A figure appeared in the darkness. In the gleam of the moonlight, I knew it was her, the woman who gave me life. She was small but managed to overwhelm the room with her haughty pride. Her words always cut. They were sharp. The wounds were deep.
Every time my mother saw me, she realized her mortality, her own demise. She hated me for my youth. She couldn’t stand that I was a specimen of beauty and each day it grew; it was going to outshine her.
She knew that. She couldn’t control it.
So she controlled how I felt about myself. She made sure I knew I was ugly.
She told me every day, “You’re so ugly!” She wished I was a boy. Boys were better.
She didn’t have to compete with boys; she could manipulate them more easily.
She didn’t place value on my academic achievements; to her, I was worthless and stupid.
She didn’t graduate high school. She hated me for having opportunities she never did. She tried desperately to hold me back from being successful at anything.
I was the Repunzel in this warped retelling of the story.
The mother (the witch) had fallen from the high tower and was blinded by the thorn brush she herself harvested. Now she’s an aimless spirit, wandering the halls of my home. She wrestles with an unknown assailant as Jacob wrestled with the angel. She’s asking me for something, but she can’t speak.
Is it forgiveness?
Is she asking me for my blessing?
If I do forgive her and let her go, does this mean I’m free?
This person was my whole entire world for three years. This was My Person, the love of my life.
They loved me.
All my flaws.
My Person made me feel whole.
My Person calmed the negativity I had in my life.
My Person held me when I needed to cry. They listened when I needed to yell. This person sat behind me and picked head lice out of my hair for 8 hours when I cried because no one else in my life would help me. My Person was so beyond good for me.
My Person believed in me and my worth and well… I really don’t know.
I have no excuses except I was young and dumb and influenced easily by people that should have been supporting me. I longed for THEIR approval and love and if I didn’t have that, why should I deserve anything else.
I left this amazing person with a heavy heart but headed in a direction I was being basically shoved into for many years.
Even after I left I tried to make it work. I mean, no one else would ever want me.
During this time I searched out My Person.
They’d moved far away to another land.
They seemed happy and from what I could see from my computer screen didn’t want me anymore.
I did reach out, I called, I emailed, I basically stalked this person.
But they had moved on. I was just a memory to them; that was okay. After all, I didn’t deserve them.
Fast forward a few more years.
I still watched My Person from afar. I was friends with their family but still had not contact with My Person.
That was okay. I was happy knowing they were happy.
I met someone, dated for a few years, got married again. And I am finally HAPPY! Well, at least most of the time. My old negative thoughts are all still there but I’m mildly successful at pushing them down.
A couple weeks ago, My Person showed up in my life again like a whirlwind.
They have never been far from my thoughts; I still watched.
But here they were in my inbox and we’ve been talking and it’s like the last twenty years disappeared and I am right back where I was, where we were; My Person and I.
And I am so so so in love. I always was.
And I’m torn: how can I love two people this much? What do I do?
I need this person in my life, they are a part of me has been missing for so long.
It’s like I got my right hand back. I need them to know I love them. Because I do…
…but we can’t be together.
I love where I am now, I love the person I’ve married. I love my home and my job. Right now? There’s half a century and twenty years between us, but I still need them in my life.
I find my mind wandering a lot lately.
The what if’s.
I find myself wanting to wake up in one of those stupid romcoms where everything is different but it just seems right and you don’t want to wake up.
I want to find a damn DeLorean and make different choices.
I’m Tired I’m tired of acquiring but never keeping nice things; possessions I work arduously for that are torn up, soiled or otherwise destroyed. I’m tired of endless piles of laundry, clothes strewn across the floor, indistinguishable as clean or dirty, but washed again nonetheless. I’m tired of chaos, of the arguing, of the drama and constant conflict that ages my soul. I’m tired of being shown how for granted I’m being taken. I’m tired of never knowing if I’m coming or going. I’m tired of feeling responsible for the complete care of everyone else and sacrificing my own care of self. I’m tired of feeling chronically exhausted. I’m tired of my complaints and concerns being pushed aside, minimalized and marginalized. I’m tiring of knowing “things could always be worse” as a means to not being able to be entitled to my emotional journey. I’m tired of listening to others during their times of deepest sorrow, frustration or fear and being a pillar of strength for them but rarely being given my own time to grieve. I’m tired of being told I’m hormonal. I’m tired of having my emotions rationalized for me. I’m tired of being expected to “deal with it” and accept that “it’s just part of being a parent” or “being an adult”. I’m tired of feeling like I cannot still express my inner child, have big dreams and be encouraged to chase them. I’m tired of adults bullying other adults. I’m tired of divisiveness and actions that only perpetuate further trauma and abuse. I’m tired of being an angry white female. I’m tired of feeling threatened by PRIVILEGED WHITE MEN I’m tired of fearing for my own safety, bodily autonomy and well-being EVERY DAY. I’m tired of, when expressing my concerns and frustrations, being called names like snowflake, FEMINAZI, bitch and CUNT. I’m tired of working myself until I’m literally ill and yet still feeling immense guilt for purchasing that $19 shirt at Target. I’m tired of the pressure to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter/sister/nurse. I’m tired of attachment titles. I’m tired of being expected to take a side when my beliefs lie somewhere in the middle. I’m tired of women having no safe place to candidly talk and share without fear of persecution, name calling or mean-spiritedness. I’m tired of male violence against women. I’m tired of watching so many of my fellow brothers and sisters continue to live lives full of anger, resentment and self-entitlement, oblivious to their own inner demons. I’m tired of Dr. Google. I will always side with evidence backed scientific studies. I’m tired of watching parents put their children at risk for a lifetime of illness because of a handful of conspiracy theorists. I’m tired of trying to explain facts to those same people and them finding a means to justify EVERY SINGLE TIME. So, I’m tired of selective ignorance where there is a literal WORLD of information at mere fingertips. I’m tired of reckless, self-serving decisions of others that may adversely affect countless people. I’m tired of online battles, egocentric conversations and people’s inability to say “I’m sorry” or “I was mistaken”. I’m tired of being oppressed because of my gender. I’m tired of being objectified because of my outward appearance. I’m tired of consistently having to maintain a stern exterior to protect my children and myself from pervasive predators. I’m tired of mean, bitter people. I’m tired of always being strong. I’m tired of being responsible for everyone’s emotions, blatantly disregarding my own. I’m tired of letting things roll off my back all the while knowing they will puncture me on the way down. I’m tired of pretending I’m always unbreakable. I’m tired of violence, both via the media and in the world. I’m tired of endless wars, of which neither party will ultimately win. I’m tired of our elected officials, having taken oaths to serve citizens and country, acting like nothing more than selfish, insecure middle school children. I’m tired of relentless mind games, fear mongering and empty threats. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of taking on all of this weight. I’m tired of being accused of attacking others when I can no longer keep it all in and finally break down and speak my mind. I’m tired of the fragile male ego and the need of constant reassurance. I’m tired of watching women lessen themselves to help a man feel significant. I’m tired of toxic masculinity. I’m tired of men trying to justify their bad behavior as “urges” or “needs” or the old adage “boys will be boys”. I’m tired of watching the world in its current state; its destroyers in utter denial. I’m tired of ALL THE GREED- It has caused abuse, war, human mutilation and countless children’s deaths. I’m tired of society’s RIDICULOUS expectations of the ideal female form. I’m tired of fake tits, tight asses and flat tummies. I’m tired of men expecting “perfection” in a woman while they fill their ever expanding waistlines with chicken wings and beer. I’m tired of the ass-patters, the at-a-boy-ers. I’m tired of seeing blame shifting, scapegoating and flat out lying all in pathetic attempts to save face and avoid accountability. I’m tired of feeling stretched far too thin, always dancing on the edge, but never actually jumping. I’m tired of cooking countless dinners, only to have them picked at by children. I’m tired of washing dishes with tears of frustration in my weary eyes because the dinner I made and threw out was the last of the food budget. I’m tired of pretending to be OKAY. I’m tired of never being allowed to own my feelings. I’m tired of sharing and being condemned for doing so. I’m tired of hard swallows and “I’m fines” through gritted teeth and clenched fists; anxiety attacks in the bathroom between motherly duties. I’m tired of pushing through my own emotions inappropriately in order to quickly address the needs of others. I’m tired of finger pointing; defensive, argumentative conversations. I’m tired of waiting for inevitable civil war, feeling riddled with anxious anticipation EVERY DAY. I’m tired of the pandemic that is disrespect, both for others and self. I’m tired of trying to fix everything. I’m tired, I’m tired. I’m tired… I think it’s time I rest.
I originally wrote this for my blog this past September and it remains one of my favorite writings to date. Thanks for reading!
Yet, all of them have always been under my control. I just didnʻt know it.
All this time, I thought they had complete control of me, but the truth is, and has always been, that my demons for me, like yours for you, are ours to tame, name and obliterate (maim). Once they are tamed and named, they can no longer control you.
They can only be your bitches.
While this might seem very simple, I know it is anything but. I know that it is a demon son of a bitch to deal with the thoughts we think, and it is worse when the PTSD kicks in. I know, too, that people think you are pretending, but, I know that you cannot possibly pretend to be the thing that you have been fighting your whole life long – that thing that other people think and believe is your identity, or, sometimes, they think it is your mask.
It is the monster that no one thinks about becoming real in the lives of domestic violence survivors, and the irritating little mother fucker of a demon that likes to rear its head just when you thought you had the shitty little thing tamed. You find out quickly that these demons donʻt want to be tamed. They want to be what you want to be, which is free and wild. They want to be free to run wildly amok in the hallways of your memory, fucking with you until tears fall, and not only do others stop seeing the real you, even you stop seeing the person you always knew yourself to be.
My own demons like to play with me, they like to knock the fuck out of reality and truth, and they like to tell me that I’m not at all what others think me to be. My demons tell me all the time that I am not capable of doing things the right way, because I do things my way, and my demons like to remind me that I am not the prettiest, or the smartest, they tell me I am the most irritating person and that even the people who love me the most also and equally loathe me.
My own demons fight with me, argue the truth until there is nothing left of it, the proverbial pile of mindfuck particles left scattered around my psyche like some sort of diabolical confetti comprised of the memories that made me feel better, or made me feel awful, or made me think things that were not the truth, or made me believe that I was not ever in control of who I am…but that they were.
Then one day I figured out that those demons were askinʻ for it. They were literally, by right of their continuing to pop up in my life at the most inconvenient times, asking to be seen to, to be heard, to be told what to do and how to behave. They needed me to see to them, to stop feeding them the bullshit that, for so long, had made them sick and ugly and loathsome, and just completely miserable, and that kept me under their control.
Lots of times we do not see that we might be dealing with someone elseʻs demons, and ones that they show to us, and only us, for the purposes of healing them, through the power of love and truth all at one time.
Sometimes, the demons respond favorably, and other times, they fight back, wanting to live and be heard until they no longer have voice to scream at us with, or anger to flail through us with, or any other way of being or thinking that lives within us, because instead of letting them become like flying monkeys, we make them into the little fuckers who, no matter what, we have control of.
We canʻt see ourselves as anything but works in progress, and as such, sometimes we need to help those parts of who we are that are not that great. We need them to compare them to what we want to see, what is already there, and what just requires a little coaxing….
I spent the last many years married to a woman with fairly severe (clinically diagnosed) Borderline Personality Disorder. I could very easily fill an entire book writing about what that experience was like, so it’s hard to know how to distill it. Here are some things I know-
-Years of being subjected to masterfully performed gaslighting has left me very unsure of all my own judgements and perceptions of reality.
-Years of being degraded and emasculated when I wanted to discuss my thoughts/feelings, being told that it is unattractive for a man to show “weakness” to his wife, has left me uncertain of when its ok to be vulnerable with other people.
-Years of walking on eggshells, trying so hard to do and say everything just right, but knowing that no matter how well I did, the next blow-up/emotional attack was always coming.. has left me perpetually anxious, and steeped so heavily in learned helplessness that I often struggle to even feel that I have any control over what happens in my life. I never used to be that way at all.
-Years of having all my contributions and accomplishments minimized or forgotten, and all my imperfections magnified and carefully score-carded, has left me with close to zero sense of self-efficacy.
-Years of living with someone who is intimacy avoidant and uninterested in sex, but being told the whole time that her disinterest is caused by my shortcomings—because I didn’t last long enough in bed, or because I lasted too long in bed (yes, both of those), or because of the stress I was causing her by me not making us enough money (even when I was bringing in over six figures a year), or because I was paying too much attention to (suffocating) her, or because I was not paying enough attention to (neglecting) her—has left my self confidence so damaged that I almost fear being intimate with someone again.
Probably the worst part, though? During the early “idealization” phase of the relationship, she was incredibly jealous and protective of my attention (which, at the time, I foolishly believed was just because she loved me so much) that, focusing all of my time and attention on her needs, I greatly distanced myself from any male friends I was close to, and completely cut off contact with all of my female friends. So once she flipped me into the devaluation phase, I was left with a partner who had zero interest in me, other than what I could fix or provide for her, and only weak remnants of friendships remained. I was effectively isolated to the point that I spent most of my free time just sitting alone in my basement, wishing things were different.
Isolation is definitely one of my biggest hurdles right now. I’d really like to make some new friends, particularly some female friends since I lost all but one or two, but no clue where to even start. I just really miss having more meaningful conversations and connections with people.
Another hurdle is figuring out how to integrate “what I know to be true” with “what I feel to be true.” For example, I can write down a list of all of my business/financial accomplishments and objectively say I’ve been successful in that area. I know this to be true. But I do not feel that this is true. I can find endless examples of things I’ve done or experiences I’ve had that show most of the negative feelings that I mentioned above are illogical or don’t line up with reality. But again, I still don’t feel that.
I would love any thoughts or advice from anyone who has gone through something similar. What worked? What DIDN’T work? How did you re-connect with yourself? How did you re-connect with other people and build some new meaningful friendships/relationships?