A letter of frustration

Dear Self,

I don’t like to yell at you, but apparently you’re very, very (very, very) dense just lately. Maybe the increased volume will get through.

STOP DREAMING! LEARN TO LISTEN TO WHAT I TELL YOU!

I don’t know when you’re going to learn to use the sense the gods gave you and stop putting yourself in situations like the one today.

Now: since when have your parents ever really heard anything you say, without trying to twist it? When have they not thought that your feelings were some kind of condemnation of them and all they stand for? When have they not developed selective amnesia about things you bring up to them (including circumstances, exact placement of the players, and exact words)? When have they not acted like they can’t understand the simplest concepts when you try to tell them how you feel?

Answer: Never.

I’m holding on by my fingernails here. I don’t want to leave you, but you’re making it very hard, girl.

How much longer will you allow yourself and your feelings to be invalidated? Turn off the masochistic vibe, girlfriend; it’s not cute.

Learn from your mistakes. Learn how much to say and who to say it to. Really–learn this lesson, and learn it NOW, or I will pack up and leave. You really don’t want that to happen.

You make me want to tear your hair out, but I love you. You have a good head, plenty of sense, and enough ambition.

Yours very sincerely,

Your Sanity

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A list of truths

I have no idea why I’m writing this down. Maybe seeing it in black and white will help.

1. I was emotionally abused for years. Maybe it’s still happening.

2. This is not my fault. None of it is my fault.

3. I am a resource to my parents, a thing to be used and then tossed when no longer useful.

4. They will never see me. I need to accept that and stop living in denial world about it.

5. I am a good person, no matter what they may have said.

6. I have lots to offer.

7. It’s okay to want good things for myself.

 

Things my Mother told me that maybe she was right about

I’ve been thinking about pleasure. Is it wrong to want it, or to feel it?

My mother told me some very uncomplimentary things when I was a little girl, and no matter how she’s tried to make up for them–then or now–I still hear her words echoing in my head.

“No one will ever love you unless you change yourself completely.”

“It’s a good thing you’re smart; at least you’ll have something to offer somebody–if anybody ever decides to take you. “

“Men want girls who are happy and smiling; they don’t want girls who won’t pay attention to them and leave them to their own devices.”

“The only way anybody would even want to put up with you is if you were paying for them somehow. Nobody will ever bother with you otherwise.”

“You’re going to die old and alone, and good thing too; you’re too twisted to treat anybody decently.”

And this, whenever I was doing something that made me feel good: “Why are you doing that? Only weird people like things like that. Do you want people to call you weird? What did I do to land you as my child?”

I still wonder if she was right about it. She’s my mother, right? She says she knows me better than I know myself.

So I wonder, when I take pleasure in something, if somehow I don’t deserve it, or if I’m wrong for feeling it. My mother always implied that I was somehow made wrong for feeling the way I felt  and doing what I did and thinking the things I do; maybe she was right that I shouldn’t expect to feel good about anything. Maybe she was.

 

I hope this post makes sense; it made sense in my head, but it sort of poured out disjointed.

Betwixt and Between

Two! Two! Two posts in one (night)! My brain isn’t ready for sleep just yet, so I might as well unload this here instead of allowing it to whirl in my head and keep me awake.

I’m wondering if there is a word to describe a person who is between the “victim” stage of abuse and the “survivor” stage.

Yes, I guess you could say that I’m still technically a victim, as the abuse is still happening and I’m too lazy or stupid or something to find the way out. I’m still not comfortable with the word “abuse”, though; the word “victim” makes me cringe.

Can you even call yourself a victim when some part of your situation is your own fault? My family is the entity that it is because I didn’t stop it. The family treats me as it does because I didn’t stop it.  People tell me that I shouldn’t blame myself for it, but I do. I’ve got eyes; I’ve got instincts. I should have seen what I was allowing to happen and found a way to stop it. But I didn’t, and now I dare call myself a victim. That’s foolishness.

I don’t quite fit the title “survivor” either, since I’m not out of the situation, and I haven’t reached a place where I can speak comfortably about what happened. Maybe I’m still in denial about it all, I don’t know. I don’t feel like I’ve survived anything. In fact, I feel like life is giving me a major beat-down and I’m curled in fetal position on the ground trying to keep from being hurt even more. I haven’t fought life for anything.

And again, can you rightfully say you survived a situation you helped to create? You survive things like tornadoes and other natural disasters. You survive carjackings and other criminal acts. You survive acts of cruelty. But something that you created? No, you don’t survive such a thing.

 

Where does Self-Worth Come From?

Where does a good feeling of self-worth come from? Do parents instill it, or does it come from somewhere inside you?

I asked my mother once and she could only garble something that amounted to “either you’ve got it or you don’t.”

You can teach yourself a lot of things; can you teach yourself self-worth? And if you can, how do you start?

My parents are very self-assured people. Two of their three kids have inherited this. One good thing I can say about my siblings is that both of them know who they are and know their worth.

So where does that come from? Does it come from things you do, or is it intrinsic to the person you are? Is it something you can discover along the way?

I ask myself what I’m worth, and I can’t find an answer. Maybe there isn’t an answer and I’m the one person on earth who isn’t worth anything. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was the case.

 

A Ramble about my Mother

I have been noticing something from my mother in the last few months. She is trying really hard to sell me on the idea that she really appreciates me.

Maybe she does at that, but I can’t really believe it. She says she does, and again, maybe she really does. I feel like it’s too little too late.

So the question I’m trying to find the answer to is: why now? Why now, after all these years?

She’s never understood me; she freely admits this. I think she has never really tried, as I don’t think I’m that much of a puzzle. I wish there was guilt driving this sudden push (though I do get something from her that isn’t quite guilt. Chagrin, maybe? I don’t know).  If it were guilt, I could at least understand it better.

She says very cutting, hurtful things to me, saying that hearing these things is “for my own good” and that “I need to hear” them. It would be fine if that was all there was to it, but when she says these things, it’s like she’s slicing me to ribbons. There’s nothing wrong with tough love or dealing out hard truths, but don’t accompany the hard words with malice.

When I have to hand out harsh truths, I try to do it without malice, as there’s no point in trying to hurt someone you want to help.

Maybe she’s not doing it intentionally, and I’m allowing myself to be blinded by my own hurt feelings. Is it childish to even feel this way?

Looking Back

Today I feel yucky. I feel like I have a low grade flu, or like I’m just coming off of a long illness. Nothing really bad; just general malaise. I know what this is, though, and it will pass in a few days.

My emotions also feel teeter-y. I spent some time with my nieces and nephew today and it helped some. They are all 5 years old and under, and they had fun asking me all sorts of questions.

I’m thinking about when I was growing up. People tell me that what happened to me wasn’t my fault, but when I look at it, all I can see is what I didn’t do, what I didn’t say.

I was never really strong. My mother was always telling me that she could read me like a book. I never developed the knack of hiding how I was feeling, and so anybody who sees my face knows exactly what I think. I don’t mind being open, but I don’t like being made fun of because of it.

I keep thinking that if I were a different person, none of this would have happened. If I had tried harder to be my mother’s idea of a good daughter, even if I had been able to stand my ground and say no or stop,  none of this would have happened, and I wouldn’t have to feel like my parents wish I had never been born.