No One Deserves to Be Abused
by Tina Blacksmith, Tiny Buddha
July 17, 2019

ďOut of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.Ē ~ Kahlil Gibran

Youíre stupid. Youíre a loser. Youíre worthless. You will never amount to anything. Youíre not worthy of love. These are things Iíve told myself throughout my life.

The experiences I had throughout my childhood led me to believe I was deeply unlovable. I thought that because I had been abused and ignored, there was something seriously wrong with me.

Thatís what abuse and neglect does. It seeps inside you down to the deepest level. It changes you in every way.

You begin to feel as if you donít matter. You blame yourself, thinking maybe you did something bad enough to deserve it.

You push people away. You build walls because itís easier than letting people in and letting them get to know you.

You sabotage anything that could turn out to be good because you believe you donít deserve to have good things.

You may look for any little thing in a relationship that would make you feel justified in running for the hills because when someone shows you love, it terrifies you.

Even after the abuse ends your brain finds a way to continue abusing you.

I grew up with emotionally stunted parents. The only emotion my father knew was anger, and when he expressed it, it terrified me. My mother was a very distant woman who kept to herself and ignored what was happening around her. This left me feeling trapped, with no one to talk to.

I shut down emotionally just like my mother. The only way to escape my environment was to close in on myself and keep everything inside.

For a long time I believed my childhood trauma was my fault. I told myself no one could ever love me because my parents didnít, so how could anyone else? I told myself I was worth less than dirt and proceeded to treat myself as such.

Itís easy to think that once you leave those people behind life will be better and bright. No more pain. No more heartbreak.

I thought that leaving the place I was born, the place that had brought me so much pain and sadness and anger and self-hate, would solve all my problems. I thought the words (stupid worthless piece of garbage!) that repeated over and over in my mind daily would dissolve. I thought if I could just get enough distance between myself and my parents, it would all magically fix itself and Iíd become a completely different person.

I was wrong.

Leaving didnít solve anything other than putting over 2,000 miles between me and them. I didnít magically change.

Those thoughts were still there. They became stronger over time, but at first they werenít as bad. A few years later I was blindsided with feelings of self-loathing. Every time I made a mistake it was because I was stupid, and you better believe I never missed an opportunity to berate myself for those mistakes.

I believed the dirt on the ground was worth more than me. There was always this voice in my head whispering ďworthless, worthless, worthless,Ē and I believed it.

I really struggled. I felt lost and alone. I hated my parents. I held on to so much anger over what had happened that I was blinded by it. If I could keep that anger and pain alive, I could use it to punish my parents. Or so I thought. I was only hurting myself.

A few months ago I started counseling. Iíve learned a few things about myself and life in general. I hope that if you are struggling or have experienced trauma, these things will help you too.

1. Abuse is never, ever okay.
There is nothing a child could ever do to deserve abuse. If you are an abuse survivor of any kind, it was not your fault. You didnít deserve to be hurt in that way.

2. You donít have to believe every negative thing you think about yourself.
When weíre born, we donít have all those self-loathing thoughts floating around in our heads. They are ingrained in us by others, and if we live with them long enough, we start to believe theyíre true.

When you start to tell yourself that you are worthless or ugly or stupid, think about that thought and where it really comes from. Youíll most likely find that it stems from an external source. If we examine these thoughts weíll see that perhaps they arenít how we truly feel about ourselves. We can change them.

3. Abuse doesnít make you any less worthy of love.
I know thatís hard to believe, but itís true. Just because someone else canít see your worth that doesnít mean itís not there.

4. Itís okay to ask for help.
There are many trauma-informed mental health providers out there. They can be helpful in giving us tools to live better lives. They also set us on the path of being able to see that we do matter and we do deserve good things.

5. Itís okay to let go of people whoíve hurt you, whether that is a parent, sibling, aunt, or uncle.
We live in a world that acts as if familial relationships are forever, no matter how poorly we may be treated. Sometimes they are. Sometimes they arenít. Itís okay to put yourself first. Itís okay to either set strict boundaries or let go completely. Donít let anyone tell you otherwise.

6. Itís never too late to take care of your inner child.
Many survivors feel as though they missed out on a ďnormalĒ childhood. Your inner child is the part of you that feels wounded and unworthy. That little child reaches out for you, begging you to listen and be there.

Ask that part of you what it needs, and do that. It could be something creative like coloring or finger-painting. It could be dancing or playing a favorite game. Or they might want validation for their feelings. Donít criticize your inner childís thoughts. Let them know they are loved. Let them know you will be there from now on.

Healing isnít easy. If youíve lived your life believing you donít matter, it can be very difficult to even want to set out on the path to healing. Give yourself a chance. Donít give up on yourself, on who you could become. It will take some deep digging, but itís worth it. You are worth it.

About Tina Blacksmith
Tina Blacksmith is an animal lover and mental health advocate. She enjoys writing and getting outside and exploring the beauty that Oregon has to offer. She blogs at Not Defined by My Past.