Self abuse

My mother raised me to feel like I’m not good enough.  Ever.  No matter how hard I try I was never good enough. If I could just behave better they wouldn’t have to hit me and punish me. 
Now I have taken this role over myself since my mother isn’t in my life.  That dialogue continually runs in the back of my mind and everything I think is governed by the word “should”. 
I should be better,  faster,  smarter,  prettier,  etc etc.  All day,  every day.  I shouldn’t do that,  I should do this.  If I really take the time to think about it,  it is nauseating. 
I suppose it is not my mother’s fault for teaching me this.  It’s highly likely that she has this same dialogue going on in her head too.  I know she is bipolar,  and while I don’t personally know what that feels like,  I can imagine it’s difficult.  I try to think that she was doing the best she could with what she was capable of at the time.  I try to think that I’m doing my best when these “should”  statements come up. 
In reality I have taken over the role of my abuser and now abuse myself.  I have a history of self harm like cutting.  I run this inner mom dialogue and cling to it like it’s my last hope because it’s all I know.  There’s an odd comfort in continuing the abuse.  I don’t have anyone in my life that abuses me,  so I comfort myself by abusing myself.
While I haven’t cut in a long time,  I still verbally and emotionally abuse myself on a daily basis.  The “shoulds”  and impossibly high level that I compare myself to cause me pain and suffering.  I never feel good enough.  Even when I tell myself that I’m doing the best I can,  there’s a tiny voice in my head that’s chanting,  “no you’re not,  you should do better”. 
I think the worst part is I most often don’t even realize that I do it.  It is a running dialogue in my subconscious that never shuts up. 
Often the actions of others exacerbate these voices that tell me I’m not good enough.  Even the slightest perceived rejection by another person is enough to spiral me into a whirlwind of self hate and self abuse. 
Recently I had surgery and was on medical leave from work for 13 weeks.  When I came back some of my coworkers aren’t speaking to me and acting weird.  I assume they are angry because I was out for so long.  Logically I realize that this problem lies with them,  that they are miserable people.  I wouldn’t say having that knowledge helps much,  but I keep trucking and telling myself it’s their problem and I didn’t do anything wrong.  But secretly,  deep down I feel like I should have come back to work sooner,  I could have recovered from surgery faster and better.  I should have pushed myself harder. 
It is so difficult to take these internal thoughts and eradicate them.  No matter how loudly I shout at them they are still there.  My therapist says it will just take time and practice and keep at it.  So I suppose I have nothing else to do but keep being aware of my abusive thoughts and telling them they’re wrong.  The more aware I am of my self abuse,  the more I can correct it until it goes away.  Right? 
I’m not feeling hopeful that something so deeply set inside of me could be corrected.  But I have no choice but to try,  because I’m a survivor after all and this is what I do.  Like the Phoenix, every time I burn down to ashes,  I find the inner strength to rise up and try again.  I’ve come this far,  I can’t quit now. 


9 thoughts on “Self abuse

  1. Damn (pardon me) we seem to have a lot in common. “In reality I have taken over the role of my abuser and now abuse myself.” – Isn’t that the truth? I have done that my whole life. I am trying to control it now and change the way I think, but it takes hard work to change a life pattern of thinking. I am with you all the way my dear! May we both be able to break free from these particular chains. HUGS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. QPDoll

    Those “should” thoughts are a mofo. I’ve been working on those for over a year now and they still creep in, although much less than before.

    There is no should. Should is a fantasy. There is only what is.

    I think it’s very astute of you to see that you are hurting yourself and furthering the role that she used to play in your life. Eradicating that is hard, and often feels like you’re getting nowhere, but have faith in yourself. You are strong, smart, and more dedicated to hard work than most people I know.

    You got this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Evils of “Should” | rise of the phoenix

  4. pixietrumps

    Have you tried finding the healer in you? Introspecting, allowing expression of deep, trapped emotions .. Going beyond just telling the bad thoughts to go away… instead accepting and transforming them.

    Someone had made an analogy of a child. When a child is hurting at some level, he brings out expression in doing things fundamentally wrong. As a parent, you could punish him, tell him what he’s doing is wrong, stop… however, a far more effective way would be to reach out to where it’s hurting and heal it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My therapist has talked to me about that before… Talking to my inner child. We’re also working on how to be compassionate to myself. It’s tough, so many years of being told you’re bad or evil at a young age. It’s difficult to get those words out of my head, but I’m trying!


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