Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finding My "Me"

I came across a couple stories at work today that dealt with domestic abuse and self confidence. I swear, some days I think there really is a collective consciousness and the world's journalists tapped into my mind and all decided to make me confront one of the last steps I need to face.

There are a lot of people (especially guys) who have said to me lately, "I wish you would just let it go / get over it." I don't talk about "it" a whole lot these days, but I've realized just how little people understand of the effects of emotional abuse. When someone beats you, you have a bruise. Everyone can see it. It's easy to point out and identify.  When someone tells you you are worthless, or that no one likes you, or that you are stupid, or useless, or a slew of other things over and over and over again, you can't just point your finger and say, "Ah ha! That's abuse!"

Though I've been able to let go and move on from the person who did this to me, I cannot simply let go of what was done to me. It doesn't go away with a magic word. I wish it did.

People who have not suffered from emotional abuse don't understand how hard it is to just pick yourself back up again and be "normal." I think it's something we all wish for, because I can't imagine anyone wanting to live with so much fear and doubt in their lives. I also don't believe people understand what emotional abuse really is.

Before all of this, I may have not been the best or kindest person. I was selfish and acted impulsively at times, but I believed in myself. I had a sustained ego that allowed me to go forward and never doubt myself. I was strong. And before "it," I was working towards being a better person to my friends and being more understanding of others, while blossoming with self esteem and wanting to share the things I loved with the world.

Now? I am constantly needing reassurances that my friends, are in fact, there for me. When I get angry and defensive, or find myself speaking poorly about people, or some other negative trait; I obsess over it for days and constantly call into question my worth of a human being. The idea of dating terrifies me, not because I'm afraid I will find myself in a similar situation, but because I don't think I have anything to offer a partner who will want to put up with me. I doubt my value at my job, or if I should pursue the dreams I have, because I haven't achieved them yet, so therefore I must not be good enough. I just don't believe in myself anymore.

I'm also deathly afraid of hanging out with people outside of my "Iiiiinnnneeeer Ciiiiirrrcllleeee." I worry because I feel I now have to hide myself from those around me. No one wants to see a broken and beaten woman, no one wants to hear the woes and sorrows of a person in my position. I'm afraid to be myself and open up about what I am going through with new friends. I worry if I let slip my fears and paranoia about my feelings of self value, who will want to deal with me? As I've been told enough lately by newer people, "Just get over it."

I wish people would understand what I went through. I wish the world would grow a little and take a serious look at what abuse does to a person, and this isn't one of those things that you can expect a person to recover from in a handful of months.

On the other side, I am really thankful to the friends who have stuck by me this entire time. I know I say it all the time, but really, I am blessed. The people who know the full extent of what I went through, and are still having to deal with my anger and sadness, well... they are amazing. I feel like a worse friend (for not just dumping my issues on them!) when I do start doubting their friendship. See the vicious circle the mind plays?

I chose to make this post public because I want people to understand. I hope if you read this you will do some research on the subject and be a little more sympathetic to the those around you. I'm lucky, I will recover from what I went through, in my own time. But there are people who have been through much worse, or at least it affected them a lot more, and they may not have the strength to speak up about it.

I also wanted to let my friends know that I am in this place of recovery. I want to find my self confidence again, and I want to be a better person than I was before. I am just not really sure how to get there, and maybe someone out there has been where I am and can offer a helping hand.

1 comment:

  1. It makes me so angry to read the comments people around you have been saying. Scars like that can't be healed over night. I'm really disgusted with the people in your life saying things like "get over it."

    You're very strong to be able to talk about it publicly like this, and I hope that things come easier to you in the future. You're a very beautiful and talented woman, and I hope I can be half as amazing as you are in my life.