See Yourself

There have been a few times that I’ve opened up to people I consider friends about my struggles. I want them to know why I feel the way I do, why I “act” the way I do. I’m always apologizing and saying thank you too much. It’s hard for me to accept gifts or kindness, your average, every day person who had a somewhat decent life doesn’t understand why I can’t accept kindness.

All the time I hear, “if you could just see yourself from my point of view.” I wish I could, oh how I wish I could, but I have a broken mirror in which to view from. I’m not starting with a pristine, clean, unfractured mirror in which to see myself. No, mine is busted. Sure I’m trying to repair it through therapy, but the cracks will always remain. I’ll always be reminded that I didn’t start out whole and that the pieces I’ve glued together are fragile, but I’m working to get to a point where the cracks don’t bother me any longer, instead to see the cracks as character, things that made me “Who I Was Born to Be,” that made me better equipped to be an empathetic, understanding, non-judgmental individual.

However, my life began fractured and because I didn’t grow up being taught the proper coping skills to handle the pains of life, I don’t know how to see the good parts of me. I don’t know how better to repair my “mirror of reflection” than to handle it with care and hold it close to my bosom, because if you saw what I see I fear you would hate me as much as I hate myself.

That sounds awful doesn’t it? I know that it does and that’s why I’m working on me. That’s why I see a therapist. I’m ashamed to feel such self loathing, but I honestly can not help it. I faced one hurt and abuse after another at the hands of more than one person. My ability to trust others is fragile. Sure someone tells me something positive, but I don’t know HOW to believe it, how to TRUST that if what you’re telling me is the truth or a way in which to use me just so that you can abuse me later on.

This is a heartbreaking way to view life. To see every person and their kindness as a means to manipulate. I appreciate, love and am so grateful for people’s goodness toward me, firstly I do not feel I deserve it and secondly I worry that someone’s generosity toward me is a means to control me. So I fear gifts, I fear words of encouragement, I fear even the slightest smile from a stranger is another person who will hurt me. I’ve felt so much hurt in life that trusting others when I was made to be totally emotionally self reliant for the most part is difficult. I have to really know a person, have been through a lot with them and seen the waters of life tested before I trust someone fully. I can count on one hand and a half the number of people that I feel would never betray me for anything in the world, not for a Facebook friend count, not for a seat on a board, not for all the money in the world, not a single one of them is my close blood relative.

I took many college classes on Early Childhood Development, Psychology and Sociology. The one thing that I learned over and over and over again is that children require consistency to thrive, to learn, to grow. My consistency? There was none except inconsistency. I never knew where home was up until the age of 7, then I still had to endure visitations and the back and forth of foster care most of my early life.

I didn’t know who my family was, sure I was told “this is your (insert family title here),” but what I heard and what I experienced were two different things. When I was at one home I was told one thing, I saw another and felt something else. My poor little mind was so mangled with such messed up input I couldn’t grasp onto what was good and hold onto it long enough to learn what was right.

My life wasn’t all troubles and pain and heartache, there were good parts and I’ll talk about those too, but before I can get to the rainbows, we gotta walk through the rain. You see not only was my Mommy a damaged person, which you can begin reading about in the blog “Unwanted,” but the other mother figures in my life had there problems too.

Oh did they ever!

At the end of last year, 2020, I learned just how deeply damaged my “Mamaw” was, the woman in the black dress in the picture at the opening of this page. She tortured me in her own ways. I never knew why, I only knew that I always felt as though she hated me. No matter how hard I tried to be everything she wanted me to be, I was never good enough. I’ll be writing a lot about Mamaw and revealing what I learned about her as this blog grows. But for now, we just have to begin at the beginning and remove the bandages to reveal the wounds underneath and the stories of the scars surrounding the wounds. There’s a lot to unpack, much to tell, we will get there, just stick with me.

I want to love myself, I want to be all I can be to everyone I meet and I want to be good to me. If someone spoke to a person I loved the way my inner voice speaks to me I would be hurt and angry. I would stand up and tell that person hearing those things never to listen to anyone who talks to them like that, they don’t deserve that, they are good. It’s almost like a war within myself, a two part person, the logical me who knows that the self loathing is destructive and the emotional me who takes over in anxiety and panic and can’t claw their way out of the pain. The inner voice, that I have learned is my Mamaw tells me just how horrible I am, that I deserve the pain! She screams at me in times of anxiety, telling me I’m a fool, a complete idiot, the worst of the worst people walking on the face of this planet.

It’s torture, I am learning to stop the voice, but it is so hard. My Mamaw helped shape my thoughts of myself. The others who hurt me, neglected me and tortured me did the same. Over and over my self worth was beat down so low that I thought I would die. As a pre-teen I almost did, after Papaw passed away and was gone from the house Mamaw grew more cruel to me. She tried to keep me trapped in that glass house of hers, full of what nots and trinkets, but I would eventually learn to break free. Not before I hurt myself more than once, though she didn’t know it, no one did. How I escaped my own pain and survived is only by the grace of God.

Knowing my mother didn’t want me, that my Mamaw hated me and that I couldn’t get back to the two people who did love me the most tortured me most of my childhood. It broke me. No one would listen to me as a child. I eventually gave up trying to beg for help and that was so early on. I was little, laying under trash bags of old clothes for comfort when the hurt and anxiety came. I would lay under those 10 gallon bags full of old rags that no one wanted, that were stuffed in the back of a big walk in closet and just let the heaviness hold me.

Ninety Nine percent of the time there was no one there to pick me up when I hurt and wrap their arms around me and say “it’s gonna be okay.” There were only black bags of dusty, unwanted trash to give a little child the feelings of comfort they needed when they cried. There were no kiss it betters or a favorite chair to be rocked in. Just me, my hurt and fear balled up in a hiding spot that was surrounded by a cold, plaster wall covered in cracks and cobwebs.

So where does that put the mind of a child? What value do they have? What lessons did the neglect teach me? It told me that my pain and my fears were useless. That what I felt didn’t matter, to just go away and shut up and leave the adults alone. It taught me to work out my hurt by myself or as Mamaw used to say “like it or lump it,” or rather if I didn’t like what she said, it didn’t matter, I had to take it anyway. She didn’t hold me, hug me, kiss me or love on me, but she expected me to do that for her! I was to hug and kiss her goodnight, to scratch her back, cut her toe nails, give her a bath, fasten and unfasten her bra and whatever else this duty filled little Cinderella was told to. What Mamaw needed and wanted mattered most and came first, some little kid she was good enough to give a home to, well, that didn’t matter as much.

When you dear reader ask me to love me and I say I can’t, I’m sorry. I do appreciate your love and care and I need it. I simply do not yet know how to throw away my broken mirror and get a new one.

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3 thoughts on “See Yourself

  1. Oh Sweet Dora I’m sorry that I couldn’t have saved you. Somehow I feel responsible. I am praying that this writing will release all the pain that has been put on you. God bless you real good.

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