Something else happened while I was going through my archives trying to figure out my April trigger. That moment when you see that before you went into recovery/therapy you were a horrible human being. Which I’ve realized a long time ago, hence my desire to get help, recovery and therapy. It just hit me again after reading through a few posts. It’s hit me a lot this year for some reason and I’m not entirely sure why. I guess it’s just part of the healing process and where I’m at. It still stings. Every single time I see those bitter, spitting, hateful words.
I’m not going to make excuses, or try to shirk my responsibility in the matter by blaming my illness. It is what it is. They were awful, which makes my crusade against abuse seem hypocritical in comparison. On the one hand anyway. On the other, it provides a perfect example why bringing awareness to emotional abuse is so important. I never truly displayed any of the classic signs of growing up in an abusive home. I didn’t realize I had until I moved out and got away from it. The same way I didn’t realize I had 18 years of inappropriate learned behaviors to undo until taking myself to therapy.
It’s not an excuse for my poor past behavior, but it is a reason. It’s what drives me to stick to my guns no matter how easy it would be to slide back into my old ways. Even so, there are occasions when I do backslide and the monster I work so very hard to tame slips out. Usually at the very worst times, when the stakes are high and I have everything to lose. In my very weakest and worst moments it’s always those closest to me that bear the brunt of it too. Which makes it that much more difficult. Knowing that I’m the cause of these painful moments no matter how fleeting for the very same people I cherish with my whole heart. Most of the people I end up hurting, I would sacrifice everything for, but why should they believe that? I mean, I hurt them. Even being aware of my behaviors I continue to do these stupid hurtful things and I rarely realize it until it’s too late. Then we have this, where I acknowledge my short comings, make a commitment not to do it again, until the next time when the beast slips out yet again.
I am getting better, able to recognize my most of my mistakes immediately instead of running to denial or taking offense when someone points them out. It has some impact on me, but not the devastation that used to accompany any criticism I received. Yet, it takes SO MUCH WORK. It feels like every social interaction is just draining as I’m constantly reminding myself what to do/say, how to react vs not react and it gets exhausting quickly. Which is weird being an extrovert. I love being around people, but people hate being around me. At least they did. I’m slowly starting to rebuild my social life. Or rather build a healthy social life.
I guess it’s no different than anything else in life. Reversing learned behaviors is next to impossible. Not entirely impossible, but pretty damn close. That’s really the defining difference between an abuser and survivor of long term abuse. The ability to accept and acknowledge the behavior and willingness to fight like hell to change it.