Personal Psychological Stuff Related to Overcoming Self-Sabotage

Ultimately each of us is accountable to OURSELVES. I’m not one to say that’s easy. I’m struggling right now JUST to get to a little bookstore in Alamosa, Colorado. Should be easy enough, right? But not all of our enemies are visible or external. What am I fighting for? The truth that I am a good writer and a good person and my books deserve attention. Self-sabotage is a real but insidious enemy, and the more engrained it is in a person’s psyche the more difficult it is to identify, root out, and defeat.

I hurt my foot again last night. It is now pretty much where it was when I first injured it. From the outside, this looks like a simple accident. On the superficial practical level it is. I have to treat it like a foot injured in an accident because that’s what it is. But thinking about when it first happened, I remember that it happened a few days before I was going to Denver to The Who concert and to see old friends, specifically a guy who was my first ever date. Even though we didn’t work out as boyfriend and girlfriend, he always remained in contact with me, keeping me in his sight over the years. We are good friends.

My mother hated him. Until she died, she blamed Ron for everything that went wrong with my brother. Seriously. And why? Because the three of shared a joint once.

Going to Denver to see The Who and visit Ron and his wife? What’s wrong with that? Nothing, but…

I initially sprained my foot on NOTHING. A flat, easy trail. I was wearing the right footwear. I wasn’t running. It is something that should NOT have happened. The re-injuries should not have happened, either. Yesterday I was thinking about it. This whole summer was filled with physical pain of one kind or another culminating in the foot. As Freud said, “Sometimes a foot is just a foot,” but sometimes it’s also a metaphor for liberty and motion.

It’s like there is another “Martha” inside me, and right now she’s fighting against the REAL Martha. She’s scared of trying, of achieving, of being who she really is because if she DOES do those things, Mom will not like it, and the shit will hit the fan. “Don’t show off.” “Nobody likes a know-it-all.” “They don’t know the REAL you. I do.” “I don’t care what you want.” “Why did you do that?” (Smack) “Art is a four letter word in this house.” “You might be a writer, but you don’t have anything to say.” “You’re the lowest form of human life.”

Interestingly, during lunch, Ron came out with a “mom” quote that I found both disturbing and enlightening. She was OBVIOUS to others and unforgettable.

The China book. I came home from China with all kinds of stories and a trunk filled with presents for everyone. What I got was, “I don’t want to hear about China. I didn’t want you to go in the first place.” That was that. Baby Duck brought all of this up into my sub-conscious mind where mom and that little girl still, apparently, live. All of it. It’s almost as if writing that book was the ultimate act of defiance. So…I re-injured my foot the first time the day after I’d contacted the store about an event. I re-injured it AGAIN the day my picture and my book appeared on the front page of the paper. I re-injured it again last night, walking with my cane through a lit living room, to let the dogs out to pee. This was after doing an interview with the local radio station.

All the obvious and usual methods for getting me to turn back from something that belongs to me didn’t work. So Little Martha has resorted to some dark and sinister maneuvers like spraining my foot on absolutely fucking nothing.

How do we exorcise these demons? I know now that’s what I’m doing. I feel that if I can make it through tomorrow I will have made significant headway against the small, scared, self-sabotaging Martha who lives deep inside my psyche. That poor thing. She just wants to be loved, but she is so warped.

So, last night, after I returned to bed and attempted to find a way to raise my foot while I lay on my side, a bit of Bible verse floated through my mind. “He shall bruise your heel.” I knew that wasn’t quite right, but …

I looked it up this morning. You can’t be raised on the Bible without it having resonance for you even after you are no longer exactly a Christian and are a Panenetheist (which doesn’t leave out anything). Here are Adam and Eve in Paradise and here comes the serpent, tempting, and evil. Truly fucking evil (which, oddly, many people don’t believe really exists — but I do).

God is speaking to Satan. He says,

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He (Man) shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise his heel.” Gen. 3:14-15 KJV

I feel as if someone wise just said to me, “I didn’t say it would be easy or painless, but I’m proud of you. Don’t give up.” All these things we carry in our deep selves. It’s not only that others are a mystery to us. We are often a mystery to ourselves. Thank goodness I’m surrounded by loving friends in a beautiful place where I can learn and grow as human being.

Interesting article on self-sabotaging behavior if you’re interested.

21 thoughts on “Personal Psychological Stuff Related to Overcoming Self-Sabotage

  1. All of what you have said is real! But you got through last year’s hip surgery with grit and determination. Is it time to don a boot and some determination to get to Alamosa? Of course it is — you have published several books and can sell them at the signing. You can then praise yourself for your good work, your grit and determination, and your success!

  2. I have no doubt you will make it through tomorrow, but dammit about your foot, Martha. ‘Hell with everything else, you will do this because you can. No doubt in my mind. I would say ‘break a leg’ but you take things so literally….. 🙂

  3. Your ability to “see” what’s really going on means you’re already miles ahead in putting it all to rest, behind you. Once again, I completely relate. Onward, one step at a time, relentless forward progress.

  4. You’ve brought up the foot again and I can no longer hold back. I am a huge fan of zero-drop shoes and the thought behind them. Lems is the only brand I’ve worn so far, and that was for casually walking around. I believe you’ve mentioned hiking boots and trail shoes in the past; have you looked into zero-drop footwear?

    • Back in the day I had Earth Shoes and normally I wear Birkenstocks. I think most of my shoes incline in that direction. But I will look at the new stuff! Great idea!

  5. Triggers of old awfulness can derail life in the present – I totally get that and empathize. I admire your ability to recognize and name it. To me that’s at least half the battle. But it still sucks.

  6. I love this post mostly because I always look for those messages from my soul/the universe too. I think they give a life an anchor and prove it isn’t just all random. Thank you for sharing your examined life and never being afraid to be vulnerable.

    • Thank you, Cara. This has been a huge learning experience for me and a very liberating one. I think we have a lot of knowledge buried in there that we just don’t always have access to for one reason or another. I like finding it. ❤

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