Monday, November 27, 2006

The Stove

I'm going to go out on a limb a little, and say there's some sort of innate need within people to feel that our assholery is justified, while other people's assholery is just...assholery.

We can see it on a small scale in children, with their indignant, "But he hit me first!" and on a global scale with whole nations. I don't remember anything else about the reign of Archduke Ferdinand except that he was important enough to someone to plunge the whole world into a war.

"You killed our Archduke, we're coming after 20 million of you."

And I'll bet that felt appropriate at the time. I wonder if later, the leaders of Germany and Austria and whoever else was on the losing side of World War I used to lay in bed at night and say to themselves, "Oops. Maybe we overreacted a little."

Owning our assholery is tricky, in my opinion. There are two parts to it. There's an appropriate degree of ownership, in which we acknowledge the behaviors, and the feelings they caused in the lucky recipient. But then it's important to understand how we got there and as Two 'R' Lorri used to say...take a different road.

I know that it's easier for me to forget my anger because of my head injury. The exact nature of the event fades into the mist, and eventually disappears. Not resolved, but just...gone. The hard part, then, is to hang on long enough to find the lesson and not get back on the same road that got me there. Back in the old days, PHI (pre-head injury), I could feel the feelings, get over the anger, learn the lessons about avoiding toxic people and performing my own part in the dance, and stay off that particular road. Nowadays, I do well with steps one and two, but I forget about three and four. This invariably leads me back to the same places with their same toxicity. I get caught up in the same situations, and get to enjoy that same anger again and again. Sometimes it feels like Groundhog's Day.

My goal is to create a pathway in my brain to internalize the "The stove is hot. It's always hot. Stop touching it." message.


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