Wednesday, September 22, 2010
On Having No Sense of Innate Worthiness
This is a guest post of a blogger brother in the community on the root cause of his SSA - fatherlessness. Isn't this what is happening now in our society? Some fathers are physically absent in the home because of work. Others may be present physically but are absent or distant emotionally. In both cases, the effect is almost the same - a child searching for his/her place and identity in the world with no positive role models to look up to - a case of identity crisis.
Why am I so extremely upset whenever I think I am incorrectly judged to have evil motives for the good I do?
I have finally discovered the answer: Because I am afraid to be thought of as bad. Because I can't accept the fact that I could be a bad person, that there might be evil residing in me. Because that's how I fancy myself to be: a good boy. Because I am afraid I would be rejected if I was bad, that I would NOT have any self-worth left if I was bad, because it was never impressed upon me (by my father) that I have innate worth, that I deserved to be loved, even if I was not good, useful, or worth a hundred bucks.
I could have reacted differently: not get affected at all. (In Tagalog, dedma lang.) Then why am I so affected?
One distinguishing mark of a broken person, I have found in my own self, is being prone to hypocrisy, NOT because I was born bad but because I've been victimized and got stuck there, because I have conditioned myself to think this toxic 'should': I must be perfect, so I will feel loved. It's the form of self-protection I had resorted to as a child. (Other people's own defense might be different, e.g., extreme hate directed at their offender.)
I needed to delude myself of this for sheer survival, mistakenly believing that, if I was not perfect or good, I was nothing. I therefore frequently seesaw between extremes: utter holiness and sexual debauchery, awful rectitudinousness and guiltless lust. It's a life of constant highs and lows, high and lows.
Instead of being in touch with my dark shadow, it's a life-and-death situation for me to project holiness and perfection. I could NOT possibly accept the very idea that I could be bad, capable of great evil, because that's precisely where I had anchored my self-worth, my sense of validation: on my own alleged goodness and level of perfection and how others would see me. In other words, it's the same old tiring story of seeking my father's love, approval, affirmation (all of which I never got as a child).
For the longest time, I've been unable to grasp something a nonbroken person would find so easy to accept: that I could be bad, capable of evil, and yet still deserve the love and mercy of God (and others) because my innate dignity as a human being does not depend on how other creatures look at me but on God's unconditional love.
Effectively compartmentalized, I have therefore detached myself from my dark side, denying I had ever such a side. The illusion (or self-delusion) is thus preserved.
Because this also meant I have unknowingly projected my own self-hate on other people, I've grown to be very critical of other people's fault. I could easily spot in others what was wrong inside of me.
One danger of these realizations is self-condemnation leading to depression. What I've learned to do, thankfully, is to remind myself of the obvious (but not to me): That it's okay for me to be bad, just like any other people, because I am nonetheless loved despite it all. And I can always ask forgiveness and improve the next time. That I can be an adult and ask forgiveness (and forgive others) and improve. That it's okay to own up to my guilt, to admit I was wrong, that people make mistakes, but I can be responsible, repair the damage, and face whatever the consequences. Most of all, that it's okay to call on God most strongly, precisely at this point when I thought He has left me, when the truth is it's me who has turned my back on Him, mistakenly believing I just have lost the right to ask.