You’re So Vain


Most of the bewilderment over what happened with the client has gone now, thank God. I had a really nice day yesterday with my friend and a friend of hers (wine-tasting!) so that helped boost my morale. If anything, perhaps it’s a good thing that I met a manipulative sociopath. It serves as a reminder that I’m really vulnerable, and need to be more serious about SLAA.

It’s great to be on vacation, but I’m looking forward to being home, and starting to meditate again, and attending the zen center. The seven weeks when I took the zen meditation class were perhaps the calmest weeks I’ve known in a long time. They gave me hope that things could get better.

Zen/meditation teaches me not to give myself a hard time and compare myself to others, and that’s something I’m really struggling with while hanging out with my friend. She’s so accomplished (just about to finish her PhD at a really prestigious university) and apparently has an infinite amount of energy to take on a million other tasks as well, and do everything brilliantly. She admits herself that her ability to multi-task and over-achieving personality allow her to avoid thinking about unpleasant things (e.g. she’s now forty-one but has never been able to trust a man again after breaking up with her fiancé about a decade ago), but, hell, I’d rather be her than me. I also don’t trust men, but, unlike her, I get fucking nothing done in life.

It also doesn’t help that my friend just doesn’t understand why I’m the way I am. I’m a talented singer, and writer, but I’m somehow never able to do anything with these talents. There’s just so much fear associated with creativity for me, but my friend doesn’t see that. She just sees that I’m not a “go-getter” like her, and I thinks she considers it to be a personal weakness. It makes me feel so bad that she sees me this way.

Being around her is making me panic about my future, which I wasn’t doing so much when I was meditating regularly. I was more readily able to accept the place I’m at in life right now, and not beat myself up about it. I’m not blaming my friend for any of this, by the way. Being around talented, accomplished people shouldn’t fill me with anxiety and self-loathing.

My friend is also amusingly blunt. I needed to talk about what had happened with the married sociopath, and she was very wiling to listen, and not judge (although she can’t relate at all). I’m very aware that I need to talk about my personal problems a lot with friends. I’m in so much mental anguish that it’s literally torture to keep them all bottled up inside. There comes a point, though, when I recognize that my “need to talk” has passed into the realms of obsession and total self-asborption. I asked my frlend if I was self-absorbed (um, I think having to ask that question in the first place means yes), and she said “Oh, yes, you’re the most self-absorbed person I’m friends with”. She did qualify that by saying that there were other more self-absorbed people out there but that she just would’t be friends with them. Ha!

I was amused by my friend’s honesty, but also horrified because who wants to be self-absorbed?! I can’t  stand self-absorbed people. This is partly why I don’t always enjoy going to SLAA meetings because addicts are notoriously self-absorbed. Imagine having to sit in a room filled with many other self-absorbed people!

I’ve been obsessing about being self-absorbed ever since my friend made that comment, and trying to find things about myself that are kind, compassionate and “other people focused”. This of course is highly ironic because only a self-absorbed person would spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about being self-asborbed, and trying to find proof that they’re not.

And only a really self-absorbed person would then write a blog post about the whole thing!

God, is there no end to this?! Will there ever be a time when I don’t obsess about myself and how unhappy I am?

Fellow addicts in recovery: is self-absorption just a personal character flaw in myself, or is it something common to all addicts? If so, does it ever go away?!

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8 thoughts on “You’re So Vain

  1. xul April 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm Reply

    I had the misfortune of getting involved with a sociopath some years ago. The experience brought me to the absolute rock bottom point in my life. It forced me to take a good, hard look at myself and see just how in the hell I could let myself be used so badly and how I could be so pathetic as to not see it happening.

    Now, I consider it to all be a blessing in a weird sort of way. It forced me to do the introspection necessary to remake myself. It didn’t happen overnight, it took me several years, but I am now a much better and stronger person having done the self help necessary to get over many of the negative behaviors that I had and to uncover the roots of those behaviors. (I have you to thank for some of that. You “introduced” me to the term Borderline Personality Disorder some years ago on your other blog IIRC, and it led me to research the world of PD’s)

    I haven’t commented on your last few posts, but I haven’t missed a one. I can see that you are working things out in your own way. Don’t beat yourself up. Being better isn’t accomplished over-night. :hugs:

    • petrichoric April 26, 2013 at 4:36 pm Reply

      Aw, thanks, Xul. I think I remember that you mentioned something about having met a sociopath before. I’m sorry that it happened to you but, as you said, it was a blessing if it got you to a better place. That’s how I’m trying to think about the experience I just had.

  2. LazyBuddhist April 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm Reply

    I think when people start taking any kind of journey of healing — whether it be through recovery, therapy, or spirituality — go through a phase of intense self-absorption. Plus, I think it’s the natural inclination of writers in general. Does it ever go away? For myself, I can say it has lessened significantly (hence, the complete lack of blog material lately), yet, I still feel the need to have the outlet of my weekly meetings with my therapist where for 50 uninterrupted minutes I can talk about me me me. It’s a process.

    • petrichoric April 27, 2013 at 11:02 am Reply

      If being less absorbed means you don’t write as much, then I wish you would get really self-absorbed all of a sudden. I miss your blog posts! Plus, I don’t think your writing was self-absorbed at all actually. It was warm, funny and self-reflective, which is not at all the same thing as self-absorbed.

      I don’t know if my self-absorption has got anything to do with being on a journey of healing. I feel that I’ve been pretty self-absorbed for a long time really. 😦

  3. jimidcricket April 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm Reply

    is this blog about me?

    I couldn’t resist the joke… 🙂
    if the universe is infinite… does that mean wherever you are is the center?.. the core? why not make that center an aware and joyous center..

    you know, like with toffee and almond nugget?

  4. petrichoric April 27, 2013 at 11:04 am Reply

    The blog can be about you if you want it to be. 🙂

    Ha, I like the idea of the centre of my universe being filled with toffee and almond nugget. Mmmm.

  5. Pandora Viltis April 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm Reply

    I don’t think of you as self-absorbed. Something different. More like stuck in a rut that you’re trying to think your way out of and you’re surrounded by the walls of the rut. So everything all bounces back to what’s in the hole because you haven’t been able to get outside it. Or something. My analogy leaves a lot to be desired.

    • petrichoric May 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm Reply

      No, I like your analogy. I definitely feel stuck somehow, and I’m not sure how to get myself “unstuck”. I don’t think I’m classically self-absorbed in the sense that I do think about other people, and I don’t think I use people or situations for my own benefit, but I do spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about myself, and my own happiness or lack thereof. Not really sure how to stop doing that either. 😦

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