The Fight Club In My Head



There are a few nights a month where I lie awake, fighting in my head.  Sometimes I argue with myself over something I did which I perceive as stupid, silly or embarrassing.  Other times I argue with my husband about chores, child care, and cash flow.

Once in a while, I mentally flail, bite, and scratch at some issue that brings fantasies of blood and gore and violence into my mind.

It is the last conflict on that list which draws the most energy and creates the most anxiety.  As you might imagine, the first rule of that fight club is that I never talk about it.

Because if I did talk about it, the ground on which I stand would shiver and shake until it opened beneath my feet into a pit of snakes and scorpions who’s venom would scorch my sanity.

So, usually I don’t talk about it.  Whatever IT is.

I freeze, become irritable and hyper focused on housework and the children’s behavior, skip meals, drink too much coffee, and tend poorly to myself and those around me in general.  On one level I look passive, like I am giving up, or accepting, but on another level, deeper inside, I am being churned like the sea in a tropical storm.

As a clinical social worker, I am supposed to be an expert in communication skills and conflict resolution.  Why then, am I unable to make peace with this screaming banshee in my brain?

My professional side understands there are probably deep rooted issues related to my desire to please people, juxtaposed against my strong sense of righteous indignation, adjacent to a few primitive ego defenses, and criss crossed with my need for peace and quiet.

On a personal level, I can tell you that because I DO sit in my professional chair helping people work through anger, aggression, and miscommunication all day, this work is what I DON’T want to do in my private life.  I fantasize that I can come home- whether to my actual house, or to my own head- and things will just fall in place, where they need to be.

But real life doesn’t work that way, does it?

Chocolate helps.  Walking helps.  Pema Chodron helps.  Breathing helps.  Blogging helps.  Watching TV or reading helps.

Silly as it may sound, I have special jewelry, imbued with meaning and memory, that helps.

Holding my children helps.

Chanting through the long, midnight hours helps.  Om shanti, shanti, shanti.  Om shanti, shanti, om.  

Still, my mind bounces back into the ring, boxing madly at the adrenaline, cortisol, and testosterone plaguing my gray matter, which in turn shouts slurs and insults the likes of which I will not dignify in text.

Or maybe I should write down all the things raging in me in the middle of the night.  What would it be like to see them in black and white?  Would it help to expunge these demons, or would it serve only to add accelerant to  the  blaze?

Invariably, after a few days, I go back to my normal, non-violent-minded self and wonder what the fuss was all about, so it begs the question, “If a rage goes on in my own mind and no one hears it, did it really matter?”

What gets you heated?  How do you handle conflict, whether constructively or explosively?

10 responses »

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  6. I thought I was the only one who has these mental arguments with people! I have them all the time, it is almost like a habit. I do this when something is really brothering me, I play horrible things in my mind. I thought I was just crazy, it is good to know I am not the only one! However it is exhausting, and I would really like to stop doing this to myself. It just makes everything worse. Why do people do this?

  7. Ok, seriously, I’m beginning to embarrass myself, but I feel compelled to gush with just about every one of your posts. (I usually hold myself back from the blatant gushing, which may be hard to believe.)

    I’m actually in a funky mood tonight because of some drama between friends, so I have nothing noteworthy to say. I just love this post, and I’m grateful that I can read stuff that’s real and at least going in the direction of being evolved – especially on days like this, when I have been so confronted with how ugly people can be with one another.

    Thank you!

    • Hi there! Thank you so much. Gushing is always welcome. I am continually shocked that people read and resonate with what I write, so your words really touch me. I’m sorry that you’ve been in drama. That is no fun. Doesn’t it seem like when we get to a certain age, people should just grow up and not be so foolish and reactive? Easier said than done, I guess, but still, it would be nice… 😉 Thanks again for your kind words, they really do mean a lot. xo.

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