Anger Management, Itching Management, and Shrinks

April 15, 2008

This morning was my third visit to my shrink.  What a cool person she is.  She’s very to-the-point, very professional.  As I talk, she looks at me and scribbles into her notepad.  It’s quite disconcerting, watching her watch me.  All the time her hand scrawls madly across the page, back and forth, as though it’s pet of some sort, lying on her lap and coloring in its coloring book while it waits for us to be done with our session.  I’ll say something and watch from the corner of my eye to see if she increases or decreases her scribble rate.  It’s unpredictable when she will find something of interest.  I’ll say something that I think is rather racy and will notice that she doesn’t write a thing.  And then I’ll say something rather innocuous and the beast will begin its coloring again.

Today we mainly talked about my itching, and whether life truly does exist after itching.  That question has been at the forefront of my thoughts lately.  Having slept on a sleeping bag and camping pad for the past few nights, I think I’m coming to the conclusion that the problem has not been bed bugs after all.  My mother claims to have had bed bugs when she was a little girl, living out in the boonies on the big island of Hawaii, no doubt in some shack with 10 other children and not much for parents.  I definitely don’t live in the boonies, and Mom says that bed bugs are visible creatures, not invisible.  So my current strategy is to stay in the sleeping bag even though I no longer believe it’s bed bugs, and cut out the 15 various vitamin and herbal things I take every day.  Maybe I’m allergic to something I’m ingesting.

It’s been quite an experience, watching the bumps appearing on my body, waking up in the middle of the night “GAAAK!!!  I’m scratching, DON’T SCRATCH!!”, and jerking my hand away from whatever insidious evil bump it’s been absent-mindedly scratching at while I’m dreaming away.

So….  my blog is consumed with my itching talk as well as my shrink sessions.

But back to my shrink.  The last time I talked with her, I mentioned how I start screaming at John when I get into these irrational fits of anger and how I make up a bunch of things to accuse him of just to make him feel belittled.  She said “well, just something to think about…  sometimes people do things like that because they know deep down that they’re wrong, but they NEED to win the argument, so they pull out non-issues or unrelated issues for the sole purpose of adding fuel to their side of the argument to guarantee that they will win. I’m not saying that you do that, I’m just saying, it’s something to think about.”

I went home and thought about it.  She was so right on the mark on that one.  That’s a revelation to me.  Maybe it’s not to everyone else in the world.  I’d never been able to figure out that one.  Why I pull out all manner of untrue accusations and resentments and throw them at John has been a behavior of mine that I’ve never really understood.   Like my shrink words it, it’s a “call to arms”.  The battle inside me has begun.  I’m mad, goddamned mad, fuckin’ pissed off to the max.  About what?  Well, usually about… well, stupid shit.  Like when I told John I wanted to have the weekend to work on my writing homework, and we ended up having an unavoidable social engagement.  I lost my precious writing time and I lost control over something that I had reserved for myself and planned on having for myself.  I was so inexplicably furious, that I was on the brink of exploding before I decided to come into my office and do my tai chi — which turned out to be amazingly successful at dissipating my anger.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t explain why my first and natural inclination was to stand in front of John and just let loose with the screaming about everything under the sun.

A couple of weekends ago something happened that put me in the exact same position.  I lost control over something where I discovered plans were getting made around me, without my knowledge.  I felt left out, pissed off, generally ready for a tantrum.  I told myself “ok, just focus on the thing that you’re pissed off about, don’t start bringing the entire universe into the picture.  If you want to be pissed off and furious, fine.  Just keep remembering to keep the subject of your anger confined to just this situation.”  I couldn’t believe how the very act of keeping my mind focused on just the thing I was angry about and not letting it go all over creation kept my anger under control.  I could have made the entire day really a nasty, unpleasant, hurtful, stressful one for both me and John.  But in the end, it turned out to be a stressful day for other reasons — reasons I’m happy to report that had nothing whatsoever to do with me.  I can look back on the whole experience and laugh at the ridiculousness of how I started off feeling like I was being left out, and it turns out a bunch of people were out of the loop that day.

Life is just one amazing perspective revelation after another.  We all think things revolve around us.  People are scheming just to piss us off.  We’re intentionally being left out of the loop.    I need to remember that probably 100% of the time that’s just not the case at all.

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3 Responses to “Anger Management, Itching Management, and Shrinks”

  1. Ned said

    My life has been relatively peaceful lately. A large part of it I think is due to the fact that I work nights, during prime time television. I hate television and my girl loves it. I hate the shallowness. The static in the air. It’s like nails on a chalk board.

    And because my life is peaceful, I’ve been wanting to start something. Find something wrong that isn’t going my way. The festering thought has been about Eckhart Tolle and Oprah. My girl ordered the book as soon as the title “A New Earth” dropped out of Oprah’s mouth. I’ve studied metaphysics since I was 12 and my girlfriend has never had a single conversation with me about the subject. At least not one where she in any way seemed to give a shit what I was saying.

    I was trying to figure out why *I* gave a shit. Was it that I was jealous of Mr. Tolle? Maybe a little. Was it that I’m with someone who isn’t exactly ‘on my level’? Yea, possibly, but that’s no revelation.

    I think the truth is that I wanted to instigate something, create some drama so that I could feel like I was in control. Even if being in control meant that everyone (including me) suffered for it.

    I think your itching and anger have something to do with each other. More than just a clever metaphor (and it is clever). Anger is all about control, much like pity. Maybe if you gave up control, the itching would go away. Give up your way for The Way.

    Keep in mind, I’m no shrink. I’m just some dude who reads your blog 😉

  2. Jane said

    I watch very little TV. The TV can be a huge time sink and pretty much suck up any time to get anything else done with ones life. The TV is mainly used for John’s sports and an occasional movie that we’ll watch together.

    The itching and the anger may be related, dunno. As I continue to flush out the anger, let’s see if the itching disappears 🙂

    P.S. I’m reading “The Power of Now” by Eckart Tolle and loving it, and I have “The New Earth”. I ordered them at the suggestion of a tai chi classmate. I haven’t started “The New Earth”, but everyone that I’ve read “The Power of Now” to hasn’t really cared for it (my mother-in-law and my husband), and yet I find that it really makes perfect sense to me. So I really think that he doesn’t speak to a lot of people and yet a lot of other people are mesmerized by him. So far I’m with your girlfriend. I’m looking forward to seeing what I think of “The New Earth”, which I’ll read when I’m done with “The Power of Now”

  3. Ned said

    I read some of the Power of Now. I like Be Here Now by Ram Das better. I think it wasn’t so much the book as it was me. There just wasn’t anything new there for me. I have this problem particularly in the metaphysics/eastern philosophy section of the bookstore.

    Did you mean the people who have read the power of now didn’t like a new earth? Or that most people didn’t like the power of now?

    As for my girlfriend, it doesn’t really have anything to do with her, Eckhart Tolle, Oprah or the Man in the Moon. It’s just me.

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