for shame

When I was being poked at on Tuesday–the acupuncture session was amazing, by the way, I’ll be going weekly for a while–I was discussing some of my stressors with the acupuncturist, K.  I had told her about the upcoming divorce mediation, and how my stress and emotions had kicked up since its being scheduled, and about how my migraines had ramped up to extremely frequent again, since that time.  I had told her that I really didn’t want to see Mr. X, and I had given her a very, very brief background of why that was.

So, she asked me about that, about not wanting to see him, and then I clarified for her.  I had been thinking about this for some time, actually.  I told K, “It’s more that I don’t want him to see me.”

“That sounds like shame,” she said.  “Did he shame you a lot?”

Well, yes.  I suppose he did.

I was never loved for me.

That feels pretty damn shameful.

As soon as it was established that we were in a dating relationship, from the very beginning of that, he was working and pushing and pulling and trying to mold me into his image of the perfect partner.  He had an image of the perfect Jewish family, and his goal was to squeeze me into it.  To shave off bits and pieces of me if he must, cut off a limb or two if necessary, but he would get his perfection.

If he ever truly saw me, it was only for a brief time, at the beginning, before we were involved, or too involved.  Afterward, he only saw what he wanted.  He only saw himself.

He never loved me.

I poured out my very self, I made myself physically ill trying so hard to please this man who never loved me, who never even saw me.

And who I was, was never, ever good enough.

I was thinking today, wondering, if I would have been capable, physically and intellectually capable of giving him what he wanted.  The answer is yes, and no.

I knew how to do what he wanted.  I knew how to fold myself up to fit into his perfect little package.  Partly because of my temperament, but largely because of the home I grew up in, I knew how to be a pleaser.  I knew how to put myself to the side, how to brush away my own wants again, and again, and again.  I knew how to push myself harder and harder.  I knew how to place all the blame at my own feet.

But something in me rebelled.  Something in me, from the beginning of my relationship with Mr. X, always rebelled.  There was something there that refused to be cut off, that refused to be shoved into a tiny box, over and over, even while the rest of me acquiesced.

And the rest of the answer, if I would have been capable of doing it–of being the perfect Mrs. X forever, is no.  No, because, it would no longer be me, because I would be lost, I would be gone.  If I had stayed, if I had played that game much longer, I think I might have lost who I was for good.  “I” might have been there, going through the motions, but it would not have been me, not really.  I would have been truly erased, with only X’s vision of perfection in my place.

I don’t know how long it will be before I stop justifying my own choices to an invisible audience in my mind–making sure they are defensible.  Choices for big and small things–my job, my music, my food, how I spend my money, how I spend my time.  I had to justify so much for so long.  I hope someday I will be able to let myself be.

Shame is wound that runs deep.

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10 responses to “for shame

  1. Oh hon…he doesn’t know what he missed by not loving you. You have strength and honor and resilience that anyone should treasure.

  2. Wow. This is a very moving post. I know what it’s like to spend so much time and effort trying to be what everyone around you wants you to be and yet have that little part that’s saying “No”. I’m glad you let the No speak louder and took care of yourself. I hope that someday soon the shame involved with this will all be gone. Hugs to you.

  3. did the poking help? Just curious. I could use some poking right now. 🙂

    Shame does run deep. I grew up in an environment of shame from my father. I STILL don’t feel good enough, even though I know everyone else thinks I am. It hurts to be pushed and shaped to what a loved one wants.

    It hurts when you realize that how you act/what you do dictates what ‘love’ you get in return.

    I am sorry you went through that, and are having to go to the mediation. Good luck, and we all will be here for you. {{HUGS}}

    KUDOS to you for getting out, and finding yourself again.

    I personally love your background picture.

  4. Just thinking of you. (((((hugs)))))

  5. It’s so hard to think you need to live your life to please others. And, when you try to, so much of YOU gets hidden away.

    Shame and abuse can skew how we see ourselves. It sounds like it’s time to see yourself clearly, without his judgments.

    YOU are so beautiful just being YOU. And there is no need to justify being who you are.

  6. I think that just by realizing that you wouldn’t be you anymore, is a HUGE step. You’re recognizing that you have an “invisible audience” to answer to and you don’t want to do that anymore. Like G.I. Joe says, “knowing is half the battle”. Cheesy? Oh VERY cheesy! But it fits here. It’s a road you’ll travel for a while, but you’ll travel it with dignity while holding your head up. THAT”S what counts, love.
    *HUGS*

  7. You deserve someone who loves the person you are, not the person they think you could become. I’m glad you recognized the situation for what it was and got out of it! (((hugs)))

  8. I read this and cried throughout.

    I get it, babe.

    I get this.

  9. My heart aches for you and I feel the echos of my divorce and pain from the emotional and verbal abuse given to me by my ex twenty years ago.
    My therapist recommended a couple books( The Dance of Anger and The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Goldhor, Phd., available through the library.) These books helped save my life and sanity, I was so spiralling down. Please forgive me for this unsolicited a$$vice, i found great comfort and insight in these small, straightforward books. My best to you.

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