It was not my fault. It is never the victims fault. Over the years, I convinced myself that all the abuse I received was my fault, which I have read is a normal thing for victims to do. I even convinced myself that it wasn’t a serious thing because it was just emotional abuse. Compared to sexual and physical abuse, it hardly seems half as bad. Since I could have had it worse, I told myself I had no right to complain. My mom would tell me that kids in Africa had it way worse. She would also talk about how she had it way worse as a child. It was her way of justifying everything she did. So, I kept quiet and held everything in.
It is only in the last six years that I finally started accepting the fact that what my mom did to me was not right. The way she treated me has contributed to the many self-esteem and confidence issues because when you hear something enough times you believe it. She would say things like ‘that dress makes you look fat’, ‘you may be school smart but you are stupid in everything else’ and even at one point she called me ‘a stupid teenage bitch’ which I found quite offensive. Despite how much these comments hurt me, there were ones that hurt more. Often, she would say things like ‘I want to set the house on fire’, ‘I wish the world would end’ or ‘I don’t have any reasons to live’. The little girl inside of me wanted to say ‘But what about me mom? Aren’t I enough? Don’t you want to live for me?’
When I was young, I sought my worth from my mother’s approval because I didn’t know any better. Now I know I was never going to find my worth that way. Sometimes she would build me up a bit, but it seemed to be only so she could tear me down. My mother did not have confidence in herself so to feel better about herself she would make me feel terrible. Through her behaviour, she taught me that I didn’t have any worth.
I felt so alone because the one person who should have been on my side simply wasn’t. A mother should want to protect her child more than she wants to feel good about herself. At times, I think she was jealous of my happiness and my school smarts. When I started going to church, it brought a light to my life where before there had only been darkness. After my mother noticed this she actually tried telling me I wasn’t allowed to go to church anymore but I was not about to let her stop me. I fought for my happiness. It wasn’t easy to stand up to her but I told her, “I’m sorry mom but you aren’t going to stop me from going to church. It is the only thing in my life that is making me happy right now and I am not about to lose that.”
As I have grown, I have been inspired by people who have great confidence in themselves and the fact that they have accepted themselves for who they are. They taught me to believe in myself and to know it was not my fault. I don’t have to carry that blame anymore and neither should any other victim. It is a heavy weight that has been lifted from my shoulders. I have also learned that no matter how she tries to justify it, what she did was her actions and it does not take away from the trauma she caused. Abuse is wrong and there is no excuse that would ever be able to justify it or make it okay.
As I used to doubt but now believe, healing comes with time. Your happiness is worth fighting for.