I’ve finally had my light bulb moment as to why these old memories have been popping back up with a vengeance recently. It’s not exactly what I expected… Well really it’s not at all what I expected. It’s good, it’s healthy, but most definitely not what I expected.
First, a little back story, it’s so secret that I’m a survivor of various forms of abuse and trauma of one form or another. Most of these events happened at the hands of a few people very close to me at different stages of my life, one being a parent, two non parental authority figures, and a lover or two before I finally broke out of my unhealthy patterns and started the forever long and bumpy road to recovery. Each individual had their own specific impact on my life, some more than others, yet one stands figurative miles above the others. Not because the abuse I endured was so much more horrific from this individual as it was from the others, quite on the contrary in fact.
This individual was my Toxic Avenger, the poison of abuse, codependency, and abandonment gave me the strength I needed to overcome each of those obstacles. And you know looking back at it so many years later I don’t think they actually had anything to do with it. We just ran into each other at an extremely pivotal point in my life, when I was breaking out of the mental shackles I had been kept in since birth. Physically I was an adult, but mentally and emotionally I was a child. Experiencing things for the very first time. The highs were REALLY high, and the lows were REALLY low which set me up for failure down the road. Abandoning one unhealthy pattern of abuse inflicted upon me for my own pattern of self inflicted abuse would only get me so far, but I had to learn that and often much like my Little a toddler I had to learn the hard way.
Each time my Toxic Avenger would try to belittle me, abuse me or humiliate me to tear me down and make me weak, they inadvertently made me stronger through experience. I’ve given up the unhealthy wondering why this individual did what they did which did bother me for quite a few years after the fact, but now that I’ve laid that to rest I’m hit smack upside the face with the WHAT of everything that actually happened. I was so consumed with the why things happened, I had completely neglected to address the heart of the issues themselves. I’d just sort of become comfortable in my holding pattern, only half moving on. Not allowing it complete control over my life, but not allowing any room for any further personal growth either.
Until, once again fate so eloquently threw my Avenger back into my path trying desperately to tear me down and inadvertently propelling me forward to this point in my healing journey. I understand how to use my detachment and healthy coping mechanisms to remove myself from the past, and keep it in prospective. What I don’t know how to do at this point is how to separate the toxic things forever leaching from the same person who pulled me kicking and screaming into recovery in the first place.
It would be easy to write them off as cruel, heartless, and inherently bad IF the only impact they had on my life was negative. “Oh they’re just a bad person who took advantage of me, but I’m stronger now I won’t allow that to happen again, toss it out to sea good bye finished.” That? That I can do with ease now that I’ve built up my confidence and switched my mode of thinking from victim to survivor. Where it gets tricky? When my borderline plays in. I can’t completely remove the positive influence from my Avenger because it is so closely related to my identity and anything even remotely challenging identity in Borderline Land is a big no-no. At least not if you want to maintain any sort of stability.
So I’m stuck, trying to find the healthy balance between love and hate. Which is really what the core of my recovery has been, and the goal of anyone struggling with identity issues related to abusive childhood and trauma. It’s just infinitely more complicated since both poles came from the same person. It can’t be all or nothing, it falls so delicately into the grey area that myself as a borderline personality type is just starting to get acquainted with.
Eventually I will find a place for my Toxic Avenger on a shelf tucked away with the rest of my past, but right now they are still in a category all their own. They say awareness is the first step to recovery, but if being aware of an anomaly in the regular systematic process holds you back where do you go from there? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Education is a gift, but intelligence is a curse.