I went away on a girls’ trip this weekend with a good friend. It was a great way to refresh and take it easy. The scenery was beautiful, the accommodations were beyond comfortable, and the camaraderie was welcomed and needed.
The downside was that I had too much time to reflect and overthink.There for awhile, I was doing a really great job of reminding myself to live in the present moment. Letting things go and just looking around and appreciating where I am RIGHT NOW.
But, I quickly revert back to my old habits.
When I am alone, thinking to myself, I constantly feel lonely. I want, so badly, to just have someone to reach out to and talk to.
I want to connect.
In these moments, I am vulnerable.
Connection is such a hard topic for me.
Something in my past has completely convinced my brain that I am not worthy of connection and love.
The ironic thing is…I am starving for it.
I want to be enough the way I am. I don’t want to come home and fight for an audience with the person who is supposed to be there for me. I don’t want to call and check in and hear frustration and annoyance in his voice.
I don’t want to feel like I am constantly doing something wrong.
I just want happiness. I want him to be happy. I want to be happy.
But, that is not enough.
…I am not enough.
So, I end up lying alone in a bed, looking for someone to connect to. Looking for someone to tell me that I am worthy and good and smart and fun. I text friends. I reach out.
I reach in…but I can’t reach deep enough. Not deep enough to discover my true value.
Why is that?
Why is my value more easily assessed through other people?
Why do I not understand it myself?
As a child, I was frequently dismissed by the people who should have listened to me. I was belittled for the emotions that I shared. So, I learned to shove it all in deep.
I became a pleaser. An achiever. Anything to make someone show me some affection, support, or acknowledgement.
I did very little to cause waves. And, if I did, I panicked and did whatever I could to blame myself and repair the situation.
I did not worry about many of the things that normal kids worried about. And, until recently, I never really even realized that–despite the fact that I continue the same pattern of worry and I see normal children every single day.
Lately, small things trigger my emotions. The news. The “Me Too” phenomenon of Facebook. My desire to stand up and share my story is always there…but it is also deeply hidden behind a facade of “I’m fine.” Does it really matter if I share my story? I shared it with one person who should have cared….my own mother….and was, yet again, dismissed. Later, I discovered that she thought I was remembering wrong.
Calls to forgive and calls to let it go are all around me. And yet, I find myself unwilling and unable to do so. In doing so, it feels as if I would be saying that none of it mattered.
I can’t find it in myself to dismiss me too. Not now that, after all these years, I have finally stopped and acknowledged my pain for what it is.
People say, “But it only punishes you. It will set you free.”
Maybe they are right. But I can’t make sense of that.
Last week my therapist told me to think of it differently. Rather than forgiving and forgetting, I should turn it around and allow myself the power to think about it when I am ready to….not when it is permeating my being and causing anxiety.
That thought is new to me. And it does make sense.
If only I could make my mind more of a fortress and stop the thoughts as they come.
Maybe then…maybe, I could feel like enough. Maybe then I could discover that I am okay. Maybe then I could finally work through the last of all my issues and become less driven to figure it all out. Maybe then all the anxiety and the shame and the depression would stop ruling my life.
This sums up my own feelings for so many years that I found it very tough to read.
You will get there – I think I have found a way forward and you will to.
Hugs. I’m sorry to know you’ve felt the same way. But thanks for your comment and support. 💜
“I don’t want to feel like I am constantly doing something wrong” That is something that has nagged at me for as long as I can remember. Freedom from it comes one moment at a time like the weight of the world dropping from my shoulders.
How did you free yourself of it?
I wish I could say I have total freedom from it but it comes only in moments though I am grateful for that much. It’s a start.
It is a good question and I may have to return here at a later time when a better answer comes.
I work on confronting the negative voices daily. Negative thoughts, feelings and views that came when I suffered the torment of sexual abuse as a child and my mother hushed me making me feel more ashamed and to blame than I already felt.
Those views about self cemented into my personality. How could I have a positive view of myself when no comes to keep them off me, won’t help, won’t listen, and seemed to blame me? When anything goes wrong today my first thought is how I am to blame. I can be very creative at figuring how it is my fault whatever it is..
Keeping such horrible secrets inside as a child was carrying a too heavy load as if carrying it for the entire family all on my shoulders. And left me feeling I had no rights like others do. No freedom for speaking up, feeling good, or joyfulness in every day living.
So it is not easy to escape what became a personality trait. I just keep working at it. Over time miracles happen. A feeling of unloading, a free feeling that life is worth living. Moments that give me hope so I keep at it.
Talking about what I couldn’t talk about because of my Mom and other family members also helps. She died 8 years ago which freed me, though I grieved harder over her loss than any other. And relaying to other family members that I wrote a book two years back didn’t bring one word of support and only made me feel more separate from them.
I freely explore the damage done on the blog. These traumas affected me deeply. Having the freedom to talk about what wasn’t allowed expression, the only door out from my hell, has helped greatly too. And writing about it before the blog which became a book, was the first time I felt what the word heal meant. No child or woman should carry such gunk inside her and getting that out was greatly freeing.
Although my reply yesterday was lengthy I thought about an essential tool started about 15 years ago at a one day retreat at the Zen Center. I learned to meditate and do so a half hour a day since. It was the first time I could be in my body, be in the present moment and feel safe.
Before then I zoned out more times than not.
Wow, this resonates so much with my own experience, but you have expressed it so well. You are not alone in your struggles and desire for connection, I often find myself in a similar place. You will keep moving forward, and hard as it is to get there you will be there. Don’t forget to appreciate how far you’ve come!
I have grown. I know. It is just so hard to continue to struggle and to feel like there is always something *wrong* with me. It is frustrating and lonely.
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I’ve been triggered twice in the last week over things that seem really small to me. Then I feel like I’m the person no one understands because I have a strong and sudden reaction that is invisible to others, and sometimes I just want my disorder to be seen.
So resonates for me too, especially the loneliness and the thought that this one person should meet my needs. I think for me, the thoughts cannot be stopped, but I’ve learned to go “oh, there is that thought again, hello, you always say that” then move on. I like the idea of ‘when I am ready to..’. Thanks so much for your blog, always so insightful.
Thanks for the comment! I need to work on my self talk. When I’m in a good place, I’m much better at it. But, that isn’t so useful when I start to spiral!!
no one saw me when i was a little kid
so i became invisible
and now i long for a connection
i burst into tears in the middle of the day
from a radio lyric
or a random memory
an empty spot that i feel like
will never be filled.
thank you for sharing ❤
it does help me to know
i am not the only one
even though i hate to think
of anyone in this kind of pain.
I’m sorry you are struggling so painfully. Hugs to you.
thank you. sometimes it seems worse than it is…& vice versa.
You are a mighty warrior for sharing. My thoughts are with you.