Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Hurt people hurt people.

If you were to ask me what I like about myself, I would say I like the fact that I try to be a nice person.

I value kindness above all other human qualities, and my biggest wish for both myself and the children I'm raising is that we demonstrate kindness to others and try our best to be nice people.

But although I feel confident that I am a nice person now, I have to be honest...I don't think that I always have been.

When I look back over my life so far, I have a tendency to focus on all of the times when I've felt like a victim.

And there have been a fair few of them.

I was bullied throughout my school life...from infant school all the way through high school. I had a handful of friends here and there, but they never lasted for long and I usually found myself being ousted from friendship groups reasonably quickly.

I remember, vividly, that feeling of being the outcast - the one nobody wanted to sit next to. The one who had no real friends to back her up in tough situations. The one that people teased, that nobody liked. The lonely one.

I enjoyed a brief reprieve in college when I somehow managed to find myself with a group of friends who looked up to me...and, I'm ashamed to say, I relished that unfamiliar experience of being "Popular" so much so that I took the opportunity to look down on others and treat them in the way I had always been treated myself.

I went from oppressed to oppressor. From bullied to bully.

It didn't last for longer than a few weeks before my guilt became too much for me and I stopped, apologizing to my chosen target and spending the next two years trying to befriend her but knowing that the damage was done and she thought badly of me, but that awful feeling of knowing that you've inflicted emotional pain onto another person has stuck with me ever since.

And until recently, I would probably have told you that this brief period in my life was the only one that saw me allow my damaged past to influence my treatment of others - but that's not the truth.

You see...those fun and free college years, as enjoyable as they were, were not the end of my experiences of trauma at the hands of others. Infact I went on to be part of an 8 year long relationship where I was abused both physically and emotionally on a very regular basis.

And I knew all too well the damage that did to me physically, but it's only in recent months that I've begun to truly understand the extent of the emotional damage it caused. And the impact that has had over the years on the way I've treated others.

When I look back on my attempts at friendships throughout my adult life - it's obvious to me why I struggled to maintain them as much as I did.

I had no idea how to form healthy relationships with people, how to give and take in equal measure...or how to be truly myself.

I don't think I've ever really understood who my true self is until very recently, so how could I possibly express it to others?

I've spent the majority of my life always trying to be somebody else - to change myself to please other people, to hide parts of me that I didn't think they'd like and force personality traits in myself that were never really there.

Anything to fit in.

Anything to be liked.

Last week, I read back through this blog...to posts I wrote 5 years ago, and honestly? I felt as though they were written by somebody else entirely.

Although I tried to write with humour, the posts I put out were full of judgements against anyone different from myself. I was filled with a huge amount of distaste for anything outside of my own experience.
I wrote with cruel mocking about things like tattoos and mums who wear pyjamas on the school run  ... the undertone of anger and hate in my words was sobering, frightening even, to read now.

I don't recognise myself in my own writing from back then. I don't feel like there's an ounce of me in there.

Why was I so consumed with anger? Why was I so hellbent on being judgemental towards other people? So concerned with putting my opinion out there, seemingly without any concern for who it might offend or upset?

Well, after some soul searching, I think I've figured out the answer.

The saying goes "Hurt people...hurt people"...and I can see so much truth in that.

I was a very hurt person...hurt so badly that she didn't even know who she was anymore. But I didn't realise it. I thought it was normal to always feel angry I thought I had dealt with my demons and moved on simply by escaping the situation I was....not realising that my demons lived far deeper within me than that, and would take much more work to be rid of.

 I needed to direct that spite and anger inside of me somewhere. So I took pleasure in judging others, and I didn't care if it was hurtful.

I decided 6 years ago that I wanted to keep this blog as a way to record the growth of my children over the years, to look back on how far our family had come and how my son (now my sons) had grown.

But it's ended up being a testament to my own personal growth, too.

I am not the same person I was 6 years ago, when this blog began.

With the help of therapy, family counselling, introspection and self-love mind work I feel as though I'm finally getting to grips with who I actually am....and I'm so pleased about that.

But as good a feeling as that is, I can't help but feel sorrow and shame when I recall the way I've acted towards and treated others in the past.

So if, by any chance, you are someone that I have hurt or upset in anger back then...I apologise.

Please know that it was always more about me than it was about you.

Hurt people DO hurt people.

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