Trying to love myself

For me, one of the most difficult parts of recovery from trauma is learning to love myself. This may sound crazy, but I really don’t even know what that phrase means, “loving myself.”

How can I love someone I don’t really know?

People who haven’t experienced trauma may not know themselves, either. But this blog isn’t about them. It’s about me, and other people like me, whose connection to that inner self was broken, severed, crushed, killed, by the actions of another person.

Sometimes I picture myself reaching into space for an invisible rope that will lead me back to myself. I see a blind person on the sidewalk, tapping the white cane, and I, too, feel blind. There’s a vast ocean of air between the person I see in the mirror and the person who lives inside her.

Who is she? Is she worthy of love?

Who am I? Am I worthy of love?

2 thoughts on “Trying to love myself”

  1. I feel your pain. In some ways my experiences were different, in some ways very much the same. I have 3 daughters, the joy of my life is them. I have remarried and it turned out he was into pornography, including teen pornography. My teen daughters lived with us. I couldn’t believe I didn’t know. Now I’ve left him as well and returned to my roots, where I grew up. Nothing is the same. I feel like an outsider in my own life. I do have a job that I love. I am good at it, and it gives me the ability to recieve praise on a regular basis. I find that I need that. It makes me feel worthwhile, because I can’t really find that within my self. I am happy. Happy everyday that I get out of bed knowing that I don’t have to spend my day in fear of what mood someone else may be in. I live with my boyfriend. I love him, but I don’t feel that I will ever be able to connect to a man in a eal way. I always hold back. I can’t help it. My only true love is what I fel for my daughters. I have often thought of writing about my experience. My life has had so many unique chapters, adventures, terrors. Did writing help you? Now that I am 46 I think what I really want is to live alone I comfortably. Unfortunately I don’t think I can do that financially yet and give my girls what they may need. They are all 3 college age. My baby graduates from high school in a coupe of weeks. I have a successful life. But still I am haunted. Still he is in my life. From a distance. I no longer hate him. I don’t care enough to hate him. I just don’t care about him at all. He soon will be a sad and lonley man. He chases everyone away from him. My daughters know pieces of what he did to me. Never the whole story, they couldn’t handle that. Most of the time I still can’t. Slowly my daughters have less and less to do with him. My oldest lives with him now with her boyfriend. They fight and argue and she is saving to live on her own. Soon she won’t have anything to do with him. He has changed, become more mellow than when we were together. Stil. everytime he hurts my daughters it still hurts. A sad movie, a birthday where he doesn’t send them a gift, a book, little things still bring back the haunted memories of what he did to me. I don’t think he remembers it all. He has shut it out. He is different now, but not different enough. I want to be normal. But I don’t want to forget. What I lived through has made me who I am. Strong, Brave, and able to create relationships with just about anyone. It shows in my job. I’m good at this. Because of what I went through, in spite of what I went through. who knows. No matter how much better my life is and continues to be. I don’t think I will ever marry again. I don’t think I will ever be able to open up myself to really trust another man ever. Not with me, and not with my daughters. They are my life. I know I need more, but don’t know how.

    I wonder if you will read this. I think I should see a counselor. But I don’t think a counselor can help me. I’ve helped myself through life. He had custody of my daughters when I first left him. I fought and lost to the CA court system. but I never lost my daughters. My goal was that they never repeat my life as I did my mothers. That with them the cycle would be broken. They are everything to me. My reason to live, my reason to strive to be a good example to them. To teach tem to be brave, strong, independant and happy. I will always be here for them. If they ever need an excape I will always be that for them. My home a safe haven for us. That is why I want my own home. A place just for me and us.. My boyfriend is a wonderful man. No matter how wonderful. He is still a man with thoughts and ideas and his own agenda. He has never had kids and he doesn’t understand why I want to live apart from him. Because I can never love him the say he deserves. And because I will always have to have my safe haven.

    I do hope you read this.

    1. Cindy, thank you for writing such a thoughtful comment. You sound like a very strong and sensitive person who has done your best to create a good life for your family now. I’m not a counselor myself, of course, but I can vouch for the fact that seeing a counselor can be a big help: if it’s the right counselor, and if it’s the right time for you. Since you say you think you should see a counselor, I’m wondering if, perhaps, now IS the right time for you to do that. I had seen several counselors over the years, but the timing wasn’t right and they, in fact, weren’t right for me. When I was really ready to see someone, I interviewed two different counselors and chose the one that I felt would be the best for me. Fortunately, I made a good choice and realized just how much help a counselor can provide. I understand that feeling you describe, of being “an outsider in my own life.” My counselor helped me understand WHY I feel that way, so I’m now taking steps so I no longer feel quite so disconnected from myself. I truly hope you will be able to do the same.

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