Why do we care so much about what everyone else thinks? Why did I NEED to be believed especially by the very people who invalidate me in the first place? I think it is because I was brainwashed very young to believe that everyone else knew better then I knew and that “they” had the ability and the right to define me. They “owned me”. I didn’t belong to myself.
There was a comment on Susan Kingsley-Smith’s post ~ Dysfunctional Relationship with Mental Health Providers ~that has been simmering in the back of my mind since I read it about 5 days ago now. This comment, although simply put, is really profound and I want to expand on the whole concept of what Mountain is writing about because this aspect of recovery has been so key for me and as well as being a result of doing my recovery work, it was the beginning of the process of transitioning from surviving to thriving.
A note from “Mountain”
“With regards to need and the need to be understood ~ I stopped giving my energy away to people who didn’t receive my love. I stopped trying to convince other people of my reasons why I did things, the whys of things don’t matter to other people and often leaves us open to judgment which is very painful for sensitives. Most don’t want to know and most don’t really care. We do here; I’m talking the outside world.” You can see Mountains full comment (#59) on Susans Post.
I personally had a huge need to PROVE that I was right. I thought I had to prove that I was justified in being hurt, that I had been devalued and that I had been mistreated. That I was NOT crazy, that I was a good person with good intentions… continued.. I never realized that I was in a deadly and never ending spin; a spin that always served the purposes of those that wished to control me and those who wished to have power over me. As long as I was fighting to be heard and to be right, they had my power. And the bottom line is that I was comfortable believing that they were right; I had always had to prove my worth. That was my definition of love. I didn’t even realize that what was going on was unfair or wrong. Just as Mountain said in her comment, ”I gave them my energy” and for me, my energy was really my life blood.
You may be wondering how I got to the point where I was able to stop giving my energy and my power away? How did I stop that never ending lifelong spin of trying to prove that I was not crazy, that I was not “BAD” that I was not “sick” or lying?
I learned to validate myself. That is what Emerging from Broken is about. I learned that not being believed did not make me wrong. I learned that being invalidated by others does not mean that I am invalid. If people don’t believe me, it doesn’t mean that I am lying.
This might sound easy and I do not mean to imply that all I had to do was decide that I was right and that was the end of that. I had been brainwashed and convinced over and over that there was something wrong with me, that I was “dramatic” that I exaggerated, that I had misunderstood the intentions of others and all sorts of other lies. As I got older, it was inferred that I was “crazy” and that I was “sick” and that my thinking was backwards. I got married and my in-laws questioned even more than others had done. Even the way that I fed my children was wrong. They knew exactly how to make me stay under their control. I struggled so much that I believed these lies about me were true thinking “how can everyone be wrong?” When I had serious depressions, those were used as the “proof” that it really was me who had the problem and me that was in the wrong.
Those lies were not undone overnight. This whole thing is a process. It took digging into the faulty foundation and excavating all the rotting mess that was down there, exposing it to the light and setting it right. It took me looking at certain situations, realizing what really happened, realizing that I had been manipulated and unprotected and then blamed for the results and for my own reactions.
This was a new beginning for me. I didn’t need them to believe me anymore. I believed me.
Once I established that I believed ME, I finally started to be able to grow in my own self esteem. As that happened, (and it took time) I realized just how much damage was done to me, just how invalidated that I had been and just how wrong that it was. But none the less it happened and the damage had been done and it was time for me to face it and undo the lies that came with it; the lies that manifested as my belief system as a result of it.
And my reactions to all of that were NORMAL. I shut down, developed dissociative behaviors and many depressions manifested in my life, I had a several addictions, I put myself in dangerous situations, I dressed like a hooker; was attracted to dangerous men. I devalued myself and never even noticed it. I had all kinds of reactions and behaviors that resulted because of the lack of self value and from trying to constantly prove my value. All normal reactions to the things that happened to me and the fact that I was not taught that I had any value. And I used all those things as proof that they were right about me.
The beginning of the end of broken for me was when I realized my OWN value and began to really OWN that value without letting anyone else define it or define me anymore. I no longer honor the opinion of the very people that defined me as invalid and discounted me in the first place. I no longer give my energy or my power to those people who only want to use me or to keep me underneath them, defining me as less then them so that they can feel better about themselves.
Today I use my power to empower others and I live with the knowledge that I am a wonderful, caring, sane, smart, valid and worthy person who makes a difference in the world. I am lovely and lovable and no one gets to decide otherwise. And therefore I live each day to the fullest; with joy and an abundance of energy and happiness as my sidekicks.
Please share your feelings, reactions or your process. The conversation here is always full of healing so don’t forget to subscribe to comments or check back.
This post was also inspired by the (over 85) comments on “False Normal Systems about love and self love”
The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing. Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing –