Getting over the past is hard. It is likely one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It’s a work in progress.
I carry a lot of baggage around from my past. It’s not been pretty. I’ve battled drug abuse, alcohol abuse and endured many types of personal abuse. The road map of my life has often ventured into some of the darkest places I could have ever imagined, and I’m still trying to fight my way out of some of them.
Sometimes, I think I have found my way out, only to realize that I’m still in the grip of some of the psychological damage that remains from some of the things I’ve gone through.
Learned vs Environmental Behavior
Some behavior really is learned. Sometimes it’s circumstances that teach us to react in a specific way and sometimes it’s merely learned as a survival instinct. Trying to learn new behavior is often about as painful as the things that created it in the first place.
I think one of the biggest psychological issues I’ve been left with is the fear of being abandoned by those I love (because it’s happened repeatedly in my past), and walking hand in hand with that is the fear of not being good enough.
Somehow along the path of my life, I learned that if I was deemed “not good enough” by those that I loved, that they would leave me no matter how much I loved or needed them. This created a “people pleasing” complex that is one of my greatest struggles.
I have an overwhelming need to feel that someone, sometimes anyone, sees me as worthy of being loved. It makes it hard sometimes to just be myself around anyone.
Although I desperately want to be accepted for who I “really am”, I often hide that person from the world out of fear that I won’t be “good enough”. That I will be found to be “less than” in some way, and that I will loose the few people I have left.
When I love someone, I love hard. That often makes me feel vulnerable, which is a feeling I’m not comfortable with. I was raised to be strong and not show weakness. I was raised to believe that loving people and letting them see the real you, was weakness. I was taught that the weak are devoured by the strong. Growing up under the harsh and mostly loveless rule of my mother seemed to reinforce that.
My mother and the pain of not being accepted
In spite of the pain of relationship with my mother, I loved her. Her self-imposed distance in our relationship was one of the most painful things I endured in my life.
I wanted us to be close. I wanted her to love and accept me. That was never to be, as even on her death-bed, she refused to even say the words to me. I’ve always felt she saw it as a lie she didn’t want to carry with her into the afterlife. I suppose I understand that much, but the question that haunts me every day, in every relationship I have ever had with anyone, is why. What was it about me that made me so unlovable to her?
We all need someone
My husband is a rock for me on this issue. He has seen my darkest hours. He has watched me spiral into drug abuse, depression and even complete mental and emotional breakdowns and he still stands by me. I often forget that when I’m upset or angry and even try to hide myself from him at times because I’m always worried that “this time” will be more than he can handle.
I also consider myself very lucky to have my sister. She is there for me in ways that I don’t think she realizes. She’s always been someone I looked up to in my life. Even though our paths have often led us in different directions and we’ve spent large chunks of our lives apart, I still know I can count on her to be there for me when it really counts and that means more than I can ever tell her.
They are my bright spots in the darkness. The light that leads me out of my personal hell. Their love and acceptance of me mean more to me than I could ever say. They are constantly encouraging me, refusing to let me give up on myself, reminding me that not everyone sees me the way my mom did. Reminding me that there is hope…and we all need hope…