I used to feel bad all the time. Not in my leg hurts kind of way, but in the way that I was never good enough, smart enough, and always lacking kind of way. I didn’t always feel that way, it changed over time. It happened when I was married to a taker. He would take his anger and put it on me, take his feelings of low self esteem and put them back on me, take his frustration at life and put it back on me. When I was happy, he would take that too. He took my accomplishments and my self worth. The burden that he placed on me almost broke me. But that burden was never mine to carry, and it took a long time for me to realize that.
I went to a therapist, I told him all of the bad things in my life, and I was a bad person, who felt bad all the time. There was something wrong with me. He said, “Why does your husband need you to prop him up?” I sat there for several minutes, then I said, “You don’t understand, I am the problem.” And he looked at me and said again, “Why does your husband need you to prop him up?” And again I sat there. I didn’t understand. I had lost a clear perspective on what was actually happening. It took a long time for that to sink in, but when the blinders came off I could not go back to the way things were with the taker.
All of the taking had left me with some distorted vision like I was wearing another person's glasses. I could see a car, but the edges were fuzzy and the shape was off. I was still thinking that I was bad and if people saw the real me, they would never feel the same way. It felt like going into a perfect house and opening up a closet and all of the mess comes tumbling out. I might have looked together on the outside, but open me up and all of the mess comes out. A mess full of secrets and insecurities that I had to hide.
One day, my best friend walked into the mess, this time an all out battle with the taker, and there was violence. I sat on the edge of my bed and told her about it, the all consuming mess, a mess that was my life. But something amazing happened. She sat there with me, tears running down her face, and she listened without judgement. She didn’t say how could you have let this happen. We went for a walk, and I talked and talked and talked. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to empty out that mess in the closet. I felt relieved, I felt lighter, the best I had felt in a very long, long time. That was a turning point for me, I made a plan, and I kept the plan in my head. I got out.
I have since realized that life can be a bit of a mess. The mess can happen around me from changes in jobs, changes in situations, and changes in relationships. All of these happen around me, but they don’t happen to me. I still have a tendency to hide feelings, back in the old mess, but I am working on that. Don’t be afraid to tackle the mess.