rachel leedom.png

How to Survive When Drowning in Emotional Masochism

We may not even realize we have stumbled into the dark woods of our shadows until it's too late, until we feel so lost that finding a way out seems nearly impossible. Little thing upon little thing pile up within, eroding away at our connection to love, faith, trust, courage. Suddenly, those little things have clumped together to create a massive monster, hungry for blood, ours or another's.

When we battle emotional masochism however, that blood lust is nearly always skewed in our direction. We are the villain. We are the problem. We are the broken, fucked up mess. We are the issue. We are the ruination. If the loudest voice inside us tells us that we are always to blame, if it seduces us into harmful behaviors that we know better than to entertain, how can we trust ourselves to save ourselves? It becomes easy to believe the voice that says we could never fix the problem, if we are the problem.

Our inner masochist is clever fox, she/he knows us in every moment, in every thought. It knows exactly what to say to keep us drowning, it knows all the tricks to keep us believing the lie. It understands our inclination to choose the painful road, our addiction to beating ourselves up, so it grins with wicked delight as it places the proverbial knife into our own hands. The habitual trance we may fall into can suffocate us with fear, self-doubt, criticism, self-loathing and hopelessness. Those stories intoxicate our minds and poison our clarity, leaving us temporarily blinded in that fog.

The bittersweet answer, I believe, lies in an uncomfortably intangible truth. There is no one way to find our way out of that fog. The path is truly an individual one, which is why so many outlets that work for some people fall on deaf ears for others. Sometimes there is no quick fix and the answer is in riding out the storm until it passes on it's own. It always does when we give it space to run its course. Meeting that time with as much patience, courage, surrender and gentleness as we can makes the waiting it out period far more comfortable and a bit less terrifying.

But what if there is nothing wrong with these storms? What if we could see fear and pain for the truth of what they are? Merely experiences... tools at our disposal to use in whatever way we choose to create ourselves and our realities anew. What if the answer to easing the fear, pain, self-loathing and negativity was only ever to stop trying to obliterate them entirely and offer them space instead. Space to be heard, felt, seen and touched by us. Can we bring more curiosity and acceptance to those moments where we feel ripped apart, raw or drowning? Can we sit in those experiences without believing them... without giving in and choosing to prolong them?

This is an excerpt from a journal of mine, from within the depths of a storm that hit me several weeks ago. I wanted to offer a glimpse inside my own dark woods, as perhaps you'll find a piece that resonates. I have made such progress in my own inner healing and integration of masochistic nature. I no longer hate myself, I have deep respect and love for myself. But even then, days like this still occur and these thoughts continue to arise. Even after growth, we still fall. It just takes much less time to get back up, and when I do, I rise even higher.

It's human, It's natural and normal. We don't need to be afraid of these voices or condemn them.

"Today I don’t know who I am outside of masochism. I feel consumed by it. Seduced by it. It’s all around me and yet it grows from within me. I’m the poison corrupting the earth around me, it’s not anyone else’s fault. It’s not a circumstantial issue, it’s just that I’m a rotting seed. That’s all I can see today. My eyes have gone black and I’m lost in a haze from which I can’t break free.

If this will ever end, I don’t know how. I can’t see that far ahead. I don’t know what to do. I’m frozen, stuck in the tar of my own black, wicked thoughts. If only they knew, if only they could see, they wouldn’t want to know me. They wouldn’t want to help me. If they still loved me they would do it from afar.

Is my sanity breaking or is my delusion of positivity and healing that has finally faded, was it only a joke? Maybe this was always me, the bigger me, the main me. Or maybe my soul is just weak. It gave up to my ego, letting this fear swallow me whole, taking the wheel and crashing us quick. A slow painless death my higher self didn’t even see coming. But then who is this questioning? Who is this struggling? My wicked villainous nature wouldn’t care, she’s happy when I bleed. Especially emotionally. Her favorite bruises are the ones I like the least, the ones no one can see but her and me."