“You are a fool and you have been made a fool again. You shouldn’t trust anyone.”
“You are a complete dimwit and an absolute sucker in life.” taunted that voice.
“You are a loser and whatever you have done in life you have only sucked at that.” he screamed at me.
“You inadvertently suck at relationships, you moron!”
“You need not speak. You have never spoken. So just shut the f*** up with your views!”
“You are nobody and just a burden in this vast cosmos, so what’s your purpose here in life? You don’t deserve to be here since you have no meaning. You suck big time so go screw yourself.”
And suddenly in my mind, I used to find myself excruciatingly withdrawn from life as if holed up to one corner of a dark room, staring shit-scared at a demon sitting right in front of me ready to pounce. Only to realize that the demon was no external alien but it was me only.
THERE IS A DEMON INSIDE ME...AND INSIDE YOU!
Now I know you will freak out and say “Whattt? A demon inside me... No...No!” But sadly, we all have our demons – parts of ourselves lurking inside us. The evil selves that cause us to do unreasonable, irrational, selfish, crazy, eccentric, and often regrettable stuff that we totally loathe about. Some euphemistically call it an inner voice, some say self-limiting belief, some say ‘our dark side’, and others like to put it as our negative thoughts. But I prefer to call it my demon – that part of myself that makes others appear like crap to me, and that part of myself that makes me appear shit to myself.
Since we completely detest this part of ourselves (often in hindsight) we try to fight, ignore or simply ‘brush it aside’ or ‘under the carpet’. I did just that for quite some time and I was a terribly irritating and selfish person (maybe even now I am, who knows!) But the point is - the harder I tried to resist the stronger and more uncontrollable the demon inside me became, kind of like the hulk growing stronger the more you managed to piss it off!
The natural thing to do, out of your own goodness or out of a misplaced sense to be perfect, is to engage in a mental boxing match with your own demon trying to win over it. The other ‘good’ way of managing the demon is to ignore it completely by ‘brushing it aside’. This fighting and ignoring of the demon is usually done either by 1) indulgence & addiction of something like drinks and drugs, or 2) distracting yourself, but in the long run, this doesn’t work. Some people get into the Devdas-mode of picking up a bottle of whiskey and drowning in it, others like me, prefer keeping themselves completely distracted all the time, either by reading, or hooking myself to my PS4, or what I am doing right now – writing. Yet there are others, who simply are so good at it that every time their demons pop up, they simply press Ctrl-Alt-Del, and voila they disappear.
I have the disposition to think that everyone around me, who I know of, is so freaking busy in their lives that they don’t even know they have demons, or they simply don’t have any demons or don’t have the time to deal with them. Eventually, their busyness works in their favor keeping them distracted all the time. That sometimes makes me think “Am I the only one having such demons?” So for fighting my demons, I love to make my life ‘one big freaking distraction’ party by way of ignorance or constantly distracting myself with mundane stuff because I’m not the drowning-myself-into-whiskey kinds. Thank God for that!
But to top all of this, the ‘indulging-and-addicting-myself’ and the ‘keeping-myself-totally-distracted-all-the-time’ behaviors are often accompanied by you treating others like shit because that demon inside you fears that eventually you will be treated like shit by others too, and so it keeps on manifesting itself again and again.
SLEEPING WITH THE DEMON
No! I am not asking you to literally sleep with a demon because that would cinematically be right out of a Species-like yuck movie scene. (God I don’t want to even visualize that.) People, who are self-aware, or take time out to introspect, do feel that the best way to deal with such thoughts or feelings or negative demons is to Mortal Kombat your way through them. And yes, that appears to be the only plausible way. There are some who even claim to replace this ‘negative’ demon with a ‘positive’ one, kind of like the art of substitution what positive thinkers do.
Whereas it may have worked for some, but for me, it has only had a reverse impact as what I have experienced is that the more I fight or attempt to substitute this inner demon of mine, the more I land up actually feeding it. Imagine yourself feeding the Hulk movie monster villain (The Abomination) that I depicted in the pic above - eventually in the process making yourself more terrible as a person or making others appear more terrible to you. This constant feeding of the demons (Yes! We can have many demons) by ignoring or fighting or distracting or substituting may take you down the path of immense self-loathing, becoming highly judgemental about others, losing trust in humanity, or even intense self-pity in the long-term. It’s like trying to intentionally amputate your hands and legs – which would be a highly destructive strategy in the long term.
Most of the time we are waging war upon ourselves by self-incriminating ourselves, bashing ourselves up, or on the other side even distrusting others completely due to our own demons because we think having demons is unique to only our personality. However, if this gives any solace, we all have our demons.
A decent strategy that has worked a little for me is, metaphorically speaking – sleeping with my own demon or demons i.e. more like taking cognizance and acceptance of their existence in my life. Metaphorically sitting and chilling out with my demon. Accepting the fact that it will always be around, however, always respectfully disagreeing with what it has to say to me.
BUT I LOVE THE HULK?
Ya! The Hulk has always been my favorite. Not only because of my fondness for bodybuilding but also because metaphorically speaking, we all have an angry but evil Hulk inside us. And like Bruce Banner, you too detest it and have been trying to get rid of it since eternity because it treats you like shit and even sees others as shit. You too know, that if it gets a grip on you, or you completely lose control of that Hulk, then it would lead to a widespread Avengers - Age of Ultron -like destruction in your life, kind of like the scene in which Wanda messes with the mind of the Hulk who wreaks havoc on the city of Johannesburg (the duel scene in which Iron Man battles the Hulk!).
If you do not intend to convert your ‘controllable’ Hulk, into the uncontrollable and destructive Abomination (the villain from the movie The Incredible Hulk), and you do not want to be paranoid about your failures or rejections, and you do not want to destroy those beautiful relationships in your life, and you want to stop judging yourself on an endless downward spiral then, ironically what you need to do is - to be buddies with your demon-Hulk, accept it as a dark shade of you, and see perspective by amicably & respectfully disagreeing with what your demon always has to say to you.
Gosh, I just love the MCU ‘coz there is so much to learn from it!