Monday, June 04, 2012

the erosion of a life

i have had opportunity to observe in recent weeks someone who i believe has had their happiness eroded away by living the wrong life. this results in what i can only characterize as a disease of negativity that infects every aspect of their behavior. every relationship, every interaction, every activity is permeated by negativity. which only serves to further isolate the person, because who wants to be around that?

i was talking to someone who referred to her (because of course it's a woman - it seems to me that men are much less likely to live the wrong life - tho' that's probably the stuff of a different blog post) as a person with no surplus. (it sounds better in danish - underskudsmenneske "deficit person" if i translate literally). it makes sense - a life full of small, petty frustrations, a lack of appreciation, stifled dreams, stymied ideas does wear you down and take away any surplus you might have otherwise had - surplus to let people be who they are, to do things their way, to have thoughts and ideas different than yours. when you lack a surplus you end up thinking it's just better to do everything yourself, since no one can do it the way you'd have them do it. there's no room for other people.

the person i observed walks as if it pains her a bit, shoulders rounded and hunched, as if she's protecting the last tiny shreds at the core of herself. she actually mumbles to herself nearly constantly, muttering complaints half under her breath and half audibly. she has occasional outbursts of anger that are bewildering for an observer to see how they could have arisen from the situation at hand. but it's because they don't. it's because, like a volcano, they are releases of an inner pressure based upon years and years of anger - perhaps at self, perhaps at others, probably a combination of both - and occasionally, they simply must erupt. 

fortunately, when i observed it yesterday, i was no longer in the throes of PMS-induced irritation, so i could observe, anthropologist-style and keep a cool-headed distance from all of the instructions i received in how to cut the sandwiches (i was obviously doing it wrong). yes, sandwiches were a source of unhappiness for this poor woman. at one point, i was filled with a kind of sorrow for her - because it must be horrible to live that way. we can all have bad days, but this definitely ran deeper than that. this was actually the result of a bad life.

i realize it's not entirely fair of me to say this, as i don't really know that much about this person's life.  but it seemed obvious to me, that the way life had worn at her edges, what happiness she may have once had was completely eroded away.

you wish you could take such a person by the shoulders, look deeply into her eyes and tell her to find a way to love herself. no matter what it takes. because the loathing of self and everything around her is so clearly not working. i wonder if on some level she can recognize it herself or if she's simply too far gone. i hope not, but i really don't know. i'd like to encourage her read this and this to see if helps.


celkalee said...

I suspect we have all known someone who, like this person, suffers. It might be one tragic event or a lifetime of smaller, cumulative events. That type of pain is a terrible thing, a hole in the soul so to speak and there are no magic pills.

To be our own best person, we must insulate ourselves from the negative vibes while attempting to see into the core of that person, to empathize and support. That does not mean that certain personal boundaries need to be compromised. But rather walk away and let her cut her own sandwiches.

will said...

We like words but there many things which defy description. Pain and pleasure are examples of such words.

I dare anyone to describe what either pain or pleasure feels like. Furthermore, once either of these sensations has passed, it’s also impossible to describe via memory the intensity of what ever happened.

I cannot describe, other than in simple picture words, physical or mental pains I’ve endured:

A person dying in my arms.

A thief pointing a gun at my head.

The pain of a shredded Achilles tendon and then imperfect healing.

Learning new behaviors based on painful stimuli? Yes.

Closure? There’s no such thing.

Others can sympathize, be kind, reach out a hand but the person who’s in pain is wearing very dark sunglasses.

Andi said...

I definitely know someone who this description fits. I have had to cut them from my life because I have a no-drama rule. Sad to say it is a family member of the closest kind, but I am determined to live a positive life and she just brings me down and at age 40 she will never change.

Unknown said...

It's really difficult to leave these people alone and not try to fix them. Was it Mark Twain who said "People are just about as happy as they want to be." I'm sorry for her and I think you care about her. I hope that caring seeps into one of her corners and makes her feel better.

Sammi said...

this is so sad to read, it is really hard to stop living the wrong life when you've gotten so far in. it's like you need someone to reach in and pull you out.

i feel really sorry for the poor person you're referring to.