Lies I Was Told About My Mother

Journal Date: Sunday, January 3, 2021

One thing that has been a relief is allowing myself to say goodbye to the myth that my mom “really loved me,” but she just didn’t know how/was “incapable” of showing it (or that I was unworthy of receiving it, according to some).

I don’t think my mom ever loved me.

I actually have begun to believe she has spent the majority of my life hating me, resenting me, being envious or threatened by all the things in me that reminded her of herself and who she wasn’t.

To be my mother meant having to continually confront me as her living mirror, reflecting back to her everything she was so determined to repress, deny, or destroy in herself.

It is only recently (in particular within the last year) that I have begun to understand the magnitude of my mother’s own pain, the depth of her suffering, her own inner torment, which was then turned outward onto me.

My mom hurt me because that is what she knew. Clearly, she had been abused– and it’s not over, it never ended, it continues to this day.

Abuelita, in her own misery, chose my mom out of her daughters to be her scapegoat, servant and supporter.

I don’t think my mom ever considered resisting this role that had been made for her.

When her mother criticized, critiqued, crushed my mother, she gave in, she complied, and accepted her fate.

Another existence was unimaginable to her. 

“That’s just the way it is,” she told herself.

When I was born, I disappointed them immediately by not being Andrew, by not having been born a boy, my first (and likely only) sin to have been born a woman.

But regardless, the role was there, ready and waiting for me. I would be compliant, obedient and submissive; penitent and ashamed, easy to control, to crush, to repurpose and use as they saw fit.

My mom had done it. There was never any questioning that.

So why couldn’t I?

To see me live the way I did was probably not just insulting, but also a great source of fear and insecurity for my mom.

What if that wasn’t “just the way things were?”

What if there were other ways to be a daughter, and a woman?

What if the true order of things was not what it seemed, and she had sold her own soul away for less than nothing?

Maybe it’s true that my mom was actually determined to crush me, the way it seemed back then.
Maybe she needed to, in her eyes, in order to maintain the illusions on which her entire life was based.

If I didn’t submit, and turn control of my entire self over to her, then… maybe there was another way.

Maybe she had actually wasted her life being a servant and prisoner to a pathetic, unhappy woman who only wished her harm.

Maybe that would mean my mother wasn’t “a good woman”– but simply a foolish one.

What a horrible prospect, to consider that everything you’ve ever known was a lie. To consider that maybe Abuelita wasn’t her savior, but her greatest oppressor.

Maybe the betrayal she would have had to admit experiencing seemed impossible to bear.

Maybe it was too terrifying to allow, so she never did allow any lapse in her prior judgment, no wavering of her appraisal of her situation.

Maybe she preferred to condemn me to a similar fate instead of run the risk of being confronted with evidence that her life was a lie. A complete and utter lie.

It seems likely, to be honest.

In my mom’s eyes, it would never be safe to question her own mother’s motives, and in doing so, allow the possibility of rage or resistance against her.

Instead, she decided to on the transference of all these confusing, fucked up feelings onto me.

She could never act out her anger at her mother for her own abuse, so I paid the price in her place.

All of the turmoil and antagonism she denied her mother then became my load to bear.

Everything my mom could never accept was transformed, and became the cross that I believed was mine, which I still carry to this day.

It’s strange to stop and consider: none of this was ever really about me at all, in all likelihood.

It’s probably true: I don’t think my mom ever saw me. 

She has hated me and gone against me without ever knowing a thing about me.

Isn’t that something?

None of my greatest complexes, insecurities, wounds, etc. ever really belonged to me.

The deepest parts of me, my most secret shame, what I believed was “too personal” to admit to another living being– it was anything but that.

It was entirely impersonal, in a way. It was a product of the struggles between two entirely other people, my mom and her mother.

And their struggles, in their own way, were shaped by the pain of those who came before them, by the relationships and social structures they inevitably found themselves in.

In some ways, the fabric of my identity was woven not by myself, but between so many others.

It almost seems like any girl could have taken my place in my family, and it wouldn’t have changed a thing.

I hardly existed for them other than as a rack to hang their dirty, soiled, shameful projections on.

I don’t know what’s worse:

  • The idea that my mom truly believed I was worthless, disgusting, a “lost cause,” a bad woman, etc.


  • The idea that it had little to do with me, and was more just a manifestation of power struggles that did not have their source in me, which have now molded and shaped my actual life to conform to projections that had little basis in my reality.

It’s pretty funny/sick/twisted to think that a lot of my horror at the second option is totally ego-driven.

It’s like, “What?! I’ve been faithfully performing this role for decades and you weren’t even really watching?”

“You missed the whole performance,” is what I’m upset about, it almost seems.

It’s like I would rather be seen, and hated for who I am, than ignored. I’m mad about the lack of real attention. My ego’s bruised– I thought I mattered, even if only in a fucked up, problematic, unforgivable kind of way.

Another major component is annoyance at all the time wasted.

It’s like, you’re telling me I could have just stopped doing this years ago and freed myself to live my own life, because they’re not even paying any actual attention to me here at all??



Then there’s also the disturbing idea that I’ve never, ever had a mother, in any way.

Part of me prefers an abusive mother who hates me than a complete absence of interest in me at all. 

It’s like I’d rather believe she has these strong negative feelings against me, and is truly “out to get me,” than face the fact that I just don’t matter to her at all. 

I hardly have any real existence for her– when I do show up by chance in her awareness, it’s just kind of an annoying little reminder that once upon a time I was born, and unfortunately had something to do with that.

Whether I’d never been born or I died today, it may not even make that much of a difference to her.

I’ll probably never know for certain what the deal is with my mom.

But it all seems pretty disturbing, no matter which way you look at it.

Rita probably had it right eight years ago when she told me one day in therapy: “Your mom is never going to be a mother to you. You need to be a mother to yourself.”

Honestly, that’s probably all I really need to know.

Getting all caught up in the why and how and what for may just be a waste of time.

Even if I were to somehow arrive at “An Answer”, it still wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t change anything. I would still be the same person, in the same position.

I would still be a daughter who never had a mother, and who never will. 

Nothing can change that.

To continue to focus my attention on the details of my mother’s experience is just more of what I don’t need.

It’s what got me into this mess in the first place.

To do this is to place my mother at the center of my life story when she doesn’t belong there.

It is me, my own self, that deserves to be centered now.

It’s my life, and I deserve to live from the center of my being, not anyone else’s.

This time, I can choose to let everyone have their own story without getting caught up in it, or needing to make it my own.

My eyes matter too, and are worth looking through.

I can stop avoiding myself, and decide to live grounded in my own being. 

My existence needs no explanation from the outside to make sense and have meaning.

Entering the Hermes Field

Journal Date: Saturday, January 2, 2021

I remember early on into the first month or so of quarantine– I was reading a book on alchemy, and it was describing the process of “entering the Hermes field,” and how to use this in your own spiritual development and awakening.

In the book, the author creatively describes a meeting with Hermes, and suggests that you can also directly communicate with him, and ask for guidance.

So I decided to try it.

“Hermes, I’m ready– show me my shadow. I’m ready to see the truth.”

I was answered almost immediately, that same night.

It was a lot– it felt very intense. So much so that I had to modify my request a little bit: “I’m ready, but please just show me what I can handle right now. Not more, and not less, just exactly what I am capable of handling at any given moment.”

Honestly, I was scared.

I was coming up against things I’d been running from for a lifetime.

And it hurt. It was painful to see what was there to be seen.

Painful, but not exactly surprising.

I already knew I was pretty messed up.

The surprise came just a few months into it, though, when the things I was seeing shifted from how I was wrong, and started to reveal to me how others needed to be held accountable.

This was where it started to get really difficult. 

I was used to being the one to blame. My inner critic was so easy to activate, it was already so natural for me to punish myself.

But what do I do when I have to hold other people accountable?

That was beyond terrifying to me.

How could I begin to come to terms with the vast amount of mistreatment from all those people I felt so powerless with?

This was the hardest thing: to come to terms with my family and how they had treated me.

I’d never really allowed myself to consider this.

I’d rather throw myself under the bus, and punish myself, than face the truth of what my family was.

I resisted.

But it soon became undeniable.

There was something deeply wrong with the narrative I’d been sold about who I was, and why they acted as they did toward me.

The narrative was coming undone, even though I’d done my best for 32 years to hold the bundles of lies and patchwork logic together.

I’d changed myself to fit their demands.

I’d sinned just to earn a place in their hell.

And it was all starting to unravel itself before my eyes.

There was nothing I could do to stop it now.

I could look away, but the thread had been pulled loose, and was now coming undone through a life of its own.

A Turning Point

Journal Date: January 2, 2020

COVID is still very much a problem right now. It looks like we’re just past the peak of the most recent surge, and the two vaccines have been approved and are on their way, but it will likely be many months before anything begins to approach any kind of “normal.”

I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it took all of 2021 for this to run its course.

But I’m not in a rush to return to “normalcy.”

Of course, I’m concerned for my health and that of everyone else, but I’m far from eager to return to what once was.

There’s a part of me that’s afraid for what will happen when this ends–I almost don’t even want it to.

There has been so much growth for me this year, and I don’t ever want to go back to the way things used to be for me.

But just because things will reopen, and I can go back to my same old patterns or lifestyle doesn’t mean that I should.

I can just decide for myself that I want to live a different kind of life from now on.

These have been difficult times, but I can take what I have learned from the depths, and return to carry this wisdom in my life from now on.

I really believe that things are going to be different from this moment forward. 

Just in the past year– it’s incredible how much I’ve changed.

I’m so proud of myself.

I don’t say that enough. I should. I’ve worked so hard for this.

The past year is just the culmination, it’s the work of many, many years coming to fruition.

This is the year healing happened.

There’s no going back – never – to the way things were before.

So many things came together this year to make it happen.

It was years and years of difficult work, but there’s also an element of it that I can’t explain – that I believe is only attributable to something higher than myself. 

We can call it grace.

I’m thankful for that, too.

These two things, persistence and grace, have made all the difference for me.

Other things that made the difference last year: Beso, my little doggie love; a regular meditation practice; my therapist; and Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts and all the beautiful women I met there.

Finally, I can thank an unflinching willingness to face my pain (and to do my best to hold it with as much compassion as possible).

This was it – this year was the turning point that made all possible.

This Train is Leaving the Station

Journal Date: May 5, 2020

I woke up early this morning to take my little puppy Beso outside before the sun rose.

Coming back inside, I gave him a snack and lay down to rest more on the living room couch while he played with his toys.

Soon, I found myself in the middle of a terrible dream.

In this dream, I was being rejected, shamed and abandoned by everyone in my life. I felt wildly out of control, unable to control my body or my reactions to anything around me. I was sure that I had been drugged, I had a vague memory of taking a pill I had been offered earlier in the dream by my mother.

I tried to tell the others in my dream it wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t control my self, it was this drug I had taken that was making me act intoxicated, that the way they saw me wasn’t reflective of who I really was, but no one believed me, and left me alone with my shame anyway.

Soon I came to realize I was on a train, which continually traveled between two stations, an old station and a more modern one in a new town. Sometimes I would get off the train and explore the land surrounding each station, but inevitably I would find myself back on the train as it continued its ceaseless journey from one point to the other.

On one trip back to the old town station, I saw a hospital emergency room. I wanted to rush off the train and see if they could give me a drug test or something to prove the cause of my condition. But I could never stay off the train long enough, I always came back sooner than I would have wished to commence a new cycle of pain and confusion.

Once back on the train, I re-experienced each abandonment anew. Most times, it was one of my parents which were leaving me after delivering their cold, unequivocal judgements on how I was not worth the trouble to be around. But there were times when even my puppy Beso was taken away from me. It may not seem like much, but each time it happened, I felt my heart implode like a massive black hole in my chest, and I heard myself scream out loud.

This lasted until I was woken up on the couch by my mom. “Are you okay?” she asked. She had heard me scream again and again in my sleep, and was afraid something was wrong.

I finally got up and she brought me water and some aspirin to help with the headache I had woken up with.

“Look at Beso,” she said, pointing to my dog laying under the couch beneath me. “Even though you were making so much noise he never left you. He’s so loyal.”

I avoided thinking about the dream until later in the afternoon. I had fallen asleep again for a nap, and on waking up, the meaning of the earlier dream came to me all at once.

The drug I had been given was my trauma, my childhood experience and conditioning which told me I was and would never be good enough.

Being high (or in this case, low) on this drug had me acting in ways I felt I couldn’t control. I was reactive, reckless, hurting myself and others, watching this bitter pill create the wreckage of my life I knew, feared, and experienced over and over again.

There was still that part of me that wanted to get off at the old train station, to go back further into my past, to find some authority that would look at me and give me a diagnosis that would shift the blame onto anything outside of me. I wanted someone to say to me, “It’s the drugs talking. It’s this tough pill of trauma you’ve been hooked on for so long. We understand it’s not your fault.”

But no doctor could ever give me that script. Even if they did, few would believe me and even less would care.

I could feel all of the shame and fear and sense of “stuckness” rising up within me as I reflected on the dream and what it could mean for me.

Then I remembered, the train always kept moving. The train was always taking me forward, trying to open its doors for me onto new frontiers, but I had such a hard time feeling ready to make roots in this foreign territory, I was obsessed with proving something about who I was and who should be held responsible for all the consequences that came of that that I found myself again and again on that same train “home”.

Now I could see that when those doors opened again, I needed to plant my flag in that new space and declare the future my true home.

The past is a desolate place, a withered landscape, a war-torn country I could never trust as my own. In some ways I think that maybe I never had a home, I felt as if I’d been born at sea, a small ship at sail in dangerous seas. 

I know I can’t go back to where I was, but now I’m prepared to get off this train and build my own house, create my own safe harbor from a pattern I am putting together as I go along. I’m ready to go home, to the future, and leave that train of sadness behind for good.

The Progression of Recovering

Journal Date: Sunday, December 13th, 2020

I’m up, and still reading about Complex PTSD.

I’m on chapter 4, “The Progression of Recovering.”

I thought this was very relevant to the problem I’m facing now:

“It is important to understand that recovery is gradual and frequently a backwards and forwards process.

Effective recovery is often limited to only progressing in one or two areas at a time. Biting off more than we can chew and trying to accomplish too much too soon is often counterproductive. I spent years in mid-range recovery workaholically spinning my wheels trying to fix and change everything at once.

We often need to simplify our self-help efforts in early recovery.”

This definitely struck a chord with me. 

I really am trying to do a thousand different things at once.

So ultimately nothing gets done.

It’s frustrating and ineffective and I don’t want to do it anymore.

A big component of that has been with my books, and my compulsion to be studying a thousand things at once.

I seem to be incapable of discernment, and everything seems just as important as the next.

So I have a hundred books half-finished, and I feel like I’m “working” hard, but I’m just spinning my wheels and dissociating via text all day.

I’ve spent years like this.

It’s probably been around a decade now that I’ve had this habit.

I’ve always been a big reader, but it wasn’t until after college that this really became a problem.

That was when I got super depressed, I started seeing a psychiatrist, I got on all the pills, and then really went crazy…

For most of that time, I wasn’t working, just in school, reading all day.

I knew I was fucked up, and I hoped that I could read my way to being normal or okay.

I became obsessed with discovering The Answer™ to why I was so messed up and how I had to change to get better.

I read hundreds of books, and I avoided my own life very well with this excuse.

Although it wasn’t totally an excuse to dissociate and avoid reality.

Eventually, I did find myself on the right track, and I have read many things which have been useful and have helped me heal.

But I think I’m reaching the end of the road with this.

I spend all day reading and searching for the next best thing that will finally fix me, and in the process I neglect the actual business of my life.

Maybe it was important for me to do this at one time. It got me here.

But I don’t need any new theories.

I’ve decided I’m going to stop here, and sit with what I have now.

Honestly, I feel blessed to have found this CPTSD book. I know it’s going to be a game changer for me, and I’m ready to slow down and actually do the practices (instead of rushing to finish the book, then dropping it and running off to chase another theory, like I usually do).

So I’m committing to this now, to slowing down and doing it right.

Future Desires

Journal Date: Friday, December 11, 2020

I’m thinking about my desires for the next 1-2 years.

Every day I’m getting more clear about what I want to do and how I will use this time.

I’ve been trying to get rid of clutter and all the things I don’t need anymore, so I can focus on what I do want to grow.

And I can feel things shifting even more.

Every day, I feel just a little bit better.

I’m so happy and grateful to know that healing is happening.

It’s my mission to actively continue this healing process intensively for the next year and a half (or at least 16 months, which is what’s left of my graduate program).

It will also mark the end of a 2 year period of Uranus transits that have been quite revolutionary for me (Uranus opposite Pluto and Uranus conjunct Moon). 

It’ll also be when two other transits end (Saturn square Pluto and Saturn square Moon), which will be starting for me in 2-3 months.

And I also anticipate that it will be around then that this pandemic will finally reach its conclusion, and when I’ll be able to return to normal life.

I’m not going back to “normal,” though. 

I’ve changed so much already, even now, and I know that 16 months from now, the difference will be even more pronounced.

I also feel that at this point on my path, I have mostly found all of the resources (both internal and external) that I need to fully heal… I’m not rushing around anymore, reading a thousand different things that I haphazardly just stumbled upon. 

I’m not so confused now, and I know enough from the many years of reading and research to be able to evaluate what I need next.

Some of the most important keys I already have are: 

–continued therapy with Daren

–continued practice of Somatic Experiencing exercises

–the resources in Pete Walker’s CPTSD book


–my spiritual practice

I’m going to devote myself to this full time for the next 16 months (along with school and my writing).

I’m confident that I’ll be where I want to be by the end of that time period.

I’m looking forward to what the future will hold.

Emotional Recovery

Journal Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

It’s later now, around 4:40pm.

I’m back in the office, after laying down to meditate and rest.

I’m reading still about trauma, but this time from Pete Walker’s CPTSD.

“As emotional recovery progresses, the mindfulness…begins to extend to our emotional experience. This helps us to stop automatically dissociating from our feelings. We then learn to identify our feelings and choose healthy ways to respond to them and from them. Such emotional development illuminates our own natural preferences, and in turn, aids us in making easier and better choices.”

After that quote, Walker shares a reflection from one of his long-term clients, who said that for the first time in his life, he actually knew what he liked, what made him happy and what did not. 

He had spent his entire existence up until then pretending (or maybe even believing) he liked the same things as his macho brothers and community members.

…sound familiar?

Yes, this has been my story, too.

I was so good at erasing myself I hardly noticed that I didn’t actually care for the things I was doing, watching, or thinking about. 

And I thought that was just normal. That everyone else must be living a lie too, right?

In the past 9 months I have been intensively focusing on my healing, and I’ve undergone a big shift in my habits and priorities.

I’ve unfollowed over 600 accounts on my personal instagram, and muted plenty more on my facebook account. And I’ve added many more to replace these that are truly more aligned with my interests and my values.

It might not seem like much, but I really believe it’s had a positive impact on my mental health.

I had followed all these people (especially these LA party people) that I (secretly?) thought were stupid, shallow and completely obnoxious…

And yet–whenever I saw any of them post anything, I would quickly jump up to compare myself to them, and beat myself up for all the ways I was not like them, and never would be.

If I were to be completely honest, I actually thought they were empty, pathetic, narcissistic losers. I was a little disgusted by the way they lived, by their values, by how they related to each other.

But every day, I would still beat myself up for not being more like them.

Maybe I was just desperate for approval.

Though I’m not sure it would have meant much for me, had I actually gotten it from them.

My thought process never really made it that far, though.

With these people, and with countless others, the facts of the matter were almost irrelevant. I had the same pattern, the same reaction when I encountered difference almost 100% of the time: “I’m wrong.” 

I could never miss an opportunity to prove myself unworthy somehow.

I’m still far from resolving this, but I have to say that I am at least grateful that I now notice it. I can catch myself in the act, and can give myself the opportunity to do things differently.

Most importantly, I’m getting clear on exactly what my values actually are. 

And I’m moving in the direction of embodying these values myself.

What is important to me is no surprise: magic, language, psychology, philosophy, tarot, astrology, literature, etc.

I’ve always been this way–I just didn’t want to admit it out loud.

I’ve never actually turned away from my intense esoteric and obscure interests.

I just tried to keep it quiet as much as possible.

It was something I allowed myself to be passionate about in private, but definitely not in public.

I’m not hiding who I am anymore.

It’s not always easy to go against the grain and be different. And maybe it’s true, maybe a lot of people aren’t going to like it.

But those aren’t the people that matter.

I refuse to keep listening to people who only want a version of me that is a lie.

For one, I’m finally ready to start living with more integrity.

Second, I want to be around people who I find interesting and inspiring. 

I’m done with these half-hearted attempts at normalcy. I’m tired of seeking “acceptability.” 

I’m ready to take a chance on living out loud.

A Stranger to Herself

Journal Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

Today I’m moving on to reading about the first group of exercises in the Somatic Experiencing program.

“When you have been traumatized, you’re often unable to feel your own physical boundaries, because of disconnection from your body. This can have an impact in other areas of your life, such as setting boundaries in relationships, because it’s impossible to set limits if you have no sense of your own boundaries. 

Rebuilding connection is really the key to all of these exercises, because trauma is about a loss of connection, first to the body and self, and second to others and the environment.”

I’ve never heard trauma defined that way before, but I like this definition, and I agree.

There are many other trauma symptoms I’ve suffered from (not to mention all the diagnoses I’ve accumulated over the years), but I think that this disconnection is what is at the root of all of them.

There is nothing like being disconnected from your own self. 

It is the strangest pain; a blunt force that destroys without direction; a vast field of emptiness; an abyss where a soul should be.

To feel “lonely” or “alone” does not even begin to describe it.

Alone implies one— a unity which stands apart. 

I was less than one—a nothing, a void whose only meaning was in what was missing.

Sometimes, when I imagined my own death, I would picture my grave, and the epitaph which would read: 

Here lies
—was never loved
and died
a stranger to herself.
1988 — 20xx

When We Dead Awaken: Part 3

If I’m ever going to create my future, I’m going to have to come to terms with my past.

I’ve been trying to avoid it, deny it, explain it away, make excuses for it, compensate for it, erase it, and so much more.

I’ve struggled to accept that this is the truth of my life. That this isn’t “just a phase.” It isn’t just going to disappear one day like it never happened.

I think I may have (unconsciously) thought that if I worked hard enough I would be “cured,” I’d become 100% “better”, and it would all be as if nothing had ever happened. That there would be some kind of “redemption” where I would be saved from my own damn self.

In practice what this meant was that I was working toward a model, a “goal” identity, that was completely inappropriate for me.

I wanted so badly to be normal. I would have done anything to not be so “complicated.”

The ideal future self I had in mind was so boring, so basic. So unthreatening. She was some happy, carefree, extraverted, easy going, and very chill girl (that’s why they said they wanted from me, right?).

I thought I could nip and tuck and edit away all of my humanity, become acceptable to the greater mass of society, and call it a success. 

I would know I had “made it” when I was deemed normal by everyone and no one ever said anything bad about me ever again.

That was my vision for health: to completely erase myself, and finally just be what everyone else wanted me to be. 

My vision now is this: I will not deny my past, I will not erase this self. I will not even try to compensate for the suffering I’ve had with some grandiose and misguided attempt to “make it all worth it.”

I will integrate my past. I will honor myself.

I will acknowledge all of the places and the people I have been, regardless of how strange or scary others find them to be.

I will speak to the truth of who I was, and how it was that I became who I am today.

When We Dead Awaken: Part 2

One of the biggest limiting beliefs that I’ve had is the idea that I should rely on the outer environment to define me.

The idea of defining myself, for myself, has seemed an impossibility for me. 

Maybe the logic was, “I can’t trust myself. My opinion is meaningless, especially when it comes to my own self.”

I felt I could only rely on other people, or on the outside world in general, as an accurate and meaningful measure of my worth.

So I spent my life running around trying to satisfy everybody else’s ideas of who I was supposed to be.

Which was an impossible task–everyone had a different plan for me, and satisfying one would inevitably upset another.

I came to understand that on some level, but I still felt compelled to keep going with it anyway (only now feeling trapped and full of despair).

Every comment, criticism or offhand remark was seized upon and picked apart for clues to my identity.

“Am I in here somewhere?” I wondered as I ruminated on every word.

“Am I okay yet?” was the even more desperate and tragic subtext below it all.

“Am I a worthwhile human being yet? Do I deserve to exist now? How about now? Now??”

It breaks my heart to look at this, and admit how I have been.

It truly is sad that I was living like this for so long.

It’s no wonder I was so miserable. Of course. Anyone would be.

I also have compassion for myself. I see exactly how I came to be this way, and I understand.

The abuse within my family was so relentless, severe and specifically targeted to keep me from having any sense of self. 

Especially when younger, it was safer to remain amorphous, to just not have a self, to be mutable enough to quickly contort myself into whatever anyone else demanded. 

The sooner I abandoned myself, the sooner the shame and humiliation would subside. Just give in, agree–it’s much easier that way.

I still remember the words. “Oh, well! Look at you!” and then as an aside to another family member, ”Who does she think she is??”

There were plenty of punishments for when I was bad, but the worst were the humiliations for being “too good.”

Like when my mom would hear all the good reports about me at parent-teacher conferences, she would attack, and accuse, and humiliate me.

She would say say the teacher must be stupid, because you’re fooling her… or, that it was just more evidence of my guilt; I’m lying to this poor woman, trying to fool her into believing I’m something I’m not. 

“If only she knew what you were really like at home–you’re like the devil!”

This created a horrifying double bind by which I had to live: I had to be good, I had to try to be perfect to be acceptable and redeem myself; but I could NOT be good, as it then became proof of my badness, showing how manipulative and deceptive I truly was.

Any action or inaction on my part became proof of my inherent unworthiness. It was all proof of how I was undeserving, bad, a lost cause, the devil.