Oh, boy this was a really, really hard one for me. My therapist was concerned with my inability to see that I had value and that the world was better because I was in it. I truly felt like I could die and it would have no effect. I have often felt that I was just taking up space and not really offering any value being here. She had me contact a random selection of my friends and acquaintances, to ask them how they would describe me. I had to just say thank you and could not counter back. Normally I would be self-deprecating to get the focus off me and make me less uncomfortable, which of course makes the other person feel like their opinion doesn’t matter and sad for me. So that sucks. Just say thank you. Oh, god. This was brutal. I asked one friend face to face and that was awkward and cringy. I asked Rob and Molly. I asked a various group of others through Facebook messenger or text. The replies were unbelievably kind and beautiful.
I cried. I read and reread them. I thought of all the ways they were wrong. I cried some more. I thought, “I wish I knew the person they see.” I wish I could see what they see. I realized how years of verbal abuse, throughout my childhood especially, caused me to not know myself and caused me to not be able to see the truth about who I was. I only saw what they told me. They were the voices in my head distorting my reality and so this was a way to get a new message in. This was a way to accept that my abusers didn’t know me at all. That they had their own reasons why they were cruel, but it had very little to actually do with me.
Many of the people I asked had known me for years, had seen me go through life changing events, and had been alongside me in my marriage and raising my daughter. None of my abusers had. Why would I keep their destructive beliefs about me and discount the people who really knew me? Why were their voices so loud? Why did I continue their abuse long after they were gone out of my life? Yet, the people who I love and whose opinions I value and trust I didn’t believe when it came to this part of me. So I accepted their feedback and I worked really hard to hear it. And now I’m kind of a monster. I walk around saying, “I’m a hot bitch!” I don’t need your compliments I know I look good. Etc. My daughter said, “There’s that lack of gray area again.” Sometimes bravery is seeing yourself in a new way.
If you enjoyed this chapter and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page. We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective. Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.
I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.
Podcast: Broken to Brave on Libsyn