A hard thing to get over after domestic abuse or emotional abuse or being bullied in any manner is the damage that’s left behind. Those words and names that were used to keep you in your place for me were a huge stumbling block. As always I can only speak of my experience of emotional abuse but long after the bully or the abuser has gone those words are still etched into your vulnerable brain.
The old sticks and stones rhyme has things all wrong . Words do hurt. They’re harmful and painful and last long after scratches or bruises heal.
When you’ve been called things regularly , incessantly , relentlessly they start to stick. Over time they become not just something someone spits at you but words you’ve taken on . That’s how you view yourself. Your thoughts and brain manipulated to the point that even after the bully or abuser is long gone you find yourself doing their work for them. You call yourself these names , you take them on as things that are true and part of who you are.
Over the years though I’ve kind of chosen and learnt to own and remove these words of their power. The ones that bother or get to me . I can honestly say none of these do anymore but let me tell you about them in case anyone else has struggled.
Firstly I wasn’t fat . I had 3 babies in 3 years and that will take it’s toll on a body. The way I look from 0-3 babies changed dramatically (let’s not even go with baby no 4 who left her mark majorly too ) Your body is meant to change dramatically though . It has grown and given birth to actual human beings . It has to change to accommodate this.
I used the word against myself many many times . I did the headwork myself for anyone that had ever called me that .Not anymore. How much I weigh is between me and the bathroom scales (if I had any , which I no longer do because they’re toxic in themselves in my opinion) Unless I’m asking for a piggy back my weight is not your concern.
Another physical one. Isn’t it odd how these hurt the most. There is a rant about patriarchal society raring to go here but I’ll park that for another post.
Ugly ,to me now , makes no sense . You can be not attracted to someone that doesn’t make them ugly. This one stuck in my brain too though , compliments were tricky. If someone called me beautiful I would bat that right away with “ah I’m just plain but I’m alright with that”
You don’t find me aesthetically pleasing ? Ok let’s both get on with our days !! Really there is no brain space left for that stuff anymore.
Ok THIS bothered me more than any other. Even when said over and over I doubted this one . My brain resisted . I’m not stupid. At all. I’m a reasonably intelligent person. Reasonably intelligent people are quite intimidating to the bully types though ,they’ve the potential to make your average bully look ridiculous using words alone. A massive threat. So stupid is thrown around in the hope that it sticks. I do have to pull myself up on this one sometimes because I will STILL use this about myself. Only I don’t mean stupid as in not clever but as in “I put my dress on inside out again ” I need to find a kinder word.
I’m cold , I’m emotionless , I’m averse to affection and love. This made me unloveable. If someone is abusing or bullying you it’s quite a powerful tool for them to project their views onto other people. Maybe you’ve heard “It’s not just me , everyone thinks ‘that’ about you ” It’s high level manipulation this because while you’re mentally fighting one person you can’t grasp onto the thought other people see positives in you. Ugly is most certainly objective. Unloveable feels like fact. The real masters of manipulation here will then throw your deepest insecurities at you ,that at one time you have confided in them. Maybe it’s parent issues , something you went through with your ex, an old friend but throw in well *insert name here * thought you were unloveable too didn’t they , that’s why…..
This one stuck with me the absolute longest . Do I believe myself to be unloveable now though? Absolutely not.
Rubbish in bed
*eye roll emoji*
Along with fat and ugly – well you’re not going to dare go sleep with anyone else now are you?
I’m sure everyone can personalise this post with their own words that have lingered in their minds way too long. Whether put there by bullies , abusers , toxic family members . It can be so difficult to stop internalising these words and using them on yourself. With a bit of work and a lot of patience and surrounding yourself with positive, loving people you really can get there .
There’s nothing more empowering than when those words bounce right off your suit of armour of self belief .
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