Emotional self harm is also self harm

Sunday 12 August 2018. Morning

I’m the one tormenting myself. He’s not.

Maybe I got that from her, the dead one.

It only dawned on me two days ago that my grandmother’s dead. She died nearly three weeks ago but I only really realised on Friday. My whole life I’ve tried to do the exact opposite to what she asked and would’ve wanted. I’ve followed my dreams without a plan, and I’ve been poor and alone my whole adult life. The two men I’ve loved were unreliable and faulty, but they helped me grow and I’ve loved them unconditionally, loyally, and all-consumingly.

I’ve battled eating disorders and depression and anxiety, and gotten through them. I’ve not only survived but I’ve lived. Not to piss her off but because I wanted to. She was the one who introduced to me the idea that you could see yourself as fat, even when you weren’t. I remember an evening before bed when she stood in her underwear in front of a mirror saying she was so fat and needed to lose weight. I was maybe seven or eight and knew she wasn’t fat; both my parents were overweight so I knew what fat looked like and she wasn’t it. She was slender and I told her so. And she grabbed her late 50s, early 60s skin with its padding and showed it to me. “Yes I am,” she said. “Look at all this fat.” She made me look at all that fat, showing me a wrong where where everything was normal. I remember disagreeing and thinking I would never look at myself like that. Unfortunately it was a promise I didn’t keep. Women pass these things on through the generations.

She took my mum to the doctor when she was six to cure her fatness. The doctor put her on a diet and my mum was hungry every day. She ate secret food behind the locked door of the toilet. No wonder she is angry. No wonder she still comfort eats.

Most of the traumas that have caused me to be me can probably be traced back to grandmother. For the last ten years I’ve barely spoken to her and the anger and hate I felt through my teens has evaporated or turned onto myself. I tell myself I wasn’t good enough for him, that I wasn’t beautiful, interesting, clever, experienced, sexy, funny or well travelled enough for him. But he has never said anything of the sort. I’m┬áthe one tormenting myself.

She used to say I was too hard to be capable of love. To love was to worry, and I would never know what that was like. Emotional abuse is also abuse, and from her example I’ve abused myself nearly every day of my twenties.

But I’m 30 now, and I have proven myself capable of great, deep love. He turned that down and that is his loss. I’m slim and I’ve lost more weight through the losses of this summer. I’m trying to put it back on healthily, but I still deny myself the comforts of believing what he actually did say: that he loves me as a person, that he does think of me, that he would like to be friends. I don’t believe or trust that for a second. I only believe what he said about having nothing to say. To protect myself, I torment myself.

The funeral is next week, and I hope I can bury all this darkness with her; let the hatred and destruction of self that spilt over into the world and trickled down the generations burn with her and be gone forever.

And then I want to follow my dreams and love, live and adventure freely.

 

Why would I put all of this on my blog?

Because it’s the only form of therapy I can afford. Because I’m no longer hiding who I am or trying to be good enough. I want to be understood and I want to be seen. I don’t need to be liked. I just want to be seen for me.

 

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