Monday, September 22, 2014

Fighting with Guilt

Just as I mentioned yesterday I have been struggling recently. There are many aspects to PTSD and they can effect everyone differently. For me I have fought with insecurity, feeling like I am not good enough. I was made to believe for so long that I needed everyone else's approval in order to be ok that I became afraid to trust myself and my own judgement.

I spent years hearing constantly that I was nothing. I didn't matter unless my boyfriend said I did. That I was lucky he cared about me because no one else ever would. Every decision I ever made was wrong unless I was agreeing with him. I was a model, a high school dance team performer, swimmer and diver and a gymnast but I wasn't good enough, pretty enough. Nothing was ok about me unless he approved.

He cheated on me but would find reasons that it was ok because I wasn't enough to satisfy him. He would flirt in front of me and let me know that if I ever was as beautiful as the other girls then maybe I would get his full attention. At a height of 5'11" I weighed barely 110 pounds but I had to watch what I ate. I had a very high GPA going into high school but I was either a nerd that spent too much time studying and not enough time dedicated to him or I wasn't smart enough.

On a few rare occasions I managed to be a problem solver and fix a concern that no one else had figured out but my reward was a "private conversation" in which I was humiliated into apologizing for showing off and more than once smacked for my efforts. It sounds like torture and it was but the worst part is that after being put through this with growing intensity for two years I accepted the lie that I believed it.

I had fantasies that I would escape and be loved but even in my fantasies it was him that turned over a new leaf and wanted me. I was scared all the time but didn't know why. I never stood up for myself, I couldn't. To this day if I try and defend myself in any situation and it gets confrontational I will back down immediately.

People always tell me I am strong and that I can handle anything but what they don't understand is that the strength they see is simply a front I have developed over years of hiding a terrified fourteen year old inside me. She never got the chance to cry and be heard and her story is the origin of my diagnosis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The one thing I have been able to do is defend someone else. If I see someone being bad mouthed or worse, I witness violence, I can easily and without personal disregard step in and protect them. This ability however led to a dream that I am well aware is symbolic but at the same time broke my heart in its literacy. I defended someone else that I am extremely close to against a tormentor but the antagonist in the dream was a person I love very much and never deserved whether in reality of my subconscious to be seen that way.

I have no problem learning to conquer my fears and defending myself slowly in different ways but I have been plagued with intense guilt at the portrayal of someone so decent and loving in a dark and dangerous light. I am struggling today with how to move forward and forgive myself and ask them to forgive me as well.

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