I’d say a very large portion, if not the most damaging, part of my abusive and torture filled childhood was the psychological abuse brought about by the way words were used, how I was spoken to. I am sure many people can relate to how important words are and how they are used can change your perception of yourself when you are only young and just getting that grip on who you are. I’d like to share it.
TRIGGER WARNING!!! Childhood sexual abuse, rape, torture
My past and what I have been through, I agree, is horrible. I would never wish what I went through on anyone, even on the man who did it to me. But it always fascinates me when I see a new therapist and they ask me to “Tell me about you.” I dread that because I have made many therapists cry and while I appreciate the empathy it kind of makes me feel horrible because to me, there is always someone who has had it worse than me. Therapists ask me things like, “How are you still alive?” And I get that, I understand but I can’t answer it. How many times have I tried to kill myself, how many times have I thought about killing myself, how many times have I felt so numb I had no idea what was happening around me? A lot.
When you are 10 years old and a man, an adult who is supposed to protect you, tells you, repeatedly, “Your father left because you are so fucking ugly.” and “If I knocked your teeth down your throat then slit it and left you lying on the side of the road, no one would miss you. No one would give a fuck if I killed you.” I don’t know how I’m alive either. Because those words are forever in my head. The sexual part of my abuse is easy to deal with. For me, I know it is different for others, but for me, it is so much easier to deal with being raped than having a man tell me as a little girl…these types of things.
I don’t struggle really with the rape, the sexual abuse. I’m not really afraid of sex or ever have been and I never acted out sexually either…I was fine. But those words. Every time I upset someone or know I hurt someone, I hear those words over and over and over again. I’m ugly, no one would care if I was dead, how much everyone hates me, etc. Those words are on a loop in my head. And I worry a lot about being abandoned, a lot. Being alone sometimes sends me on a spiral into thinking everyone has abandoned me. I always…always…think I’m ugly. Everyday I am ugly. I am fat. I am worthless and no one is going to ever want to be near me. It doesn’t matter how much people tell me they love me, they think I’m beautiful, they don’t hate me and they would miss me, I struggle to hear them. I spiral out of control a lot because of this. I sap energy from people when this happens and I can see it in their eyes and in the way they don’t know what to say. Of course that makes me feel worse again. And you see how selfish this becomes? I am draining their energy because I am thinking about me. No good can come out of this pattern. None. If some of them don’t hate me already, acting like this will make them leave.
The words. God, the words have scarred me so much. One time he told me I looked like a linebacker in one of my tshirts. He said I looked so fat and should be ashamed for anyone to see me like that. These words. Never leave. And every day when I am reminded of this I wish (and this is not to say that I think anyone should be hit) he had been physically abusive to me because I could watch the bruises fade away but those words never go away and the only thing that I start to see fade away is myself. Everything that I could be, could’ve been; all of the friends I have chased away after sucking the life out of them…that is me fading away. And life goes on, you know? I keep fading. Soon there will be nothing left.
Yet whenever suicidal thoughts enter my mind or have, there has always been, for some unknown reason, this teeny, tiny, inkling of hope. A granular sparkle that made me think there was something more and that he can’t win. No, he can’t win ,but in a way, he has because I struggle every day and does he? No.
“You too stupid to go to college.”
When I expressed an interest in becoming an actress: “They don’t hire fat, ugly actresses in Hollywood.”
I wanted to be in a band: “You’ll stand up there and they’ll throw things at you, no one wants to hear your voice.”
This statement has helped me and hurt me. As I got older I was loud. I had opinions and I made sure they were heard. I was sure I would never be ignored. One of my favourie things to say (even now) to any man who hushes me, or ignores what I am saying is “I Will Not Be Ignored” And that has empowered me in a way because it only made me more of an anarchist than I think I was already destined to become. But then sometimes that statement won’t let me speak. I freeze. Words get stuck in my throat. I can’t express myself. I’m terrified. This especially happens in professional or near people I want to impress. I hear it, “No one wants to hear your voice.” I have no opinion. What I say doesn’t matter. They don’t want to hear me. They don’t care what I have to say.
If I could get over the fear of abandonment and this one here, the no voice thing? I’d be dangerous. No shit. I could conquer the world. But I won’t be doing that anytime soon. He loved to call me “mediocre” and it’s funny, in the film Mad Max the evil guy called Immortan Joe refers to a character as “mediocre” and I laughed because no only did he call him “mediocre” but his name is Joe! (That is the name of my rapist, molester, abuser, pick whatever word makes you comfortable) Mediocre.
Guess what? I think I’m pretty mediocre. Every job I have, every time I try to help someone or create something….it turns out mediocre. I’m mediocre.
Watch how you speak to your children. And remember when someone is upset or seems to be pretty down on themselves and it’s annoying you because you’d rather be doing something else, it probably isn’t their fault. A little compassion goes a long, long way.