I’ve worked so hard all my life to overcome the effects of being sexually, physically and emotionally abused. Somehow my ability to work showed me I was stronger than anything anyone could do to me. It proved to me I wasn’t crazy. My parents always told me that I would never amount to anything. I was nothing more than a failure. Working help counter that programming. So those words kept going through my head over and over.
“You will never amount to anything!!” my father shouted. I could hear him as clear as I heard him so many years ago. “You are nothing and always will be nothing!” it went on. Because I lost 3 jobs in 2 years, I believed even more deeply in those words as I was focusing on the loss rather than all the successes.
Tears rolled down my cheeks. I looked in the mirror and the reflection came back to me as an old woman. All my life I had to prove I was okay and now I find I am not. Yes, the ruler I was measuring myself against was all external.
Their words continued. “There is nothing about you anyone can like. You are fat and ugly and cold-hearted.” I sat down on the edge of the toilet sobbing. They were so right.
I reviewed in my head the past few years and found so many things that matched that experience. I was exhausted. Will the voices ever stop?
I pulled myself together and began the 60 minute trip to the doctor. I was embarrassed at having to tell her what happened again. I knew we had to move quickly on some items as the medical insurance would cease at the end of the month. I made a joke about it trying to distance myself from the emotions and the potential pity. I wanted no pity. I really didn’t want to tell her.
The next stop was my daughter’s house and as lightly as I could I broke the news to her. She was not surprised as she sensed it would happen. My 16-year-old grandson took it the hardest. He is so serious. I lightened the mood. He had become a lifeguard. He wanted to know what I would do. So, going to humor I said, “thought maybe I could get hired on as a lifeguard.” Now I am joking but he takes me seriously. I see concern clouding his eyes and I say “I will just get me a bikini and watch all those people swim.” That got him laughing and the doom for him was lifted.
My therapist got me in for an appointment. I was so relieved. Someplace I could just be me. She told me that PTSD from being fired had the same brain chemical action as being in a traumatic accident, rape, etc. She suggested I meditate and just let it be for the moment.
The third person I told that day was a friend. I haven’t heard from her since. I am not sure why that is. I miss her and I am sorry she made the choice. I don’t even understand it. That was just one. I’ve had other friends jump in and offer me financial help and places to live. Truly I was learning the gift of friendship. I was once again in the place of receiving when all my life was spent giving.
I could make no decisions that day. I knew I needed to take time and allow this to sink in. I loved where I was living. It was such a sanctuary for me. I wasn’t ready to let it go. I needed time to get my arms around all of it. Time. It has only been 3 days and it feels as if it has been an eternity.