Dr. Schadenfreude was wearing brown shoes today – with black socks and grey pants. I’m no fashionista, but I know that is just so wrong. I wondered if that fraying lace on his black shoes had finally broken. It always seems to happen when you’re at work. I had noticed one of my shoelaces getting a little worn. Maybe I could be proactive about a shoelace? Proactive about anything could be nice.
“Where did you go?”
The doctor’s voice had shaken me from my shoelace train of thought. “Um … What?”
He gave me one of his penetrating looks. “I lost you for a moment there. What were you thinking about?”
Fuck! Now what’n hell was I thinking about before the shoelace tangent? “I was thinking about when I cleaned my apartment. It had been a long time since I had cleaned. Yesterday I finally decided that I needed to clean.”
“And what made you decide to clean?”
It always makes me happy when he asks me a question and I have an answer right away. “I decided that my boys deserved to not live in filth when they’re with me.”
I felt like this seemed to be progress. I had found some motivation and gotten the job done. Surely he would tell me how great that was?
He typed some notes on his laptop, then delivered the death blow to that hope. “So your sons shouldn’t live in a dirty apartment, but you deserve to? You should just be happy with the filth? That’s all you deserve?”
FUCK! I hate when he does that! I’ll think I’ve done something good, and he shows me how it proves – yet again – that I have no self-worth. I said the only thing that came to mind as a response. “Shit!”
He followed up. “So when you cleaned the apartment, what did you think?”
“I was happy with myself for getting the job done. But of course, then I gave myself shit for not doing it sooner. It would have been a much easier job if I had done it on a regular basis, instead of leaving it until it was gross.”
He typed some more. “So you had just done a good thing, and your first instinct was to give yourself shit for not doing it more often? If one of your kids came home with a 95% on a test, would you give him shit for not doing that well on every test?”
I thought about that for a moment. “Shitty. I have all kinds of patience with the boys, and was patient with Brenda for years while she treated me poorly, but I’m an abusive prick to myself!”
He nodded. “And you’ll probably give yourself shit for that too.”
Busted. As soon as he said that, I made an effort to stop giving myself shit. I believe I’m what programmers would refer to as a ‘recursive’ shit-giver. I give myself shit for something, and then give myself shit for giving myself shit, etcetera, etcetera, until I’m just a swirl of shit.