And I wish you would stop trying to insert your well-wishing into my mood as if I am merely suffering from a logical error that causes me to see myself as a failure when you are so sure that I’m not.
It feels disrespectful because it suggests I lack the self-discipline, will and intelligence to simply get over it by applying the principles of optimism and positive self-image. It suggests that the mere fact that I have had certain successes in certain areas in the past means I’m fully functional and should have no problem fitting into society, that all I have to do is try. That my failure is my fault, not the fault of a society that only values people who are reliably productive and fully functional. It suggests my issues are less complex than this table:
|Value||I know||Others know||Employers know|
|Spiritual||Usually||Some do, some don’t||Irrelevant|
|Productive||Yes||Some do, some don’t||Irrelevant|
|Productive enough||No||Some do, some don’t||No|
The truth is that the area of importance is the bottom right; if employers are unable to perceive that I am productive enough to be worthy of a job, then nothing else matters, because I will be unable to secure sufficient income to be satisfied with my life, and there are many situations that others seem to be satisfied with that I never will be. I’m not happy about the fact that I need windows in the place I work, but I do. I’m not happy that I can’t be satisfied with the interference of office politics, vicious co-workers, and co-workers who are OK with doing substandard work and providing substandard customer service. But these things DO bother me enough that I can’t be happy when I’m surrounded by them. Yet the level I can operate at, with the issues I carry, puts me among such people in every position I’ve held, aside from the one where there were no windows and I was very depressed all day, took long lunches and gained weight. Which is another way I’ve failed at being an accepted, functional member of society.
My issue is that there is no proof I will ever be able to hold a job that will satisfy me, long term, or in which I’ll be able to satisfy my superiors. Unfortunately, many of the parts of the job that I have difficulty with are not listed in the job description because it’s assumed all functional adults can do them. But I can’t, so I get chewed out at every review for having failed at something I’m incapable of. What I’m good at is analysis, but those jobs are higher level, and require promotion into them, and I can’t get promoted if I can’t do the current job at a satisfactory level, which it seems I can’t, for every job I’ve held.
You keep saying kind things about me, and forwarding beautiful images to me, as if I just need to lift my chin and see that the world IS a beautiful place, because I haven’t got the sense to do that myself unless someone leads me around by the nose and rubs my face in the beauty. This feels like an insult to the time and energy I put into my own Emotional and Spiritual Hygiene. I have to stop myself and think about my response, because we have argued about this so many times, starting with “innocent” reminders that I need to be diligent in maintaining employment, as if I’m not, and that my problem is not the perception my superiors have of me, but my own perception of myself. I have tried so hard at work that I have been so exhausted I am slowly burning out, and I still fail, and the looming blade of that guillotine hanging over my neck can give me PTSD, as the firing process does. Then comes unemployment, then hard work in the gig economy that provides me no workers compensation, social security accrual, or any other benefits. I barely make enough to pay my bills, not enough to get ahead or purchase property that would at least allow me the security of self-sufficiency.
The “kindness” of these attempts at providing wise advice, in the absence of truly understanding the situation I’m in, and suggesting that my problem is a character flaw rather than a combination of several disabilities, is so insulting that I can end up lashing out, then hate myself for it, because you’re not trying to be unkind, you’re actually trying to be kind, and the problem is you don’t understand. And the problem is you refuse to let it go. And every time you send me a cute image, or mention me to draw my attention to a beautiful post, feels like an attempt to reopen this conversation that utterly destroys me when you bring it up.
Because, in order to convey to you that my issues are not simply my own perception, I have to point out to you all the ways in which I fail to live up to the standards of the judgmental society we live in, where my inability to understand others, and be understood by others, turns me into a child looking through the window at the beautiful, warm conversations that I’m left out of. The fact that my inability to perceive what others are thinking or feeling, to the degree I’m expected to, means my motives are questioned, and I am continuously accused of laziness, selfishness, viciousness. It’s not true, and it hurts to be accused, by employers, coworkers and acquaintances, of things I haven’t done. I yearn for you to understand so you stop saying things that hurt me, like “you need to keep your job” and “you’re going to fail if you leave the job you’re in without having another lined up” in spite of the fact that I have tried, in job after job, and I have failed, in job after job, no matter how hard I’ve tried. I’m not leaving employment because I reject it, I’m leaving because it rejected me, and yet I’m doing everything I can to try again, in a different way, by taking college classes again, at this age, in the hopes of finding something I can do that doesn’t require skills at which I will never be good enough.
There have always been other excuses for why I left jobs, and I gave them, because I try to keep an optimistic view, and say things will work next time, because you taught me that it’s important to be optimistic and believe in myself. Until, well into my sixth decade of life, it dawns on me that the rosy lens of optimism might be what’s betraying me, and the truth that I’m not up to this task would better serve me, because at this stage I should have more answers than questions, but I don’t. And in order to explain that to you, I have to point out all my flaws, in extensive detail, rather than focus on what I CAN do that I do well, which would serve me better. That isn’t good Emotional or Spiritual Hygiene, and I’m going there not because I want to, but because you’ve put me in a position where it’s the only way to defend myself against the worse accusation, that I’m just indulging in negative drama.