Friday, February 24, 2012

Integrity

My therapist asks me just about every session how I built such a strong sense of integrity.  Just for shits and giggles:

in·teg·ri·ty/inˈtegritē/

Noun:
  1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
  2. The state of being whole and undivided: "territorial integrity".

I fuck up.  I try to be very clear with myself about how and where I fucked up.  My problem is more on the end of taking too much responsibility.  I am brutally honest, even with myself; I hope.  One of my biggest character flaws this lifetime is the degree of anger I feel when someone else is dishonest.  It is very hard for me to maintain respect for someone who is dishonest.  If I can't trust what you say to me I have very little use for you.  Contempt.  That is really the word.  I am contemptuous of people who are dishonest.  Also for shits and giggles:

con·tempt/kənˈtem(p)t/

Noun:
  1. The feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn.
  2. Disregard for something that should be taken into account.

Hm.  That's a rather strong word.  Scorn, sure.  Disregard, sure.  If I am not going to get an honest answer to a question I shouldn't waste my time asking questions.  If I am going to be told something that is fairly obviously your interpretation of what you think I want to hear and not what you will do?  Oh, yes.  Contempt is the word.

I feel like this is a flaw in me.  Liars are lying for a reason.  They feel they have to.  They are compulsive.  They grew up with addicts and they know no other way.  That is the best explanation I can come up with for my sister.  She knows no other way.  She lies constantly.  She lies about everything.  And I think she is a piece of shit for it.  I wouldn't trust my sister if she described the weather.  This contempt is hard.  It wears me down.  I feel torn between this desire to blow up with anger because otherwise I won't have the strength and energy to shove her away hard enough before she hurts me again and this intensely cold feeling.  In order to not waste energy on you I need to think you are beneath my notice.

But that hurts my heart.  I don't want to feel that way about anyone, not even my sister.  Then it comes back to integrity again.  Integrity is not just about honesty, it is about moral uprightness.  I do not feel upright.  I am letting my anger dominate the conversation.  That's not very useful.  I can't think of anything I want that is going to be achieved this way.

Moral uprightness.  What does that even mean?  I suppose it is strongly tied to whether or not I feel I can look myself in the mirror.  What am I doing and why?  I can't let liars set the terms of truth.  If I do that then I have no ability to be morally upright because the system is screwed from the get-go.  I know my truth.  I will be far more likely to be able to communicate my truth if I feel like I actually get to have it.  The only one who can grant (or not) my right to set terms of truth is me.  I keep forgetting that.  I keep thinking that other people get to set the rules.  I need to stop doing that.  I need to stop letting anyone decide reality for me.

I have been.  I have been taking on the crazy role.  The unstable role.  The angry role.  I am certainly comfortable here.  I am angry pretty frequently.

I want to learn how to master this.  Part of the reason I get so angry is I come up against my truth being contradicted by someone else's truth.  I have a hard time not taking that personally.  My tendency is to assume that I am wrong and bad because that is what I was told over and over again.  I cried in therapy last night as I repeated the ranting in my head.  My therapist asked me who I was hearing in my head; I told her my mother.  If there is a difference in the reality I am experiencing and the reality someone else is experiencing that must be because I am a crazy bitch.  I'm being ridiculous or lying or or or.

These little conflicts set me off.  I don't notice my boundaries until someone has crossed me and I want to take their fucking head off.  The only way I can avoid getting this angry at someone who is dishonest is to stop considering what they say.  I can't listen to a liar and not get angry.  I don't know how to have active compassion in the moment that this person is telling me what they hope will happen if everything works out and the planets are perfectly in alignment.

My set of reactions give people the right to put me in a nice, neat, easy to dismiss box.  I am so unstable that there must not be validity to my claims.  I cling to excessive honesty because otherwise I have no leg to stand on.  Why would anyone believe a piece of shit like me?  I am not an upstanding member of a community, never have been and probably never will be.  I'd have to show up for longer than I have the nerve to be near people.  I am a coward.  I am just waiting for the next witch hunt.  I am angry because the best defense is a good offense.  If people are treating me badly my only hope is to hurt them bad enough that they can't keep hurting me.

This does not make for stable relationships.  Or moral uprightness.  This is no longer working for me.  When I look forward I don't want to see how disrupted my life will be through continual blow ups.  How can I get to the point of having enough regard for myself to defend my boundaries long before I need to blow up?  I'm not sure.  I think this will be one of my lifelong tasks.  I want to feel like my boundaries are where they are for well considered reasons and it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or feels.  I know I am right.  Be sure you're right and go ahead.

This is not going to be easy.

It's not just about honesty.  Honesty is the easy part.  Moral uprightness.  How many excuses do I allow myself on this path?  The people I had sex with before I was ten... I get a pass on being the aggressor, right?  It's not like this moral uprightness thing is something where you have a black mark and you are done.  Everyone fails.  Everyone falls.  I absolutely have to believe that moral uprightness is about always striving forward.  It's not about what I have done long ago.  It is about what I did yesterday and what I am doing today and what I will do tomorrow.

I worry so about being good.  Lately it haunts me that speaking my truth invites pain.  I am inviting people to argue with me and tell me that my life story is unrealistic.  Dear god.  Not that line again.  It'll be fine.  I'm a big scary mean nasty person.  People are afraid of me.  What do I have to be afraid of?  What do the monsters fear?  I dare you to go tell a monster that (s)he is a bad person; I double dog dare you.  They will all protest their innocence!  They are just trying to live!

I have no high horse to sit on.  How could anyone or anything be beneath a child of the gutter?  It feels like I don't even have the right to disregard someone.  It is disrespectful and girls like musn't be disrespectful.  No no no.  We must always pretend to be nice.

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