I’m Sorry I’m Broken
I’m sorry I’m broken. I spoke those words, my voice cracking from emotion. I could barely get the words out. I know that it isn’t something that I should apologize for. But I think I need to.
I want to stand on top of my RV and yell to the world that I am sorry. I’m sorry I’m broken with what I say and the general way I interpret the world.
This apology to others, and in part to myself, is probably the only one that I will ever hear, and that is why I feel to say that, to apologize for things that…well, the way that I am, I guess.
But why am I apologizing? Sure, sure, there is that people-pleasing bit of me that definitely has some knowledge or say in how I feel this need to apologize to the world at large. But it isn’t just that I am a people pleaser. I think my apology is that I am exhausted—all of the time.
The times that I have to sit there and sit with myself and my thoughts and try to figure out how to interpret the world differently, not because I think I need to, but that I want to. I know that the way I interpret and see things is not necessarily the best.
It isn’t the best way. It has never been; I ignore it; I simply walked on or ran on to the next thing and pretended that whatever had just happened didn’t bother me. Or that I deserved it if it was a bad thing; if it was a good thing, I didn’t deserve it.
Raising a Victim
My parents raised me to be a victim, and as such, I apologize for everything. Because, as a victim, everything is my fault. The way I am is my fault. My mother once told me there was no way I could blame her for who I was. Because it was all my fault that I was the way I was, angry and rebellious.
Huh, yeah, isn’t that interesting. Of course, so much of those conversations was my mother trying to get me to say that I would never blame her; she was the best mom that a kid could have. And so I said those things, not because I believed them to be true because I knew that there wasn’t anything else that I could say to negate what she believed.
Anything else would have been chalked up to me running my mouth. And you know that I was always so prone to doing that. I wasn’t, but the pressure would build up within myself because I would try so hard to keep it all inside. Blowing up in anger never worked, not for me (except to alleviate the pressure, like the pressure release on a pressure cooker.
I’m Sorry I’m Broken
Like so many things, I am sorry for things that are not my fault. I say that with a truth that practically vibrates within my very soul. I know it, but I will tell you that my brain likes to tell me that isn’t so that I am to blame for all of the things my parents blamed me for growing up but had no control over.
That is how my parents treated me. The unintended consequence of that treatment is that my parents raised a victim. They ended up teaching my brain how to be wired for victimhood. I think that I was as rebellious as I was as a teenager. Outside of the fact that I was angry, I was fighting for my sanity, my non-victim stance.
During the teenage years, the brain goes through the pruning process. The brain identifies what neural networks to keep and which ones become dormant. I think I was fighting to keep my sanity during that pruning period. I wanted to keep that part of me that knew none of what I was being blamed for as the scapegoat is true.
“Pruning during adolescence is highly specific and can be pronounced, resulting in a loss of close to 50% of the synaptic connections in some regions.”1
What is Truth?
None of it was true. I had to say it to myself over and over again. But still, during that pruning phase, I think some of that programming slipped through. Oh, who am I kidding? A LOT of that old programming slipped into the way my brain functions. Now, thirty years later, I am actively trying to change that.
Is my old brain still elastic enough to handle re-programming? I think it is. I don’t think it is ever too late. It might be more challenging as I get older, as the elasticity of our brains has decreased.
There are days that I want to be like, ‘give me a bottle (more like bottles) of wine or a (several) six-packs of beer cause I am so GD tired all of the time. But I can’t, or more accurately, I won’t. Because I no longer want to live that way.
There is No ‘Back’
I can’t go back now that I have gone forward a couple of steps. And that is the key, I think, ahead are the small, simple steps that barely register, so we don’t recognize them for what they are. And because we don’t recognize those small steps, we don’t celebrate them the way we should.
But going backward is a giant leap. It’s a death fall; for every little tiny step forward, it’s a giant leap backward.
I am scared of that kind of fall. So scared that I am leaning forward, like walking into gale-force winds, to ensure that I don’t fall backward. Because if I do, a part of me will die.
- Spear L. P. (2013). Adolescent neurodevelopment. The Journal of adolescent health: official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 52(2 Suppl 2), S7–S13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.05.006