the only way to be redeemed is to loudly and publicly confess all their transgressions and come into the light.
(wait….am I’m talking about the tactics of politics or religion here?? Oh wait….they both do the same things to try to control other people…)
Wait for it.
But you know how I blog about marriage in my other blog?
Well, I see this happening in marriages too.
Like all the time. People don’t even realize it anymore.
Because we’ve all become addicted to suffering.
We feel obligated to feel bad. All the time. We feel guilty for what we’ve done, or haven’t done, or once thought about doing, or never thought about but should have.
And all these feeling are burying us. Over complicating us. Wearing us down. Destroying our marriage relationships, or relationships with others, our relationships with whatever we each consider to be our higher powers.
We all feel just too damn much.
Don’t get me wrong. Feelings themselves aren’t bad (Gah, I don’t want to give anyone another thing to feel guilty for). Feelings can inspire positive action, can lead to a healthy compassion for others, bring us together as humanity, create familial bonding, and encourage camaraderie.
But we don’t have to treat feelings like some sort of emotional penance either. We should not be compelled, nor compel others to feel guilty for things we never could’ve changed or affected or are directly responsible for. Wallowing in guilt does not change the past. Regret (like I once wrote about in my other blog), is a useless concept. All it does it over-burden us to the point that we cannot take positive steps toward a possible better future.
Blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m talking in circles here.
Point being, I’m much calmer since coming to this realization. I don’t feel as frustrated. I’m happier with my kids. I dont have as much anxiety. I’ve stopped adding guilt for being overwhelmed onto my list of things that make me feel overwhelmed.
And I think there’s a good marriage post in here that I need to write about.
Speaking of writing in my blog, I’ve been away from that for awhile. I started my marriage-irl site and got no stories yet, ad I think it kind of discouraged me. However, now I think I will move all my marriage stuff to marriage-irl and then only keep mom life stuff at the screenwriter’s wife. I don’t have time for all this. not at all. But I’m gonna try.
Oh and also I’m way into this “gotta teach myself physics and all the things related to relativity and time and the 4th dimension”. Why? Because I’m weird.