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Why am I this way?

Published: Friday, February 17, 2012

Updated: Saturday, February 18, 2012 11:02


"The therapy becomes an elaborate narcissistic defense, the promise and appearance of progress while protecting an at best artificial and at worst non-existent identity.  I want to learn why I am this way."  Then what?  Will learning why you made those choices be what changes your choices?  You're still eating junk food, aren't you?  You're eating it while you're learning how bad it is.  

"But...why am I this way?"  That question is a narcissistic defense.  It doesn't want an answer; it wants you to keep asking the question.  

"I'm a good person. I am just making bad choices."  Wrong.  You're not a good person until you make good choices.  Until then, you are chaos.

And you know it.

This psychological assessment, from an internet blog called The Last Psychiatrist (the post is called "My fiancée is pushing me away and I've lost hope"), seems to me to be intuitively and logically right.  I am, as a point of pride, initially skeptical about any idea that isn't of the form 2 + 2 = 4.   But when experience and logic tell me that this assessment is abundantly obvious I begin to see it as an accepted truth or a logical principle.  

Naturally we all want something better: a better car, a better girlfriend, a better life.  And occasionally when we are not blaming the people around us or the world for our struggles we look at ourselves.  

"‘But... why am I this way?'  That question is a narcissistic defense.  It doesn't want an answer, it wants you to keep asking the question."

When I ask myself that question I either have no answer or, after painstaking contemplation, I see what has always been in front of me, what I have been too blind to see, the so-called answer.  For example, say you have no friends, i.e. no one likes you.  You could initially assume everyone is just awful and you wouldn't want to be friends with hypocrites and sycophants anyway, but after you get past that rationalization, you realize, "Well maybe I'm part of the problem." (Hint: you are always the problem.)  

So you ask the question: "Why am I this way?"  Maybe you don't know the answer, so you just keep asking the question over and over in your head. In the meantime, nothing in your life actually changes, and, of course, no one likes you any more than they did before you asked the question.  Maybe you know the answer, the answer being simply, "I am not nice to other people."  Okay, so now that I know the answer, I can fix the problem, right?  

"‘I'm a good person, I just am making bad choices.'  Wrong.  You're not a good person until you make good choices.  Until then you are chaos.  And you know it."

Substitute in, "I can actually have friends; I just need to be nice to people," and you have the mental trap.  All of this is theoretical - conjecture - a one-way dialogue in your head that comes before action - that precludes action.  It makes you think you have accomplished something, when you haven't.  You may think and feel as if you changed, but nothing has changed; you still have no friends.  

This process goes through our head both consciously and unconsciously.  The conscious process is the rationalizations, the hypotheticals, the planning, and the daydreaming.  All these things are synonyms for the greater process going on: inaction.  We think about change but we don't actually change.  The only thing that changes things is action, and what you've been doing is self-gratification.  

I think when people do this, a part of them knows they're doing this and wants to do something about it.  They want to change, be a better person, but it's so hard to change.  It's easier to blame others, easier to plan to be better, easier to tell yourself  that this time it will be different.  The only way for things to be to different is to take that first step, that first action.  It no longer becomes the hypothetical where you have played out every possible outcome in your head, it becomes the unknowable consequence, the complete and utter darkness… 

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