“For example, a young girl who was physically abused by her father might find herself constantly seeking out abusive and unavailable men. Although she might not realize the reason behind her string of bad boyfriends, subconsciously, she is choosing these mates because she wants to recreate her trauma and ‘fix’ the situation. She tries to be ‘good enough’ for her partners, to be sweet enough, pretty enough, smart enough, obedient enough — anything to earn this partner’s love and hence rewrite history. She figures that if she can find a partner who is similar to her father and find that unconditional, supportive love he never offered her, it would almost be as if the pain of her childhood never happened.”
How Childhood Abuse Can Manifest in Adult Relationships – Dr. Laura Berman
I read this quote today and my heart raced and it was hard to breathe for several seconds. This explained me to a T. And suddenly everything made sense.
This is exactly what I’m doing when I chase men who are unavailable. And this is precisely the source of my deep emptiness.
I’m trying so hard to prove to myself that I’m OK and worthy of love, trying so hard to fill that empty pit inside me that says I’m no good, that I will debase myself in pursuit of a man I care about hoping that he’s the answer to that emptiness. It’s the same emptiness I’ve tried to fill with food and alcohol and Star Trek and running and cutting and Dr. Who and books and television and Facebook.
But when I read this today, I realized that I can’t fix the situation. I can’t rewrite history. And it turns out, that impossibilty makes everything OK.
The evil of the sexual abuse I experienced at the hands of my grandfather does not make me complicit in or guilty of his sins. The things he did to me were his fault, not mine. His abuse of me doesn’t make me worthless. His abuse of me makes him worthless. I’m OK. I will no longer allow his ghost to whisper to my soul that I am not good enough, that I am somehow empty or bereft. My heart and soul are not empty. I am full. I am plenty. I am enough.
The time has come to stop worrying if I am pleasing others. The time has come to stop begging people to love me. The time has come to stop living in fear of being a disappointment.
I am good enough to deserve good love. I am good enough to be myself. I am good enough to stop chasing men who can’t offer me what I need. I am good enough to be.
The time has come to take a deep breath, to take a deep rest. It’s time to be OK with myself.
Maybe I’ll wear dresses with Doc Martens and baseball caps. Maybe I’ll fly to London alone and see the Thames. Maybe I’ll eat something decadent and not track the calories in my food diary. Maybe I’ll go out on a date with someone I don’t know. Maybe I’ll learn to knit. Maybe I’ll buy a car and drive to California. Maybe I’ll go for a run without tracking the time and distance. Maybe I’ll rent a pickup truck and drive out into the country with a bunch of pillows and blankets and listen to Conway and Loretta and look at the stars all by myself. Maybe I’ll cry in front of people without shame. Maybe I’ll holler “Fuck you, motherfuckers!” with impunity.
No matter what I decide to do, it is enough. I am not broken after all.