This is the problem: emotional lability and lack of motivation, though I feel I am making progress with the self-acceptance. Seeing the psychiatrist was good. I fear my anger- rather than being energised, I become locked up. I fear my fear.
-Can we discuss an incident?
-Well, staying at home alone I manage to avoid situations which would induce anger. I wanted to print out All things bright and beautiful as a score. I found a website, but when I printed it was gobbledegook. So I tried another, and it printed only half, in landscape. So I set it to print portrait, and it printed gobbledegook. So I photocopied it.
Then I found myself thinking over things years ago which had made me angry. Then I was exhausted. I had solved my problem, and my solution was good enough- just not what I originally wanted. Thinking of those old things was a way of making my anger conscious.
-Are you overanalysing?
-No, don’t think so.
Everything needs to be perfectly as I want it. I notice that when I realise something or make a connection, I berate my stupid self for not making it before. I am doing that less.
-Why do you do that?
-Because it has really mattered. And then the tears come.
I settled an employment tribunal claim the day before the hearing for a humiliating £250, and just after, realised the killer argument which would have given me a good chance of winning.
Have you a pillow or something? Oh, there. It has a paper case on it- OK-
I scream into it, four times. That is good. It relieves my feelings, yet even in deciding to do that, I had some care for the people in the waiting room. Screaming is not what you want to hear in a doctors’ surgery. They would think you have an 18th century barber-surgeon in here.
I throw the pillow, stained with lipstick and mascara, on the floor.
I thought I was completely worthless. I only had value for what I could achieve. So I needed to get everything perfect, in order to deserve existence. This is an impossible way of being, in employment law- there are clever people trying hard to thwart you. So I just gave up.
I could spend ages trying to convince you I had the killer argument, too late for the tribunal, but can more or less trust my own judgment.
With C, I know the magic telepathy could not work. I could have told her how irritated she made me, but that was a more difficult Assertiveness task, given how much she irritated me. I planned my devastating put-down, knowing she would crack that stupid joke yet again.
-Could you have saved the friendship?
-Well, there will be other friendships.
-At least you knew what you were doing.
I came in early, but because the automated entry system was not working I had to queue at reception. I wasted time with it because it had a postit note saying “This is working, just very slow”. “The trouble with efficiency”, I said loudly to the person ahead of me, “is that if you have no slack you can’t cope with any problems”. Rather than having another person on reception, people started to footre with the touch screen.
-Is there a switch on it?
-It’s switched off at the mains, said the receptionist.
I went over, took the postit note, screwed it up and threw it on the floor. The woman came over, unscrewed it and said it should be there. I looked her in the eye and explained to her that it was misleading, and she removed it again.
I am moderately pleased with that. Mostly assertive, not really aggressive- I did not smash the thing. I prefer to maintain relationships, and here I made her day slightly more unpleasant. I prefer to maintain relationships, perhaps because I do not expect to win confrontations like that. Better, I think, than sticking the anger in a pressure-cooker.
I could “relocate” the memory of that tribunal case. She explains the jargon. It was one of the bad experiences which broke me. And- I don’t need always for things to go my way exactly. It won’t kill me- even if that is exactly what I feared. I shall ask her to explain that one again.