I was stuck for so long believing that if my family could just see me for who I really am, that I could BE who I really am. This was a lie that kept me down for many years. Because “they” my family taught me who I was; because they had defined me and I my identity was grounded in the definition of “me” that they gave me, I did not realize that I could define myself. I felt like I HAD to get their agreement to be me, before I could be me. I felt like being someone that they didn’t think I was or didn’t want me to be was somehow a betrayal of everything they wanted. As though my life would have no meaning and I would be no one if I stood up to them. I felt like I HAD to be who they said I was, or I would be rejected. This was such a big part of the cause of my depressions and my struggle with depression and identity crisis.
This was all tied in with my childhood belief that I could not live without my family. That I would die without them because I could not survive out on the street by myself. When we are children we have to believe that our family is right, because if we believe that it is them who are wrong, there is no hope for us. I could not find my own food, my own shelter. I was scared of rejection and rightly so. I knew that I would not be able to survive without them therefore I would surely die out there in the world by myself. I could not make them change, so I tried to change; I tried hard to be what they wanted me to be so that I would be loved. I wanted to be who (the identity) they wanted me to be but at the same time because I was not recognized as ME or valued for being me, I was no one. (Identity Crisis) That might just be my definition of depression or at least one of my definitions of depression. And that was where it got so confusing.
Somehow I thought that their approval was actually love and I tried to live by their definition of love, which is about compliance, obedience, respect and acceptance of them however they are. I grew up and kept trying harder to be loved (approved of). Even as an adult I didn’t see that my family, and subsequent controllers and abusers did not love me according to their own definition of love; I never realized that they didn’t accept me, they didn’t approve of me the way that I had to approve of them. I never realized that they didn’t accept me, my decisions or my choices, the way that I was required to accept them and their decisions and choices ~ and without question I might add. See how confusing this is? Is it any wonder that I struggled with identity crisis, depression and mental health issues?
At the age of 17 I moved out of the house and I took my childhood belief system with me and all of my damaged self esteem and I moved in with my boyfriend and now I was trying hard to be loved by yet another person who wanted me to love him out of his false definition of love, and wanted me to be who he dreamed the perfect girlfriend would be and I was STILL trying (longing, wishing, praying, hoping, and telling myself that I didn’t care) to get acceptance, approval and love from my family too. And that is a great recipe for depression.
I had grown up not knowing that I was enough, not knowing that I was lovable, that I deserved better then what they offered me then and what they offer me now. I did not trust myself to make good decisions, and everything I did, every choice I made I subconsciously put through a grid of “will this meet with approval from “them”? If the answer was no, I tried to hide my decision or I made some brave “rebellious” stand for myself, feeling so smart and smug, all the while dreading the eventual judgement.
I had been taught and conditioned to believe I needed their approval before I could approve of myself. Realizing this truth was the first step on the journey to self love, self acceptance and recovering my self esteem. I am no longer in any kind of identity crisis; I have discovered the ME that I am and I embrace that truth. Realizing this truth and re-wiring my belief system was how I found my way out of chronic depression and dissociative identity disorder.
As always I look forward to all your comments!
You are the only you there is ~ do you know who you are?