“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates.” ~Maya Angelo
I was born into it…a family with parents who were sick. Very sick. Parents who were weak. No, they were more than weak. Parents who were the worst thing that could have happened to me. Parents who didn’t know how to love.
They said they loved me. But they lied. They hit me. They belittled me. They discounted me. Told me I was nothing in a million different ways. They didn’t take care of me. Didn’t give me medical or dental care. Didn’t protect me. Didn’t love me. It was just words. Just words. They didn’t love me much, if at all.
There was telling evidence.
My father sexually abused me. I was only 4 or 5 when he started. I was 14 when he stopped. And he only stopped because he got scared. Because I was having debilitating stomach issues related to the stress and abuse and, as a result, a doctor was close to figuring it out.
It destroyed me. It did. Even though I tried to be strong and do what everyone told me to do…to put it behind me.
I tried to “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” but it didn’t work.
I never stood a chance. Never. Stood. A chance.
Believe me, I tried. I tried everything I could think of to get past it. I ignored it. Prayed about it. Denied it. Played it down (after all, it didn’t kill me and it could have been worse). I pretended it never happened, but I wasn’t that good of a liar. I knew better.
Eventually, I got a counselor, tried all the anti-depression medication the psychiatrist could think of in ridiculous doses and crazy combinations, attended groups and workshops, read the books, did the workbooks; you know the drill. But here I am. Old. Suddenly really old. Amazingly old. And still broken. I didn’t get past it.
I got torpedoed.
I couldn’t run fast enough. I couldn’t leave myself behind, no matter how hard I tired.
I shut big pieces of myself away in dark windowless, door-less rooms deep down in the dungeon of my soul. That didn’t work either.
I smiled on the outside. Numbed everything on the inside. Tried to keep walking. Died emotionally.
This is what happens when you have to hide your true self and pretend to be a different person entirely. When you have to pretend to be normal. When you have to be someone you aren’t. Because who you are is not acceptable.
This is what happens when everyone you encounter in your life finds you to be unlovable.
What I have noticed is this: people who have a bad beginning are often able to overcome their ugly past when, after they escape their abusive home, they find people who love them and care about them deeply.
People who have a bad beginning are not usually able to overcome when they continue to find rejection and are unwanted and unloved.
“I know for sure that loves saves me and that it is here to save us all.” ~Maya Angelo
Being loved, accepted, wanted and valued makes all the difference in the outcome. Love changes everything.
Love. Changes. Everything.
The love factor. It heals. It liberates. It makes all the difference.
All the difference in the world.
If you have it, you thrive.
If you don’t, at best, you survive.
I have, at best, survived.
I didn’t have it.
Probably never will.
The love factor. It matters. Changes. Everything.
But I’ve never been loved. So nothing…nothing…nothing has changed.