Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Becoming a bad person

Posted on: February 21, 2013

As time goes by, I get worse. I’ve become the kind of person I hate, and I can only see it getting worse. I feel like there’s just a scooped-out hollow where my heart used to be.

Today, I made my mother cry. I made her cry by saying something cold and heartless and bitchy and true. (She asked, “don’t you like me?” and I looked her straight in the eye and, with a small smile, replied “not much”.) Now she’s downstairs sobbing and all I can think is that I hope she quietens down; the noise is disturbing my peace and quiet.

This past week or so, she’s been in hospital. I know I should be ashamed to think this, but I’m not (or at least, not enough): my life was better when she wasn’t here. I got to sit with my dad and brother and watch football and drink beer, and not be told to act differently, because I’m “not ladylike”. I got to express opinions, without being told to shut up. Without being called stupid. I got to eat what I want without her disapproving glares. I got to watch programmes I like, without her talking and crying all the way through them. I got to sing and dance in the house, without being told off for being childish. I got to tell silly stories and jokes, and share snippets of my day, without being snapped at or belittled.

I felt calm. I felt peaceful. I felt relaxed in my own home. And then she came back, and everyone’s treading on eggshells. No-one can say anything without fear of being attacked. One minute she’s cloying and needy, trying to hug me, saying she loves me. The next minute she’s screaming at me to get out of her life.

It’s not that I want her to go back to hospital. I don’t want her to be ill. But it’s a basic fact of my life, it’s undeniable, that when she wasn’t here I felt so much more capable of living my life. I felt comfortable in my own skin, I felt happy, I felt relaxed. I know that one day she’ll probably die and I’ll be so ashamed of this, but it’s true. She makes my life harder. Most of the self-hatred in my head speaks with her voice.

She thinks she is in the right. She thinks everybody is attacking her. She can’t possibly be a bad person, because she’s ill. But I don’t think illness is an excuse for cruelty, is it? (I feel like a hypocrite. Maybe in my head I’m blaming my cruelty on the sharp turn my mood has taken, from elated to prickly and irritable. I think I’d say the same things if my mood was different, but if I accept that my moods are sometimes symptoms – and I meander in and out of that thought – then I suppose I’m in danger of believing that my actions are caused by my moods, and if my moods are symptoms then in some way my actions are justified. I don’t think this is true. I am trying to be honest and consistent and strong. This is easier in some moods than others. But if I regret saying the things I’ve said then I will regret them as my actions. I will take ownership of it. I can’t allow myself to turn into her, explaining every action with “you can’t understand, I’m like this because I’m ill”. Sometimes I feel like this is all my life is: desperately trying to not be her.)

I feel a little bit worried at my lack of sympathy. I don’t want to be cold and unfeeling. But I’ve had a lifetime of her (her self-obsession, her cruelty, her contradictions), and experience has burnt away much of my kindness and forgiveness. Guilt and responsibility and empathy and a desire to fix everything: these are the things that, I think, contributed to leading me into a very dark place. I’m not made for saving the world. For saving anyone or anything. I’ve become hard and cynical and impatient and uncaring.

I don’t know if I like who I am. But when I think of the alternative (of lying. Of saying, “of course I like you”, of hugging her back. Of changing who I am to please her, of joining in when she cries, of keeping silent when she says the awful things she likes to say in an attempt to make people feel bad), I feel sick.

1 Response to "Becoming a bad person"

I know the feeling.

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My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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