Trying not to call myself an “A$$hole”

I call myself an a$$hole a lot.

There will be some memory, of something I did, either recently, but more likely a long time ago, that was very painful, and I’ll just exclaim “God you’re such an a$$hole!!!”. Sometimes it is internal, sometimes it is out-loud (if it catches me by surprise). It happens several times a day, starting usually early in the morning. I can’t remember the last time I went more than an hour (measure by my slow moving morning routine which is about the time I am brushing my teeth).

I havent researched this but I’m fairly sure that no trained therapist would suggest calling oneself an “a$$hole” as a good method or technique for living a happy, normal life. I’m sure it is one of the many reasons I have such low self esteem. So, I’m going to try this week, though, not to do it.

I know that if I want to be successful at doing this, I need to replace this habit with something new, but as I am lacking in any ideas, and I don’t take praise well, I’m going to try to focus on just stopping, or at least delaying, doing so, and I hope that through this process, I might find a way to develop a new habit. I also though writing it down here might help.

Monday: ~30 minutes after waking up

While having coffee, remembered how I called one of my second cousins her sisters name. While having drinks before her rehearsal dinner. The day before her wedding. This was well over a decade ago. This mistake haunts me, often. God i’m such an a$$hole.

Tuesday: 0 minutes

I was woken up this morning, by myself, calling myself an a$$hole in my dream. I’ve got an upstairs neighbor who plays their stereo quite loud (or the floors are thin). I went up on the weekend, to politely let them know how loud it is, but they would not open the door. I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to approach them, and I was thinking of writing a note. In my dream, I was imagining how everything would go wrong with whatever I wrote, and I woke up around 3:30 am calling myself an a$$hole. It took me forever to get back to sleep, but I did, eventually getting up around 10am. (I work for myself, from home, so I don’t have to get up early in the morning, which is why my friends call me an a$$hole, in jest.)

Wednesday:~ 1 hour after waking up

I noticed something different today. I was very alert and waiting for me to call myself an a$$hole, but something about that anticipation caused it not to happen, at least for a while. It was about an hour into the day, when I had let my guard down, and my mind wandered to something that happened in grad school, where I was talking too loudly in the lounge, and made a comment that got a lot of weird looks. I though i was being self-deprecatingly funny, but no, based on the looks, a few people thought I was being an immature jerk. Remembering it caused me to call myself an a$$hole. I don’t think this constant state of vigilance will work long term, but it was curious how my awareness delayed it for a while.

Thursday: …not sure when….

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately, and I can’t remember if I called myself one when I got up the first (or second) time in the middle of the night. Or maybe I didn’t. I spent most of the day focused on an interview I was having for admission to a coding program. I’ve been thinking of taking an intensive class in a full time program, as opposed to the dancing around I’ve been doing for the past few years. Today, I was very focused on the interview. I thought I did well, but then, afterwards, I thought I might not have. I was wondering if I took it too casually, or shared too much of my own faults. I started doubting how I came across, so naturally, I called myself an a$$hole, frequently and for the rest of the day.

Friday: ~30 minutes after waking up

It’s happened today, frequently. I was lounging in bed this morning, reading, and something triggered a memory of a friend from college. I knew when I thought of him, it would inevitably lead to one of the first times I met him, an embarrassing situation when I was thinking of pledging a fraternity. At the time, I was very conflicted, but looking back, it was an easy choice. I should have known better. I was such an a$$hole for even thinking twice or for being such a wienie about the decision in the first place.

Saturday: ~45 minutes after waking up

It happened again, about the time I was brushing my teeth. This is a frequent time for me to call myself an a$$hole. Something about that pause, where you go through the routine or brushing, and your mind has to wait, brings it on for me. Today was a regular event that gets brought up again and again, and one that really isn’t my fault. This happened years ago when I was working in Corporate America. We had just acquired a company (it was a great fit for our portfolio and it did very well in our division), and I was part of the launch team to get it out into the market. It was a big honor for me. We started going through the nuts and bolts of the business. Senior managers were still in the room, but this portion of the meeting was now for those of us, who were going to have to do the execution to the market. I wasn’t too familiar with this market, so I asked a checking question to make sure of the terms we were using. One of the Senior executives, who was a bully, thought my question too basic or stupid, and he audibly scoffed. The VP used that moment to excuse himself, and the rest of the senior staff from the meeting, so we could continue. It was a very basic question, but at the same time, the reaction really wasn’t warranted. But still, I call myself an a$$hole for making myself look stupid and for being the object of derision in front of senior executives.

(As a side note, I got an email Friday night, that I had been accepted into the program for which I interviewed on Thursday. So, apparently, I wasn’t an a$$hole on Thursday. Or if I was, I guess I wasn’t too big of one.)

Sunday: ~5 minutes after waking up

I’m very sensitive to noise. I have always been the quiet one, both in terms of how much and how quietly I talk. For the last year, I have become acutely aware of a constant persistent ringing in my ears, that won’t go away. I think that is contributing to my hightened sensitivity, which came out last week at the gym. I really like my gym, and the workouts, but some instructors play the music so loud, it causes physical pain. I feel it in my bones, in my head, and last week, in my stomach. After the intense part was over, I ran out of the class, as I thought I was going to puke. One of the others in the class came to check on me, and I was a bit short with them, as I was trying to get my wits back. It was this incident that woke me up, and made me feel like a complete a$$hole. At the time, I was worried that this incident would come up again in my regular a$$hole memories, and so I was very careful not to complain, or blame anyone, just my own sensitivity to noise, as the problem. I doubt it will help, but I’m hoping so.

Overall, this week has not really been a success. I still called myself an a$$hole every day, and usually early on, setting myself up for a bad day from the start. But on the positive side, I have not been revisited by the same memories on back to back days (which usually happens). So I’m hoping that perhaps this is a way of exorcising these memories, or for seeing them for what they are: mistakes and nothing more.

Thanks for reading.

PS About the ringing in my ears. I have been to the doctor, and there is nothing physically wrong that he can see. I did get a hearing test and CT scan of my head, both are clean. Next up is a visit to the dentist, to see if this is caused by clenching.

Navigating the world with manners & civility