I made certain choices to prove to everyone that…what exactly?
That I wasn’t a loser? How is that defined? And what about me made people think that? Because I was poor?
Because I wasn’t present at school because I was too tired after being emotionally and verbally abused at home?
So sure, if your definition of loser includes what I just wrote, I was a loser. So what?
Furthermore, I made it. I survived all of that shit. I wouldn’t categorize myself or anyone I know who has done that as a loser.
I should have been asking myself these questions all along:
– What am I trying to prove?
– To what end? If I prove myself, what does that do for me?
– Who is defining this thing I am trying to prove?
It Was One Person
So, it wasn’t what other people thought of me. It was how one specific person thought of me – my mother. It was her abuse that put my need to prove myself into overdrive.
At first, it was a survival tactic. My mother would fling her abusive rhetoric, and I would counter. I never did that out loud, and certainly never to her, just to myself.
So, if she said I was stupid (which she said a lot), I would tell myself I wasn’t. Then, I would find examples as evidence that what I told myself— like a teacher complimenting my intelligence—was true.
If I didn’t counter what she said, I would have incorporated more of her abuse into myself. And I would not have survived.
As it stands now, I brought in enough of her abuse and hatred for me that I will be in therapy for a long time removing all of that old sludge.
However, my counter-offensives from all those years ago are still working because I still use them when some old programming pops up.
Still A Prisoner
And that is the prison I have myself in all these years. Of course, I can counter the old programming, but I never addressed it. I never looked at it and moved through it.
Instead, I kept throwing the same thing at it, repeatedly thinking one of those times that old programming would never return.
Come to find out, that isn’t how that works at all.
Facts are what works—and looking at who was saying those things and why. “Why?” is an essential question for me to answer.
I know people that don’t need to understand the “why.” I do. I don’t know why it helps me, but it does.
Hurt People Hurt People
I generally disagree with the adage “hurt people hurt people.” But in this case, it is true because that describes my mother perfectly.
And when I look at the “why,” it shows me a very hurt, damaged, and broken person who took out on her children.
Although I took the brunt of the anger and abuse as the scapegoat, that was my job. I was bearing the brunt of her anger and abuse.
She barely had the tools to be a human, let alone the tools to raise children into functioning adults.
I cannot fix or give her the tools to live a happy, functional life.
I can only fix the damage she did to me.