Ever since the day I left the abusive relationship I’ve expected this feeling to one day just vanish, to go away for good. I’d always assumed that one day I’d wake up and it would be gone.
The feeling in the pit of my stomach, the dull distant ache in my head, the feeling of doubt. Doubt in myself as a person, doubt in how I look, doubt in my parenting skills. I truly believed it would dissipate in time. It never has.
Recently I’ve been thinking though, realising that maybe it’ll stay. That I’ve been changed by what I went through. Maybe that’s ok. What I went through was traumatic, violence is traumatic and long after cut lips and black eyes heal the mind is still inured.
Day to day I’m not doubtful in myself. I don’t think I could function if I was. The majority of the time I’m just me. I quite like me most days. I’m the woman who talks too much, is raising 4 children in her own haphazard little way, who’s clumsy and forgetful. I’m the slightly too pushy, slightly too strict mum who just wants the very best for these children I’ve made! I’m the good friend, the listener , the problem solver , the girl who tries to put a positive spin on most things. I’m me. I’m happy and content with the woman I am. Most days.
Lurking though, deep down, no matter how hard I try is that nagging voice of doubt. Telling me I’m not quite good enough. It can lay dormant for weeks and months until something sets it off, gives it permission to speak.
Applying for a new job the voice tells me I’ll never get it so why try? That I’m rubbish at what I do, I’m too stupid.
It’s there in shop changing rooms when I’m trying on an outfit , the voice telling me I’m too fat , my boobs are too big, I’m horribly unattractive and everyone will laugh at me.
The voice likes to remind me on school parents evenings that the teachers are all going to think I’m a terrible mum. I made a decision to become a single parent and took my children away from their dad and that I’m being judged for that.
Thing is, that voice, the voice that turns up uninvited to make me feel inadequate. It’s not my voice. It’s his voice. The abusers voice. The same one that told me I could never ever leave.
The voice is at its strongest when it’s got an ally. Days where my parenting has been questioned or remarks about my weight or how I look have been made by another person that confirms the voice is right. Then I have to listen and I do.
I’ve not been in a relationship since I left the abusive one almost 7 years ago.
The voice puts me off
When men I find attractive approach me or ask me out, initial reaction is giddiness. Yay! I cheer!Can’t wait! Then the voice speaks up. Don’t be ridiculous it says, didn’t I always tell you no one would ever be interested in someone with 4 kids.
Anyway, the voice continues, it’s not as though you’ll be able to sleep with him, you’re rubbish at that remember??and that body?…naked? Get real!
The voice always wins on that one. Always.
In other areas though. I’m learning to disengage with the doubt.
I’m writing this blog. Of course the voice laughs at this. I’m doing it anyway.
My fantastic children are growing into amazing human beings. The voice says I can’t raise children without him. I’m not up to the job alone. Well it seems I can and I am.
That ridiculous, whiny negative voice will likely hang around a while longer I suspect. I can make my peace with that. I’ve stopped expecting it to disappear completely. It’s beginning to become less of a shout and more of a whisper though, getting quieter each day. One day it may fall silent, but until then I can cope with its weakening whispers. After all, I live in a house with 4 children you have to be pretty bloody loud to be heard around here.