Jake’s Misery

Extracts from Jake’s Journal:

9th June 1978
Basic thoughts are – unloved, unfanciable, don’t understand, lonely, isolated, worn out. Don’t know why they are so strong, nor what to do about them. Just feel like crying all the time. Keep thinking what to do to keep together. I feel so sure L is going away. Why is so much so wrong? What am I doing trying to go to bed every night with a woman who doesn’t love me or fancy me? Why torture myself? Why am I so unlovable? If I found out should I change it? That’s the real hang up about feeling and being unloved – you cannot be yourself because you are not nice; you have to conform to what potential lovers might like. Mustn’t get fat or ugly because then no one will even notice you. So what the hell – why not just say fuck it to the rest of the world and get off on chemicals, consumption, ownership and good fucks. At least these things make loneliness tolerable – they are all good distracters. Sitting around crying all day and going through this conversational masturbation just makes everything so much worse.

Crazy thoughts! Why do I feel so sad when I realise that no one loves me, nor have I ever been loved (except for very short times, enough to make it tantalising)? Why does a thought make my stomach tight and my eyes water? Why can’t I stop having thins thought? What can I do?

October 1979:
Tell me who you are
I am a broken man
Worn down by pain
Hurt and weary
And ready for repair

Tell me who you are
I watch myself act
Roles in others’ scripts
And occasionally
Write a script for myself

Tell me who you are
I am unsure I am afraid
I don’t know
I doubt, myself

Tell me who you are
I am a traveller
With a loving companion
A rough road
And enough energy to get to the end

Tell me who you are
I am my own master
My colour is burgundy
My essence is male protector
I am what you see
And what you do not see
I am within and without
I am the same as you

17th January 1980

Got in touch with the origin of the push-pull game in me; if a woman likes me I reject her because she doesn’t fulfil my mother image; if she rejects me she fulfils my mother image, so I cling on to her jealously and want her to like me; but if she likes me I reject her… And of course this is matched by the perfect complement trip; if I like her she rejects me, if I reject her she likes me. So the flip-flop goes on and on, building up the tension. The purpose of the romantic stuff is to convert pain into pleasure. When I’m “in love” with someone I attribute my mother needs to them – my feelings about them have nothing to do with them, the feelings are all the “mother love me” feelings that are so painful.

May 1981 (on retreat)

I’ve been thinking about ending the relationship with Eva – I get nothing from her, no love, no care, no help. I have to constantly fight off her projections. She brings me down. I don’t know what the hell I am doing with her. I can see that a large part of this negativity comes from me wanting her to love me, and hating her for not doing so.

It continues on and on. I don’t know why I am with a fucked up slob like Eva. Nor do I understand why I have sunk into such an immense sea of negativity. Maybe it was always there. I feel like this has dropped on me like a bomb – one minute I was happy being with myself – the next I was caught up hating Eva, realising how little I get from the relationship and wanting to end it – and it has gone on for several hours.

So I went into the bedroom, hung blankets all around, buried myself under the duvet and shouted, screamed and cried. I quickly got into wanting to be loved. I went right down into that hole in my chest – God its painful in there; it’s so painful I can’t breathe – feels like I’m going to die. And then I know Eva could never fill up that hole, and it was crazy to hate her for it – and then I remembered her caring for me and accepting me – and the positive drawer was opened and the negative drawer a bit cleaned out.


I have a clear memory of coming downstairs one morning, probably in 1977. I looked into the mirror and was shocked at what I saw, I had a bad headache, my hair was falling out, I had an ulcer and I looked awful. I was shocked and realised that the life I was leading was killing me. I was smoking 30 cigarettes a day, drinking too much and being far too stressed almost all the time. I had given 100 public talks in the last year and was terrified before each one. I knew I had to stop and make some changes – and I resolved to do so there and then.


Another vivid memory comes to mind. Eva and I are together in a tent at a festival. This must have been in the summer of 1979, before we started living together. She saw that I was looking miserable and said “Tell me three good things about yourself”.

I thought for a very long time and said “I can’t think of anything.” This was despite the fact that I was one of the most successful academics at the Open University, had plenty of money, fame and girlfriends. But inside I felt completely worthless – and completely alone. All I could think of was that I was divorced from the mother of my children – whom I only saw in holidays. I had had a series of disastrous relationships with women, I had fallen out with most of the people I worked with and could see no point in anything.


Eva: I do remember how sad and depressed you were much of the time. Is that why you wanted to include these journal entries and memories?

Jake: One of the things I want readers to understand is that the starting point for our relationship was really not good. I was a really screwed up man with a very bad track record. When I thought about how to communicate this I realised that I didn’t want to write something from the awareness that I have now – I wanted to show people how screwed up I was. So I started reading through the journals I wrote from 1978 to 1980. Each time I read them I became depressed because I was powerfully reminded of the states I was in. However there were not any really good descriptions of the states. There are two reasons for this. First I didn’t have the awareness to describe what was actually going on – certainly not at an emotional level. Secondly what I tended to write about was the insights and breakthroughs that happened – not the day to day misery.

In the end I decided to use a few extracts to give a flavour of how I was thinking then, and to add in the two concrete events of which I had very clear memories. I hope that this conveys something of the despair and loneliness that were a constant backdrop to my life at that time.

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