I want to shout, no I want to scream. I want to stamp my feet, throw a tantrum and sob uncontrollably until everything is ok. But it isn’t going to be ok. I’m worried I am never going to be ok again.
Last night I had yet another incident with a close family member. Throughout the years this person has felt it was their duty to correct me, challenge me and if I’m honest generally screw me up all under the pretence of ‘it’s only because I love you!’ and ‘I only say something because I care.’
Every time this has happened in the past I have beaten myself up. Judged myself, and found that the fault was mine.
I don’t like to point the finger, but with the help of a couple of counsellors, I can track back some of the problems I am having at the moment to conversations I had with this person when I was a child. “Remember the time you were joking with your parents, and everyone was laughing. Well inside they were crying because you’ve really hurt them.”
Tell that to a young child and watch her grow up fearing that she has misunderstood every situation she is put into from that moment onwards. Want to know where the bully found the hook for his mind games?
But it’s ok, because it is done out of love. Clearly I misunderstand their intentions, what they said, how it was meant. Other family members tell me this when I voice how I feel. Well that ‘misunderstanding’ has affected me deeply and currently sees me paying out more than I can afford to a counsellor to try and work through my issues.
It is not all their fault. I know that. But despite trying not to for a number of years, I have to admit they are involved in it somewhere.
I try to nurture everyone. What was said was said out of love and so I will forgive and just bury deep inside the hurt, pain, anguish it caused me. I go to them, reach out to them to make sure they are ok, that they are not upset. Forget my own feelings, I’m strong (despite what they think) so I bury it and more on.
I’m ok. It’s fine.
Only you don’t move on. It sits somewhere in your subconscious and slowly burrows its way in; waiting to spring back to life one day with the help of a bully or two.
The bully wrecks your life. You are put through hell and then some, but you don’t tell anyone. Not the full details. They see your red eyes, they know you have been crying but you don’t want to upset your nearest and dearest so you bury it.
He keeps it up, and slowly you start to crack.
You wonder ‘why you’, you start to believe that if you were a better person, a stronger person you would have been able to deal with this. You beat yourself up. Finally it becomes too much and you have a break down.
You take it to a tribunal, and they officially record a verdict of ‘not guilty’. Despite admitting various faults, changing everything within the day to day running of the office and suggesting this ‘manager’ needs further training they say ‘you are wrong, you misunderstood, you made it up!’
The people who witness it, who fought your corner, his latest victim all tell you that you were bullied, but that’s not enough. The people who matter think you lied. You start to believe that you were wrong. You start to feel guilty that your stupid misunderstanding has put a guy through the hell of a tribunal for the last few months. You feel guilty. You feel you misunderstood. Internally you continue to go through hell.
Outwardly you worry if you admit it still affects you, he wins. So you bury it.
I’m fine. It’s ok.
Only it doesn’t stay buried, not fully.
It slowly affects your daily life. In your new role you assess every situation, wondering what the meaning was behind the interaction. You wonder when it will start again. You hold your breath with every error found, assuming once again you will be blamed regardless of fault. You daren’t stand up for yourself, you don’t question anything. Keep your head down, try to be invisible.
But when asked how work is or how you are
I’m fine. It’s ok.
This analysis doesn’t stay confined to your work life either. Suddenly you worry about your friends, family – I know what they are saying to my face but what do they really mean? Any situation is analysed to death…. and then analysed some more.
It seeps into your relationship. You don’t believe him when he says forever. You doubt him when he tells you he is over his ex. You share every minute detail with anyone you meet; hoping one of them will tell you how to understand the situation. You spend your waking (and sleeping hours) analysing what he really means verses what he says.
Then he leaves. You feel slightly vindicated – you didn’t believe him when he said forever anyway. But you also panic. You thought he was the one. You would have married him had only he asked. You did mean forever. Did you drive him away? Was it all your fault?
Only worse than that it is another situation where your feelings were wrong. Your gut said, and continues to say ‘he’s the one’. But what do you know? You’ve been wrong before.
And your gut is still telling you to hang on. Despite everything your head is telling you your heart just won’t let go. You try. You tell yourself he isn’t worth it. Tell yourself you deserve better. You know coming back would never work. Yet he still feels like a part of you. You still miss him and wait each evening for him to walk back through the door despite knowing he never will.
You start to pick apart the relationship. What was said, what was meant. What you did wrong.
People start to assume you should be over it, and you feel weak if you admit that you’re still not. So you bury it.
I’m ok. It’s fine!
You’re scared. Terrified that next time you will get it wrong again.
You don’t know if it was love or not but either way that doesn’t matter it still screws you up. If it was love, well he walked away the next one could just as easily. If it wasn’t love then you really can’t read situations so how will you know if you are right next time?
You don’t know how to move forward. You don’t even know in which direction forward is.
Every night you go to sleep and pray that it will get better. Pray that tomorrow will be the day you are free of your demons.
Those voices keep on at you.
Not smart enough
Not popular enough
Not pretty enough
Not worth fighting for
You know everyone else is fighting their own demons, yet you feel they are managing them better than you. And those who aren’t well you just assume that they have it much worse. You assume everyone else is strong and you are weak. You feel their situations are worse after all it was only a broken heat, only bullying, only a misunderstanding…
And then a great man dies.
Takes his life as a result of his demons and the whole world gasps. He seemed to have it all. He seemed so together.
I can remember once thinking how selfish suicide is.
Now I realise how desperate a person must be to see that as the only way out.
Why do we (and I’m assuming it’s not just me) struggle to reach out and say “I’m not ok……actually it isn’t fine”? And why when those people do reach out do they so often get knocked back?
True story: I reached out to my minister. Told him I had hit rock bottom and didn’t know what to do with my life and where I was going to go. His response “what do you want me to do about it?”
If someone asks you if you are ok, are you brave enough to admit that you are not? And if you ask the question for the love of God care enough to listen to the answer.
So, how am I?
At the moment I’m not ok. I’m fighting and I’m trying but generally I’m a mess and don’t know what to do. I am considering new careers, empowering myself with my house, and just battling through each day at a time. I miss him. I hate him and I love him. I am worried about my mum who has been very ill and although not every day is shit I do have times when I am so far from ok I could just walk away from everything and keep walking. Not all days are bad. I haven’t moments of happiness and I do laugh. My dogs bring me so much joy – although I am terrified of the day I will loose them both. I continue to fight. I continue to try and overcome my demons I will not let them win. I will survive this.
How are you? ……And I genuinely mean that!