Not a bad person tiny

Working with Unemployment-ness

Warning: Unemployment-ness, that is, the state of being unemployed, can be a minefield of triggers for all kinds of emotional turmoil. It’s difficult, painful and there are no easy answers. This his how I’m practicing, and so far it’s a work in progress.

This is not the post I wish I was writing. The post I would love to write would be “how to reach eternal fabulousness, and how you can too”. But I can’t write that post, because I have not reached “eternal fabulousness” yet.
The minute I do, you’ll be the first to know.

Instead, I’m struggling with the feelings of unworthiness that come from being unemployed (and poor… and lonely… etc)

So yeah, being unemployed is bringing up a lot of issues. And I mean a lot. I try to carry on pretending that I’m strong and that the issues are not there; which is always a bad idea.

Today I decided enough was enough and I sat down to work with my issues. To find out about myself and about this state of “unemployment-ness”. Because if it’s bringing up issues? It has to be because there’s more going on that “unemployment”.

First: Associations

I list the things I remember around this “being unemployed”. Either because some people have said them and they have stung, or because they are things I tell yourself. If I remember them, it’s because they matter.

Useless. Scrounger. “You don’t do anything to deserve your benefits”. Waste of space. Lazy. “Get to sleep in”. Lie in. Naps. Shame. Pressure. Anxiety. Fear. Ageing. Old. Bad CV. Bad Person. Poverty. Homelessness. Insecurity. “Being less than”. Dependent on others. Child-like. “Failure to grow up and support myself”. “Doing nothing”.

I immediately learn something: “sleep”. I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. So it may be because I’m feeling guilty about sleeping because I’m unemployed. Interesting!

Second: Connections

I get quiet and re-read the list again. And choose a couple of them, the “loudest” ones.

Note: at this point, I remember another thing someone had said which stung, so I start with that one. Interesting!

  • Mum (to me): “Are you ever going to work?

This is triggering because: withholding approval until I’m “good enough”

  • “Failure to grow up and support myself”

This is triggering because: self-abuse. Not caring for myself.

  • “You don’t do anything to deserve your benefits”

Triggering because: fear of never doing enough, or “being enough”
Feeling “less than others”
Trying to win/earn approval” and failing, forever. (Whose approval? Mine)

  • “Ageing. Old.”

Triggering because: I’m not where I wanted to be by now. Suicide tendencies related to my age.
Fear of missing my only chance to do something worthy with my life.

 

I’m now going to write all this down in the “Book of Me”. This is the place where I record all my “issues” and what triggers them, so I can learn more about them and how they are interrelated. So I can learn more about me.

And in the meantime, I’ll try to remember this:

 

2 thoughts on “Working with Unemployment-ness

  1. Hi Mary, I think the media has a lot to answer for this:

    “Useless. Scrounger. “You don’t do anything to deserve your benefits”. Waste of space. Lazy. “Get to sleep in”. Lie in. Naps. Shame. Pressure. Anxiety. Fear. Ageing. Old. Bad CV. Bad Person. Poverty. Homelessness. Insecurity. “Being less than”. Dependent on others. Child-like. “Failure to grow up and support myself”. “Doing nothing”.”

    I don’t read the papers much but when i do I’ve noticed things (when the person has done something ‘bad’) along the lines of: “Jerry from Sheffield, unemployed, said he’d been planning to burn down the rubber chicken factory for several months.” See what they do there?! Like when someone does a loud cough while saying a word. They sneak it in so that no-one really notices but still get the message that ‘the unemployed are the bad ones’. I’ve seen it on TV as well (courtesy of the lovely *ahem* Richard Bacon).What with that and ‘scroungers’ is it any wonder that unemployed people are/feel so hated and marginalised?! It makes me angry that people can’t see past our capitalist, money obsessed culture that basically says ‘if you’re not constantly tax milkable as a human being you are worthless’. (But that doesn’t include the rich and big business, naturally). You’ve just got remember that a;not everyone thinks like that and b; It’s all bollocks!!!

  2. Sinistral, I couldn’t agree more. And the expression “tax milkable” is both spot on and hilarious!

    I believe they want unemployed people to feel bad about themselves. The whole system is designed that way. If we turn our “guilt” inwards, we are not a threat to the system, ie: “it’s my fault I’m unemployed, not the fault of the economic recession”.
    Not to mention that when people feel bad about themselves, their self confidence vanishes and they are then more likely to take worse jobs for less pay.

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