About a week ago I wrote about that engulfing sense of feeling unlovable. There is a real desperation in that feeling, and we will do almost anything to make it stop. There are other feelings and sensations that illustrate the toxicity of an emotionally abusive relationship. Here are some that I experienced.
I used to always feel alone. No matter how many people I gathered around me, I felt lonely. I did not really feel connected to people. This feeling made me cling to anyone that would even show me the smallest of kindnesses. That, of course, would be the very thing that would push people away, and that confirmed it: I was really alone.
I never felt good enough. These are actual words I used when I spoke to my parents about our troubled relationship. I looked at my mother when I said: “I just feel that being myself, is just not good enough for you guys. I don’t feel that you like me, let alone love me” She did not look back. She did not even respond, not then or since. I felt that all my life.
I felt no sense of self. Within my family, there is no room for individuals (other than my mother). Everything and everyone is always positioned to facilitate whatever my mother needs/wants/thinks. Dealing with my family is about figuring out how to maneuver, it is about strategies.
I acted in ways that I was not happy with. In other to negate some of these horrible dark feelings I made some bad choices in my life. Or at the very least I made choices that I would not have made without the constant stress I was under. Making up excuses was common practice, usually because simply saying no was not an option. Manipulations became a tool of protection, a way to deflect the toxicity.
I was exhausted. My whole life was a battle. Against myself, my family, the lies, the pain. I was in a constant state of survival. I was fearful, angry, heartbroken, insecure, stressed, always on full alert… I was exhausted!