What's hard for me now is to accept the reality of my life in this very moment. I had to watch someone I love turn into someone who chose to hurt me in a very deep way. I had to say goodbye to a lot of beliefs and ideas as to what my life would be like. For me, it honestly feels like a cloth has been lifted and I can see for the first time in a while.
What's even harder, especially for me, is to be able to sift through the waste and find something positive out of a really traumatic situation. The most important part of my process is continuing to build my sense of self. I do this by taking a hard and honest look at the responsibilities I have in the situations I've been dealt. Sometimes, they have been my fault. Others, have not. In most, if not all forms of abusive situations, in all sense of the word NO ONE deserves it. It is hard to retain a strong sense of self when everything around you has crumbled to the ground. What's worse is when someone chooses to blame only you for what has happened.
All these years of my life I have felt so lost in my own reality. People have told me who to be, what I am, who I am, and how I act. I've been called abusive myself, toxic, unhealthy, manipulative, controlling, bitch, asshole, an addict. Each word hits you hard and makes you question what and who you are. The only way I've known how to continue my strong sense of self is by taking accountability for when those words actually mattered. If I was being manipulative, I had to admit it to myself.
It was a lot harder when I was younger and still unaware of what all of my issues were. I would lash out at anyone who told me something negative about myself because I already hated myself too much. I hated who I was going to become and I didn't want to be that person anymore. I was lucky enough that my mother gave me the opportunity to get treatment, and for a year and a half I only focused on how I could not be all those words I hated to hear. They were true, back then. I was unkind, and manipulative, and so out of control that I wanted to control everyone around me because I was stuck somewhere I didn't want to be. And then I met my favorite person in the world: Michelle.
The moment I met Michelle I realized that I couldn't pull any of the techniques that I had used to hurt others to get what I wanted. She was infallible, this concrete block of brutal honesty that saw me for who I could become, and not who I was at that time. She sat with me and told me in all honesty the reality of where I was at. She told me that if I continued on my path that it would end with a lot of issues. I wanted to be better, but she told me it would be hard, and in all honesty I may be working on these issues for the rest of my life.
That's when my real growing started. It was incredibly painful. Sometimes I would have to hold in my anger and it felt like a sneeze almost, so uncomfortable and painful to hold inside. After I started to understand the differences in emotions, I realized that a lot of the times that I was quick to anger were times when I was feeling the most pain inside. When I lashed out at others it was because I felt in a sense that what they were saying was right.
When I got out of my program I actually experienced more growth and change in between 19-22 than I had in the entire time of my childhood. I had to learn to do everything on my own while also trying to maintain and sustain all of the tools and techniques that I was taught. It was hard at first, and I made multiple mistakes along the way. I hurt people unintentionally with my words, and I reacted more strongly to situations that didn't call for it. I had to be patient with myself and realize that I really didn't know what I was doing. And then, I started to listen to my own voice.
After spending years having people tell you who you are and choose to judge you based on assumptions, it gets old. It took me almost until now to realize that. When I chose to believe in myself and that what I'm doing matters, I chose to put myself first and I chose to put women like myself first. I stood up against someone who hurt me a long time ago, and I had the courage to speak my truth to someone who didn't know me and I had to prove why they had hurt me. I embraced the idea that I control my own destiny, that I can get the power that was taken from me simply by being myself and taking a stand. Some people will embrace it. Some people will leave because they can't handle it.
But, you know what? The only person that has lived my life is me. So...moral of the story is: no matter what, do not let anyone tell you something that you're not, but more importantly, listen because there might be value in what they're saying.