When I look back at everything I have been through, I see how far I have somehow come. I’ve faced terrible things and terrible people and not only have I come through it, but I came through a stronger person, even though sometimes it’s hard to see it, feel it. I look back and can now accept who certain people that used to be in my life have become. There’s nothing I can do to change it and once I accepted that, things became a little easier. Control is a hard thing to let go of, especially for me, but we all can only control so much. Honestly, the only thing we can control in our lives is ourselves – that’s it. The problem is – even that is difficult much of the time.
We can’t control other people’s actions, but we can control our own. But have you ever noticed how hard it is to control our own thoughts and emotions? Building the Wall of China would be easier for me right now than controlling my thoughts and emotions. Here’s the thing, before the family drama and estrangements of the last 6 years, I may have had low self-esteem but I was on my way in life and in my career. I had a large family that I loved; I had a nice marriage and a great high-level job. After – my life fell apart and my emotions, well I don’t even know how to describe what happened to them. It’s like my heart and soul were being squeezed in a vise to the point where life was struggling to just barely hold on. Nothing made sense anymore. I had been torn down to the lowest part of myself.
And so, looking back, I can’t really say that I miss anyone anymore but what I have found is this – I miss me! I miss who I used to be before all the trauma. I used to be fun-loving, fiercely loyal, cared about and loved people intensely, would do almost anything for almost anyone, tried to find the best in people, believed people were generally good, believed in myself career-wise, and I had faith and hope in God. Now – I am guarded, keep people at a distance, believe in the worst in people, question the actions of others, lost my faith, and my career? What career!?! As I moved away and switched jobs, I went for jobs that were beneath me rather than ones that would move me up and forward. My self-esteem and insecurity took such a hit that I can’t even put it into words. I am so afraid anymore, afraid of people’s intentions, afraid to screw up, afraid of confrontation from those in authority, afraid that even though I know I can do it and I can do it well, that I won’t and they will see it and judge me for it.
Another affect – I jump to defensiveness and anger/rage so quickly anymore. If someone disrespects me, lies about me, incorrectly questions me, walks all over me, takes advantage of me, questions my character – the rage I feel inside is intolerable and it does not work well in the workplace. I wish I could control it, learn to react differently – but this is what my family has done to me – they took away the best parts of me and left me with this shell that I do not know or recognize. And that’s that hard part – I don’t recognize myself anymore – I don’t know this woman that has become so suspicious, so skeptical, so terribly insecure and afraid of everything.
It still baffles me that family can turn on each other and do terrible things to each other, especially over such trivial and insignificant things. There are moments when I ask myself, “How did all this happen?” But then I remember – it’s because I wanted what was best for my parents and their health, it’s because I spoke up and stood my ground for the first time in my life – these are the “reasons” my family hurt me to my very core. I guess that’s what it took to change me – to have my own flesh and blood turn on me, turn me away, take away their love and support. If family can do that, who then couldn’t? And I wonder why I can no longer trust anyone or even love?
I miss me. I have remnants of who I used to be, buried deep inside. I just don’t know how to bring them back to the surface. I do know this – I will never be the same and I find that so very sad, that it was taken from me by those I loved, by those who were supposed to love me the most. Family? That word just makes me cringe…