Walking Around in My Wrongness

The only control is surrender. -Daily Om

Lately (my whole life?) I’ve been really struggling with my need to control everything- how I feel, how others feel, what happens next. I’m simultaneously hyper-aware that I logically cannot control these things while knowing that I am, indeed, feeling the strong need to be in control. I’m at that crux where I know a thing I’m doing doesn’t work for me/my life but I don’t know yet how not to do it.

I am very uncomfortable in the crux.

I’ve been a hiatus from therapy for a couple weeks. I left my last session feeling like I didn’t know what I wanted from our sessions. It was a rough hour where I spent a good deal of it avoiding my therapist’s eyes and emotionally beating myself up. I’m wrestling with a lot of internal stuff that I can’t eloquently explain. There are things about me, characteristics or faults, that work for me in certain circumstances but also bite me in the ass a lot of the time. Sometimes I get in an indignant rage saying: THIS IS WHO I AM! THE WORLD NEEDS PEOPLE LIKE ME! People who are not carefree, who don’t even understand that state of mind. People who will take the lead when everyone is faltering. People who will organize chaos. People who want to feel useful, not get the free ride. People with fierce loyalty and an unwavering sense of fairness. In many instances, I don’t mind these qualities in myself. Hell, sometimes I’m downright proud of them. But they also exhaust me. I put too much of myself into situations that don’t necessarily require it. I often feel under-appreciated and many times, unlovable.

I am extremely uncomfortable knowing people don’t like me or are unhappy with me. It’s a very triggering place that makes me feel small and all my shame comes bubbling up. I spent a good deal of my childhood wondering what I did wrong. When I couldn’t come up with an answer from any adults, I assumed that just being me was the problem. Did you hear that? BEING ME WAS WHAT MADE ME WRONG. That’s a hell of a pill for a kid to swallow. And yet, I did. I made the pill and I swallowed it whole.

So here I am, on the precipice of turning forty, and I’m still feeling that wrongness about myself. I can name multiple situations just this week where my feelings of shame and wrongness have overtaken me. Old stuff, new situations- doesn’t matter. I can and do let them all walk over me. Oh I talked too much about my wedding and hurt people’s feelings who were not invited (I was called self-absorbed, among other things) so I felt (still feel!) like I did something wrong by finally being happy. Oh I showed up for my dance studio trade shift to find a new crew member was there to do my job so I was left with no work and feeling like I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t wanted. Oh I saw something about an ex on line that made me question everything he’d put me through for years so I felt like a chump, a fool, and easily forgotten. There are deeper stories to all of these but I’m afraid to share them in detail. You know, because I’ve convinced myself I’m so wrong.

I’m in a beat up place, you guys. I’m a total hard ass so I don’t expect I’ll ease up on myself very readily. But I needed to say this aloud, with witnesses. I walk around in my wrongness and that’s just wrong.


27 thoughts on “Walking Around in My Wrongness

  1. You know my feelings on such matters. People are not worth taking away your joy and feelings of self worth. Easier said than done but in hindsight as you get older, you do truly wonder why you let selfish people get in the way of living a life of truth and acceptance.

  2. I wish there was more I could do to ease your anxiety about all this. I know it’s not enough to say don’t beat yourself up about everything and try to move on from things that truly are not your fault and are not worth your time. Always easier said than done. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of mentally saying it to yourself until you start feeling it.

    Also it doesn’t matter what age you are. I’m almost 34 and I feel the same way about a lot of the stuff you explain in this post. I think what helps me is that I just don’t have room emotionally to care much about some stuff anymore so I let it go, forget about it.

    Just remember, life is too short, friend. It’s too damn short. Focus on all the good in your life – Mr. Darcy, your nephew, your family, your friends. That’s what really matters. Everything will be ok. I promise!

  3. As I was reading this post, a mantra came to mind. One that a complete stranger yelled at me as I was running up the final hill of a marathon. He kept shouting over and over again, “DON’T LET THE HILL BEAT YOU. BEAT THE HILL.” And I can’t help but to think that you need to hear this, too. Don’t let your wrongness walk beat you; beat the wrongness walk! (Or something like that.) Ever since I started reading this blog, you’ve clearly and often eloquently written about how much work it takes for you to feel comfortable in this world, with yourself and to be happy. Don’t give up, Sizzle, you’re such a wonderful person; you’re worth the work. And you deserve to be happy.

  4. I’ll be 35 in a few months and in a similar space. I, too, always felt like the problems in my family growing up were my fault. My parents dysfunctional marriage and the way they didn’t protect me and my siblings from it, ALL MY FAULT. I’m the scapegoat. But I am tired of beating myself up about everything and I’m desperately trying to figure out my way through it all. It isn’t easier but I keep going because I have hope that I can heal these wounds and there will be a much better life for me on the other side. I wish that for you, too. One breath at a time, I wish for many rays of healing light to fill you and help you find peace.

  5. I am pretty bad at beating myself up for the past. I mean, years later I can still allow myself to feel stupid for something I said that no one else probably remembers. What I tell myself now, and what really works, is practice. You don’t have to change it all. You don’t have to be wrong and then also be wrong about how you feel on top of it all at once. Just give yourself one thing. Just try out letting one thing go, or doing one thing you wouldn’t normally do.

    Can you let yourself practice not feeling wrong about just one thing you think should be different or “better”, even if just for a day? That is how it starts, I think. And the good thing about practice is a) you just tell yourself “I’m practicing” any time it starts to feel wrong, and b) there is no deadline in practice. We practice forever. So there is no reason to not try, just like with anything we don’t already know how to do.

    I practice forgiving myself for past things I’ve said or done probably two dozen times a week. It is working, because I know there are things I’ve moved on from, forgotten. Is it everything? No. But it is something. The load can and will get a little lighter, and we don’t have to be a totally different person in order to live differently.

  6. You know what? The world DOES need people like you … people who give an actual shit. And there is nothing wrong with being you. Nope. But I understand what you’re saying and how it’s hard to let up on yourself, one control freak to another. xo

  7. Maybe it makes you feel better to know that not only people with “baggage from the past” feel this way. I have a lot of the same feelings often, because I want to fix the world and feel very out of control not being able to do so…. as Nilsa said, you’re definitely worth the work. You’re such a lovely, caring person. Don’t give up quite yet.

  8. I know how you feel. When I first moved here (to Portland) I had several people rally against me for no other reason than who I was dating. At the same time they acted like friends and when the shit hit the fan and they literally tried to force me out of town (yeah that happened) I was left wondering why everyone hates me and how come I was such an awful person. It took me years to fully let that go (and I honestly don’t know if I have as I haven’t really made friends here) and realize it wasn’t me. Now other stuff has happened and I’m really feeling down on myself. So our situations are different but I understand where you’re coming from.

    Just know that it’s not you who is wrong. A guy like Mr. Darcy wouldn’t love you so if you were wrong. You wouldn’t have such great friends if you were wrong. You are right in so many ways and we all heart you lady. (Besides you are one of a special few who get to sit in Vahid’s lap, right? :))

  9. Yeah. I get you. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. I have some similar issues, and I have good days and bad days. Today is a goodish day so I can say this to you: there is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect in your imperfection. A lot of people are just assholes.

    It’s difficult on a daily basis to discern real criticism that can lead to personal growth and the noise generated by asshats. There is nothing wrong with you. You are smart and beautiful and amazing. You give of yourself more than you should.

    You never have to change anything about yourself to be worthy of love and respect. You deserve love and respect just because you are.

    A lot of people are just assholes, and their goal in life to make other people feel as hopeless and worthless as they feel. They’re assholes. You are wonderful and perfect just as you are.

  10. First of all, forgive yourself for having these thoughts that are weighing you down and remember they are born out of fear (I’d guess it’s your fear of not being liked). Then, visualize taking these events you are dwelling on, putting them in a box and giving them a proper burial. This should help you feel better.

    My next piece of advice would be to try not to build walls around yourself. From what I’ve read (here and on Twitter), you seem to retreat from talking things out with people (again, probably out of fear that they won’t like you). Remember, we are all the same. We are all love deep down. Try talking to someone before reacting in a way you may regret (like walking out of the dance studio). Keep yourself open to listening and seek to understand.

    My last thoughts are about the comments that say you did nothing wrong and that everyone else is an asshole. This is victim thinking: you are right, everyone else is wrong and the world is against you. Nothing good ever comes from that train of thought. Everyone does something “wrong” every day, but that doesn’t mean we are assholes. We are all one.


  11. You know, dude, that character defects are just survival skills that have stopped working, and I know you. You are awesome and persistent and you will figure out what works for you. And I will help by burying any bodies that may need burying.

  12. Time to get all Brene Brown up in here. I believe her books would be very very beneficial to you. Have you read any yet?

    Lets chat about differentiation next time I see you too.

    I love your face. I love you’d truthfulness and rawness.

    Like Kaply said, you are going to work things out. And the best news is that feelings aren’t permanent. There is no way you just stay still in this place.

    Emotional love being sent you way.

  13. There was a lot here I could relate to. I never put two and two together–hosting social events stress me out really bad because I worry about everyone being happy and can’t enjoy myself. But I never thought about the fact it’s a control issue. My anxiety has spiked horribly and I have issues now with various forms of transit. It all started when P lost his job because I want to fix it and I have NO control over the situation.
    And I believe the world DOES need people like us. Maybe I’m deluded in my own need for control, but I often joke that if I were more like P, we’d never get out of the house. 🙂
    I’ve been going to therapy since I was 16 and I don’t think I can ever change the core of who I am. Ever. But I can learn to adapt, to forgive myself, and to change uncomfortable habits when possible.
    I was just thinking the other day how wonderful it is that I’ve NEVER MET YOU and I am quite certain in the same city, we’d be buds. So much so that I wanted to fix you up with my now-sweetheart! Obviously you must be pretty amazing to meet MY high standards. 😉

  14. Hello, my love. It’m grateful that part of your working-it-out process involves writing about it here. I like hearing where you’re at, and I learn about myself when you do this. Thank you.

    I love you and hate that you, me, we all have this kind of baggage that we shouldn’t have to carry and that’s so fucking hard to shed. You are working it out right now, in this, in other ways, as you type and think and walk, laugh, dance; you are working it out. I know this about you. And I believe in you.

    It seems like some things that are totally not associated have gotten tied together. I love the guy up there that commented on the victim thinking (although that other advice isn’t my thing). The world does need leaders. Right on. But not control freaks. (Not saying that you are or aren’t one – it’s irrelevant.) And people who say, “fuck them – control freaks are awesome” or some such aren’t helping and aren’t trying to help. They’re trying to soothe themselves back into a place of numbness. That’s that “nothing is personal” thing that is so hard for me to remember, but I believe that’s what that is. You wake shit up for other people by your intense authenticity and vulnerability, and I love that about you. But, and I know you know this, any version of, “You’re perfect, don’t change” is bullshit. It’s nicer bullshit than teaching you that your existence is wrong, but they’re both still bullshit.

    Indignant rage and “This is who I am!” are both red flags when I become aware that I’m experiencing them. And it strikes me that you saying “this is who I am” isn’t about leading or controlling but, at a deeper level, about the wrong-ness. And that isn’t who you are. I think it’s a shame to tie those together. You are not wrong. And also, if you are a control freak, you’ve gotta figure that shit out because that’s a problem. But I think those two statements/issues are unrelated. You’re not right or wrong because you are or aren’t taking charge. Irrelevant.

    I guess another reason I don’t appreciate the “It’s not your problem, it’s theirs” is because when a person experiences the kind of dilemma you are experiencing, I think it’s because you’re getting closer to the truth. Closer to honesty, to seeing character defects for what they are, true vulnerability, which is true self-acceptance, and that kind of codependent victim shit lulls you (read: me) away from it. It gets me back to, “But this is just me/This is who I am!” Not a good place for me to go back to.

    Ramble, ramble. Anyway, that’s what I think. Not sure if it makes sense. This whole comment is, of course, about me and not you. 🙂 But I thought I’d tell you my thoughts. I wish I was doing that over yummy Indian food and wine at Jenny’s. Ah, maybe sometime again soon. I love you, and I hate knowing you’re in such a difficult place with this. And I think I really fucking get it. You’re a hell of a lot further than I am with this one. I’m deeply impressed and proud of you for continuing to work it out, and I learn from your process. Thank you, my friend. xoxo

  15. It’s impossible to be everything to everyone, and you’ll just wear yourself down trying to do so. Just be you, and be your best you, and if people aren’t on board with that, well, science says those people are probably just petty assholes anyway. It’s true! I have the textbook right here on my desk.

  16. I’m finding more and more that a lot of times when people either rub me the wrong way or upset me, it’s more about their stuff than it is mine. Or that they’ve just hit a chink in my armor. The example you gave about talking about your wedding in front of people who weren’t invited…I really do feel like that’s their issue – not yours. You’re not wrong. I would tell you to sit down and make a list of all your rightness, because there’s a ton of it.

  17. I am so sorry you’re feeling this way. I’m working through some similar issues with my therapist right now and trying to teach myself that I need to exercise the same compassion I have for other people for MYSELF. Compassion is a good thing.

  18. Feeling this way sucks. I hope you manage to work through it. I find that just saying you feel that way can often lessen it so I think this post is great for you and your sanity 🙂

    My husband tells me all the time that I’m too hard on myself. Meh, it’s just the way I am. It makes for a difficult time when I’m really beating myself up but it quietens again. I grew up thinking everyone was this way lol.

  19. I don’t have much to say as it’s all pretty much been said by people before me, but I’ll throw my 2 cents in. I’m only a touch younger than you and I had a different start so I feel older than my 37 years.
    I am probably about as opposite as can be on the point of worrying about what people think, I perhaps care too little what others think of me or my actions. Neither here nor there at this time.
    I have two little bits of advice first, f*ck ’em and I mean it in the nicest way, but seriously if someone else feels so bad about their life they have to make a pissy comment about your BEAUTIFUL wedding and the TEENY TINY little bit you talked about it, then they do not deserve one second of your time to process their sad little world. Only someone who is sad and unhappy and jealous would say some crap like what you alluded to and they were just trying to make someone else as miserable as they are so f*ck ’em.
    Secondly, shit happens and you have to be able to let it go. I love my hubs and my family, dogs and I would bend over backwards for them. The rest of the planet well I wish them well but I got me and mine to worry about. Things will happen and you have to be able to just let it go. I know, I know easier said than done but I’ve found it to be helpful. I read “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama A LOT and it helps me deal…..but really life is short, enjoy your time here and don’t sweat the small stuff…

  20. I don’t have anything to add – you have very good friends/commenters. Just wanted to let you know I hope for good things for you.

  21. If it is advice you were after, well you got some. As for me, I’d simply state here and now that you are obviously an amazing young woman, a fine writer, and brave to share your innermost feelings so openly in this very public format. I too hope for good things for you, for an easing of the feelings of wrongness or for the ability to let those feelings “be” without having to act or react in any way….

    Intentions declared for more waves of calm forming out of a sea of love to move back in to the center of your experience. Waves of calm, sea of love…..

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