A question of worth

I fell into a dark place while in therapy yesterday.

I’m still sort of there, hanging on with one arm, with my head turned over my shoulder and looking into the darkness, waiting for the moment I lose my grip.

My therapist asked me to come up with some positive things I could do for myself, and some things we could do in therapy to help transition from dealing with trauma to going back into the real world. My mind just went blank. I looked around the room aimlessly, stared at my hands, stared at the floor…I even closed my eyes hoping an answer would come into my mind. But nothing came. This wasn’t the first time. Any time she asks me these types of questions, I draw a blank. It shouldn’t be this hard to come up with answers. What is wrong with me?

After several sighs and “I don’t know”s, my therapist finally asked me if I believed I was worthy of these things. No. Sometimes I struggle with believing I am worthy enough to be breathing, let alone to be engaging in any remotely positive things. Then I felt myself sinking. I managed to stay grounded for the most part, but I felt like I reverted right back to being my mother’s child. I apologized profusely, which is a habit of mine. I feel like I am constantly bothering other people, and am compelled to apologize for it. I just kept telling my therapist that it was all my fault. Something was wrong with me. Something must be wrong with me. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. My therapist kept trying to convince me that it wasn’t, but I know it was. She mentioned the possibility of my parents being mentally ill. Could a person (specifically my mother) be mentally ill and still appear so normal on the outside? That doesn’t even matter anyway. It was still my fault. I was the only one treated that badly. The defect lies in me.

I grew up believing my purpose in this life was to be abused. I had no self-worth. I have no self-worth now. It’s hard for me to accept when people say something positive because I question their intentions; it’s just not something I’m used to. My therapist asked me if I believed the things she said about me. I said she had to say those things because she was my therapist. When she said that she said those things because they were true and because she cared, my immediate response was “please don’t care about me.” I don’t want people to care. I needed people to care years ago when I was a child in desperate need of saving. Now I am adult who has lost the ability to trust people. Part of that is due to being raised to believe no one could be trusted, and part of that is due to witnessing the actions (or lack thereof) of people in my life when it came to what was happening to me.

Trust no one, fear everything, don’t talk, you’re evil…these are programs that have been downloaded into me since childhood that I have yet to be able to delete. They are like those programs on your computer that run in the background and you don’t even realize that they’re there; they are automatic, and they’re always taking up space. How can I ever feel like I am worth anything when these thoughts are constantly running in the background of my mind? How can I be worth anything when I am so incredibly damaged?

3 thoughts on “A question of worth

  1. Your writing is so powerful as you describe the effects of such a childhood and strikes home in me. There are no up sides, yet it is the deep trauma which opens dwellings inside you of depth, compassion and kindness.
    And a childhood of such pain and the failure of the adults around you, does make the adult roads muddy, rutted and entrenched with negative feelings and thoughts about oneself. At 62, I still work to confront these old voices that were them and became mine.
    But it can be done. You can make new paths. It is hard work Often just ‘fake it till you make it.’ and eventually,new more positive feelings slowly seep in. A moment here, a moment there, where you feel whole, complete and you really like yourself and can feel it.
    Others will see it in you and help you (like your therapist), and they will support you, for as long as it takes. Those are the ones to hang on to. And then you’ll see it, and feel it.
    Your kind spirit shines through your words, glows through them….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are times when I still struggle with the same feelings. But most of the time what I think is that we all have goodness at our core. We can choose to ignore that or override it (as your mother has done), but no one outside us can destroy that goodness. The fact that others didn’t respect it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The fact that our parents didn’t hold up a (metaphorical) mirror to show us our own beauty and value doesn’t mean we lack beauty and value. Your mother is unable or unable to recognize the value of other people. But it is there. It is so visible through your blog. You are truly a lovely person.


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