Nothing I say matters and I can be treated badly. I can never be believed. This is what the Meyers taught me.
I well never be good enough. I am not a real woman because I don’t talk about boys enough or wear makeup. I will never be desired. I will never have a relationship. This is what my stepmother taught me.
I am weak. I am not confident. I must rely on others to save me. This is what my mother taught me.
You are a subject in my kingdom. Not important, not worth protecting. You must never embaress me or lessen my image in the eyes of others. You cannot come in the way of achieving material goods. You are not worth investing in. This is what my father taught me.
You are subhuman. You are inferior and you will never meet the benchmarks everyone else meets. You will never fit in. You will never be good enough. You should just disappear.
This is what they all taught me. This is what the world has taught me.
I want other people to believe I am a good, truthful and worthy person. I want to be loved and approved of. I want affection, connection, commiseration, a sense of belonging. I want it so badly that it comes across as desperation, which is inherently suspicious to most, and also something to be disgusted by. I self-sabotage just by wanting something so badly.
When you see the lessons I have learned, it makes sense why I am the way I am. I seek the positive reinforcement and warm fuzzies I never recieved from adults in my childhood from the adults in my adulthood. And of course I won’t receive them. Why should I? Why should non-family cater to a desperate, child-like person?
I am the architect of my own inarticulate rage and flailing. The humiliation I suffer at being treated like a child is because I act like a child, trying so hard to elicit positive reactions.
“You must like me!” my anxiety screams out to others in the tone of my words and my body language. “There can’t be conflict. I’ll do whatever you want. You musn’t hurt me!”
The injured and emotionally starved child inside me shrieks and wails even now, though I never realized it.
I must soothe that crying child. At the very least, I must say,”It’s not your fault. You didn’t deserve it. You deserved better. You deserved not to be torn down.”
I must give her what she didn’t receive. I’m not talking about candy or toys or baseless praise. I must give what truly matters: Structure. Encouragement. Support. Because it’s not likely, as an adult, you will receive this from anyone but yourself.
I seem poorly positioned to do this, for that starved child and I are the same. But there are steps I can take. I can fix the structureless life I lead by ensuring a consistent daily schedule. I can continue to write. I can do the things I want to do, regardless if they’re ‘appropriate’ for my gender. I can give that child – myself – the world. And I can heal while I do it. Eventually I will be able to give to others instead of miserly clinging to my limited internal resources.
There are things I must accept to accomplish this. Accept on an emotional level, not just an intellectual one. I can’t change the past. I can’t change the fact I didn’t receive the most important things when I needed them. I can’t change that I was harmed.
But I can choose to take responsibility. I can choose to try to heal myself instead of allowing my past and my anxiety to hurt me more and more each day. I can avert the sad future I have always seen for myself – a soft, padded white room of my very own.