Some brutal honesty

I am going to do something out of character and just be totally honest. I’m not normally. Even in this beautifully anonymous space. I’m not even honest with myself most of the time.

It isn’t that I lie to you or anyone else for the most part. I just hold back. I guess that is lying by omission. I censor myself constantly. I am permanently evaluating the words I form in my head before I let them escape from my mouth.

It’s like walking a tightrope all the time. I feel as though my relationships are all curated; they’re carefully constructed. That means they have an inherent fragility because they lack the substance of truth and trust that would enable me to have faith in them. People want to know me because I don’t let them know me. If I did, they’d all disappear.

In therapy, J would say that I’m not giving my friends and family the credit they deserve in being good, kind people who have an interest in how I am and care for my well-being. But that’s just not the case. I know they are good people. And I know they do care. But they care because they don’t know the truth about me.

That truth is something I guard fiercely. I guard it because it is too horrible to expose. But I know that the awful core of myself isn’t going to stay hidden forever. When I visualise it, I see this rotten stone in the middle of a fruit; decaying it from the inside outwards. At some point it is going to make itself visible. I suppose in some ways it already has.

What I mean by that is the ‘acting out’ I’ve done. The scarring on my skin, trips to A&E and the stupid drunken disappearing acts. I find the term ‘acting out’ interesting. I used to just see it as denoting bad behaviour, misdemeanour, maybe breaking a rule. But really it is ‘acting’ something isn’t it? And for me, the ‘out’ part is important.

When I self harm, I take action and it is outside of my inner turmoil. It’s an externalisation of that toxicity. That action means I am doing something about what I hate. I am raging against the darkness in me. And I’m letting it show its face, even for a brief moment, and even if – as is usually the case – only I will see it.

I need to see it. I need to know it’s real. Otherwise that force merely exists in my imagination. And that makes me feel totally insane. How can my life be driven, wrecked, tormented, by something invisible? How can I let myself be totally derailed by what’s imaginary, what’s simply a feeling? There has to be more to it than that.

I hate myself. I see nothing good in myself. I hate inhabiting my body. I hate my mind and my memories. I hate that I am scared of people and places and even my own feelings. It makes me feel weak. I see myself going through the motions of being ‘good’, but it is all part of my construction. Those acts are all planned and considered. They’re executed in pursuit of appearing to be generous or kind. They are the acts of a desperate person. One who craves love and respect but doesn’t believe in them when they’re offered.

Logically, I know that some people love me. I know that they see something good in me. But I can’t believe them when they tell me that. And I feel guilty that they care for me because I see myself as a parasite. I feel as though I am leeching the life from people who care for me, and it’s only a matter of time before they realise and cut me loose.

I am performing. I have spent most of my life doing just that. I performed being a happy child. I performed doing well at school, university and work. Now I am performing recovery. I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I’m performing getting better.

In 12 step programmes they always say ‘fake it til you make it’. And here’s the punchline – I am faking it. I am faking wanting a future. I’m faking a commitment to my well-being. I’m faking wanting my problems to all disappear.

I don’t want to be free of my depression, nightmares, anxiety, addictions and all that other crap. I hate it all, but I want to keep it. That’s really hard to say because it sounds so totally fucked up. But you know what – I am totally fucked up. And I don’t see that changing any time soon.

I am important when I’m fucked up. It means that sometimes people listen to me. It means that I have an excuse not to meet everyone’s expectations of me. And you can’t underestimate how much I value that when my entire life has been about fulfilling the wishes of the people I love. It is so liberating to escape that burden.

This is who I am now. I don’t think I had any kind of authentic identity before this. But now I do. Now I am depressed and self-destructive. I’m damaged. I’m traumatised. That’s just me. That’s what defines me and speaks for me. And what’s left if I don’t have that anymore?

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. myambivalentexistence says:

    I want to give you some words that will make it all better for you 😦 But if I’m being honest I don’t have any. I feel like I could have written that post, only about my eating disorder, three years ago. I can’t say it gets better , but I can say it gets different , and sometimes that’s better. Honesty is a good place to start , and it has to start with yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thank you. And I am glad that things are different for you now. Laura

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alexis Rose says:

    Just sending you loads of support. I love your brave honesty!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, I know about those beliefs and feelings. Since engraved into my personality in childhood when the personality forms it is unlikely those (false) beliefs and real feelings will suddenly disappear forever.
    The hard part is cherishing the positives. Make a list. You know you have them, they just need to be brought to the light more.That is my work though I become very sadly discouraged as sometimes it never seems to end. Then a light breaks forth and I dig in again. Sending you light… : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thanks for the encouragement x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dbest1ishere says:

    I think we learn these beliefs from the people that hurt us. We have been told so many times how awful we are that after a while it’s what we become to know. It’s what we become to believe. And that is not something that we can change overnight, believe me I have tried. Try to be kind to yourself. I understand the cutting I recently have just started doing this. Why? I wish I knew….just to releases this pain I suppose.

    Like

    1. Laura Black says:

      Yes it is hard to change what we really believe and feel as opposed to what we know more academically. Sorry to hear you’ve been cutting. I think it’s hard to find any kind of explanation for something that feels pretty irrational, even when you’re the one doing it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dbest1ishere says:

        You are totally correct with that. I don’t even talk about my cutting just a little with my therapist recently because it makes me feel ashamed because I don’t even know why I started

        Like

  5. FRIEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A few things jumped out at me. I too, guard myself. I think this is the only place that I don’t And as you know, I haven’t been writing, so it’s all stuck in my head. Though, I have found myself censoring myself on here, or debating whether to even vent or write because I didn’t want to “come down” or calm down and feel differently the next day, and then be judged by that. …. but for the most part, when I do write, I am transparent. Now, my facebook, I found myself censoring my posts, because I didn’t want this person to read it and tell that person, or that person to know what I was going through, or whatever, so I minimized my friends to those I care about and don’t mind if they know what I struggle with. (under 100!)
    Secondly, I am right with you. I don’t want my anxiety, ptsd, depression, nightmares, anger, sadness, any of it to go away. I tried numbing myself for so long, pushing away what I thought was bad feelings because people told me I was wrong. I embrace them now. And if those around me don’t like it, they can kiss it. (probably why I have no friends now) I truly embrace my feelings of anger, especially those towards my brother cause it MOTIVATES me. It motivates me to be a better person than him, to succeed, to show him HE CAN KISS MY ASS. People keep telling me to forgive…. i did that, but found it didn’t work for me. I found my anger last year (2015) and I’m not letting go of it, not until it serves it purpose.

    Thirdly, the sharing things with your friends, I don’t do it either. Part of my issue is because I am the counselor and mediator of my friends. They come to me, they look up to me. I don’t believe they could handle it, so no I don’t give them a chance either, but from my experience, I’ve been ignored, pushed away, subject changed, “get over it” or lost friends. I will never believe anyone fully cares, even those who relate. Maybe this is because my abuse fucked me in my head, maybe its because everyone has always let me down. Spent years screaming (whispering) for help and advice *in my little girl voice) with nothing………….I can’t let that guard down now that has kept me alive this long.

    haha. sorry for the long post. Love and miss you girl. I’m trying to be more active… I’m trying. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Hello stranger, it’s so lovely to hear from you! Sounds like you’ve been going through a tough time and maybe isolating was what you needed. But I’m so glad you’re trying to reconnect. Sending hugs x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What’s left? Words are left. Words are real, art is real and feelings are, too.
    I use to cut. It comes up from time to time but it’s been 10 yrs or so since I last cut. I didn’t write down the date. I told my therapist not to ever push the subject or ask me to stop because this belongs to me. It’s mine and no one can take it away from me. If you tell me to stop I know me, I’m going to cling to it harder because you’re trying to take it. I needed it, it was my companion…and I liked the scars. I liked the secrecy of placing those scars. It was mine.

    There is so much taken from a person when they are abused. Our sense of reality is broken because we spend the rest of our lives looking around, talking around, thinking around abuse. How can anything feel real when we’re ignoring the one huge thing that needs to be talked about? Abuse alters our reality, tells us stuff we feel isn’t important, we aren’t important, we have to find a way to validate our existence. It puts us in a constant state of desperation, self destruction and self criticism. How do we start to change what reality means to us when we aren’t even certain what reality is to others who seems so much cleaner than we are?

    Faith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent comment, a post in itself. Zeroing in on exactly what happens for years to come. I am 63 and still struggle with these issues.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Laura Black says:

      Hi Faith. Thanks for your reflections on this. I’m sorry that you’ve struggled with self-harm too, but it always helps to know that there are people out there who identify with how it feels and how complex it is. You’re right about abuse changing our reality. Having that history is like seeing life through a lens that distorts everything. So then, yes, how can we tell what is real? What’s to be trusted? And it’s scary to think that there are so many years ahead of struggling with all that confusion. Laura

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What’s interesting is when I started to challenge of my realities. That gave me a lot of strength because it let me know I was really leaving that heavy cloud of victimization. I had no idea just how much my sense of reality had been altered. My understanding of men, women, basic life situations were so vastly deformed by my abuser that I had no idea what to think when the rest of the world didn’t act that way. It’s taken a very long time for me to see from a distance the cloud of falsehoods I left behind. It’s pretty amazing, really.

    My life isn’t good but I look at my sibling’s life and see how she is and I think, Thank God I left, thank God I had the ability to leave. She has never known a day, in her 47 years of life, without the influence of the abuser. Now she cares for the person who abused my abuser. I sit back and go, wow, wow…. that’s what life looks like without therapy, without healing, it looks ..lifeless.

    It’s been a good long time that I’ve been in therapy and there have been a lot of changes, changes I never could have made had I not challenged some of those old messages and took risks to leave that family for good.

    I do very much wish you well. I’ll keep reading and attempt to not write journal entry size comments but I can’t promise you anything on that front. 🙂
    Faith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thanks for the input, for sharing your experience and for the good wishes. And you can write as much or as little as you like here – I am always happy to hear such thoughtful feedback. Laura

      Like

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