When one small thing brings all the feelings…this pic popped up in my Facebook news feed, and inspired this post.
THE LEGACY OF ABUSE
That good ol’ self loathing and feeling you’re never good enough and don’t deserve the good things that happen to you…spending your life being terrified everyone you love will realize you’re just a big nothing and will leave…convinced that pretty much everything that goes wrong is somehow your fault.
I’ve spent most of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop every time I cared about anything…so I pretended I didn’t.
The dictionary definition of “Commitment Phobic” just has a picture of me.
Not just with relationships, but literally EVERYTHING.
I’m a procrastinator,.even though it stresses me out…because I’m afraid of screwing up everything.
I need LOTS of options and a need to get every possible angle – good and bad – before I make a decision on things, both big and small; even then it takes me at least 2-to-infinity to make a decision…because I’m afraid of screwing up everything.
I have major control issues about my body and my life and a need to be totally in charge of myself and my body and anything that affects me.
And it’s AWFUL.
It doesn’t make me feel in control; it makes me a damn mess because I’m constantly trying to control the uncontrollable, or because I’m constantly trying to make myself accept that I CAN’T always be in control and that that’s okay.
Ironically, commitment phobic me needs tons of validation that I didn’t mess up, that I’m loved, that I deserve to be happy, that I’m not stupid or hopeless or ugly.
That I deserve to have a life at all, sometimes.
Because I always hear my father’s voice:
You can’t do anything right.
You can’t do that.
You don’t have any talent or redeeming qualities.
I hear my mom’s voice, too, and my sisters’, and my stepdad, and my kids, and my friends’, and Frank’s:
You’re so smart!
Wow, you’re so pretty!
You’re so good at so many things!
You’ve got this!
You’re a good person.
And do they help? OH, YES.
And I’ve learned some self-validation, because I shouldn’t have to lean on others for it.
I can’t even imagine how messed up and broken I’d have been if I hadn’t had my mom and my sisters to help hold me together.
But I wish just once that I could truly feel any of those ways without having to stop my ears to my father’s voice first.
Without having to fight myself and my scars to feel some satisfaction or happiness or pridw over my accomplishments and my joys in life, and without being afraid to some degree that I didn’t really earn it…that I’ll always be the loser.
That’s what emotional abuse alone can do to you.
I’m finally at a point in life that I mostly like myself, am comfortable in my own skin, and have some pride in myself and my talents.
But weirdly enough, I now have to fight that much harder against all those fears and doubts and conviction I’m failing at life.
THAT is my father’s legacy to me…and my sisters deal with it, too, even if they don’t mention it as much.
THAT is the legacy of child abuse.
That pic absolutely hit me in the heart…because that’s a long and far-reaching legacy.
And even though I’ve come a long way in healing, I’m still that little girl who couldn’t be proud of anything she did because he would destroy it.
Who is incredibly uncomfortable with compliments because I was taught not to trust them.
Who is an advocate, artist, writer, and poet…who is funny and goofy and sarcastic and has a big heart that I finally quit hiding despite knowing it could get hurt.
Who knows that I’m better than what my father taught me to see myself as and that I’m worthy of good things and of letting myself be happy without crippling anxiety or needing to weigh every. damn. little. thing. so I can be prepared if it goes wrong.
And I know it’s okay to mess up, even, that it doesn’t mean I’m not as capable and smart as I am when things turn out well…it just makes me human like everyone else.
And…I know that I’m not alone in having to fight this.
I know a lot of y’all are struggling with the same things or others that are part of the same kind of legacy, and I want to tell you that I see you out there, you are not alone, you are not what your abuser made you believe that you were or are.
It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t ask for this. You didn’t and don’t deserve this.
If no one else has ever told you this, you’re hearing it now – YOU ARE ENOUGH.
YOU ARE WORTHY OF ALL THE GOOD THINGS, THE LOVE, THE HAPPINESS YOU WERE DENIED.
I wish I could have told you sooner.
Be well, or as well as you can.