Saturday, February 11, 2006

Damaged Goods

If its hard to believe that some creep forcing himself on me 17 years would still be tearing me up, I can’t believe it myself. Note to self: this is still affecting you. I’ve kept hoping that I would find someone I could learn to trust, and would be patient and stick around long enough that I could get comfortable and open up. The problem is, I choose to be in situations where that’s never going to happen, and when it could have, I still couldn’t let go of my fears. Something inside me is terrified of letting other people know how I feel, and revealing that part of me that is so hurt and damaged.

I hate that part of me. I’ve been trying to suffocate it practically all my life, but it won’t die. I think the books I’ve been reading would say this was my inner child. That scared part of me, the part of me that can’t toughen up, the part of me that is confused and doesn’t know what to do, the part of me that wants to be close to people even though the dominate part of my personally thinks that only leads to emotional entanglement, dependency, and then betrayal, abandonment, and pain.

These same books say that abused children often develop 2 personalities- the one who hurts and the protector, the strong one. When you’re able to identify with the strong personality, that persona insulates you from the pain that the other part of you is bearing. It’s no wonder that the hurt side of me is suicidal, while strong side can’t even understand that feeling. The protector part of me has tried to take over, thinking that other part was weak. That other part of me seems whiny and needy, which is very threatening and discomforting to the rest of me.

I blamed everything that happened on that half of me, and then tried to drive it out of existence because I thought if that part of me were gone then all the pain, depression, rage, and self-destructiveness would go with it. My protective side made the decisions (seemingly), and these decisions were always based on the rules of self-preservation I learned growing up- never trust anyone, never show any weakness (that is, emotions), be decisive, pretend bad things didn’t happen, always put up a front that you’re in control of the situation, and assume everyone is looking for a way to take advantage of you. I’ve shut out the part of me that could have balanced out my tyrannically guarded, overdeveloped defensive side, and I thought I was doing it in my own best interest.

I am at war, and since I’m no longer living with my dad, or visiting my great-uncle, or being ambushed and raped, I’m at war with myself. My strong side wants to destroy my emotional side, and my emotional side threatens to destroy everything. Its no wonder I’ve been afraid to let that side of me out. In its confinement its grown and grown. The more I ignore it, the stronger it gets, and the more it colors everything I do, all my interaction with other people, the decisions I make.

It’s not bad, it’s just the feelings I haven’t been able to face- why did the bad things have to happen, and why did they have to happen to me? What is it about me that invites some people to take things out on me? Is there something wrong with me, am I damaged goods? Is there always going to be something wrong with me, am I a victim? If I acknowledge what happened to me as a child, I have to acknowledge that it is still affecting me, which means I haven’t escaped. I didn’t fight my way out; I didn’t run away- I’m still there emotionally. And what if that mean I’ll always be there?

If I invite that damaged part of me to rejoin the rest, I’m letting the abuse be a part of who I am. I’m admitting to myself, I was victimized, and I was damaged. Other people hurt me, and even though I tried, I wasn’t able to protect myself. No amount of me damaging myself is going to take that feeling of powerlessness away. When I feel powerless, I feel like a child, and when I feel like a child, I feel overwhelmed with fear, loneliness, and betrayal. When I’m the strong one, I’m able to pretend that I’m always in control, that no one has or ever had that kind of power over me.

Of course, if you think you’re always in control, you blame yourself for everything that happens, past present future. I’ve blamed myself for the abuse, for the rape, and for Jeff's suicide. I think I should be able protect myself from anything, and if I don’t, what happens is my fault. It’s just too threatening to my strong persona to let other people be responsible for what they do. If I did that, I would have to accept that bad things don't happen because I failed, they just happen. I can't change what happened, and I can't prevent bad things from happening in the future.

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