I’m surrounded by idiots. And narcissists. And rude people.
At least that’s the way it feels. When I get frustrated with life — as happens more often than I like to admit — I feel my internal pressure rising and I want to get as far away from humans as I can. I want to be a hermit.
But when I think about it with less fear and anger, I’m confused by the situations in which I find myself. I know the world is full of amazing people — those whose thinking and interests and curiosity are more like my own — but I rarely get to spend time with those people.
And why is it that I somehow end up spending so much time with people who help me recreate horrible old emotional dynamics from my past? Even people with perfectly good intentions can make me feel as though I’m struggling against my father’s oppressive control.
Why do I attract such people into my life — and somehow push away those with whom I would be happier?
Almost every day, I find myself running an internal script at some point that makes me feel like a child again. Do I put myself into such positions because the script is running? Or do I run the script because of the situations I somehow choose for myself?
I don’t know. I have vague theories — crackpot ideas might be a better way to put them — but I simply don’t know how this works.
When the script starts running, I feel something inside that makes me feel crazy. I feel so different from the people I’m around that I feel as though I’m either the only sane person in this place or else I’m the only crazy one. It’s impossible for me to be certain.
When that happens, I feel the need to run away from the people in my daily life. I have a strong need to insulate myself from dealing with those who aren’t very bright or who exhibit certain psychological issues which push my buttons.
I feel as though I’m looking at blue skies and everybody around me claims it’s green and that I’m looking at green trees and everybody claims they’re red. I feel as though I hear chaotic noise and they tell me it’s music — and then they dismiss the actual music which seems so obvious to me.
Up is down. Black is white. In is out. Good is bad.
Everything which seems so clear about reality to me is ignored or dismissed by those around me — and things which are obvious nonsense are treated as wisdom and perfect knowledge.
I started attracting such people early in life, especially in my work. Every time I’ve worked for others, I’ve encountered some variation of this theme. Every superior who I’ve somehow attracted into my life — a boss or employer — has seemed to somehow push these buttons. Even thought such situations play out in radically different ways, something about the dynamics of being subservient make me feel — again — as though I’m struggling for my own individual identity.
How is it that I so often surround myself by the sort of people I most need to avoid at all costs? Doing this somehow is what makes me feel crazy.
I suspect that certain patterns get imprinted on us — for good or bad — when we’re young and we end up recreating those patterns again and again.
Maybe it’s something the mind does with the assumption that whatever worked for the people we grew up with ought to work for us. Or maybe it’s more complex than that. Maybe something in us keeps recreating those old terrifying dynamics and we try to live them out in different ways this time. Maybe it’s as though we keep trying to play a game which turned out badly for us in the past — and we’re convinced we can somehow fix things this time.
In my gut, I believe things can be different, but I haven’t figured out how to make that change a reality.
I believe I can be surrounded in my work life by competent, creative and ethical people who want to achieve great things.
I believe I can spend time with friends who have interesting things to say and do — and who are curious about the world in the same way I am.
I believe I can have a partner who believes I’m worth loving and working with, someone who is emotionally healthy and loving and creative and wants to grow with me.
I know these things are possible. I’ve seen them before. I’ve tasted them before, like a forbidden fruit that has been taken away from me — or that I’ve run away from before it could help me feel safe and content.
I don’t know how to reject the crazy-making people who I have been so prone to attract. I don’t know how to attract and keep the people who could help me make another kind of life.
All I know for certain is that living like a frustrated and angry person — someone who feels that he must be the only crazy one in the room — doesn’t feel like a life worth living. And I know I’ll never be fulfilled and satisfied until this changes.
I need different people and different situations and different places in my life. I know that. But as much as I know the change is out there, I fear the change has to start “in here.”
And knowing how to change internally — to stop the lifelong patterns and choose something entirely different — is scary and confusing for all of us. I just know I have to find a way to do it.
Maybe you need to do the same thing, too.