How can I overcome routine relapses to continue building the highway towards authentic self worth and self empowerment?
I have been feeling depressed these past two weeks. Severely depressed. I struggled to write articles for this page, and was consumed with depression. I abandoned my wellness course. I didn’t do any of the move in tasks I had planned for myself. I didn’t even buy myself new toiletries, set up my bank account or change my cell number! I have been struggling with the depression of returning back home and not being able to accept the temporary stage I am in. I feel trapped.
How can I overcome this need to label myself and continue to build the highway towards authentic self worth and self empowerment?
I think, deep down, I am still stuck in a non-acceptance of myself. This is what continues to harp and impede my progress regardless of my circumstances. Employed or unemployed, in my parents’ home or abroad, I am basically refusing to accept any circumstances I am in. Deep down, I am rejecting where and how I am, because I constantly believe that I am not doing well enough. That I am not good enough how I am, where I am. This is the one constant that has not changed, regardless of where I’ve moved to.
How can I change my unworthiness and continue to build the highway towards authentic self worth and self empowerment?
I first need to understand why this is constantly reinforced subconsciously. My experiences of cross-cultural bullying at virtually each location that I lived in made it difficult for me to regard myself as good enough. I struggled with the fact that my mannerisms, my way of living, my personality and who I was were different, and hence, wrong. Deep down, I was and am struggling with a feeling of being wrong; a feeling a coach pointed out to me a Long time back.
My non acceptance of who I am, where I am, comes from a subconscious feeling of being “wrong”.
I believed that I was wrong after the kind of caregiving I was subject to as a child. When I made even small mistakes, I was scolded extremely harshly by my caregivers. Comments would be made on my behavioral patterns, my supposed “lack of intelligence” and my lack of regard for myself. Instead of correcting my behavior, it led me to subconsciously develop an attachment to being “wrong”, as I was subject to criticisms about everything when I made a mistake. I was never given the space to separate myself from the mistake, and was often treated much more harshly and abusively than what the mistake deemed necessary. I remember being purposefully tripped by one of my caregivers when I was 6 years old and my relatives had come to visit; I was skipping around in the room, and my caregiver tripped me, causing me to burst into tears in front of the guests. I felt humiliated and ashamed for being myself, I also felt deeply hurt, angry and betrayed by my caregiver for being so cruel as to humiliate me in front of a large group of people. This feeling gave me a very intense feeling of anger, which to be quite honest, I had been holding in my being for a long time.
I was purposefully and intentionally treated cruelly by my caregivers, leading me to develop feelings of toxic shame and self hatred, as well as betrayal and intense hurt.
I could never reconcile why they would want to treat me this way. I remember once, my mother beat me severely in front of our guests, when I was 7 years old, for refusing to give one of them a ball. I felt deeply ashamed of myself and intensely angry for being humiliated this way. I couldn’t accept the fact that my personality had been damaged in that way in front of my Cousin, for a very small matter. Being beaten severely to the point of having water poured over me when I was fully clothed, and having my head banged against a wall is cruel and not disciplinarian behavior. It left me feeling intensely hurt for many years. I could never understand or rationalise why my mother would treat me this way.
A sense of self hatred quickly came about as I began to struggle with my sense of self. I could no longer see myself as a worthy individual. I was instead someone to be hated and disliked, someone that was depressed and by definition, unworthy. I felt deeply rejected by the experiences I had and couldn’t really accept why I was being mistreated so much. After all, I was a relatively timid child. I was definitely autistic and therefore had a tendency to have meltdowns, but I rarely associated with people outside the home, mostly enjoyed activities that involved just me and was generally quite a quiet and pleasant child who enjoyed reading.
I still feel immensely wronged. There was no rhyme or reason to mistreat me. Instead, my parents should have been putting in their efforts to try and nurture me as a child, to build my sense of self esteem and personal wellbeing. To help me grow and mature as a person with autism. Perhaps deep down, I am repressing a significant amount of rage and resentment at having been mistreated, neglected and abused as a child. None of which I deserved.
Sometimes when a lie is repeated so often, it then becomes the truth. I was told so frequently that I was wrong or that I had done something wrong, that I began to truly believe it with the whole of my being. After all, the individuals in my life who were responsible for caring for me saw me as wrong. Was I truly capable of calling myself as righteous if even the closest people to me held such a negative opinion about me? To detach myself from these opinions involves recognising the personalities of my caregivers and why this belief was imposed upon me.
My caregivers had a very strict parenting style which encompasses different areas of growth. There were extremely high expectations for behavior, responsibility and academic performance. Punishment – though never corporal for academics – was doled out verbally if we didn’t perform academically to the required standards. This was also accompanied by a significant involvement by extended family members, who attempted to police and govern other aspects of my being; my appearance and attire, as well as my social interactions. This was accompanied by a foreign culture; the need to instill our own values into us was thus quite important for my parents, who did so through a deep sense of fundamental strictness. Growing up, there were strict restrictions on our outings, and travel. All free time was to be spent with family; as compared to my classmates, I had very few play dates. We rarely engaged in family bonding or growth activities; most of our activities were very fundamental to our functionality, like shopping for groceries or visiting the Doctor. We rarely had any growth in other areas, whatsoever.
Growing up, I was also witness to a significant degree of domestic violence and abuse. My caregivers had developed a very conflicting relationship which had abusive elements. While my extended relatives were aware of this, they did nothing to stop it. I had to witness a significant amount of abuse and bear a significant amount of abuse.
Abuse is a form of behavior which is exacted when an individual dislikes another but cannot really express the source of their dislike effectively and with appropriate healthy mechanisms. Or perhaps chooses not to. Individuals who engage in abuse are subconsciously enacting patterns they have witnessed to express negative emotions towards others they consider to be somehow more vulnerable or weakened in a sense. As a child, my sheer age and physical development made me vulnerable and susceptible to physical, verbal and emotional abuse from someone who would be physically more dominant and capable of enacting physical harm. My neurodiverse tendencies also made it made more susceptible to violent behavior at the hands of individuals who refused to change and adapt their parenting style to help me grow. Or perhaps felt deeply resentful of the fact that I had to be patented, or parented differently.
I was made a victim of violent behavior because as a neurodiverse child, I was physically incapable of fighting back, due to my sheer size and physical capabilities (or lack thereof).
I find it deeply difficult to accept what has happened to me. I find it deeply difficult to forgive what has happened to me. Inside my heart, I know that I did not do anything to provoke abusive treatment and that I never will. However, I have been abused by individuals who abused me not because of anything I had done, but because of my sheer size, which made it difficult for me to fight back.
Similarly, I find it deeply difficult to accept what happened to me at work. I was verbally and emotionally abused by my manager. Not because I was performing poorly or because of any other reason, but simply because I was a more junior staff member, I was a member of a sociopolitical minority, and I was female. Most importantly, I was in need of this job and did not want to be fired from it.
To build the highway towards authentic self worth and self empowerment, I must accept that the abuse I faced was not my fault and never will be.
My mind will always find reasons for why the abuse was my fault. Always. I want to change that and write a list of 100 reasons why the abuse was not my fault.
100 reasons why the abuse was not my fault at work or at home –
- I had never committed a crime of any kind like drug peddling or murder, which would warrant abusive treatment.
- I had never sought to be a target of abusive treatment.
- I had never hoped to be a target of abusive treatment.
- Because of the massive gap in age, physical size, financial means, or position, I cannot be considered as posing a threat of any kind to the abuser.
- I was neurodiverse but I did not seek to intentionally cause any problems at home or in the workplace.
- I had very unique needs that were not being met, which would cause me to respond in a unique way. This did not pose a threat to anyone of any kind.
- I was a timid and very quiet, if not socially anxious individual. I struggled to relate to others and tended to keep to myself.
- I was generally someone who tried to do the right thing, sought to do well and was reasonably hard working.
I want to interrupt this list by saying something right now. It is becoming more and more clear that the people who carried this out are deeply narcissistic individuals who are very toxic, and were just looking for a victim of their abuse. There was no real conflict, no real threat, no real behavioural trigger and no real cause for there to be a conflict that would warrant abuse. Any and all abuse doled out was the cause and the fault of the abuser.
So why did these people choose me of all people to abuse? Why not choose anyone else? What makes me the victim of abuse in this case?
When an abuser selects a victim, they typically go for two things – susceptibility and vulnerability. Someone who abuses a victim typically hopes the victim will be someone who is vulnerable.
Vulnerable can be of any kind. Any. The abuser simply needs to perceive and identify a vulnerability. Be it a transgender individual in a cisgender environment, or a foreigner in a local environment, a woman in a male dominated environment; or a mentally ill person in an unsupportive environment. Most of these people are generally seeking to identify a vulnerability they can then exploit for their emotional and psychological dominance.
Abusers have a need to feel important. They usually use a vulnerable person – someone THEY identify as vulnerable, to be the person they denigrate to feel important as individuals.
Abusers are conversely, deeply emotionally unstable and have a highly vulnerable sense of self esteem. The reason why they feel the need to verbally express their frustration by bringing down others is because they are insecure. They don’t feel comfortable where there are. This exists everywhere, including in a psychiatric ward. This is the principle of hierarchy.
Abusers have a really vulnerable sense of self esteem, which when threatened, they will usually respond to with some form of abusive behavior.
Abuse is their way of negating any threats to their self esteem. It is also their way of regulating their deeply unstable emotional body. They have no sense of self esteem and that is what deprives them of emotional management in social situations. Instead, they are like social parasites, they need a host to feed off of.
Abusers are the social parasites of today, they need a host to feed off of and require that person to be vulnerable and thus, capable of receiving their abuse.
Unfortunately, I had the misfortune of working with such parasites. They had obviously been struggling with a deeply weak sense of self esteem, which had become narcissistic. It led them to abuse people and take advantage of them. It led them to become inhumane. It led them to destroy people’s lives. I am ashamed to have worked for such toxic individuals and I owe myself the biggest apology for this.