Ok, I've finally hit on it. I have figured it out, and it's all thanks to this guy.
Today, whilst driving in my car along the most mundane of errands - oil change, pharmacy, lunch - I was listening to my local public radio station and this guy, this random rabbi, was talking about keeping kosher, of all things, which is not something I do, and about immigration, which is not something I've done, and about his grandmother, of which, okay, I do have one, when all of a sudden, he said it.
The ten words that are going to change my life. No. The ten words that are going to make *me* change my life.
He was quoting the bible, where it says "love your neighbor as you love yourself,"* and he made the singlemost brilliant philosophical point that has ever been made on the public airwaves:
You can't love your neighbor if you don't love yourself.
And I don't. I don't love myself. I don't even particularly like myself. But then, no wonder that I can't be as loving as I would like toward my children, who are mirror images of me, or to my students, who were me twenty years ago, or to my husband, who is the other half of me. How can I reasonably expect to love them and be loving toward them if I don't first love myself and am not loving toward myself?
So, my plan is this: learn to love myself. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to. I don't think it's going to be easy, but I feel like I have to try.
In the book I'm reading right now in an attempt to help me deal with the Bear, it was talking about parents who are also highly sensitive, which, as an angry depressed person, I think I qualify as. She was saying that it's important for the parent who is sensitive to have their emotional well-being in check, to be healthy and well-adjusted and have all our mental ducks in a row, in order for our children to do well. It makes perfect sense. The Bear is incredibly attuned to others' moods, especially to mine, since we're so close, and whenever I'm not happy, she's not happy, and when she's not happy, it makes me angry, which just snowballs into this awful mess. It all ties right back into what Rabbi Brad says - I can't love her if I don't love myself. Dr. Elaine says the same thing - if I'm overwhelmed by everything, then so will she be, and I can't help her until I help myself.
So, now that I know what I need to do, the question is - how to do it?
*Leviticus 19:18, lazy