I’ve been in two minds about posting this one because it is essentially about the long term effects of bullying and abuse and how that leads to feelings of insecurity. However, in the end I just thought, ‘what the hell’, and wrote it anyway. No names are mentioned and they probably wouldn’t bother reading it anyway! However, I am aware that the subject matter of this blog may cause a reaction in some people so be warned.
I’ve been considering of late my long-standing battle with insecurity, something I feel from time to time and something I have experienced to a greater or lesser extent for most of my adult life. Thankfully it seems to happen less and has become less protracted and severe as I get older.
Uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence:
The state of being open to danger or threat; lack of protection.
It has various synonyms including: lack of confidence · lack of self-confidence · self-doubt
My own insecurity is most often expressed through my personal relationships – with both friends and partners and although as I said before that now I have reached ‘a certain age’ the problem has lessened, I still find these old feelings surfacing from time to time for a myriad of (usually) fairly idiotic reasons.
I’ve sat down many times to ponder this and I am well aware that the root cause of most of my insecurity is bullying in one way, shape or form which is why I feel very strongly against any form of bullying, particularly for things people cannot change ie, their looks, gender, sexuality, race, colour and so on.
At school I was extensively bullied due to my looks – even the teachers thought it was OK to have the occasional crack – and OK, unless Picasso is suddenly resurrected I am never going to be an oil painting, but I would have thought I’d be over that by now. My looks have never seemed to hold me back in my professional or personal life so objectively I have no evidence to support the fact that most of the time I think I look like the back end of a bus. After a crash. With a Rhino. However, that scar in ones psyche never goes away and it drifts to the surface from time to time.
Along with this goes the feeling of not being good enough. Good enough for what? Usually other people – good enough friend, good enough mother, good enough wife, good enough lover, the list goes on and on even when it is again not supported by objective evidence.
Yes, I have made myriad mistakes in the course of my 50+ years on the planet. I am only human so of course I have had my moments when for whatever reason I have failed others and myself. I do however, have enough self knowledge to recognise this and will make amends when I am allowed to do so but I still tend to beat myself up to extreme levels once I get dragged down into the fog of insecurity.
Of course the fact that the bullying continued in one form or another into my early adult years when my personality was still forming and I should have been coming into my own has not helped. At this time I became subjected to what would eventually amount to almost 2 decades of abusive treatment which took myriad forms and which I am not going to go into detail here. This is not because I am seeking to protect the perpetrator(s) but because the details would a) potentially upset too many people who are close to me and who I actually do care about and b) I honestly do not think I would be believed by those same people and I just don’t want to put myself or them through it.
It is a sad fact that a narcissistic abuser can come out of any situation with a distorted sense of reality coupled with an almost supernatural ability to convince others of the veracity of the reality they have created in which – of course – they are the victim.
Suffice it to say that a couple of decades of being told you are too fat, too stupid, insane, frigid, generally compared unfavourably to ‘the one that got away’ and essentially being told that you really should spend your entire life trying to transform into this perfect being that was loved and lost, is bound to take its toll. When almost every meaningful intimate/sexual relationship you have had for the majority of your adult life is characterised by abuse – sexual, emotional and financial – or by cheating, lying and general arseholism there is bound to be a long term knock on effect.
I shall add here that my husband does not fall into any of these categories and is (mostly!) wonderful hence I married him!
And of course on top of this is the unresolved anger at these people and with myself for putting up with it for so long and allowing people to treat me badly. Who can blame my brain for having a hypersensitive warning system? Self preservation demanded that this developed in order to prevent my ever being in a similar situation from which I then have to extricate myself and go through all the associated crap all over again.
Sadly, this is often expressed by emotional if not physical withdrawal from the person who is either the ‘source’ or more accurately, the target of my feelings of insecurity. I have learnt not to react at the time the actual emotion happens, I will avoid mentioning anything at all where possible because I know from experience that after a few hours or a nights sleep I no longer feel the same way. I have singularly failed however to develop the ability to stop reacting on an energetic level and to have that picked up on by other people. But I continue to try my best.
So I strive to sustain the process of getting over myself and as I do I shall continue to remind myself from time to time how much better my life is now, how I have risen above all of this, how much stronger I am as a result of the events of my past and how much I have got going for me in terms of my marriage, family, personal relationships, friendships and the overall amount of love and good things in my life.
I am truly blessed.