Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Trouble with Group Therapy... that it's chock-full of whining pansies you'd like to whack with a crowbar.

Recently, I've been attending a "workshop" for people with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorders. It's run, in part, by a local church (I shan't identify it), and I'm not attending it for the weekly dollop of saccharine-coated inanity called "religion". To be perfectly honest, it's only redeeming virtue is that it happens to be free, insofar as it's only cost to me is having to suffer through repeated references to an Invisible Man in the Sky with a Mysterious Plan that No One can Adequately Explain.

Going through the motions of dropping one's head in prayer, or pretending not to be offended when someone tells me that the Solution To All of Life's Little Problems is complete and utter surrender to a Deity that seems utterly capricious and uncaring, is simply the thorn that comes with the rose.

I already know how I got here, and I know why I behave the way I do. That is no longer much of a mystery to me. I can pretty much predict that no amount of prayer or hymn-singing is going to change those things. I'm not there to be washed in the blood of the lamb, I'm there to learn from the experiences of others. What I'm angling to learn is how to "break the cycle", as they say.

What I've learned so far is that people suck. There are exceptions, of course, but by-and-large our fellow human beings are a selfish, self-interested, conceited, disgusting, clueless, and wholly-unsavory lot. I tend to regard most people as being diseased, metaphorical lepers of one sort or another, and few manage to fall outside of this category. It's probably why I have so few really close friends and relationships (I hate that term, incidentally; it has been used so much and is so heavily-impregnated by psychobabble that it no longer has much of a meaning).

Besides confirming and justifying my already-low opinion of most members of the Human Race, I've also learned that true change -- we can't speak of "cures" for most mental disorders, because they'll always be with you in a way that, say a tumor or a laceration, might not --requires a motivation. Motivation requires a degree of selfishness, something with which I have the greatest difficulty. I'm not, I'd like to believe, a selfish individual; I'm not one for charity or altruism, certainly, but if you're one of my peeps, I'd go to the gates of Hell for you, and back. Rather, I think that my problem with being selfish is the idea that it would transform Me into One of Them (the majority of the people that I hate) in the process.

I say that because I've come to a startling conclusion --in the sense that it has occurred to me before, but I had paid it no attention -- that the majority of my "issues" can be traced to a solitary source; somewhere along the line, I didn't get or accomplish something that was important to me (probably more than once). And naturally, because I really am one of those disgusting, impenetrably-stupid people that I hate so much, it never occurs to me that the reason is because of some series of bad decisions and choices that I had made along the way. Naturally, Human Nature being what it is -- and actually being one of those creatures that I despise so much -- it simply MUST be someone else's fault that I'm not fulfilled, and I must be a victim of their stupidity and selfishness. I believe that THEY failed me, you see, and therein lies the genesis of the "issue".

You can see the problem: I'm Human, but I hate Human Beings. If there's anything I hate worse than Human Beings, it's being reminded that I'm one of them and subject to all the same weaknesses that I usually attribute to Them Alone. So, the question becomes one of Motivations.

In order to "fix" my problems, I have to admit I'm Human, however, that admission is perhaps the worst horror that I can imagine. When you're surrounded once-a-week by such sterling examples of the Species; The ones who just can't figure out why it is they never find Ms. Right in a titty bar, or that the Boss is A Whip-Wielding-Nazi-Slavedriver who takes advantage of my work ethic -- but they don't have the guts to quit that job. The two most annoying examples are that most annoying wretch who wants to know why there never seems to be enough vodka to wash the bad memories away, and the ever-popular She-can't-figure-out-why-her-boyfriends-always-leave-her-pregnant-and-broke-and-then-never-support-their-children, and you can see why it's pretty difficult to find anything to recommend The Human Condition. That's what you have to work with in Group Therapy, unfortunately. And then, of course, some moron is making things worse by Sermonizing during the whole thing, which makes it even more intolerable.

The reason why these things happen to people is because they're all acting out a pattern, or series of patterns, of behavior, either learned or acquired through experience. Even when the behavior is ultimately destructive we're compelled to repeat it because it's an all-too-familiar and, therefore, strangely comforting, but ultimately self-destructive, coping strategy. In our personal little dramas The Players may Change, but the Show Always Remains the Same. If I've learned anything from nearly a decade of this bullshit it's that your typical "Mental Health Professional" has no real interest in teaching you how to cope with any of this because it's their bread-and-butter. If you want to get anything done, as they say, you have to do it yourself (and by the way, that attitude is one of the symptoms of OCPD! Go figure).

The trick, I think, is to learn to recognize the peculiar quirks of your condition, identify those times when the pattern is reasserting itself, and then quickly put the brakes on and change direction in a way that results in a positive change. I think that's why I'm in this group thingy -- I don't expect to be "cured", I'm only trying to recognize all of the signs and permutations by observing my fellow Lunatics, and hoping that one of them eventually drops a nugget of Useful Insight that I can take advantage of.

In the meantime, I'm struggling mightily to contain the urge to kick every one of them in the ass. Especially the idiot with the Bible and the penchant for repeating the phrase "God's Most Perfect and Healing Love". She's perhaps the worst of the lot.

Oh well, at least the coffee is good.

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