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Pardon the skeletons…

May 17, 2010

Sometimes I feel like the way I grew up left some pretty serious scars on how my mind works. Sometimes those scars burn, and it’s hard to communicate why and how and what hurts to people. It’s hard to ask for help because these happened so long ago I don’t know what it’s like for them to not be there.

My father was emotionally abusive. It went by largely unseen to most people who knew us. He is the kind of guy who is easy to like if you just met him. We looked like the kind of family that was strong and solid and loving. The abuse was hard to spot. It was the kind of abuse that can sound small and trivial if I were to tell you the things he did. What made the relationship abusive was that it was prolonged. It was 20 years of tearing me down emotionally to create the docile, well behaved daughter. It started with a small amount of pressure, and after 20 years the pressure slowly and steadily grew until the compression grew into something too painful to take. I had turned into someone else’s view of what and who I should be, I was living the life they wanted me to (and feeling guilty and wrong for secretly living a second life to make myself happy). It has taken the 3 years since I moved and disconnected from them and a years worth of personal growth with the assistance of my mentor to find the woman in me who wants better for herself. Who stands up for what she needs in her life and loves herself enough to believe her needs are worth fighting for. It’s hard, after being told for so long, to have that kind of strength.

My parents divorced before I was a year old. I spent the entirety of my childhood with them fighting. I never experienced them in the same room without tension. I was told throughout the formative developmental years of my youth that they split because one day they just stopped loving each other. The majority of my pain as a child became linked to the notion that people can just up and leave on a whim. They can stop caring about or fighting for something that had grown to be important to them, because in a moment something changed. Of course it was more complicated than that and I learned the truth behind their split when I was 14 years old, but by then the damage was done. In my mind, without having anyone technically abandon me, I’d felt the pain of abandonment and it became real. As much as I tell myself all the logical reasons to the contrary, I find myself eventually fighting the notion that in every relationship I’ve had, they could up and leave the second there is conflict.

I hate these parts of me. I hate the scars. I hate that they’re hard to see. I hate that they are easy for people to ignore or write off as a lack of personal or emotional strength. I hate the days my brain doesn’t work the way I want it to or it triggers the pain from my scars or I can’t create the right reactions because I lack certain filters. I hate that no matter how hard I’m trying to undo a life’s worth of pain, I never feel like it’s fast enough. I hate feeling like my mental scars are wrong.

Deep down I want to believe my scars are beautiful. I want to be loved because of them, not despite them. I want those closest to me to help me through those bad crazy days, to be held and comforted and encouraged to fight though them.

My pain is worth being validated.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cookie permalink
    June 11, 2010 11:48 am

    Your pain is definitely worth being validated. And the abandonment is understood. I completely understand the fear of thinking that they might just walk away. That you would give everything, all of yourself to them and they might decide one day that they just don’t want it any more. The fear is almost paralysing at times.

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