The wounds left behind by abuse—any type of abuse—are horrific and it leaves people’s lives in desolate states. Recovery is possible but I don’t know if full recovery is a possibility. If I am to speak from personal experience, after decades of abuse, I know the scars will never leave. Part of me wishes I could be that shiny being that never knew abuse and was allowed to grow internally in a safe and accepting way, with free emotional development. I say part because it’s no longer an important part; I have outgrown it and have managed to accept who I am and how I arrived at this stage in my life. It was not easy. It still isn’t. But I am getting there one day at a time.
One of the poisons abusers leave behind inside the minds of the people they abuse is confusion and fear. In my case it was layers upon layers of conflicting and irrational fears, that mirrored almost entirely the two people who raised me. For the most part, I couldn’t tell consciously what it was that I was afraid of. I was like a frightened mouse trying to hide. Part of my defence mechanism was to become a people pleaser. It wasn’t a successful defence because it was an unconscious but entirely rational response to the irrationality that is expressed by an abuser. Also becoming a people pleaser meant that I always lived in fear of disappointing everyone I came in contact with, something that remained true until very recently.
Being afraid all the time, but not knowing exactly what of, is a terrible way to live. Part of my journey in the past three years was to understand what it is I am running away from. Unravel the mess, throw it out of the window. A slow process that is inherently resisted by the same thing I tried to unravel: fear itself. Still, even baby steps are forward movement and the entire 2015 has been a year of conquering fears throughout.
The hardest part of the whole process is that I had to face the fear itself. I had to look at it in the eye and assess its validity and importance. And every single time I found it inadequate, unimportant, petty, ridiculous, even infuriating. And every single time the fear stopped being a punch in the gut and a rude voice in my head shouting nonsense, and every single time I removed one of these fears from my life, I regained a measure of wholeness and a part of myself that I now own entirely.
I’d lie if I said I didn’t have help. I had (and still have) help from special people I trust with my life. They often act as a reminder of what I am trying to achieve and then without further interference they let me sort out the mess. Sometimes all we need is a nudge in the right direction.
This week I celebrate having these people in my life. I celebrate distancing myself from everyone who still tries to abuse me in one way or another. I celebrate the beginning of a year that I am going to be fear free. I celebrate that I no longer live to please other people and I no longer consider important what other people will think of me. I celebrate accepting myself fully and I celebrate that I live in a way that lets me grow into the person I want to be.
The following quote speaks volumes about how I feel and the extent I am willing to go to earn the right to own my life and myself entirely:
Beautiful music that speaks to me in ways I am unable to express coherently: Estas Tonne – Internal Flight
This post is part of the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop hosted by Lexa Cain. Thank you so much for reading. What are you celebrating this week? Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below.