Monday, July 6, 2009

To Be Offended

I really try not to blog about my problems because this blog isn't about me, and I don't want to open myself up to attacks on my person. I'm not really the kind of guy who wants to tell everyone how I'm doing or what I'm doing. While I do want to make friends and for people to know me well, I don't think it's the purpose of the internet to broadcast myself as if this blog were my secret public journal. In fact, stay tuned for an upcoming post wherein I (for all practical purposes) give up Facebook. And I detest Twitter.

But something has been happening to me in the last few months and I feel the need to share it so first of all that I can get it off my chest and secondly, so you can know me better and be able to easier forgive me if I do something stupid.

I think it traces back to my childhood, but I'm not sure. I grew up poor. Not starving poor, but you know, one set of clothes per year poor, old breaking down cars poor, wood stove only for heat and no AC poor, late power bill poor, you know, that kind of poor. To increase my chances of growing up a productive member of society, my father decided that we (my two brothers and I) should go to a private Seventh-Day Adventist school even though we didn't have that much money. He did succeed in doing that for eleven years for all of us except my youngest brother who kind of got kicked out or something in like ninth grade, I'm not sure. He did have some help from some relatives and friends who considered it tithing to donate to our "christian education." Though the education was pretty good (I've gotten quite decent grades since then) the Christian part seemed to be a little bit lacking. In fact, about the only thing that I really learned was to have bad self esteem.

Being a private school, naturally, most of the other kids families made significantly more money than mine. That left me in an awkward position especially around times like birthdays and Christmas. I have cried at someone else's birthday party because they got more presents than I did, it's just a fact of life. Because my dad made us do several hours of chores every day and we didn't have a shower, some times we went to school dirty. That left me with the title of "the dirty kid." Just imagine what a name like that will do to a kid.

Fortunately after tenth grade I got to go to a public high school. There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 students in the school and there were things like different class rooms for every period and buses and stoners. Apparently I am a god among stoners. I hung out with the stoners because the crowd that had moved up from private school with me weren't all that welcoming and I eventually just stopped hanging out with them. The stoners were more like me, outcasts and didn't have cars. They also accepted me. Some of them were dirty too, though by that time I was doing my own laundry and taking a bath (still without shower) every morning. We didn't have a drier though and sometimes I went to school with wet clothes, but that's a different story. I dated some of the non-stoners among the stoners and a couple of stoners too, until that played out and I started hanging out in the library my senior year. I had done so well in private school and in my junior year that I had two free periods every day my senior year. With block scheduling, that'd be a lot of time to do nothing. So I fell in with the freshman card playing crowd.

I ended up dating a freshman girl named Jenna and she as a person destroyed me as a person. She was a horrible girlfriend, she cheated on me, she didn't respect my boundaries and she was manipulative. Eventually, I met my wife and got married and moved to Arkansas where my life is wonderful, except for this one thing.

I don't know exactly why, but I get offended easily. And not in the good way like when Jesus got offended at the pharisees. It's the bad way, I like I get offended at thing people say that weren't even directed at me. It's horrible, it's a pain in my life. I feel like my happiness and energy are drained away by this trait. I lose whole days of useful energy and concentration of someone says or does something wrong.

I read the book "The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere. It was good at identifying the problem, and I made some headway with it, to the point where some of the people I know noticed a change in me, but the problem is still here. The book doesn't exactly say "Here's how not to get offended. Or "here's how to forgive in a certain number of quick and easy steps." I found the book to be quite lacking in real content and too loose with biblical interpretation. I don't know what to do here, I don't know how to solve the problem and my personality type really wants to solve the problem.

This paradox often leaves me cussing mad both at the offense and the inability to deal with it. So I'm mad at the person who offended me, and also mad at myself for being offended. As you can imagine, it is extremely emotionally draining and I feel like I lose whole days to it some times. At the end of one of these days I'm physically and emotionally exhausted but yet unable to rest or sleep. I feel like victories in life are few and far between and my trap of offense takes them away from me. I want to be happy and content in life, but I feel like the only way to do that is just to be numb which is no solution either. I want to have grace and peace, and I want the meaning of my given name to apply to me. I feel so lost and I feel like I'm missing something, like some personality ingredient that makes you a balanced person, like I was in the in the bathroom taking a dump when God passed out the part of your brain that makes people like you.

Maybe part of my psychosis is related to the idea that perhaps I blame God for making me with this problem, or I blame him for making me go through the childhood that I had. For what purpose did I go through all that? For what purpose were the tears and the cold and the ridicule and the hurt feelings? Why do I have to be the way I am? Why can't I have some other problem like excessive popularity or really good looks? Instead I am ugly, I don't like people, I'm sensitive, have low self esteem, and to top it all off, I'm a genius, so I am way too self aware about all of it. Wouldn't it be easier if this were all true but I was too stupid to understand it? Ok, maybe I'm not that ugly.

And to top the whole thing off, I don't really feel like I have any really close friends. I know I'm gonna take a lot of heat for that one, but it's true. I can't open up to someone who I think has the kind of personality who can overpower mine. It's like you just don't play with animals you think will eat you. At least I have my wife, the best friend I've ever had. But even then, I don't talk to her very much about my frailties. In fact, there's been plenty of times where she's read this kind of stuff on my blog and was surprised that she'd never heard about it before hand. All this to say I don't feel like I have anywhere to go with this. I'm really angry at several of my pastors right now for falsely implicating me in dereliction of duty, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I feel trapped, and I don't know what to do or how to handle my emotions. I want to be a good boy, but I don't know how.

I really really want to get all of this cleared up as soon as possible. I want to grow more content and peaceable as I grow older, not less. I want to be happy. I want to stop wasting my time being offended at everyone.

I want to be whole.


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