Journal Date: Saturday, November 7th, 2020
“I think you can see that a dilemma of profound consequences is set up if the people who are supposed to love and protect us are also the ones that hurt, humiliate and violate us. This sets up a double bind that undermines people’s basic sense of self and trust in their own instincts. Our sense of safety and stability in the world and our interpersonal relationships become undermined by childhood abuse because we carry these early thwarted—that is, deeply conflicted—survival pattern into adulthood.” —Peter Levine
I’ve hated myself ever since then. I’ve been disgusted by myself. And have believed that my mom must have been right. That I’m worthless, and a lost cause, and don’t deserve to be here.
That I should hide, or even die, because to show my face in polite society is an insult to all those good people I’m trying to fool.
This is what I have believed, and eventually, have gotten oh-so-good at creating as my actual life experience.
Deep down, I was so invested in believing this about myself, that I forced it upon myself, even in circumstances where there were people who wanted to like me.
I’m thinking of all the times when there have been people who have liked me, respected me, admired me, and even wanted to try to love me.
I just couldn’t handle it.
It was too much for me. I didn’t understand it. Couldn’t trust it.
It gave me the deepest, most terrifying sense of anxiety and dread.
I had to “fix” it immediately. I couldn’t keep up “the lies.” I was terrified of what would happen when they discovered the “truth” about me.
So I was compelled to show them.
[insert horrible betrayal here]
Look at me. “This is who I am.”
Do you love me now?
I DIDN’T THINK SO.
And over time, I got so much better at showing people “who I was” up front.
It took a while, but soon enough there was not even a chance for them to try and love me; I did my best to make it obvious how much I hated myself (and how much they should too) right from the very beginning.
Amazingly enough, some people still tried!
It was always such a shock to me. It was what I said I wanted, but I could never tolerate it for long.
I was obsessed with my compulsion to “tell the truth” about what I was, and to prove how unworthy of love, respect, or even common human decency I was.
What a crazy, stupid, unnecessarily painful life this has been.
None of this was necessary.
None of this was even really about me, at the end of the day.
Back then, I was just doing my best to be a good girl. So I just kept carrying all the crazy projections my family sent my way, no matter how painful or detached from reality they were.
God, it makes me sad to look back on my life and see the truth of what has been.
How easily it could have been another way.
This pain, this shame—it was never mine to carry.
I don’t want to keep holding onto it anymore.
I’m ready to be free, and just live as my own self.
I don’t need to do this anymore.
I’m ready to be free.