The past few weeks have been really hard for me. I am confronting some difficult things in therapy. It has been overwhelming to say the least. At times, it feels as though it will consume me…eat me alive. Some of what I am dealing with has to do with feeling like I am not allowed to make mistakes. That I should know better. That I am clueless and stupid. These feelings come from long ago…
As a child, I heard “What are you stupid?” from my father often. And if he didn’t say it outright, it was implied when I did something ‘wrong’. Most of the ‘wrong’ things I did were task related. I remember trying to carry too many things upstairs at once and them falling all over the place. This type of thing would warrant a “What are you stupid?” from my Dad. He never seemed to be interested in my thought process (making one trip instead of two seemed pretty smart to me) but focused on how I did it ‘wrong’. Wrong meaning ‘not the way he would do it’. I heard similar things from my Mother as well but in a much different way. Where my Dad was focused on tasks, my Mom was focused on the relational aspects that I screwed up in. For as far back as I can remember, my Mom suffered from depression. Actually, we all suffered from her depression. She could be really moody and I spent a good amount of my childhood walking on egg shells and trying to figure out how to change her bad moods to good ones. I also felt like I had to be a mind reader. I have such strong memories of asking my Mom what was wrong… why was she upset and the response I would get was, “You don’t know? Well, go think about it!” Awesome. Obviously, I didn’t know, that’s why I asked. Unfortunately, my take away was that I was thoughtless and stupid for not knowing what I had done wrong. Consequently, I began to assume that everything MUST be my fault and I would own other people’s emotions and feelings. I thought this was normal and right.
So, here I am. A 42 year old woman, wrestling with some difficult demons. Feeling really fucked up. Being really hard on myself. And I am tired. I am tired of trying to NOT mess up. I am tired of feeling like I have to be perfect. I am tired of hearing “You are so stupid” and “You are so thoughtless” in my head when I feel like I have messed up.
As I mentioned before, facing this part of me, has been overwhelming. Sometimes, I can’t seem to get my barrings and have no idea where to start. Maybe I need to begin by embracing my imperfections. To acknowledge that I am not perfect and NEVER will be. And nor do I have to be. That I am a broken person who is in a process. And sometimes, that process is beautiful and sometimes it is ugly. Maybe I need to keep telling myself that God fully loves and accepts me in this process. That it is okay for me to accept and love myself, imperfections and all.
I don’t know where this road is going to take me but I know that I have to go down it. I have to face these demons, no matter how terrifying they are to me. I have a feeling it is going to lead to some long awaited freedom and to an understanding of God’s love and grace toward me in a way I have yet to know.