The Big Dysaffirmation
We have been talking about Dysaffirmations all week; how we use them with our kids, our significant others, and how much chaos they bring to us. But each of those little dysaffirmations is a symptom of what we consider to be our big dysaffirmation, our core dysfunctional belief that serve as the queen to all of our other little crazies.
Paul says: I have a penchant for the dramatic; not big hysterics but more of a silent lone tear and fade to black type. I’m one of those people that have a constant running dialogue of doom and gloom in my head. As an example, if Lee doesn’t answer the telephone, the conclusion that I jump to is that she is dead, that she is lying in a ditch with the requisite puddle of blood and her ringing cell phone just out of reach. To add to the drama, in the scenario of my mind, two out of three children die with her. This way I am deprived of the Batman-like melancholia because I still need to raise our surviving and now total messed up child. See, I told you I had a tendency to drama.
My big dysaffirmations sound something like, ‘when everything is good, something bad is about to happen’ or, if you just want to get down to the root of my dysfunctional belief system, I dysaffirm that ‘God is out to get me’. For those of you that are reading this and do not get it, that is OK. You have other big dysaffirmations. But be assured that there are others reading this and thinking that we need to get our voices in our heads together for a nice little tea party because they would get along so well.
When we wrote Dysaffirmations: Because this kind of stupid takes work! We realized that creating the word Dysaffirmation was clever but that the second part, ‘this kind of stupid takes word’, was profound. Seeing God as a hunter, like something from Running Man, drove me to doing all kinds of stupid things and working very, very hard at maintaining them. Because I didn’t trust God, I decided to work at a Catholic Church, looking for His kindness all the way, and eventually getting screwed real hard. Please understand, I got reamed not because God is bad but because I was committed. Nothing short of a burning bush was going to change my mind.
That is the nature of the dysaffirmation. Like any affirmation, if you do not whole heartedly buy into it then it does not work. ‘It’s better to be fucked up than wrong’. Obviously, at some point I was enlightened with a small piece of insight or I could not write about it. With that insight, I have started a little war of affirmation versus dysaffirmation. Slowly but surely I am chipping away at my dysfunctional beliefs. Now, if Lee doesn’t answer the cell phone, I do not assume that she is dead. Instead I assume that she is having an affair. See, I’m getting better.
Lee says: Ring, Ring. I’m not answering. Paul’s big dysaffirmation not only ruled his life but it affected mine as well. How’s a girl to get her swerve on if her man is calling every five minutes? I kid. Paul’s silent anxiety was ever present in our marriage. I couldn’t say something like ‘Oh, I need to tell you something,’ and be distracted without my husband pining until I told him my little story or nugget of insight.
The weirder part is that we shared big dysaffirmations. In my case, mine sounds like ‘the other shoe will drop soon’; same concept but more fashionable. My thoughts were that I was happy and Paul was too perfect to be true. As a mother, these thoughts extended to my children. When I had a miscarriage (this occurred between Bobby 5 and Ricky 2), I knew it was God resetting the balance to the universe. He was punishing me for wanting more happiness. How dare I?! I remember clearly this was the point where Paul’s big dysaffirmation met mine and… oh the thrills! He said he was pissed at God and I said, ‘Oh shit, here comes the lightening!’ I was afraid He would take away the happiness I already had, namely Paul, Jeannie and Bobby. But, some good therapy helped us get pregnant again and Ricky joined our family. Now we’re happy. But not too happy…