I’ve always had a knack for remembering dates. Even after the TBI I got in 2015, I still remember many dates that have been important to me at some time in my life. For example, I got my first car on July 6, 1989. I moved out of my parents’ home on June 9, 1990. I met my husband on March 14, 1992 & our first date was November 4, 1994.
Don’t get me started on my furbabies- I remember who I adopted when or when who was born, & when who passed away.
Remembering dates can be convenient sometimes, but it also can trigger some very unpleasant memories. For years, I beat myself up from August 23 until November 24 because that was the short time I was involved with a man who I thought was a good guy, but I was unhappy dating. When I told him I wanted to break up, he did his best to make me feel stupid & like a failure, which sunk in with me. I believed I ruined his life & was a terrible person for it. Many years later, I read that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself in their home. It finally clicked that maybe he wasn’t the good guy he portrayed himself as. I started remembering our short time together & realized that he was a very disturbed man. I didn’t have clues then to just how disturbed, though.
In a way, learning this information was a good thing. I finally was set free from the guilt of leaving this man. It was as if I finally had permission to accept that leaving him was for my own safety. It also helped me to think about something…
I have spent my life beating myself up for way too many things!
The disturbed man I mentioned? I was only 19, he was 28 when we dated. He was very controlling & I was so accustomed to being controlled, although it bothered me, I didn’t realize it was wrong. It was so bad, in fact, that I didn’t want to date him. I only did because he was pushy & my friend at the time said I should. After growing up with narcissistic parents, this behavior of allowing others to control me is pretty normal. I see that now, but for years, I told myself how stupid I was for this. I should’ve known better. HOW?! How could I have known better?!
I’ve also beat myself up for not standing up to my parents more often, for tolerating way more than I should have. This also doesn’t make sense- they’re my parents! Aside from the dysfunctional teaching I grew up with that said I deserve whatever is done to me, being parents puts them in a unique position in my life no one else shares. Most people are like me in that they are more willing to tolerate things from their parents than other people.
Does this describe you as well? Have you spent way too much time chastising yourself for things that really aren’t your fault? If so, please stop it right now!
Everyone makes mistakes! Those of us raised in abusive, dysfunctional environments tend to make even more than most people because we simply do not know any better. Frankly, it sucks, but it happens!
Have you learned from your mistakes? Good! That shows you don’t want to continue being dysfunctional! That is something to be proud of!!
Do you realize that sharing stories of things you did & what you learned can encourage other people? It really can! I’m hardly proud of sharing the things I have in this blog, but the good part is they encourage other people. I have the emails & comments to prove it. In a way, my mess has become my ministry. Not only the mess of my dysfunctional upbringing, but the mess of the dumb things I did as a result. That encourages me too, because I know it means my pain has a purpose. It wasn’t for nothing!
Your pain has a purpose too, Dear Reader! If you don’t feel that way, then talk to God about it. He will reveal the purpose to you, & comfort you!