Truth and Love (self-love) Can Set You Free
I am the first born of an alcoholic agoraphobic father and an alcoholic borderline personality mother. I was the hero that took care of everyone -- mom, dad and my younger brother. Interestingly enough it wasn't until after I had a marriage to a bi-polar/alcoholic/drug addict, immediately followed by a relationship with someone who's behavior matched those of one diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder and a near break down with my borderline personality mother that I finally realized my own hand in my own undoing.
I learned the root of all of my evils began with the lies, neglect and verbal abuse suffered as a child. I then grew into a full-fledged co-dependent as an adult carrying the lies, guilt and shame a co-dependent holds onto in secret. Then, after having the bi-polar destroy me emotionally (but I allowed it) and then the NPD (really stick the knife in deep and twist it and I still allowed it) and then the BPD mother stalk me to emotional upheaval (which I continued to allow trying to be good and win her love to no avail) that I decided, "Wait a minute!" This is just too insane. A bad movie couldn't even be written about my life and yet its happening to me right now!"
Through books, therapy and support groups I learned to focus on my own behavior. I learned to think about who I was and what I wanted. I learned to heal and strive to let go of the trauma suffered as a child, a young woman and full-fledged adult. I realized I may have become who my parents raised me to be but if I stayed that way it was not their fault but mine. Yeah, I shouldn't have had to deal with abuse and neglect growing up, but I did. I should have paid better attention to the external symptoms of my own co-dependency, but I didn't know any better.
When I learned that my only responsibility in this world was to take care of myself and my own happiness and that it was my right in this world to be loved and appreciated for who I really am deep down inside no matter who I did or didn't work very hard to please, things changed. I changed and now I can spot bad behavior in others very quickly and I'm getting so much faster about responding instead of reacting to it. Oh, I react first...I just bite my tongue until I'm centered and can think about what it is I'm struggling with feeling and wanting to say. Then I go back and respond, address MY feelings about behavior I see before me. Its hard but if people can't deal with it, they can get out of my life and I don't care if they go. I'll miss them but I won't miss bad behavior. I'd rather be alone than in bad company and that includes dysfunctional family members!
I've begun to disassemble the lies I was taught growing up - I'm unworthy, should always be ashamed to be who I am, should be guilty for not doing more for my BDP mother who remains abusive to this day. The conclusion that I've come to is everyone has decisions to make about their behavior. I've chosen to take care of me and who ever doesn't like it can just move on. I refuse to tolerate abuse. I refuse to think so little of myself that I would allow a family member, romantic partner or friend to treat me as unworthy, inflict abuse and insult me and expect me to fall all over myself trying to rescue or please them.
I've let go of that nagging worry about what other people think and started asking myself, "What do YOU think?" It has changed my life. The only person's opinion in the world I need to validate me and my behavior is me. I'm a good person (thank God) and I know right from wrong (again, Thank God) and I trust me, love me and can validate myself. I've become compassionate and understanding due to the way I grew up so in a way, I'm very grateful even though it was hard.
Whatever discovery it is you struggle with on this journey, know that you can over-come it if you love yourself, let the truth rise to the surface and take whatever steps are necessary to heal. God bless!