I think it is important when recovering from abusive relationships and trying to restart your life, that you find out who you really are as opposed to who the abuse made you into. Sometimes we can go back to our childhood and consider what we think we remember we were. Sometimes, our childhood is so traumatized, we are indistinguishable from the abuse. That is the case of most child abuse victims. The question of where do we start as our own person is one that can take us all years to answer.
When I finally walked away from it all, I discovered that there was nothing left of me. Whoever I was before wasn’t anymore. Abuse destroys completely. I had to try to figure out things as simple as what foods I like, what types of movies I like, did I ever really like reading, do I have a real favorite color? Basic things that most of society seems to take for granted. Maybe, though, society takes it for granted because the people have no choice.
I will never forget that my siblings have no real problem with my mother’s abuse. Of course, from the outside looking in, it’s because they have turned on her and now abuse her and it has become a mutually abusive situation where they all enjoy treating each other like dirt and call it normal. But most of society doesn’t look much beyond that. We either remain victims of the abuser, we join the abuser and make it a sort of sick free-for-all, or we do both, plus we abuse those around us. Honestly, there is no other option. No one who grows up in abuse at the level I did comes out “normal.” It’s impossible.
But one thing I know for sure I am is introspective. I know this because it was so easy for religion to use this against me. Religion encourages us to look inside, to see our evil. Ordinary people shrug when they do this. The introspective go insane. Which is probably why the most devout among us tend to be those the rest consider off their rocker. When you are constantly being told to look inside and find all the evil to root it out and be made worthy, and almost every religion does this, even the ones without an obvious deity, it’s madness.
Introspection does one positive thing for me now, it keeps me trying to figure out why I do what I do. Sometimes it leads to wrong conclusions and those old voices come back. All those pastors and hymns beating up the average person whose life is already crap, “I am evil born in sin, Though desireth truth within.” But often it just keeps me thinking and trying to figure out how to change from what I was into what I’d rather be.
Still, the human mind is really good at lying to itself. As hard as we try, our introspection may be such that, as when those old voices come back, we simply fall back onto familiar patterns of thought. Our minds are lazy and they don’t want to forge a new path, even if we think they should. This is something to consider when we think about our own actions.
In my own life, I have a tendency to only see the worst in myself (see previous comment on religious abuse). Rarely in my childhood was I given a kind word from anyone, particularly those who were supposed to care for me. This has made my life difficult and put blinders on me that are removed only with great pain. Often I believe I’m doing better simply because I feel like I can see something better than I used to. Inevitably, someone comes along and tells me I’m nothing more than a killjoy and worse and I’m left to wonder if they are right or just assholes. I’d love to think the latter, but the previous thought patterns ingrained from childhood make it difficult to make that leap. Those thoughts tell me I’m a terrible person that no one would ever want to be around–thanks, mom.
I consider this dilemma right now as I try to figure out where all those “normal” feelings came from. Why have I had them? Will they continue? Is there something I can do to make them stay or to get them back if they are gone? And as those thoughts swirl in my head, the why was the biggest question, because that will make the other answers easier. I listed a few possibilities in my previous post, but then I continued to think about it, especially now that the week is in full swing and I will have to go into situations that my mind is already trained to react a certain way to.
I wonder, and this is a serious consideration, if it was the high of survival. I lived through my most recent sh*t, when, honestly, I wasn’t sure. I was pretty hopeless. So I wonder if the normal wasn’t my mind relaxing after having kept me alive, again.
Still, I will try to maintain as much as I can. I want to feel that way, mostly I just want to go through situations that used to trigger me without being so triggered I can’t handle it.