“If you tell a man is worthless enough times, he will believe it & become that.”
It’s Monday, which means more gems of awesomeness from my favourite class!
The self-fulfilling prophecy is so sad, because it doesn’t have to be that way, you’ve just been conditioned (either by yourself or someone else) to believe its true.
I so rarely discuss personal events in my life, because my life is boring. But I relate to this so much, that I’m going to open up my weird psyche. Maybe you’ve been there too, or you’ll know why I’m in therapy. But I digress.
I grew up in a world where everything was my fault. EVERYTHING. If something happened in the first foster home I lived in, it was me, even if I didn’t do it. I was just a liar. I was always too demanding, too selfish, too needy, frigid, cold, never good enough, easily replaced. So, because of this I became…nice. The more times I was blamed for someone’s childhood trauma, depression or friend’s inability to get their life together, the nicer I got. I genuinely believed that if I was just nicer, people would be nice back. I never stood up for myself (I still don’t) & if someone has done something that should piss me off & they get defensive, I’ll just back down & try to make them feel better. If someone is angry with me, I’ll bend over backwards to be nicer to them so they’ll stop being angry. I can’t help it, the fear of rage, of being that Mighty Morphin Failure Ranger cripples me. I have to fix it. I’ll cry, beg, because I don’t want to feel replaceable like the people who blamed me told me I was. The silent treatment makes me feel smaller than small, to the point where I’ll do anything to make that person talk to me, even if they’re saying hateful things, because at least then they’re acknowledging I’m alive. I knew I needed to get out of my marriage when I welcomed being shoved into the wall & screamed at, because he was talking to me. The rest of the time, it was video games, books, anything but me. I was silenced & would gravitate to my bedroom, where I would feel invisible, replaceable…alone.
People ask how I became strong while retaining that stupid nice part of me. The answer is that I had no choice. My basic human instinct is to fight (as opposed to flight) & I refuse to let the world rob me of my basic humanity. I know how it feels to be made to feel subhuman, invisible, & broken & I don’t want to make a human being feel that way. So I’ll take their burden, make their guilt mine, rationalize their actions away & forgive them because it was likely my fault anyway. I’ll hold onto the good long after it seems like there is none because I don’t want to think I turned someone into a bad person. Isn’t conditioning fun?
This is why I empathize with people. Imagine being told your entire life that you are weak, no good, you don’t get a say, you’re pathetic. Then you meet someone who tells you that you’re amazing, you’re wonderful, the best thing that ever happened to them. You’re going to think they’re an idiot (I struggle with this. Whenever someone compliments me, I assume insults are coming). Chances are the minute things get confusing, you’re going to fall into old patterns “You’re just an asshole, be an asshole” or “Be nice, be nice, be nice.”You’ve fulfilled your own prophecy & likely destroyed the one thing you’ve always wanted. If we’re told something long enough, we embrace those traits instead of bucking them in favour of the good someone sees in us…or we know we’re capable of. We as humans hold onto the thing that we’re told the most. I was told I wasn’t important, could be replaced with a new friend/wife/foster child & life would be better. So, I do nice things so that I seem important, so that I feel like I matter.
If you’ve been told you’re an asshole by everyone you value, you will likely be an asshole & hurt people because its what’s expected, even though the people you hurt are the ones who didn’t think you were an asshole. If you’re conditioned to believe that you come from a thug culture, you will embody those characteristics. If you’ve been controlled, you will control the person you love, prey on their weaknesses & maintain that power because you NEED to feel like you have some in your life. You can only shuck them with positivity & belief in yourself. It’s why I write so many positive & uplifting lessons here. I figure there are others who feel trapped by negativity & want to read happy things. There’s enough negativity.
We’ve all been conditioned to be something. Maybe we should condition ourselves. Stop thinking the people who think we’re amazing are just stupid. Stop accepting that it just is. Strive to be the person you could be, not what you’ve been led to believe you are. You’re not just an asshole, you’re probably really great, just made some mistakes & the right people will always love & forgive you. Maybe you’re not a thug, maybe you just like hip hop & live in the wrong part of town. Maybe you’ll end up a doctor. Maybe you don’t need to control that person. Maybe you just need to let them love you instead of forcing them to feel the things you want them to, prove to you what they’ll do for you & accept that you are wanted. I need to learn I’m not replaceable & I can be nice as well as assertive. But there is good in you & you deserve to have the good things that come with that goodness. So, listen to the people who say you are good, ignore the old voices that say you suck & become the person you were meant to be.