I am plagued by a continual broken record implanted in my mind and in my heart: I am bad, I am evil, I am undeserving, I am not as good as others, I am not good enough, I am wrong, I don’t deserve to be alive. Messages I received, directly or implicitly, from my mother and father. My father the mouthpiece, my mother his devoted, mostly silent, accomplice. The last message — I don’t deserve to be alive — was the most secret one: coded and layered and whispered among other messages and secrets and lies, in ways I’m still trying to understand.
Confoundingly, I was also told that I was great, I was extremely smart, I was special, I was better than others, I could go places. My father raged at me incessantly. My mother, mostly, pretended that wasn’t important. And so I learned that I wasn’t important. A speck. A very unimportant speck who was also sometimes told she was important and wonderful. A speck who could be stepped on and squashed and no one would notice or care. But still, she was told she was wonderful and great. And so, all was good at home, right?
I don’t know all the reasons my father treated me the way he did, and why my mother let him. And I don’t know for sure that I need to know any of them in order for me to heal, to be whole. But I do believe I was a major trigger for my father. That when he saw me — his first child, a girl, shining and innocent and good, like all children, and with the world at her feet and the potential to do wonders — I believe that when he saw me it triggered his own sense that he was none of those good and pure things, and triggered his sense that he was bad, evil, wrong, undeserving and unworthy of living. I triggered messages he received about himself as a child.
His rage at me wasn’t about me at all. It was about his rage at the fact that he had been abused. It was about him trying to destroy me, my innocence, my goodness so that he didn’t have to be reminded of what had been taken from him as a child.
(If only he could have been helped when he needed it, so very much.)
He simply couldn’t stand for me to be good, to be innocent, to love other people, to be loved by other people, to have desires uniquely my own, to be empowered for my own good, to flourish, to fly.
He was threatened by my goodness and innocence. So he had to steal them from me. He had to destroy my spirit.
It was impossible for me to express myself wholly with any degree of freedom. It wasn’t safe. I learned quickly to be hypervigilant and tragically inhibited and afraid and often terrified.
And I believed the lies in the messages I received from him and my mother, that I was bad. And believing I was bad kept me safe. Believing I was bad kept me small; it kept me where my father wanted me to be. And that kept me from being raged at and destroyed. Believing I was good and pure and free was very, very dangerous.
And so, a crucial task for me now is to know that it is safe for me to believe the truth: I am good, I am pure. (We all are.) And to stand in my goodness, firmly, so that I can act from it fully, wholly and completely. So that I can be me. So that I can be free.
And I’m starting to do that, slowly. It’s starting to happen.