I read a friend's email the other night. He wrote, in a moment of disgust with general humanity, "I've learned that you can't trust any mutherfucker out there!!!" I wrote back, "Of course you can't trust mutherfuckers. They're mutherfuckers. Trust good people. They're harder to spot, though, so pay attention."
This exchange got me to thinking. It's been a busy month; I've been communicating with a lot of my brothers and sisters of circumstance about all sorts of bubbling crap that's been percolating in their lives. Like me before I grew a brain, they keep fumbling their way into scenarios of suffering. I know all about digging that hole deeper and deeper until you disappear into the familiar world of pain and hopelessness.
But therein lies the paradox. Why the hell do we do it? What is so attractive about hurting? Perhaps even more important, what is so attractive about people who hurt us so much? Why do we seek them out? Sure, there's the tried and true answer that the familiar is comfortable, that the known is less scary than the unknown, but I don't think that's all it is. I think the main thing is our need to be of use, in a variety of ways, to our tormentor. How many black-eyed battered wives have I talked to, who swear allegiance to the men behind the fists that wounded them? How many adult abuse victims have I listened to, who keep going back to vicious men and women whose personalities and habits resemble their incestuous parents? The reasoning seems to be the same, no matter the specifics: we are of use to the abuser. Our abusers are in need and we're sympathetic to their suffering. In our heads, we actually become heroes every time they hurt us. Whether it's physical, emotional or mental, we stick it out and give ourselves to them, like willing sacrifices at a holy altar. Here's how much I love you. Look at the swollen, bruised sight of me and know that no one else could ever give you this. I know I'm the only one who can help you with this need to harm. Don't be afraid. I'll never leave you. Someday, my bloody loyalty will finally heal you, make you happy. I'll be rewarded and you'll finally be purged.
So we stay. We let them take it out on us. We let them shatter our bones and break our spirits because we'd rather it be us than them. We recognize their weakness; we know that something wounded them in the past and they became violent or sadistic because of it. We also know that without us, they'd have no one. They're assholes, and we know they're assholes. No normal person would put up with them. But we were raised on abuse. We know the score, and we'd never allow them to be lonely. Besides, we hate ourselves anyway, and deserve the pain for letting our parents make us tainted in the first place. We welcome the chance to pay for that crime. If you think about it, we're really doing a noble thing.
That's the mindset of the insecurity addict.
Insecurity is like a forest fire. It has to be fed or it dies. I had a big fat flaming squatter of insecurity inside me for a long, long time. It's still there; noisy, needle-toothed and scalding, but much smaller than it was. Before, it ruled me. Now I boss it around, or at least douse it from time to time. Like any other addiction, insecurity can consume you, make you do wrong, make you harm yourself and others. You have to treat it like any other addiction, too. One day at a time. Change your mindset. It's slow, it's painful, it's irritating and humiliating, but it can be done. Become your own reward. Heal yourself and you'll be a much better hero than somebody with a split lip or broken spirit. There's so much love in the world, even if you don't believe in it. Open your heart and let it pour in.