“You want to be liked.”
“You are a hugger.”
“You just don’t care.”
“You feel nothing.”
I heard these words often enough to actually believe it, question if it was true and agree that it was my fault when it all went wrong.
It’s 03:50 in the morning, I am lying in the bath as I prepare to get ready for the day ahead. The first thing that comes to my mind is ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’ I am exhausted as I only went to bed at 23:45 the previous evening. I am drained, tired of living in fear, tired of being stressed and anxious, tired of crying myself to sleep at night. I’ve lost weight and not in the healthy sense and my collar bones have never stuck out before the way that they do. Will this person be in a good mood today? Please let them be in a good mood. Why have I allowed them to have so much control over me? Why? Please can the noise stop! Please can the guilt, regret, tears, and pain just stop!
As the day went by, something a friend said to me replayed in my head from a while back. “Get out, before that individual breaks you! Get the hell out!”
Me: No, I can do this! I will prove to that person that I belong, that I can do it, that they are wrong about me!
Later that afternoon I was walking around anxiously and my friends’ words “Get out” was clear in my mind. I looked in the mirror and all I could see in my eyes was pain and sadness. When I smiled, it looked so fake, I simply could not pretend anymore. It was time to stop holding on and walk away.
I wish that I could tell you that this is a scene out of a movie, but this is what was happening in my life over a year ago. I fought, held on and tried to make something work that cost me my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Mentally, if this is what prison is like, then I was in a mental jail. I thought that if I had walked away sooner, that I would lose everything and people would walk away, judge me and want nothing to do with me.
So why did I keep this person in my life and where did it all start to go wrong?
To be honest, despite all the sh*t that I was going through, I still valued this individual and thought it would pass and that it was just a phase or something. It started off with manipulation and guilt, and because I was never a confrontational person, I never put up a fight. I just wanted this person to be proud of me, no matter what it took. I wanted their appreciation and for them to value me and all that I did. It was never enough, and my mistakes were highlighted, used as an example, and repeated often. Soon the promises/threats or facts would arise, and the insults just got worse and more frequent. I got to a point when I would just stare at them while they were saying these things to me, because anything that I said to try and defend myself would seem pointless or would just be thrown back in my face with an example of my mistakes of the past and how they were affecting this person’s image negatively. I felt completely numb during these confrontations from their side (yes, not conversations.) Strange enough, this person was a firm believer in showing kindness to others, I just didn’t know that I was excluded from that fact.
That was one year ago.
Yes, this all happened over one year ago, and it’s taken me 12 months to finally speak out and share just some of the pain that I was going through. However, even though this ended a year ago, my journey to healing only just began. It took me 5 months to grasp “normal life.” I felt like the prison door had finally opened and I walked out, feeling free, but now I had to start over…again. The healing process included dissecting all that went wrong, what was apparently my fault and me wondering if only I did better here and did better there, maybe it would have turned out differently. I still cried for a while, trying to understand and make sense of it all. I had to learn to appreciate myself and life again. I started picking up some weight, going out with friends and opening up to my goals and dreams again. Most importantly in the first 5 months, I learned to forgive that individual without hearing the words…I am sorry, or I apologise. I also learned to forgive myself for all that I blamed myself for and for not listening and walking away sooner.
Where am I now?
Well, I am now an Entrepreneur and Director of my own company Phoenix Media, I am focusing on my self-development, blogging again and just enjoying the journey of discovering what life has to offer. I no longer carry that pain and I carry no resentment or anger towards that person. I am not afraid to ask for help and to make mistakes, as that is the only way to learn and grow in wisdom. I appreciate all the small things even more; calls with friends, chats with mom, walks in the garden and even meeting new people online when networking and chatting to new or potential clients. This whole experience opened my eyes to appreciating my self-worth and setting boundaries. I miss hugs and will be hugging my family, friends and those who support me often when it is safe to do so. No, I don’t want to be liked, but I want to love and be loved by the amazing people who are in my life. I was never alone this whole time as the Lord was always by my side and my faith in him has never been stronger.
Why am I sharing my story?
I am sharing this story with you, because over a year ago, I did not see outside of my circumstances and the situation. If you are going through something similar or worse or know of someone who is, then please know this:
- You are good enough!
- You are stronger than you think!
- You can get out!
- Ask for help! Speak to someone you can trust outside of the situation and get out!
- It is okay to walk away from anything or anyone who hurts you or causes you to doubt yourself!
- Set boundaries.
- There are people who do and will love you for who you are.
- Have faith!
- Trust your gut and the red flags.
Be it a friendship, relationship, business relationship or colleague, no one should make you feel bad about yourself, make you question yourself, hurt and manipulate you or use you for their own gain. You have a right to say no, disagree or walk away from situations that harm you. Let no one discourage you or make you feel less than you are. You deserve better!