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Letters From Listeners

I Thought This Was in My Control



I harmed myself for years when I was younger and it took me many years to figure out why. I know that hitting and scratching myself was a relief valve - that pain was tangible, tolerable and within my control. My alcoholic mother and other family problems were not. Once my face was so bruised that my family thought I'd been in a fight (I recently realized that was about the same time the guidance counselor made time to visit with me at school). My mother pushed me to find out what happened and when I told her that I did it to myself, she said, "If you ever do it again, I will take you to counseling." The tone was a warning, not an offer for help. I felt shut down. I spent many years wanting to end my life.  I think the only reason I didn't was because one of my 6 stepmothers jumped off a bridge to end her misery. I would have felt embarrassed and like a copy cat if I took my life. So strange to look back on this - I wish I had the kind of mom that I've been to my kids. 

Dr. Laura - listening to you opened my eyes about 6 years ago. I heard you say something about forgiving - or rather not forgiving those who don't own up to what they've done. That was the beginning of my ability to stop trying to figure out how to forgive people in my life (which was a heavy burden for me for years). I was able to see more clearly where the problems started (with my mother), and someone who had abused me when babysitting me when I was very young. It really was the beginning of clarity and the start of a path of healing for me. 

I'm still learning - and recently learned not to protect others like my mom. 

Thank you for all your help. I appreciate you so much. 

Tags: Abuse, Behavior, Values
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