One way that I track down my attachment issues is by looking for things that evoke a strong emotional response, either positive or negative. In doing that, I've discovered
- that there are more things in my life that evoke strong negative emotions than strong positive ones.
- that I have a certain attachment to some negative emotions that I don't have for positive ones.
The reason I experience more negative emotions is not because I have a miserable life – I could live like Warren Buffett and I'd still be about the same emotionally – it's because the 'negative emotion technology' in my system is rather finely tuned, while the 'positive emotion technology' was pretty much smashed flat by my parents (for reasons that could make a whole 'nother blog).
So, when good things happen, I tend to have a flat emotional response, while I can react more naturally and emotionally to bad things.
But the more interesting thing is that I have an attachment to these negative emotions, and I have a hard time shaking them.
Back in 1983 or '84, I worked for a boss who was incredibly abusive. I think I can fairly say he was the worst person I ever knew who wasn't a serial killer. (If it turns out someday that he is a serial killer, that will not surprise me.) He was a lot tougher on the female employees than he was on the guys, but he enjoyed making everyone's life miserable. I don't mean that as a figure of speech – he literally enjoyed making people miserable.
He was forced out in 1989 or '90, but even as late as 1995, I could still find myself in a rage just thinking about him. I eventually kicked that, but it took years because I was attached to the anger I felt, and part of me didn't want to let go of it.
If you read a lot of Buddhist literature as I do, you find a lot about losing attachments to wealth, luxury, sex, fame, power and the like.
But what if your attachments are to anger and resentment?
Well, I got over my issues with that sorry-assed mother$#%^@* psychopath asshole boss... so I guess I can kick the rest of it, too. That sorry son of a bitch... I mean, seriously, you wouldn't believe the shit that asswipe pulled... I remember one time...