Over the last few weeks I have come to realise one impact of my childhood and the abuse I endured which I had not realised before, that is my lack of self worth. Since I re-started my therapy it has become something I can no longer ignore, quite simply my therapist is not going to let me, every time that I make some negative comment about myself it is pointed out to me and then challenged.
I have become accustomed to saying negative things about myself , putting myself down and all the while it all felt normal to me, its only in recent days that I realise I am actually not alone in doing this. The impact of my past still lingers long and I am now actually doing the work of my past abusers….who would regularly use negativity and the blame game to put me down, silence me and make me bear the guilt of what they did to me.
While I know in reality the things that happened to me as a child were not my fault and that I am a good person, it seems hard for me to accept that deep within. I am I guess trying to break the habit of a lifetime so this past week I have paid even more attention to the number of times I say something that belittles me, puts me down or blames me. I so want to try and reinforce a new approach to how I view myself, for I know it is something I and only I can change.
I know that I am not alone and many who have been abused be they adult or child will also have had their self worth depleted by their abusers, in my case it was a constant stream of negativity from a very young age. Psychological trauma is extremely damaging and it leaves a legacy that can last a lifetime and I know its certainly not going to be easy to change that habit, to improve my self worth and to stop blaming myself .
Blaming myself for every minor thing that goes wrong, for the past, for not being good enough to be a ‘normal’ non-abused child and for the chaos that is my life today, a life with dissociative identity disorder. Its not easy to accept I have lost time yet again or more frustratingly misplaced something, or have said or done something that is more suited to a child and not an adult.
The truth of all of this is I will have dissociated, or switched alter and perhaps rearranged things so nothing is now in the right place anymore, or perhaps a younger alter has been out playing or watching cartoons. Because I lack co-consciousness I don’t realise we do these things, the realisation only comes when I become aware that time has moved on, or I have lost something or am told by those who love me what I have being doing.
I have a plethora of things I can put myself down for, and sadly I do; well at the moment anyway, yet I know with time we can slowly try and retrain our thinking to no longer be so hard on myself. For I am currently self inflicting the words that would echo throughout my childhood and into my adulthood spoken over me by my abusers. I need to stop this habit and change my thinking!
For anyone who has tried to give up something that is a habit, you will understand this is no easy feat and I am going to have to break this task down into small achievable steps. I need to listen to myself and challenge my words when they are attacking, or negative or just clearly illogical – I need to alter my core belief about myself.
As a child everything was my fault, I was bad, I was the reason I was hurt it was my fault, always my fault. At school I would be ridiculed by others because I was different and I missed out on a lot of education so I was often pulled up by teachers for not paying attention, when in reality I didn’t understand the lesson. If I failed to get top marks that was a failure, 9/10 in a test wasn’t good enough and anything less than an A+ was a fail in my Mothers eyes. All this negativity, blame and ridicule just kept heaping one on top of the other and that made me feel absolutely worthless.
As an adult I continued to perpetuate this if one of the children was ill, my first reaction would be ‘what have I done wrong, this is my fault,’ when I ended up in hospital I felt a failure too, here I was a mum and wife and I couldn’t cope so I heaped more blame on myself. In hospital every time I self-harmed I was judged and that made me feel even worse, and when I was suicidal I lost count of the lectures from staff telling me how inconsiderate I was. This just added more fuel to an all ready raging fire of negativity and low self worth.
This last week as I answered my Therapists questions I realised just how much I am continuing to bind the chains of my invalidating childhood, how much the system as at times hindered any progress by reinforcing those chains and my skewed view of my self worth.
Now for the first time in my life I want to change this, I want to rise above the past and I want to alter the thinking patterns that have lasted for decades, I need to break free of the chains of low self worth, of negativity. I know this journey isn’t going to be easy and I know I will make mistakes but I am focused, eager to change and supported. Its surreal to think that for years I did this and yet never realised, but now I do I know I have to try and change I owe that to myself and to all the alters, all the different parts of me.
I know I am fortunate, as a christian I know I am valued, loved and accepted and today I have a family who love me and care for me and friends who support me, this is a vast change from the past of my childhood when all this negativity began to form… maybe just maybe this is my time, to value myself and to challenge and change the habit of a lifetime.
Copyright: DID Dispatches 2014