Last week I decided to take on my inner demons. Instead of doing it like a normal person, however, my strategy was to name them, describe them and then tell them to fuck off. By bringing them to life, I reasoned, I could eradicate them or at least control their influence on me.
First, I took on “Percy the Perpetually Pissed,” that miserable punk that stays in a perpetual state of being angry at the world. Percy’s anger sometimes seems reasonable, for example, in the way that he spits fire at those who park in handicapped spaces. But he takes the justifiable anger that one with a handicapped child would feel towards these people far beyond the realm of healthy. Percy’s worst offense is the way he infiltrates my thoughts in certain situations, causing an obsession in me of wanting to “fix” my son and thereby robbing me of those most precious moments I have with him. For that, I decided to tell Percy to go fuck himself.
The problem with Percy though is that he often does not work alone. He has a close cousin and partner, Jealous Joffrey who is the Scottie Pippen to Percy’s Michael Jordan as the two make a vicious tag team.
Joffrey’s world is devoid of joy and full of despair and not just because shares a name with arguably the most despicable character in television history.
Joffrey’s despair stems from his deep conviction that the world has shit on him. Whereas hatred of mankind is Percy’s strategy, Joffrey’s contempt takes a more passive form: he constantly compares his plight with others and almost always concludes that he has it worse. Joffrey is jealous of you, and he resents you. Once Joffrey comes to this conclusion, he typically tags his cousin Percy, who comes in spewing hatred.
Back when the wounds of Kohl’s birth were still fresh, Joffrey would often pop up when friends or other acquaintances birthed healthy children.
“Must be nice,” Joffrey would say.
Over time, however, those comments faded into whispers, and now when friends or acquaintances have healthy kids, I experience genuine happiness for them, unfettered by Joffrey’s bullshit.
Yet Joffrey continues to appear in other places.
One parent asks for prayers because their child has a fever. Another acts as if their child getting tubes put in their ears is some kind of major surgery that everyone needs to hear about.
“Awww, you poor thing,” Joffrey says to these people, rolling his eyes.
He then reminds me that I have a son, born with brain damage, who must take three different seizure medicines every day and has already endured six surgeries, all of which much more severe than the placement of ear tubes. This reminder is usually Percy’s cue to come in.
“Fuck you and your kid’s flu,” Percy says.
“And get over yourself with the ear tubes. You don’t know what a major surgery is. Moreover, you don’t know what real problems are.”
Sometimes I think letting out a little anger is a good thing that makes me feel better, but these kinds of outbursts only make me feel worse. Joffrey simply does not help. He constantly causes me to compare my life with others, and parents of healthy children are not his exclusive targets. He has even been known to fire his jealousy at parents of kids with disabilities that he perceives to be less severe than Kohl’s.
While people will always complain about stupid bullshit that will cause me to roll my eyes, Joffrey’s jealousy causes a degree of spite that is beyond what might be considered reasonable.
The worst part of Joffrey’s antics is that they prevent me from experiencing real joy with my son. Just as Percy’s vitriol creates an obsession with fixing Kohl, robbing me of those moments to just enjoy him, Joffrey’s constant comparisons rob me of those same moments by focusing my energy in the wrong place. Expending mental energy out of spite for someone else whose problems, in my estimation, are not as bad as mine n is not just unhelpful – it is harmful. It focuses my attention on the wrong things and in the wrong places.
So, Joffrey, while Percy is off fucking himself, I will tell you what you can do. You, sir, can go lock yourself in a dark room, maybe put on a dark trench coat and black lipstick and throw on some Radiohead.
Go be miserable by yourself. I want to hang out with Kohl.