Dancing to the Self-Loathing Tango

Reading Time: 4 mins

Or How I Always Kill My Darlings…

What a Week!

As I stated in my post last Sunday, this week I have been stepping up for my manager.

It’s been a tiring and challenging week, but I have the pleasure of being able to say it went surprisingly well.

As a team, we’ve had very little of our normal workload in, so for a lot of the week I spent my time directing people to complete the less central tasks.

I’ve had last-minute stats requests from our senior manager and challenging phone calls to support my team with, all whilst picking up the top-level duties which Becky would usually deal with.

With so much to do, I was in a manic, busy bliss for the whole week. My adrenaline was up, I was sharp-minded and, most importantly, I managed to cope with the responsibility.

The feedback I got from my team, the other managers and the senior manager was glowing.

I was told I was “a manager in waiting” and that I’d “brought my A-game”. I can’t believe just how positive I was throughout the week.

In all honesty, writing about the success of the week makes me feel icky and wrong – like I’m gloating, and my achievements have been all down to luck.

I don’t deal well with success. When praised, my brain automatically looks for the problem. Part of me is convinced other people are lying or just being nice.

How It Went Wrong

Is it any wonder, then, that I ended up down the rabbit-hole of disgust and self-loathing on Friday evening?

This is how it happened: Me and my husband were cuddling, enjoying our companionship and some gentle banter, when I made a playful remark, which my husband took as judgemental.

I felt him tense up and immediately said I was sorry. I hadn’t meant it to come out the way it had and didn’t mean for it to be hurtful. It did no good. I could tell he was more than hurt. He said nothing and pulled away from me.

At that point, my mind went into overdrive. I began thinking back on all the awful ways I felt I’d neglected him over the past week…

Hadn’t I logged on to work on several evenings, instead of being present with him?

Hadn’t he been so thoughtful on my birthday, and so supportive and loving when I had been doubting myself?

Christ, hasn’t he always been there for me to help me with my demons, when all I’ve done is make his life harder?

And wasn’t he the one who was hurt right now, whilst I was snivelling like a toddler???

And what would the weekend be like? How could I be so stupid and thoughtless and ruin not just our evening, but the lovely celebratory weekend we had planned?

Stupid. Callous. Evil. That’s all I could see myself as in that moment. So I kept saying sorry, and crying, and making everything worse. And then, knowing I was making it worse, I walked out for a cigarette and left him lying on the bed… probably wondering what the hell just happened.

Reflecting on the Process

In that moment, I hated myself so much I wanted to rip my own heart out.

The weird thing is, if my week had not been so positive, I probably wouldn’t have felt as bad as I did.

I think a lot of it was my ugly-brain’s way of saying “No, you cannot be happy, or successful, or good. Every happiness you have will always be taken away.”

Throughout my childhood, this was a common theme. I was made to feel wrong when I celebrated achievements and my mum would hold gifts over me like a noose.

I could have it, but there would be a price for it later.

Eventually I got so used to this that my brain could no longer cope with happiness. If no-one else took it away, my own anxiety and self-loathing would.

If I’ve been a good manager this week (my ugly-side argues) then I must have been a shitty wife. There has to be a trade-off for every bit of joy I steal.

Starting Again

Saturday morning, I woke up with enough serenity and peace to be able to start to untangle the threads of Friday evening’s woes.

After years of intense therapy, I can see the process occurring. I can pinpoint when it starts, how it starts, and what pieces of my life this process stems from.

I can’t stop it happening when I’m in it, but the fact that I can see it from afar means that there is some hope that I can quash it.

Today I feel more positive. I am still embarrassed and ashamed of upsetting my husband and annoyed by how I quickly I jumped in to dance once more with self-loathing.

Ultimately, though, I have enough distance that I can still feel grateful. I will be able to tell Becky that my week was a success, and I didn’t let her down.

And that small win is what I will focus on as I go into this week.

As ever, until the next post!

Bronwyn @ LBT x

Have you had similar experiences with achieving success or being happy? Any tips for coping with an anxiety peak? Leave us a comment below, or visit our contact page to get in touch!