I feel so validated by this post by Lesboi. I still have close friends that challenge my belief that there are ways I was abused that can’t ever be reversed at this point. I know they are doing the challenging because they love me and it’s painful for them to believe that I (or anyone really) could be damaged so much as a developing human that it changes my future forever. I firmly believe this. It is reaffirmed almost every day as I try to recover.
I know that trying isn’t the best way to recover; by that I mean: trying and forcing myself through uncomfortable things seems like a valuable skill, but there’s a difference between trying to accept my trauma and trying to not be traumatized. The trying is painful but it’s familiar. I can try stubbornly all day at something that clearly won’t work. But no amount of stubbornness will actually change my feelings about myself. I told my friend today “I’m good at trying. I’m not good at being.”
There’s no magic pill that changes all the deeply ingrained neural pathways and the physical scars. I’m terrible at recovering because of my past. Retaining a feeling of control was paramount. It was the only way I could be blamed for everything (as I often was) AND not die. If things were my fault, then I at least could pretend I was responsible for all the misery inside myself. Some kind of f*cked up nonsense that I still have trouble shaking off. If it was my fault, maybe I could fix it. If it was not my fault, then someone or something other people did was capable of effecting me in drastic and unacceptable ways. This was un-cope-able. I had nowhere to go with that except white hot rage and suicide. Why stay alive if you know your situation will continue adversely effecting you? And no one can help you. And no one believes you. And by the time you get out, your identity will be all mixed in with your abuse and you won’t be a live person, you’ll be mostly dead already, wandering the earth without the capacity to get help and without any concept of autonomy or agency. Who in their right mind would be able to deal with that situation? I still don’t know. I still fear it.
I believe I can recover. I also believe with even more surety that I will need to mourn what was lost. While I’m pissed off about it, I think the rage is getting in the way of accepting that it happened and learning to love myself anyway. I am still entitled to the rage, but I’m beginning to look forward a little bit and seeing a future where I am more recovered than I currently am. That itself is big news. Hope. It found it’s way in here and wants to build a nest. I will let it stay for now.
The thing I want to do right now is find ways to act out my grief and make space for it to show up. I didn’t realize I needed this until now. I also didn’t realize how welcome this realization would feel. It is quite foreign for me to feel any amount of optimism about the path forward. I think I can survive these fledgeling hopes being dashed. That is certainly evidence of progress.