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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

5

Ask Baba Yaga: I Know I'm Lashing Out and I Can't Stop, It Feels Too Good

Transcript after the jump.

Dear Baba Yaga,

Lately I have been poisonous. The smallest thing can provoke me to cruelty. I have been like this in the past and have worked on gradually learning to calm myself and choose kindness, but in the past few weeks I've been lashing out at my partner and my friends alike. I know I'm doing it and can't stop; it feels too good. How do I stop attacking those I love?
BABA YAGA:

What you are–fiending; is to give out kindness & dole out cruelty, & these hills & valleys you so make are what keep you, exalted in yrself in yr nastiness & in yr niceness. But neither nastiness nor niceness lives in love, and you) are not seeing the landscape of yrself. ;Who you hurt mostly is yrself: what you do to others is slight compared to the strange doings within yrself. Leave them far alone & look to all yr lands & forests, for there are so many of them, & you know them so hardly, & every of their shapes has its glory, & when you see them you will love them, for you will have no; other choice.

Previously: "I Am a Practical Adult Who Can No Longer Feel Wonder"

Taisia Kitaiskaia is a poet, writer, and Michener Center for Writers fellow. She's taking questions on behalf of Baba Yaga at AskBabaYaga@gmail.com.

5 Comments / Post A Comment

adorable-eggplant

One thing I will add is that if you are having trouble being nice to someone in particular, it might be because you don't like that person, which is actually OK. [this might sound obvious, but I was raised to be polite-or-die so it took me a while to figure out that there are some people that I just don't like and I am not obligated to make myself like them] So if you are finding it hard to be nice when it's reasonable to not be nice, then consider if not expecting yourself to always be nice might be the answer. Not that I am suggesting you should be mean, just maybe distance yourself from people who provoke the nastiness, if that feels like a healthy choice.

Passion Fruit

@adorable-eggplant "polite-or-die"

Haha, yes, same here. For many reasons, as a teenager I firmly believed that I had to like/love/"see the best in" everyone, as if it was my duty, as if it was even possible.

The BEST thing about becoming an adult was learning that it was NOT possible to like everyone, that I was NOT obligated to love everyone, and that my time and energy would be better spent trying to "see the best in" myself, rather than in the jerk who was mean to me.

adorable-eggplant

@Passion Fruit Yup, it's such a lot of energy to do a 1984-style 180 degree revaluation of every single interpersonal interaction in order to see the best in everyone.

If I find myself getting snapish, it's a good sign that something is pushing my buttons, and I have finally realized that it's human to have those buttons. Progress! Besides this whole paying the bills thing, adulthood is great. ;)

jangma

When I do that, it is a symptom of a larger problem: I'm either unhappy with something in my own life and have a nasty little urge to take someone else down with me, or I'm angry with a specific person who I feel I can't confront and have redirected my ire. Be ready to dole out apologies as necessary and address the real issue.

Minnie Worths@facebook

This is an amazing answer. I read the Baba Yaga answers often, and this might be my favorite.

The asker wants to know how to stop releasing anger presumably because s/he believes that s/he is hurting her loved ones while helping herself, but release of anger in itself is self-destructive. What feels like a good release of stress and cortisol in a moment can turn into guilt and regret, or self-loathing. In the worst case, we become detached from our loved ones in order to feed the anger without guilt, and grow into the mindset of an abuser. It destroys our ability to love.

So why self-destruct? The same reason people binge on food and alcohol, they binge on anger. It covers a wound that needs to be healed.

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