Building Up the Inner Me

Made it through a rough patch here. I want to try and describe some thoughts bumping around my sore brain, but the words are not coming as easily as I’m used to. I also have some Beatles songs stuck in there, which is odd and alarming, because I’m not really a Beatles fan and have not heard these songs recently. Just adds to the mess and distraction that I call my brain.

Anyways, had a wonderful, though difficult, heart-felt talk with Hubby. I shared with him some of my burden. I shared with him some of the many terrible thoughts that I throw at myself on a regular basis. That inner mental tape that refuses to turn off. I am getting better at figuring out which thoughts are rational, but the initial pain and shock at my own personal attack – on myself – sets off a painful cycle. Each time  I must battle the question of my own worth and value on this planet, my own existence. Why must  I go there? What is missing inside of me that I must go so low before coming back up again?

Now, ever since my suicide attempts, about 10 years ago, I have battled this demon inside of me. I have tried every anti-depressant out there, and gone to therapy, tried self-help, meditation, art, exercise, prayer – you name it I have tried it. Some things definitely do help, but nothing has ever removed this feeling in my core that I just don’t matter, and that the world does not need me, and that I would like to stop trying.

I am not currently suicidal, as in I have no plan to hurt to myself, no desire to leave my family. But I do have those thoughts float in. It is my constant battle to kick out those thoughts, and it is exhausting. It seems to come down to the Inner Me, that was hurt, abused, denied, and belittled as a child. Having 2 parents that repeatedly cut me down, always made me work harder for them to show a promised love that never happened. Did this lack of love from those that should have been there unconditionally, leave something missing inside of me?

I recently came across a photo of myself at age 16. My eyes were bright and strong. My smile was real. I still thought my life would be perfect one day, that if I just worked hard enough, all my dreams could come true. I did not fully realize the extent of the trauma of my life. I did not yet realize that others were raised with gentle love, support and guidance. I did not know I needed those things, and would eventually crash and burn by taking it all on my own.

My eyes in the mirror now, are not so bright. There is a sadness there that never goes away. A wisdom even. I know now that working hard can get me to my goals, but that perfection is not possible. And that monsters do exist. And that one day I must send my kids out into this monstrous world. Right now, they are safe under my wing, and don’t even know about sex, let alone rape, incest, porn. They know about death, and somewhat know that sometimes people hurt each other, even kill each other. But it is an innocent knowledge that I know one day must be burst. This makes me sad. I know it is part of growing up, but I fear that I won’t be able to support them as they need me. I’ll still be struggling with my inner demons and may be unable to help them with theirs. Or maybe not. I want to think I can continue on this path of healing and will one day be healed, be whole, but that hole in me seems to prevent that hope from really sticking.

It is confusing and exhausting. On one hand, I am told to embrace every feeling and emotion as a part of me, and let the negativity pass on through and out. On the other hand, I am told to ignore those inner feelings, because they are not real, not rational, and are lying to me. This makes it so I have to examine every feeling before accepting it. I feel like crap – should I? If I am making myself feel like crap from the inside, I need to shush the inner voice. If I feel like crap because someone trampled my feelings, then I need to feel it, accept it, and move through it. If I feel joyous, I have to do the same examination. Is this real? Am I feeling joy because a childhood need has been met, or is this a truly joyous occasion? And then I doubt myself. I didn’t really feel joy at that party, I was just playing a part, and the people didn’t really want me there, they were just being polite and hoping I don’t come next time.

How do I build up the Inner Me to avoid these traps and pitfalls and cycles of doubt, guilt and pain? How do I take pride in my accomplishments, while also allowing for healing, and not damning myself when I do nothing? How do I stop judging myself so harshly? When will I ever be good enough for me – and be able to accept that I am good enough for anyone else?

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15 thoughts on “Building Up the Inner Me

  1. The only answer I’ve found so far is practice, and it’s by no means a perfect answer. As to your children, I think you are already endeavoring to give them the greatest gift: Unconditional love ad parents who genuinely love each other and work hard to overcome the difficulties that come your way. As you learn healthy boundaries, you are teaching them simply because they watch you. No, you can’t protect them, but you’re working to learn how to give them the tools that will help them rebuild when their world falls apart and not lose themselves.

  2. I can hear some of the same thoughts and words in your writing that I’ve said to myself. My brain operates several times a week like your description in the first paragraph. Like Judy says it takes practice!! My therapist does EMDR and that was a very helpful therapy for me. It was more effective than CBT although CBT was a great precursor. I practice mindfulness and other self-compassion type things. I found a site, http://www.self-compassion.org, that has been helpful. You are a tremendous wife & mama…believe that!! You have done so much work these past months. Look back and give yourself LOTS of praise and pats on the back.

    It continues to take lots of discipline for me to have a stable, more healthy mind and mood. I’m much more forgiving and accepting of how I am. I have those times as you did recently where life is in the crapper but I know that it’ll be short lived. That is what therapy and practice have taught me.

    • Thanks for the info on EMDR, I may mention that to my therapist next time, and for the link, will def check it out. Sorry you have similar troubles, but so happy to share tools and help each other. I do recognize the progress I have made. I’m trying to accept myself. I’m trying to learn more.

    • Daylily, thank you! Some days in this journey are so much harder than others. Not sure it will ever make sense, but I will keep looking for answers and be happy if I get even a bit closer to them. xoxo back to you

  3. I agree with Judy…practice. The one thing that I learned from my counselor is I set what is good enough. If I am not good enough by my standard then I can control doing something differently. I was raised with adult standards for a child. I could never make it. Now I am learning if I can’t meet some standard I decide if it is my standard or someone else telling me what I should do. I am tough on myself. He also taught me to fire the mean boss, the one that expected me to be 15 minutes early to work and stay 15 minutes late, do twice as much as everyone else, work harder…..that mean boss was me. I didn’t thrive under mean bosses, I don’t thrive when I am mean to myself. I needed outside information from my counselor to teach me more reasonable standards. I now schedule time for play, time for doing ‘nothing’, time for a break, time for sitting to watch the sunset, reteaching is a slow process but I think it has a lot of benefits for just not me but my family too. Recognizing that there is a problem is 70% of the solution. You are more than half way to finding answers that work for you. You already tested some things that don’t work. I learned that this is the kind of questions teenagers answer. You are blossoming in your own definition of you are enough.

    • So much is true in here. You seem to actually know me, lol. I don’t understand the concept of good enough for myself. The need to be perfect is just so strong. I even have trouble accepting good enough in others – I irrationally expect perfection everywhere and don’t understand why others don’t. Getting better at this, but still a long long way to go. I was also raised with adult standards and I guess that makes sense why I continue to overachieve. I have no idea how to reset my own standards. And yes, I’m a terrible mean, demanding boss, so I guess it makes perfect sense that I feel like quitting occasionally. Hmm, good stuff to think about. I never feel like enough, and certainly never good enough.

  4. Good enough…that was a tough one for me to come to grips with. It’s taken many years of affirmations to deal with that lie. Now when I am aware of those thoughts, I immediately tell that inner critic to shut up because it’s not true. My therapist reminded me that always and never are two words to stay away from as well. I am good enough, I don’t need to be perfect. I love reading everyone’s responses.

  5. Pingback: Loving someone who was abused as a child must be so hard | Roots to Blossom

  6. One of the hardest things I’m trying to do right now is learn to love myself. I’m finally after a year of therapy beginning to let him (therapist) into my most private thoughts. I’m finally beginning to “feel” in front of someone. Its always been kept internal…eating away at me…making me miserable inside. I know I have to learn to forgive myself in order to love myself. I’m working on it.

    • Forgiving me for not granting permission for my other blog. I am learning how to use WP and have several blogs but keep them seperate. I “think” I’ve finally figured out how to change my settings when I respond on a post. You should be able to see the blog attached to this post, if I did it right. Thanks for patience.

    • I relate to every word of this. My real life has been internal for so long, it is so hard to let anyone see that. I’m working on loving myself, and forgiving myself, and just plain accepting myself. I want to be better. Always have a strong need to be better, never just content.

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