These times you are living through are very tough, I know. You crave freedom… anything to escape her. She demands things from you that you cannot give… and rejects anything that she sees as a bad reflection upon herself. She requires your love, admiration, and fear. But cannot handle your anger, sadness, or your need for a separate identity.
She belittles your interests because they are not “mature enough” in nature. She rejects your music because she doesn’t like it… she rejects your art because it’s not something she can be proud of… she has made your entire life about HER.
Unfortunately, this isn’t easy to escape. Growing older and moving away isn’t enough. She will disavow your existence for so long that she won’t even recognize you (literally) when she sees you decades later. Despite this level of detachment from her, you will still carry so much of her influence… and so many powerful feelings from memories both vivid and vague… that you will continue to suffer deeply until you finally get help.
Let me tell you about the process it’s going to take. First, you will recognize where you need to be – at least you will think you do. And you will work incessantly to fix your habits. Some, you will succeed at, just by sheer force of willpower. You were blessed with at least one powerful habit that will allow you some amount of success: You develop an overwhelming need to confront your fear and your flaws, grab ahold of them, and wrestle them into submission. This gets you some progress. But not enough.
Eventually, you try therapy. This helps a little bit… but you aren’t ready to go deep yet and the therapist, as good as she is, doesn’t quite know how to challenge you in a way that keeps you moving in that direction. But it’s enough for a few years.
Time and life bring about situations where your issues cause you to question whether things could possibly be better. You think that your failures are about a lack of discipline. So you seek out a therapist again – this time to help you develop better control. You luck out and find the right therapist at the right time and you start a journey that goes deep enough to terrify you.
It will take *years* of therapy. But eventually, you will stop hating yourself for being less than perfect. I know as I write this that you would deny you hate yourself. You will say you just want to be better. But that’s not true. Because all those feelings that come up when you mess up… that self talk that is filled with anger… that anger, whether you admit it or not, is being directed at YOU.
It’s going to take a long time before that inner voice changes and you can accept yourself for who you are now – as a child – and who you are now – as an adult. I have the wisdom of hindsight to know how you navigated this process… how absolutely terrifying it was… how painstaking it was to let go of that armor piece by piece.
As you read that last sentence, you will say to yourself “No way am I EVER giving up that armor – it’s what keeps me from getting my heart ripped out… it keeps me sane!” All I can tell you is that when you are finally ready to take it off, you won’t need it anymore. Yes, you will get hurt without it… but you will have the resiliency to handle the hurt. And here’s the best part… that overwhelming feeling of love that you have for your own family won’t be poisoned anymore by an almost obsessive fear of losing them. You will be able to handle the feeling of vulnerability that comes with being real… and with loving someone.
You have a helluva journey in front of you. And as I write this, I know that I still have a long, long way to go. But I’m not giving up. No matter how many times I mess up, I know that I’m worth the love that others give me… not just the “me” that I want them to see… but the “me” that is real, flawed, and fragile.
Yeah, I said it… “Fragile”. I can just imagine your hands curling into fists at that thought. You’re going to think “What the fuck! I’m going to become a WIMP!?”
No, you’re just going to become an authentic human being. No matter how much you want to be a superhero.
It’s okay. You’ll get it later on. Your pig headed stubbornness and inner street fighter won’t let you give up. You’ll get a taste for the growth and the peace it brings and you will push forward. Just one word of advice: When the shit gets so deep and so big that you think you’re going to drown and you tell your therapist you are done… listen to her. She knows her shit. She’ll get you through the ocean of terror one spoonful at a time. And here’s the kicker: The only way to really navigate that place is to let go of control… to stop pushing… and just let it happen.
Yeah, it sucks. But it’s so fucking worth it.