Friday, 17 August 2012

Writing Ex 1: Recognising the damage: Self-esteem and personal power

Write about the ways you are still affected by the abuse. 
Write about the strengths you've developed because of the abuse. Think of what it's taken for you to survive. 

I am going to use the sub-headings mentioned in the book. I hope they will cover everything. 

Self-esteem and personal power
There is none. I feel selfish when I feel confident. That to assume I would be good at or capable of doing something is wrong. I don't believe that if I succeed at something it is because I am good at it but it's because I was lucky on that day. Or that the competition wasn't strong enough. 

I don't believe when people pay me compliments. I believe that they're saying things to make me feel good. To not hurt my feelings. And immediately I feel conceited that I am thinking like that. Why would anyone go to the trouble of not hurting me? Why would anyone be considerate towards me? What have I done to deserve their sympathy, consideration or pity?

Answering specific questions:

Do you feel you are bad, dirty or ashamed?

There have been times, before I got married, that I felt bad and dirty and as a result ashamed. I felt bad for indulging in sex with boyfriends or masturbating. I felt dirty because I wanted sex and felt sexy. I felt ashamed every time - after sex, after talking about it, after wanting to do it on my own. I felt ashamed of just how light-hearted and happy I felt after sex or masturbation. I felt ashamed of enjoying it. I felt like a slut. 

Now, since I have been married, it is mostly revulsion. Revulsion towards myself. That this is what my husband has to live with. Unable to perform well for him. Feel like he deserves better and that I am keeping him from it. Sometimes feel like I should encourage him to go out and find someone better looking and better able to fulfil his needs. 

Do you feel powerless, like a victim?

In the depths of my depression, I often feel like a victim. Whenever I let myself dwell on my feelings, I feel powerless. Unable to move. Unable to dig myself out of a hole. 

Majority of the time however, there is just a dominant feeling of being the one responsible for the abuse. I made it happen, hence how can I be the victim?

Do you feel different from other people?

I do. I never, have never, felt part of a group. I don't have a group of friends. I have individual friends and generally am with them 90% of who I really am. 

Seldom can I openly express how I feel. I often feel that I want to be like them but would not be able to or don't deserve to be like them. I am amiable enough and can adjust to the general mood of a group. I feel comfortable not being myself. 

Do you feel there is something wrong with you deep down inside? That if people really knew you, they'd leave?

Yes. I seem to have a knack of pushing people away. I hurt people all the time by not living up to their expectations. I'm afraid to show who I really am because I know that people will leave. 

On the one hand, that could be a good thing. They would be better off without me. But, selfishly, I don't want them to leave. I would be really alone if they did. 

Do you feel self-destructive or suicidal? Or that you simply want to die?

I do but I also am a coward. I am too scared to do anything to myself. I don't like physical pain. I can take pain from someone else, but inflicting on my own body fills me with dread. 

I have logical discussions with myself about the advantages of my death. I can quite justifiably see there will be a lot of benefits. This constant feeling of emptiness that I feel will be gone and I won't be able to hurt anyone any more. People can wipe out this black hole that exists in their lives because of me and properly start to live again.

Do you hate yourself?

Often, yes. That I cannot or am not capable of making those around me happy is the biggest reason for it. That I end up hurting them is another. That I am incapable of doing anything of significance in my life is another. I fail at everything I do. I have no conviction, dedication or strength of character to see anything to its end. I depend on my husband for everything and never give anything back. I have never made my parents happy and although it's too early to tell, I'm certain I'm going to fail my son. 

Do you have a hard time nurturing and taking care of yourself? Are you able to enjoy feeling good?

I don't think it is right to 'nurture' and 'take care' of myself. To my mind, it's selfish. It's self-centred. I need to nurture others and look after others. My body isn't worthy of anything other than basic food and shelter. Love and nurturing is more than it deserves. 

Do I enjoy feeling good? No. I feel selfish when I feel good. 

Do you feel unable to look after yourself in dangerous situations? Have you experienced repeated victimisation (rape, assault, battery) as an adult?

I believe I will be able to protect myself in a dangerous situation. If someone tried to rape me now, I think I would have the strength to do something. Although how far that is a 'hope' and not a 'belief' I don't know. 

I have been beaten by my parents till I was 18. Violently beaten. But not since then. I have been 'coerced' into sex by partners when I didn't want it, by them claiming "you know you'll enjoy it" and I have given in without a fight to avoid disappointing them. 

But I haven't been victimised as an adult. I've been lucky to meet and marry the man I did. 

Do you have a sense of your own interests, talents or goals?

Some, yes. I know what my interests are. I believe I have some talents - whether I am as good with them as some other people I don't know. I think I am reasonably good at them but I know that there are a lot of other people who are better. I have no goals. I can't have goals because I have nothing to work towards them with. I don't have anything worthy of giving a job, a business. Waste of space, that's the term that comes to mind. Nothing good enough to offer,. It's a fact. 

Do you have trouble feeling motivated? Are you often immobilised?

Yes. All the time. I find that I could push myself to go to Zumba, for example, and feel very enthused about it; come out bouncing and determined to keep going and the next day is a completely different story. I feel unable to move. Physically and mentally immobile. 

Are you afraid to succeed?

I don't think I'm capable of it. 

Can you accomplish things you set out to do?

In the short term, yes. Small projects, I can finish. Anything that cannot be done in one sitting will be left unfinished. Books are different. I can read. I like to read. But finite goals are about the only things I can successfully accomplish. 

Do you feel you have to be perfect?

I feel that expectations must be fulfilled. Small or large, they must be fulfilled at any cost. I don't think I can do that. So I feel disappointed in myself and feel like I am not trustworthy. I have never been able to deliver and don't think I ever will. When I think of applying for a job, I go into it hoping I don't get it so then I won't end up letting them down. I feel certain that if I do get the job, the employers will realise all too soon that they made the wrong decision. 

Do you use work or achievements to compensate for inadequate feelings in other parts of your life?

Laughing out loud. I have never really worked for long enough or achieved anything important enough for it to replace anything in my life. The fact of the matter is that it is an empty life that has no reason to exist. It's a shell with no purpose. 

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