Coping with fear, shame and resentment

Trans people have experiences which are hard to bear. How do we recover?

I realised I still have fear, shame and resentment over incidents ten years ago. Shame- I blame myself. Resentment- I blame others. These two are contradictory, indicating I do not have an emotional understanding of those incidents.

If someone abuses me in the street, their bad reaction to me is wholly because I am trans. People I interact with have a range of responses, and that I am trans may be part of the cause. I have been shamed for it since I was a child- I am bad, because I am that way. So I feel shame, or internalised transphobia. That shame has no place in a healthy person or society. I feel pride that I can express who I really am, and pride in the beautiful human that is me. I might decide that rationally, though, and still be subject to feeling shame and being shamed.

I am still not sure about that shame. Is it that others would want me ashamed, or want to shame me, or do I project that on people? Just because I know intellectually shame is inappropriate does not mean I have shed it.

Nor am I sure whether I am experiencing emotion about the past event- my inner critic tells me to get over it, it is done with- or about the continuing consequences of it. These are hard to disentangle.

I would like to respond to my situation now. That is the Krishnamurti position: be aware of what there is, now, and respond to it as a full human being. What gets in the way? Introjected ideas which harm me, such as internalised transphobia, and bad experiences in the past which may make me fear bad experience now, and make me unduly cautious.

Also, a great deal of unprocessed emotion gets in the way. Before transition, I carry on grimly putting one foot in front of the other, bracketing feelings of hurt and anger because you have no space for them now, and now I have all that hurt, never processed, which I still carry.

“I am worth more than this.” It seems to me humans are attuned to hear messages both admiring us and putting us down. It helps us live together: two people both claiming status over the other might fight. Could I ever ignore the messages putting me down, and what would happen then?

I have two apparently rational and conflicting views. One is that my emotions are healthy, evolved to help me respond to the world and I should pay them attention. The other is that I bear a burden of past unprocessed emotion which gets in the way of seeing where I am now.

How do I feel about my life? It is a huge question. All my past, all my circumstances.

Transitioning is lifesaving.
Trans is who I am.
I have a right to express myself as I really am.

So much of this blog has been devoted to painstakingly working these things out, and a fair amount has been devoted to disputing them, denying them, trying to find a way round them, or respectfully engaging with those who would dispute them. It is a great burden.

These are the messages I need for health, to take into myself, to accept. I might then unpick how I feel about my life, and be better able to consider what to do now.

This is the Allegory of Grammar by Laurent de la Hyre, a Parisian painter (1606-1656). The Latin means, “A meaningful utterance which can be written down, pronounced in the proper way”.

Omniphobia

Why should good news make me miserable?

It’s excellent news. It means I am safe, for now; but not that I am safe permanently, which is an impossibility. If I want to be safe forever, I will be forever disappointed, and that is why I am miserable. So I step outside that, see it is not rational, ask what I can do about it.

Cognitive behavioural ideas would have me tell myself, rationally, that I am safe for two months, and even can be comfortable. It’s a rolling two months, as far as I can see: something bad might happen, but I would be more or less ok for a bit after that. I am still not cheered up. I noted in the nineties that I did not care much beyond two months, so the question “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time” bamboozled me, but it does not make me happy now.

Then I delve into desire and possibility. The idea of permanent safety might have come from childhood. Or, it is my need for complete control. That, my perfectionism, and the fear, are the unholy trinity which has made me retreat into my flat. It really is Omniphobia, fear of everything. CBT would answer the perfectionism too, it’s black and white thinking, finding things black, dreadful, because they are not Good, and impossibly good. Nothing bad can happen to me when I am dead, I think, grimly, and before then there are continual surprises.

The good news really made me miserable. It plunged me into sorrow and pain. The emotional burden is very deep, and does not simply disappear when I consider the concept of black and white thinking.

Staying in my house and not going out because of fear is a sign of sickness. I deal with it in two ways, both sick. One is to castigate myself for being so weak and useless, which worked at one time and not now. Now, it just makes me feel even less motivation to go out. It is as if I am in a sulk, but one usually sulks to have an effect on someone else, and I sulk to disempower my own inner nag, or gaslighter.

The other is to suppress my feeling below consciousness. It is normally a weight, making action difficult, rather than a hideous sensation making me want to curl up in a ball. So, bringing it into consciousness might help me process it.

One thing I do, is analyse like this. I have Omniphobia. It paralyses me. I have a huge burden of sadness. I have a trauma response, where I cannot attain the control I would need to feel safe enough, because I crave complete control. So the good news making me miserable, which is counterintuitive, is a good thing, because it helps me analyse, brings the sadness to consciousness where I might process it, and may move me along.

The Quaker concept of the inner light and my idea of the Real Me- and my understanding of psychological research is that there is no unchanging core to any human being, and our statements of that core change with time. That is, I am confused about this. But my sense is that it is my inner light, or Real Me, that sulks, that is traumatised, that says No because the gaslighter is whipping it too hard, and that if “I”- the organism, of which consciousness is only a part, which somehow contains an Inner Light, the Gaslighter, and also something that can untwist and liberate or assess and mediate-

no, too confused entirely-

I believe health is possible. Consider this evergreen, which was nearly strangled by creepers, and which is deformed, with bare arms where further branches and needles should be; yet now I pull away the creepers regularly, it is growing back.

I am deformed. I grew round the restrictions, in order to survive, and they twisted me. Revirescabo.

The threat to free speech

Rowling is Right! thundered the Sunday Times, a Murdoch paper. She is “justified in conscientiously stating opinions on issues of public interest without being deterred by fear of causing offence”. Trans people who are offended are “not entitled to sympathy”. Well, that’s me told. If she says the Scottish government is “playing fast and loose with women’s safety”, and stout defenders of women’s rights attack trans women because of it, I am not entitled to sympathy, and nor are the victims.

Once a society allows that people who feel emotional anguish are entitled to apology and moral restitution, there is no limit to the abridgment of free speech it will allow in the name of compassion. Radcliffe should think again. His comments are, to coin a phrase, offensive and hurtful to those who cherish liberty.

The emotional anguish I feel is fear. The repeated allegations in Rowling’s piece that trans people are dangerous, and women are terrified, may lead others to violence against us: possibly physical violence, possibly just social shunning, which is hurtful to a social animal. Rowling encourages transphobes.

This is not the standard “Free Speech!” argument easily answered, that you have free speech but no right to a platform, and no right to avoid condemnation for odious views. It is that it is oppressive to liberty to assert that trans people or our allies are entitled to an apology. Now, I don’t know what trans people would feel about an apology from Rowling, either now or in a possible future in which an entrenched hard-right government has gone on from hate of trans people to all LGBT, but the debased platform of the Murdoch Times

(oops, a bit of rhetoric there, I should not have read the Times article, its moralising tone is catching)

condemns Radcliffe for this:

To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups… — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred.

The “sorry” comes from him. There is no demand that anyone else apologise. He acknowledges that many people around his age have been deeply affected by Rowling’s books, and the positive message in those books remains despite their author’s views.

Is there any abridgement to free speech? Rowling put her anti-trans rant on her blog. There is no obligation on anyone to read it, but many did, including me. While some people may have distanced themselves from her or deprecated her views, that is also free speech. If the Times is entitled to condemn Radcliffe, then Radcliffe is entitled to condemn Rowling.

Oddly enough, I got the Times text from an anti-trans website which probably believes its readers would resent paying money to Murdoch, from a left-wing standpoint like mine. Sorry. If you agree with the Times and quote it approvingly, that says something about you, however much you might want to distance yourself from Murdoch propaganda.

Rowling’s remarks did hurt a lot of her fans. They were profoundly affected by her books, and it is hard for them, to see she is a transphobe and a person detached from reality when it comes to trans issues. Radcliffe’s sympathy for people who are hurting is the thing that most offends Murdoch.

The Times also had an article by Neil Oliver: “JK Rowling outrage is a load of hufflepuff that misses her point: Harry Potter author seeks fairness in women’s and trans issues”, starting with warm words about his love of her books. Condemning speech Mr Murdoch dislikes is permitted. Only condemnations of his dupes will be criticised. Of course he has a right, as the world is organised now, to use his billions to persuade people of anything he wishes; but he does not promote any recognisable or valuable concept of free speech. The threat to free speech is the control of so much speech by Murdoch. Rupert dislikes nothing more than sympathy. He loves outrage, disdain and hate.

The Monster didn’t get me

but it was a close run thing. This is why people drink.

I still don’t know what I feel, sometimes. There is a feeling, behind a wall. I don’t consciously know it is there. So on Tuesday before I didn’t go into the office I didn’t know I wouldn’t and even after I didn’t I didn’t know why.

No motivation.
Depressed.
Didn’t feel like it.

This morning I got up earlier and then when I had to get ready and go I put down my phone with which I was distracting myself and felt

fear.

The Monster will get me.It became clear to me. I feel real fear. I do not fear anything in the world, in reality, outside my skin, but looking bad to- something, either my mother introjected or my own judgment of what she wanted, but the fear is real.

As I cycled in I kept reminding myself.

What I fear is not in the world.
What I fear is not going to happen.

What I feared was being inadequate so disappointing my mother so death. This is a small child’s reaction controlling a woman of fifty-three.

When I got in I told Caroline this, just managing not to cry, and she hugged me. Her son had seen a terrible accident the day before, when someone died.

People are concerned for me and glad I am here, not hating and despising me. People are humans not monsters. Yet the fear was real, enough to keep me away, enough to hide from my awareness, enough to keep me distracted by my phone rather than facing the world.

I was tired before I could go home, less than five hours later.

What have I achieved? I have faced an illusion which terrified me. I have seen the truth enough to doubt the illusion and keep going.

I have cycled to an office four miles away with good-enough people in it, and done a bit of typing and photocopying.

I am proud of myself and my inner critic says that’s nothing, anyone could do far more, you’re still useless, and projects the judgment onto anyone reading this. But not well enough to stop me publishing this post.

I would love to universalise this, to make my human journey worthwhile by using my writing skills to give valuable lessons to others. Without that it feels so much struggle for so little result. But it is my struggle, and my result.

In other news, the GP referred me to a clinic for an NHS wig, and they refused, saying they provided them to people with cancer or a diagnosis of alopecia from a consultant. They suggested I contact the gender identity clinic.

My GP wrote to the GIC, and had a wonderful letter back:

She attracted a straightforward diagnosis of transsechalism… and a further appointment would be a grotesque waste, rather the same as a patient having to be re-examined to confirm that their leg is still amputated. I imagine that this patient would be likely to benefit from a wig in exactly the manner that you outline.

I hope it is enough to get me a wig from the local trust.

Vulnerability

-What are you afraid of?
-My vulnerability.

For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. That’s in Mark, and bears the imprint of an editor: some authorities miss out “for my sake”, but the words “for the sake of the gospel” damage the symmetry of the phrase, and the explanation damages its poetry.

I am losing my life. I fritter it. I hate sitting here watching television. I liked going into London to speak at Quaker Quest, taking in several interesting encounters and lots of Art. One told me, gratefully, that what I said was like ministry, at least worship-sharing. That had an air of holiday about it, but in a job I hope I would not merely be ground down, and even now I could go out to encounter people and beautiful things locally.

And, I sit here because I am afraid, of judgment which is so awful as to be as bad as death. I know this is an illusion, but the fear of it is still real. Of course I will die, and I could die in an accident at any time- though fearing death and planning suicide is a strange combination. There is something about the moment of death which is fearful and horrible, but death itself is not. After death, the horror disappears.

The moment of failure, the moment of getting caught out, terrifies me, whether it leads to death or mild embarrassment. I can see I am not being sensible, that I am losing my life, that my way of saving myself is an illusion, but being rational about this does not save me from the fear.

There’s nothing to fear. I know that. I still fear it.

-Why were you screaming?
-Because I felt seen and accepted.

More paradoxes. I rationalised it immediately- it is the delight which reminds me of past lack; but it could be deeper than that. It means I am wrong. If I am acceptable, all I know and believe about myself is untrue and my world falls apart. If I am seen, I will be despised- and judged. None of this is rational, so it could be both, as my madness can survive internal contradiction.

I will tell you here. I could not tell K face to face, but it might be worth working on.

I am beautiful.

Not- this thing, this process, all that is within my skin, whatever- I. People value and accept me. People even admire me, and sometimes express that.

This is all quite binary. All or nothing, Heaven or Hell, the marriage feast or gnashing of teeth, admiration or condemnation. It is also instant. I rarely judge other people like that. They’re mostly all right, I add little pieces of experience with them to a picture, and normally run away rather than cast another out. It’s not a perfect analogy for how others are, but it does tend to refute that all or nothing God-like power I ascribe to them, which only a mother has over a baby.

I am beautiful
beloved of God
highly gifted
facing my difficulties squarely.

Maybe I could tell other people this, and see how they react. I am judged, repeatedly, and cannot anticipate how others will judge me or what consequences that judgment will have for me. I am sometimes seen as wrong or bad, but not in the way I anticipate.

I fear making mistakes. If I can’t make mistakes, then I can’t do anything.

I record my counselling sessions, and this recording was silent. I don’t know why it didn’t work. But these two moments were the core of it- I fear vulnerability, I was hurt when I felt accepted. I want an instant solution, I want things I can work at for self-improvement, but looking back I perceive I am improving (hard though that is to claim).

Turning

I find it hard to admit that anything I do or think of doing is difficult. Turning my life around is like turning a supertanker, rather than turning a knob on a cooker. It is hard to say these things.

In shame, I hide away, and try to conform- with an idea of what is normal, which is not necessarily shared by anyone else. That’s why I had my balls cut off, which pleased me so much at the time, and now I am kicking myself because my ideal was not real, and I should have realised that.

I am highly intelligent, unreconciled to a lifetime of not getting it, or getting it too late. And negative. When things go wrong, I notice, and that affects my actions afterwards. My work of disentangling myself is to bring these things to consciousness, in counselling, and then to type them here.

There are things which cannot be said or acknowledged. There is a normal way of doing things which is just normal, however ineffective: trying to work out a better way is just too much work, or I cannot imagine working out a better way.

We find ways of fitting Normal to ourselves, but if we are too far from it that becomes too difficult.

-I hear you perceiving and holding your friends’ differences and hope you might not be entirely conventional with them.

Can I be without the mask with others? Can I ever say what I think or feel? Sometimes, though I would not feel the need to blog if I could do it with other people.

I say “What is interesting is delightful”. I like things which pique my interest. Let’s have a look at that. So it is not the thing in itself, it is my attitude to it which I like, my curiosity finding a loose corner and prying it open, finding out.

Then, though, I said “What is interesting is delightful” and immediately began questioning and doubting it. I think I am only saying that because it is a thing I think would be admirable or good.

I find it hard to say these things out loud, even to Tina, so I type the next bit: “Life is terrifying”. Then I could say it. As in, “May you live in interesting times”. No I don’t like interesting, I want boring. And yet now I think I find “What is interesting is delightful” admirable and good because it is my best self, my self going out to meet the world and engage, and I can do that, it is real me not mask or pretence, not a gambit in the conventional game of counselling where we both want me to take off my masks and instead I try on different ones.

And life is terrifying, whether I engage with it or not.

Mmm. The knob on a cooker, or the supertanker. Turning should be easy, should be the task of a moment, and when it is not I leap to the conclusion that it is horrendously difficult. It is as it is. Do I want to change? Then, change. Easy, difficult, that does not matter, the judgment of difficulty gets in the way, especially the judgment that I am making no progress gets in the way. That judgment, my inner critic, speaks in fear and seeks to drive me to greater effort, but I can no longer be driven in that way. Changing it to encouraging, to seeing progress, is my war.

Fight or flight

Of course, fight or flight are not the only responses people have to immediate threat. I find myself freezing. Yet the common phrase for primitive responses to physical danger is “fight or flight”, and this moulds our understanding of those responses. If that is the phrase I know, my different way of responding merely confuses me. I don’t have the words to describe it, so I don’t understand it.

Fight or flight might seem more useful responses. What possible good could come of freezing? Possibly a predator would not notice you; possibly fleeing you would be caught, fighting you would inspire retaliation, so freezing is least bad; yet the others still seem more active to me, and therefore more admirable.

Carl Shubs, PhD, wrote in June 2014 that Popular culture has long recognized three typical patterns of response to experienced or perceived threat: fight, flight, and freeze. Whatever the stories in popular entertainment, the basic phrase was “fight or flight”, as far as I was aware. I had to work out that I was freezing for myself, though I had heard phrases like a rabbit caught in headlights. I knew “fight or flight” are the primitive responses; I came out with a wrong response, and get more confused and ashamed.

If you google “Fight or flight”, you find articles like this pdf from the University of Nottingham. It is aimed at students using the university counselling service, and explains in simple language why you might feel sick in such a situation, and what long term anxiety can do; but it is titled “What is the fight or flight response?” That is, even though psychologists knew people froze, they still wrote about fight or flight, and if you knew no better and searched for that phrase you would not necessarily learn better. That article says The Fight or Flight response evolved to enable us to react with appropriate actions: to run away, to fight, or sometimes freeze to be a less visible target, but otherwise does not mention freezing. Autocompletes in my search box suggest hormone, stress, freeze, hormone, gland, definition.

If you search “fight, flight, freeze” the next suggestion is “fawn”. I posted in facebook, “Fight or flight” is a false understanding. Many people do neither. Instead, we freeze, imagining I was telling people something they didn’t know, or at least putting into words something people had an inkling of but could not express, Luke wrote, Fight, flight, freeze and fawn are the four characteristic responses we recognise in psychosexual somatics therapy. “Fawn”. I had not thought of that at all, but seeing it makes complete sense. Sometimes people use “appease”, going for rhyme rather than alliteration. Most of the threats that frighten us come from other people, though I might try to calm an angry dog.

This post, also from 2014, reassured me. Most of us are already familiar with the concept of the ‘fight or flight’ response to perceived danger… However, there are two other responses to threat which are less well known – the ‘freeze’ response and the ‘fawn’ response. I was behind the curve, but not quite so bad. Some traumatised people have these responses on a hair trigger, and go into them in inappropriate situations.

The fawn type will often go out of their way to help others, perhaps by performing some kind of community service, but without building up emotionally close, or intimate, relationships, due to a fear… of making him/herself vulnerable to painful rejection which would reawaken intense feelings of distress experienced as a result of the original, highly traumatic childhood rejection.

What I see as my good, innate, qualities might be a response to trauma. But- someone’s got to be like that, or society would fall apart.

On popular culture, TV Tropes told me “Fight or Flight” was an episode title in Star Trek: Enterprise, Supergirl, and Burn Notice, and a chapter title in It lives in the woods. Searching for “freeze” was inconclusive, but I learned “damsels”, that is, girlies who exist mainly to be tortured by baddies and rescued by heroes, are particularly bad at fight or flight. Wikipedia has an article “Fight or flight response” which mentions freezing, but only under the heading “Other animals”. Its article on “Freezing behavior” refers to prey animals and animal studies, rather than human responses. “Fight, flight, freeze or fawn” redirects to “Fight or flight”, with no further mention of “fawn”.

Someone else on facebook gave a fifth alternative, “flop”: Freeze is more of an adrenalinised response – the body is tense and ready for action, whereas in flop the whole body is floppy – literally like playing dead and the brain is also shut down. The more words we have to understand threat responses, the more choice we have.

(c) Larne Borough Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Trans women: symbol and problem

Why do people care so much about trans folk? There are so few of us, we should be an anomaly, barely worthy of mention. We are harmless, so we should not be actively persecuted. People care, because we symbolise for them far more important concerns.

Ideally we symbolise the move towards a progressive, tolerant society. People enthusiastically say “Trans women are women!” because that shows they are liberal, against oppression, in favour of diversity and equality and people being welcomed for our gifts not judged for our idiosyncrasies. That can sometimes start a culture war. Mr Trump does not want trans people in the military, against military advice, because he wants to cast the “Liberal elite” as the enemies of his conservative base. To the just about managing, he says, They do not care about you! They care about those weirdos more than decent people like you! I care about you! The military wastes so much money that a few gender reassignment surgeries would be a drop in the ocean, and the issue should not really matter as a question of social policy, but instead it is a symbol: virtue-signalling of the Right as well as the Left. The Right claim virtue in policing what people do with our genitals. It is also a symbol that winds up liberals.

The A Woman’s Place and We Need to Talk tours use us as a symbol of the Patriarchy and the oppression of women. I have very little power to oppress anyone. I buy my clothes in charity shops so am not even, directly, part of the oppression of sweat-shop workers. Pigs live in appalling conditions because of me; but I do not harm a woman who sees me in a woman’s loo. I am only objectionable there if I am a symbol of sex inequality, of women having to put others’ feelings before their own, of a snub on them imposed by uncaring society.

I would like us to be seen as a symbol of how wide the range of gendered behaviour is, and how ridiculous gender restrictions are. We are then helping to break down gendered expectations. That we symbolise the breaking of taboos is good and bad for us. Things may be spoken about, because we exist. Shame drains away. And, we are the visible symbol of a reservoir of fear in society, and people’s hearts.

A friend said on facebook, women see men as a threat, some men see women as objects to be possessed. That means I may be seen as  threatening even if I am not.

I want us to be a harmless anomaly, too few people to worry about, which would be a rational view. If we are not, what is the problem, exactly? How you express the problem of trans people affects what you do. I think the problem is people paying us too much attention, and the solution is for the press to stop printing stories of a man being invited for a cervical smear test, because he adopted the title “Mx”, or a trans woman being sent to take smears. The NHS does millions of smear tests, and probably makes thousands of mistakes. The problem is trans people being nervous and frightened, or being attacked, and the solution is to protect us.

If you see the problem as “men in women’s toilets” we are in conflict. There is no solution to please all. But if it is, The Patriarchy, most solutions- campaigning for equal pay and equal representation, against sexual harassment- ignore us completely. Go and work on those. If the problem is, how can a wider range of gendered behaviour be made acceptable in both sexes, we can have a dialogue. I feel most people see trans folk as gender outlaws, rather than conformists.

I would phrase it, how can people with such similar problems, gender non-conforming, non-binary and trans, work together for the liberation of all? You are part of the same minority, not competing groups. How can we see below our surface differences to our real shared interests?

My right to exist

I am a trans woman. I have a right to exist as a trans woman.

The empathetic person wants other people to be happy, and unfortunately that can leave no room for me. I had great joy at work when people opened up to me, and it seemed to me they felt better for being heard. I saw myself as worthless, only of value for what I can achieve. How must I be? I asked. What must I do? It was never enough. So I burned out.

First I saw an idea(l) of manhood which I pursued, and then I decided to transition, and both times I was crushing myself into a box which did not fit me. So I am crushed. This is a failure, and it is not wholly mine, but a failure of society, which puts everyone in boxes and specifies what we are supposed to like and dislike. My first box did not fit at all, and my second box never fitted either. I realised at the time I did not fit a box marked “transsexual”, only a box marked Clare, and I proceeded to have a conventional transition.

Ah. The fear was there. I knew I did not fit, but tried anyway. I did not have the ability to forge my own way even if I knew it was the only way I could prosper.

The curse of intelligence is treating life like a problem to be solved. Not all intelligent people do this but it is our temptation. Having failed twice to fit in by conforming, I tried again. How should I stretch, squash or contort myself? And I can’t. You can’t please more than one person.

Having tried to fit in, I am trying to be myself, and finding it difficult. I paused to meditate, and then watch Star Trek: Voyager. B’elanna Torres visits the Barge of the Dead, and finds her honour. What do you want me to be? she asks the Voyager crew, desperately. Only yourself. Well, that’s a coincidence.

In meditation, the words Love and Charisma came up. I have to love the world. It is the only way. Conforming or contorting come from fear. And- I have Charisma, though I have no idea how to use it.

Start from where I am. We know God by participation in God, not by trying to please God from afar. God loves the real me, not some idealised or perfect me. Ah. Of course I have been before. I do not step through a door and find everything easy. Created half to rise and half to fall, I return to my vomit. And then come round in the circle again.

I am a trans woman. However I got here, I got myself here myself. That means I start from here. I have these ways of being and I will not apologise for them.

What do I want?
How may I get it?

I move my locus of evaluation into myself.

Being and doing

There is no “real you”. You are what you do. You may like to imagine what you would do in a particular situation, acting courageously, morally or with a particular ruthless self-interest, and just as you think of the clever retort too late to make it, you do not live up to your fantasies. The fantasy is a reassuring falsehood, not an underlying Reality which shows you have value. Your value is in your reality, not that falsehood. If you value the falsehood you will never match up to it, and never value yourself.

And- you have potential you deny and devalue. You need to accept it in order to discover it. Fortunately, you are what you do: shadow motivation, the strength of the parts you deny, will bring it to your attention, and the conflict you experience with that will end. The lies you were told and the suppression you suffered will melt away.

I can use any statement of fact or morality to beat myself up, and you are what you do is no exception: what do I do? Right now, nothing, so I am the coward equivocator who hides away and tells myself false stories in an attempt to console myself as I fritter away my life. Coward. Failure. Fool.

The answer is to see the truth in another way. You are what you do. All that courage and creativity. I fought till I broke, and I am still fighting though in a different way. I am still fighting in two ways:

the slave driver, for whom nothing is ever good enough, who will never accept me stopping to rest unless I fall over exhausted.

the creative explorer, seeking to understand.

And the thing which makes all their energy barely achieve my survival is my fear. My fear means that routine actions like going shopping can be terrifying.

 ♥♥♥

My existential terror consumed me.

I made a mistake!
I cannot rely on myself!

I know I cannot rely on the world.

Therefore I shall die!

I have inside myself a terrified child. Argument is useless for consolation: I explain it is a small mistake, and a small loss, but even if she recognises that it does not lessen her fear. How to get her to see that? Don’t be so completely stupid! It is completely unimportant! Shut up and stop whining!

This does not make her feel better. However, even when I attempt to explain kindly, she discerns my intent. It is clear to me this is unimportant, and necessary that she accept that.

She says, You are seeking to manage and control me! Don’t try to manage and control me! I don’t trust you!

Trying to manage her will not make her trust. I can’t make her do anything, by force, reason, or trickery.

Only Love might help. There is the fear. The fear is a faithful reaction. I allow the fear. It passes through me, and the sharp insistence it needed to be heard against my “reasonableness” lessens. After, there is tiredness. Ruefulness. I need to understand, and my “reasonableness” is not sufficient for that. The fear is hypervigilant because it was not heard, and I was hurt. My reasonableness, never accepting my fear, was wrong.

I seek balance.

 ♥♥♥

I tried taking Norethisterone, and it made my feelings more intense. I had a great high on Tuesday, and a horrific downer on Thursday after coming off it, and my terror on Saturday arose from it. Yet the fear is there, controlling me, all the time, and I must alleviate it, or live with it. “Feel the fear and do it anyway”- or something like that.