Mental Health

Bearing Your Weight

*Content Warning: This piece contains references to abuse, which may be triggering to some.*

I’ve always just considered myself empathetic. Even to the people who abused me. I thought I was just being empathetic to the hurtful things they were doing. And that’s why I reacted the way I did, why I internalized the pain, why I forgave them and blamed myself instead.

I looked for reasons why they did what they did. They were just sad, sick or tired. So it wasn’t their fault. I couldn’t be mad at them. And when I saw myself deteriorating, I saw bits of each of my abusers living in me; I still blamed myself. Of course I was turning into them! They were the people shaping me. I could never be anything other than them. I was all of their flaws and insecurities wrapped up in the fragile shell of a human.

It damaged me. I was proud that I got out of these abusive situations, but I still felt them every single day. I dreamt of them. I saw them in myself. I never thought I’d outgrow them. I’d introduce myself with my PTSD because I was proud of how far of I’d come. Meanwhile, my mind was still stuck.

The first time I felt free in my life was when I realized I never was an angry person. They were. I never was a selfish person. They were. They each sunk their rotten teeth into me and I felt the pressure to take on those roles, but it was killing me the whole time. My biggest fear of becoming my abusers had become true. I hated so many parts of myself. I cried for entire days. I’d cry so hard my body would go numb. I had become an angry person, and I was so angry with myself because I’d allowed it to happen.

But the truth is I wasn’t an angry person. Not at my core. I reminded myself of times in my life when I chose kindness — when it mattered, when it wasn’t just for myself. I had to focus on these moments in light of the weight on my shoulders. I had swallowed the insecurities of some very weak people. And even when they were out of my life, I carried their burdens while they lived their lives.

I accept my mistakes and I know I have my own flaws, but I have to realize that I didn’t become an angry person because of my abuse. I was carrying the anger for someone else. I don’t have to carry it anymore. I’ll work on myself, I’m indecisive and anxious and I can be lazy. But I’m also strong and have a really kind heart. So I’m letting their weight go.

by sqacebaby

Just a regular millennial with big passions who hates her day job. I've written two novels but have enjoyed finding myself in poetry. I've never been shy about opening up and writing about my struggles with abuse, depression, and chronic illness. Along with writing, I love music and nerdy movies!

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