Guilt Complex

The hardest thing for me to remember is that my guilt complex issues forth from my own fucking mind. The thing is, if I feel guilty for being who and what I am, that must mean that someone somewhere has acted as a judge and declared me guilty. But who is this judge? Surely it must be me, since this is something happening within my own psyche. But if I am the judge, what provoked me toward the guilty verdict rather than an innocent one? What is the evidence against me? There is none, only that which I’ve fabricated based on my erroneous perceptions of myself. How do I know they’re erroneous? Because no one’s as awful as my mind tries to convince me I am.

Since I am the judge and the jury, I could just as easily declare myself innocent rather than guilty. So why don’t I?

Sometimes it feels like I go through life just hating everything about who I am. I look in the mirror and I hate what I see. I hear myself talking and I hate how I sound. I put my hands on my body and I hate how I feel. And then, when I get upset and start crying about how much I hate myself, I hate myself even more for being such a pathetic piece of shit who cries about that kind of thing.

But it occurs to me that to hate myself this much is to expend an insane amount of energy. It takes a lot of energy to hate something that much. And yet the paradox is that, in my own fucked-up way, I’m a narcissist. An inverted narcissist, but a narcissist all the same. Whether it’s self-hate or self-love, to spend that much energy on yourself is the most narcissistic, indulgent form of self-decadence imaginable.

I’ve come to understand that pain feeds pain, and sorrow feeds sorrow. To wallow in something bad is to willingly cover yourself with it, when, if you were smart, you would just stand up and get out of whatever it is you’re wallowing in. In theory, that is the easiest thing to do in the whole world. In reality, it’s so difficult that almost no one can do it. People will live their entire lives sitting in this puddle of dark dysfunction all while knowing that getting up and getting out is as easy as just making the decision to do so. But barely anyone does. I don’t. And I’ve never understood why.

The bright side, if there even is one, is this: if pain feeds pain, then joy feeds joy. And if sorrow feeds sorrow, then happiness feeds happiness. Maybe it really is as easy as that. You just make the decision to stand up and leave.

And yet here I am, not moving.

I don’t see how anyone could love someone else without first learning how to love themselves. As Ayn Rand said in The Fountainhead, no one can say “I love you” without first being comfortable with the word “I.”

But there is a kind of “just inhibition” that kicks in when I think about loving myself. It’s like I start to feel totally guilty for even considering that I might be worth loving. It thus feels much safer and nobler to hate myself or to at least regard myself with as little respect as possible. But how can I ever give this thing—this fucked-up package that is me—to anyone else if I don’t believe it’s worth possessing? And how could I ever be free to let someone love me if I wouldn’t respect them for wanting to do so?

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