Before getting to the next part of the book, I would like to do a more thorough introduction of myself, particularly why and how I came to write this book.
From the treatment I got from my family and other people who had a say in my life, I knew something was wrong. I didn’t know what. Then at forty, I fell apart—and started a self-discovery journey. In this book and accompanying website, I share my discoveries and what I uncovered about myself, and also what I see around me.
I see it this way. On arriving here on this planet at birth, I was treated in a certain way. I was perplexed by that treatment. My initial reaction was that something must be wrong with me. Then, in trying to explain it to myself, I had another theory, which was that I must have been adopted.
During my life, I walked around with a deep-seated feeling of something being wrong with me. Otherwise, I’d think, why am I being treated the way I am? I was born in a blended family of “his children,” “my children,” and “our children.” My parents were in their forties when I was born, and I was the only child in the “our children” category. All in all, there were six children. I was the youngest by thirteen years; my half siblings ranged in age from thirteen to eighteen years older than me.
Looking back, it’s not difficult to see what happened and why I felt the way I did about myself. Being so much older, my half siblings all had their lives by the time I came along, but my parents insisted they have responsibilities toward my upbringing. They of course had their own interests, and were in a way forced to attend to me. Why would they want to? After all, I wasn’t their responsibility. My parents had their own lives as well, and from what I recall, it wasn’t moonlight and roses for them. I remember very many arguments and things being thrown around the house. My father wanted his way and my mother often felt pressured to oblige.
So there I was, in a family where everyone was so into their own lives, they had no time for this newborn who of course needed care and attention. This is where it started for me. This is where I created my Factor-x, which you will find described in the upcoming section, “Factor-x and How It Comes About.” The setting and circumstances were perfect.
When I began school, I didn’t cope, and this continued throughout my school years. Even today, I don’t like learning theoretical stuff. I like practical tasks. Later on in life, I recognized my liking for research.
Anyway, back to school. I struggled with school, especially when it came to learning theory. Again, this fueled my feeling that something must be wrong with me. Throughout my school-going days, I had encounters that confirmed to me that something must be wrong with me.
I got married at a fairly young age, and here it was the same. With what I experienced during my married life of twenty-three years, I had the same deep-seated feeling repeatedly confirmed. I deduced this from the treatment I got from my wife. We had an average or slightly above-average marriage, but there were certain things that just didn’t happen. As far as I could gather, I was the cause of it all; something was wrong with me. Again, if it wasn’t, why would I be getting the treatment I was getting?
During this time, the only place I felt nothing was wrong with me was with my work. I had developed myself into a computer freelance contractor. Here, I felt I was at home, and of course threw myself into it and had very little actual home life. Besides, I was doing okay at work and not so okay at home, so work became everything for me. And with computer work there’s always lots to go around, so when someone throws themselves at it, no one’s going to complain.
Then I stumbled at work and created my first big error in judgment. And here it was: I had failed in my work and my wheels came off. Now, everyone could see that something was wrong with me. It was now finally driven home. At home, my life didn’t work out. At work, it was suddenly clear to me that I was not as good as I thought I was. And everything tumbled around me. It was now confirmed, in no uncertain terms, that something was wrong with me.
This might sound like an exaggeration, or that I lived too intensely and oversensitively. Be that as it may, what I share here is a short version of uncovering myself since about the age of forty until today. At the time of this writing, I am fifty-three years old.
At age forty, I cracked up and had nowhere to turn. Even though there were people around me, I was all alone. I had entered a bottomless pit, my own hell here on Earth, and had no idea what was happening and what I was going to do about it. My world as I knew it had ended, and I was lost to myself and to the world, spinning out of control in a world I had created for myself based on wanting to cover up that something was wrong with me.
Unable to cope anymore, I eventually stopped working and took an extended break. Before this break, during this break and after the break, I researched. My liking research really came in handy. I left no stone unturned. I cut all the way to the bone in my self-uncovering escapades. I went for every therapy I could find that I thought would cast light on where I had found myself.
During this time, I found someone who understood me and understood what had happened to me. You first read about him in the book’s Acknowledgements. Sergio spent hundreds of hours with me, and thereby gave me an opportunity for me to see myself—the person I had become and the person I really was.
This was a difficult dynamic that had its good and not-so-good aspects. First, I had to deal with me—the person I had become in an attempt to cover up how I felt about myself—and then I had to move that aside so I could see me, the person I really was. That was not very easy. Second, I had one thing going for me: I found out what had happened to me and why I felt the way I felt about myself. Third, what was now required was to break through what I had created—my Factor-x—to see it and me separately. Fourth, I had another thing going for me—I could be brutally honest with myself. Fifth, this process required courage.
In looking back, initially it was courage that was lacking when I uncovered this reality about myself—the courage to move beyond what I had created. This was a big struggle, and even today, courage is the one thing I constantly need to rely on to get me out of a stranglehold that my Factor-x creates.
Where does all this lead to?
Well, as I uncovered myself, I of course assumed that surely other people also created for themselves what I had created. During this time, I relied heavily and often on a particular daydream which I now understood, as you will read about in “Daydreams: Misinterpretation and Undercurrent,” again with Sergio’s help.
The funny thing is, I lived my life and questioned its meaning often. When my life fell apart, I uncovered my own meaning. As a result, and assuming that there might be other people who, like me, created lives for themselves which they question . . . who, like me, would like to get to the bottom of why they created a life for themselves that they don’t like . . . and for those who would like to get beyond what they created . . . this book was written and the accompanying website developed.
All this, I uncovered from a daydream that took me twenty years to unravel and understand. Now that this dream of mine was unraveled and understood and the courage of my convictions was with me, I was able to create a book and accompanying website where anyone participating has a chance to uncover themselves.
The aforementioned was my inspiration to write this book and to develop the accompanying website, to share my experiences, what I uncovered, and what I see around me happening each and every day. I wonder whether my case is an isolated one, or whether it is the norm. Notwithstanding, either way I suspect that, even though they might be questioning the meaning of their lives, very few people would step forward and take on this uncovering journey. It’s just too big a step to take, and it takes brutal honesty and great courage to go with our convictions. I’m wondering whether the average person has enough brutal honesty and courage to go beyond the standards and norms dictated by society, and whether others would even see how their Factor-x drives their lives.
Because of the above, I’ll give this warning: This book and accompanying website is intended for everyone, but only people who can be brutally honest with themselves and have the courage of their convictions will go with what they see when they uncover themselves. The intimidation of the standards and norms of society and from Factor-x is enormous. Only those with great courage and the ability to be honest with themselves can get beyond that. Again, this brutal honesty with ourselves and the courage of our convictions is required. Anything short of that, and the intimidation will get to us.
Throughout this journey, and the further each of us goes on this journey, the more we’ll find ourselves isolated. Keep in mind, this sense of isolation feeds right into our Factor-x. Nevertheless, this is not an impossible journey. When stuck on any aspect, we can check whether our meaning is still present; in all likelihood, it will still be right there.
Have a safe journey, albeit no doubt a rocky one at most times. And remember that you are welcome, at any stage, to visit the website in the likelihood that further information is available, or to contact me when stuck. (Note: Since this is my way of making a living, such contact is subject to a fee, as explained in the website information in the back of this book.)
Notwithstanding anything, my kindest regards,