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Reading other’s posts has been full of horror for me. I remember, I remember. I was a teenager feeling the full despair and desperation, of loneliness and self-loathing. I feel it still sometimes, and I have patched myself together as best I can.

My parents still say things they don’t realize are so hurtful, but I am gradually learning to see it. I know I don’t have to react or justify my actions to them, because I am finally accepting that it is their sad way of getting attention. The hysterical thing is, if I can stop from responding, stop saying, “But that isn’t true!” arguing my point, it stops. I change the subject or say nothing – telling myself I know what the truth is, and that is all that is important. I feel sorry they don’t see this, but it is not my job to be their therapist. It is not my job to make them over into what I want them to be – because that is an impossible task.

I have accepted that they will never be the nurturing, trustworthy parents I wanted them to be. They have never been, and looking hard at the evidence, there appears to be zero evidence that they ever will. My expectations and dreams of what “could have been” have created such misery in my life. What a liberation to see it! And so terribly sad – I grieved a lot about that. But letting that mirage go has brought a lot of peace, too.

I can enjoy many good things about them. And, if they ever become what I dreamed of, it will be a surprise and a gift, not a constant let down that they don’t. It is only my job to set boundaries on how much I will let happen before I leave or end the conversation. And, I have more and more friends who sometimes teach me about life – like a good mother or father would, and that’s what I so need.

My inner critic will always be there, repeating awful messages. But I can add good ones, screaming them out if necessary in the bad times, and I can teach myself to recognize those evil words for what they are. My parents loved me as best they could, but their love was twisted and mixed with their own blindness. Maybe their parents’ blindness as well – as they say in Al-anon, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I know now, the awful things they do to me, were done to them, and they likely do to themselves as well.

Lately those nights I call the screams and knives (figuratively) where I cannot see how I am worthy for anything, I am starting to ask myself if the story line isn’t a bit seductive. Is it a grand play and I am the star? Oh, the horror of my self-loathing and awfulness. In this, I see I am getting the rapt attention I so want. The drama! The tears being ripped from the bottom of my soul! But really, do I need attention in this form? When I’m in the pit, I’m learning to ask, how is today so different from yesterday, when I had hope or felt good? The answer is always outside events that have given the critic in my mind more ammunition to say, “See you did it again, you will never be able to change.” Nothing about my inner me has changed otherwise. I might feel like life is not worth living and things will never change, but reality is that everything else in the universe changes. I am still the tender soul that lived in this body yesterday, and will be tomorrow.

Though at times I might feel hopeless, I will never take my life now because I am starting to trust that I am not alone. I am not the base and evil things my mind sucks me into thinking. I can step back from the story and know that no matter how awful I feel, it isn’t real. It’s like having a bad cold. It will pass. I am a good person, I just have to rewrite the tapes – like the playlist where you’ve gotten tired of a certain song. I put in good, and when I’m ready and willing, ask for the old to be taken out, or let it go.

We are already lovable and whole as we are. Perfect if we can only let ourselves see it. I am beginning to see how that might be possible; we can change how we act, but it’s about training the self-critic, not doing things to be more worthy.