All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

Why am I so damned hard on myself?

8 Comments

In response to my Ask me Anything post, Mind of Mine posed this question:

I want to ask this question but I am worried it might offend you. But what the hell, I am going to ask you anyway.

Do you think the reason why you are so damned hard on yourself and haven’t gotten over your issues is because you are worried that they make you the person you are and if you didn’t have them, then what/who are you.

In other words, do you think they define you as a person?

First of all, it takes a lot to offend me and this question doesn’t even come close to nudging my offense-o-meter. It is however a very interesting question that I will answer as best I can.

The simple answer is no. I don’t think my issues define me as a person, nor do I worry about being thrown into an existential crisis if I suddenly stopped being so hard on myself. With or without them I am who I am;  a passionate, creative, strong, beautiful, courageous, compassionate individual who has many wild, varied, kinky and inspiring talents that elevate him into the realm of pure awesomeness :)

However, as one of my favourite movies points out (cue Scottish accent) No, Dr Dempsey. You have to believe it before you can see it,” I’m so hard on myself because although I know who I am, I don’t believe in myself enough to allow this person to shine. All courtesy of the emotional abuse I received five and a half years ago.

Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching”, or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person. It creates scars that may be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones. In fact there is research to this effect. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to the abuser.

Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.

Source: The Mighty Phoenix

By the time I realised what my girlfriend was doing it was too late. I had lost every aspect of my personality, my self-worth, self-concept, self-confidence and self-belief. I had been brainwashed through months of insidious insult, attack, abuse, control, humiliation and manipulation into believing I am the most worthless, useless, repulsive piece of human excrement that has ever existed in the history of human kind. I had been transformed from a man on the cusp of achieving everything he had ever dreamed and worked for into a hollow, empty shell who firmly believed that the world would be a better place if he was dead.

Perhaps f it had only been this abuse the damage would not be so severe, but the addition of the victim blame mentality I received from my friends, all of whom informed me I deserved what my abuser was doing, cemented her words as ‘truth’ rather than the bitter ramblings of a sociopathic narcissist.

Thus, as I had no-one to ameliorate the effects of the abuse, my brain convinced myself that (a) everything that was said was a true and correct description of who I was and (b) I should be punished for whatever it was I had done to ‘deserve’ the abuse in the first place.

Everything I’ve experienced since – the assault and rape (which further eroded my already weakened masculinity), my mental health (which [erroneously] added to the perception I am ‘weak’), the social isolation (which further fuelled my abusers belief that I was unloveable and worthless), my homelessness (which annihilated what little I had left) – has made any attempt to repair the psychological damage caused all but impossible.

Hence the continued belief that I deserve what has happened to me and that I should be punished for past sins; both aspects manifesting in a continuous cycle of self-hate, self-criticism and self-judgement.

I know I’m too hard on myself. Psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, therapists, blog friends, real-life friends, commentators, family and random people on the street have all noticed this over the years and pointed out how I’m actually a decent human being who doesn’t deserve to berate himself on a minute-by-minute basis no matter what it is that he does. But this does nothing to repair the damage the abuse caused.

The old adage sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me is crap!

There is a reason that many psychologists believe emotional abuse to be the most damaging form of abuse. However traumatising physical and sexual abuse is (which I learned the hard way that it is!) at least people see the bruises, believe that it’s happening and take action to help.

Emotional abuse doesn’t leave bruises, it attacks you from the inside until your soul is shattered into a billion tiny pieces that are impossible to put back together without help. Help that rarely comes as people cannot see what is happening until it’s too late.

The reason I am so hard on myself is not because I don’t want to get over my issues or that they define who I am, but because the repair job of slotting those billion tiny pieces together again is a long and grueling process, especially when you’re doing it all by yourself.

I live in hope (and bloody hard work) that one day I will be able to believe what I know is true. That I am a remarkable human being who deserves all the happiness in the world. Whose passion, creativity, strength, beauty, courage and compassion will be seen not only by everyone around me, but also by myself.

8 thoughts on “Why am I so damned hard on myself?

  1. That’s a good question and one that I 100% relate to!

    Like

  2. You have more than adequately answered my question.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Melanie on Emotional Abuse | Read it to absorb my awesomeness

  4. Wow I totally relate to everything you just said! I too am a survivor of emotional abuse and it’s intense stuff! I lost friends over it because they taken the abusers side and looked at me as an emotional needy psycho. That’s what happens to victims, they become emotionally needy – it’s what keeps you in their web. It’s how they power over you.

    These abusers keep entering into my life because I have not learned the lesson yet. Abusers will keep entering into your life too over and over again until you learn the lesson. The lesson is to let go of everything and to rise above it. What we resists persists. The universe brings you what you need most and that is to evolve and become a strong, aware being. The universe is trying to tell you that all you ever need is already inside of you. You don’t need anybody, all you need is yourself and to trust yourself, love yourself and detach from feelings of loneliness and unworthiness. You are just as smart and wonderful as any person out there!

    I had an awakening today and finally I’m able to detach myself from the cycle of abuse and I feel zero hurt over it. Part of the way to let go is through compassion for yourself, feeling your true inner power and loving yourself.

    Time heals open wounds, but leaves a scar. The only way for you to emerge unblemished is by awakening to your higher self – you will feel absolutely zero hurt and can actually feel compassionate for your abuser. Abusers abuse because they are hurt inside. They live each day in anger and resentment. They can not be fought with their own logic (insults, violence), but you must get yourself to that place where you feel no anger towards them, no hurt, no loss and just accept everything. It’s an amazing thing to feel.

    I’m sending my love and best wishes your way. Look to God (your inner awareness) and trust the universe is there to teach. You will NEVER be alone. There are billions of people out there to meet and who will love you – just know they are there, and that will fill you with love.

    You can be hard on yourself all you want, but the true cure for healing is self-compassion and compassion for others in pain.

    You should read my last blog post, it might help. The universe brought me to you!

    Like

  5. Pingback: I know its not easy | My journey of healing from psychological abuse

  6. Pingback: Letting Go | Read it to absorb my awesomeness

  7. Pingback: Letting Go | melanie's blog

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