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Saturday, November 10, 2012

I am no longer the victim

I spent many years assuming the victim role in life. I didn't stand out and say poor me poor me feel sorry for me. Instead, I very quietly and internally decided that my place in life was to be the victim. The one who others got to treat badly for no reason. The one who was ignored, excluded, unloved and abused simply because others felt as though they had the right to do it. I did not assume this persona in order to get attention or stand out, but rather to make sense of why things were happening to me. The only reason I could come up with was that I was put on this earth to be treated like dirt, because that's what I felt was happening to me over and over again from numerous people. So, at a very young age I decided that this must be the purpose to my life (because I couldn't see any other one, especially not a positive one) and so I went along with it.

My downward spiral started when dad died. Everything bad happened after that point, or at least it seems that way. It might just be that I don't remember anything bad from before that or that because it was such a huge point in my life that I trace everything back to that. Who knows? Firstly I lost my dad. I never really thought I blamed him for that, I always thought he was brave for finding a way out of his problems and that if it was too hard to deal with them then at least he had peace now. Weird right? But, I think internally I did feel like well maybe I wasn't good enough. Not that he didn't love me enough to stay, but maybe I wasn't good enough to be loved or worthy of a dad or a normal family and that's why he left. Kind of like how children of divorce will somehow always think its their fault, even though it has nothing to do with them. On top of this I then dealt with my mums breakdown and so I pushed my feelings aside to look after her and make sure she was ok. Internally feeling that I was again not good enough to get help or to have my feelings heard and justified. Like my grief was not as valid or appropriate as hers. I covered everything up so I wasn't a burden on everyone else and instead I took on the burden of everyone else's problems.

During my teenage years I felt so unloved. Completely ignored and invisible. I think she subconsciously lashed out at me because on the surface I was the strong one and I didn't appear to be affected? At least that's the only way I can reconcile the way she treated me. Being told your a selfish bitch by your own mother when you've done everything you can to protect her and make sure she is ok cuts very deep. I took this on board on a very deep emotional level. In high school there were times I tried to talk to people about my own problems and feelings and I was always shutdown, told my feelings didn't matter or made to feel selfish for trying to get attention. Once again I was supposedly selfish, so I quashed my feelings and decided they didn't matter. There was also bullying and abuse from other people during these years so I finally shutdown. That's what the universe and everyone I tried to reach out to seemed to want me to do so that's what I did.

I never let any of these things be known to the outside world because I was ashamed. Only a small handful of my friends even knew dad died let alone that he committed suicide and they certainly didn't know about what was happening at home, or that I was depressed. Internally I gave up though. I allowed all the bad things in my life define who I thought I was. I was worthless.

It's probably the reason why I got into my first marriage, but definitely the reason why I stayed. I was there to be treated like crap. I was used to it so when it happened it made sense. The emotional abuse just compounded my already self destructive thoughts. Instead of just telling myself that I deserved to be treated that way, I now had someone else actually telling me out loud that I was worthless, useless and generally a waste of space. I would make excuses for the way he treated me because I thought I deserved it and I genuinely thought that was the way my life was meant to be.

Of course there has always been this tiny little part of me that despite all this always thought that I deserved better. There would one day be a reason for me to be here. That one day I would have my own life that was about me and what I wanted and what made me happy. This little voice was what eventually saved me. One day after being told yet again how useless I was etc etc something clicked inside my brain and instead of thinking this is the way my life is going to be so just deal with it, I finally thought screw this there has got to be something more. A more meaningful way of living. A way to change my way of thinking and feel like I was worthy of a life and more than that, that I was actually worthy of living and experiencing life to the fullest, not just going through the motions.

I got to the point where I realised I can't change other people's behaviour and I don't have to be responsible for it either. I took back control of my own life and realised that I can be responsible for the direction my life takes. I don't need to be defined by all the bad things that have happened to me because they are in the past and the past is gone. I spent years wondering why I was treated that way by so many people and the only solution I could come up with was it was my fault and I deserved it. You know the saying you create what you believe? I think that's what I did for years because I believed I deserved to be treated badly. It just prolonged the pain and ruined my life. I have stopped wondering why I was treated like that now because I realise there is no point worrying about it anymore. It'll never change what has happened and there will never be a reason that makes it ok. I am choosing to move on with my life. I don't entirely forgive the people who have wronged me or forget what has happened, but I wont let it define my future. I allowed it to control me for too long, but now I am in control - and I like it.

You cant change your past, but you can change your future.

My future is going to be full of love and happiness because I deserve it. From time to time bad things will happen, but you know what - sometimes shit happens and then you get over it.

Toni x

Would you like to comment?

  1. Great post. Still love your story, no matter how crazy the past got, its inspirational how you've picked up and kept moving on. You are definitely right, there will be many times along the road you will stumble, the what honestly defines you, is how you got up, and continue to get up, from those stumbles, and kept going.

  2. So glad you finally realized your self-worth and that your happiness is in your hands and no one else's.

  3. You are a strong women who has so much happiness, love, bob and fred ahead of you!!!

  4. Yesterday does not define. I need to remember this. Thanks for sharing your story. You've done so well to come out on top.