Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Hate This In Me


My skin is painted in iridescent colors of overlapping exhaustion.

But, in case any of you care, I got the highest marks possible for my Sex & Gender Roles and Classical Sociological Theory class. Speaking one's mind doesn't affect the grade if you're taking courses with decent teachers; happily, I was.

On another note, a friend once said to me: "Sometimes to make peace is to do a disservice to the friendship that existed; it can cheapen it sometimes. And the only way to preserve that friendship, even in the past tense, is not to make peace."

Now, I don't believe that for a minute. I think we are always meant to make peace and forgive and to wish others well. I don't think we are meant to bear grudges; I don't think we are meant to be cruel. The only time we are permitted not to make peace is when others deliberately hurt us just to watch us squirm in pain. But if it was unintentional, I believe we must make peace.

Thus it is unfortunate that within myself I discover a person who just wants anybody who hurt me to hurt as badly as I do. It's like I think it will even things out if they suffer as much as I suffer; somehow it will make the world more fair. Obviously I don't want lasting suffering or total destruction, but I find in myself that I could not possibly be happy if I thought they were totally happy and didn't suffer for what they'd done to me. And that is a less than admirable trait. In the words of another, it's a middah megunah. How can I want someone else's suffering? How can I want someone else to be unhappy? It is such a selfish quality! Just because I am unhappy, must I wish that others should be unhappy as well? I hate that I have this in me. I can't outrun it, I can't change it and I can't make it go away. I want to cut this part of myself out of me, to excise it totally and to have the ability to be totally happy for other people, especially since the hurt was not deliberate. Since when is it that when someone else is happy I want them to hurt? What kind of disgusting person could want that?

It's Elul, the time of year in which we are meant to ponder ourselves, to focus on self-reflection. Well, when I look in the mirror I see a person who is cruel and it kills me. I want to be happy for other people, even if, by virtue of their happiness, they hurt me. I don't want it to be that I won't be content unless I think they suffer for hurting me. I don't want to be that type of person. I don't want to be that kind of girl! I don't want to have that kind of ugliness in me. God, I can't be that person; I won't be that person. But I am that person, and God, I'm at my wit's end...I don't know what to do to make myself better. I want to be better. I'm crying as I write this because I can't, can't be that way...I don't want to be that way...I want to be better than that. So God, what should I do? How can I fix this flaw in me? How can I be happy, truly happy for others and quell the anger and the desire to have them feel as I do, as worthless and stepped-on and discarded as I do?

Please, God, I'm begging you...I don't want to be that person...I don't want to be that kind of girl. You have to help me to be better because I don't know how to do it myself and it's killing me.


Anonymous said...

Mazel tov on receiving the top grades. You are being to hard on yourself as far as the rest of it is concerned.

Chana said...


Look, you don't know me. So while I appreciate your thought, I disagree with you. I am not being too hard on myself; I hate this in me- I hate it, I hate it. If you knew me then you would know that this isn't like's not what I am about. I am, I can be, I must be better than this. But thank you for the mazal tov.

Aaron said...

Chana,congratulations on being done with summer school and getting the highest marks. I read somewhere that "a stiff apology is a second insult... The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt". It sounds like you are looking for ways to free yourself and be happy. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

"The only time we are permitted not to make peace is when others deliberately hurt us just to watch us squirm in pain."

you described my feeling toward my mother. I considered myself as nice person and always tried to help other people who deserved it. If I have problem with my friend that who wants to hurt me i just end it right away (don't bother to talk to them, or don't make effort) that is great way to be free from that person bec i will no longer be angry to that person and move on... But my mother other hand... I am not allowed to end it bec she is my mother, I want so badly to end it bec she deliberated to hurt my feeling and manipulated me to get what she wants.. Therefore I was very cold to her and try to hurt her back sometimes. I can't help it. I tried many different ways like move out from that house and it helps a little but still my mother haunts me. I don't know I am able to forgive her before rosh hashana. I hope Hashem would understand me that I can't forgive her...

Anonymous said...

What happens if you want to make peace but the other person doesn't?

Chana said...

Anon 9:38 PM,

See Yoma 86a.

A butcher had wronged Rav. Upon seeing that the butcher had not approached him for forgiveness on Yom Kippur, Rav says, "I will go to him to appease him." Rabbi Soloveitchik understands this beautifully. To wit:

"Appeasement here cannot refer to asking forgiveness; after all, it was the butcher who aggrieved Rav. Rather, in anticipation of Yom Kippur one must do what he can towards the reconciliation of arguments and strife among his peers, regardless of who "started." Rav Soloveitchik added that this explains the text of our Yom Kippur liturgy towards the conclusion of the "avoda" section in mussaf. We describe Yom Kippur as "a day of establishing love and friendship, a day of leaving jealousy and strife… " The source of this obligation, as noted by the Rosh (Yoma 8:24), is the Midrash in Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer (46) which enumerates the ways in which we resemble angels on Yom Kippur: we do not wear shoes, we stand, we fast, and we harbor no ill will towards others. Part of the purely spiritual existence for which we strive on Yom Kippur involves the absence of all tension among people. Humbling ourselves to the point of resolving our conflicts with others is indeed an angelic quality." (Source here)

If you do your best to make peace and the other party does not wish to, it is not in your hands anymore- you have tried, and you get credit for trying.

Mazer Wolfsheim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mazer Wolfsheim said...

A man who lives, not by what he loves but what he hates is a sick man - Archibald MacLeish

Your post made me think of the above quote, I think its good that you hate that part of yourself. If we all did then the world would be a better place, with time, and patience the goal is of course to diminish that voice and one of the hardest parts of that fight is acknowledging it.

Mazel tov and Mazel tov or your accomplishments.