Life feels a lot better since I have less judgment of myself.

I don’t mean I have decided that different things are allowed than were before, but just that it is less important to me whether it is or not. I am sure that’s because I feel safer.

Anyway, I was writing in my journal this morning. I wrote, “I don’t matter.”

That’s what I felt, so I wrote it down. And instead of debating about that with myself, I just considered how that felt to me. It felt like being a person speaking in a world of deaf people.

When it seems like no one knows how you feel or why, you don’t know how to communicate your own internal state to others and no one around you has any idea, it is like not existing.

It reminded me of a therapist who used to tell me, “You need to be seen.” It felt terrible to me to hear that. Why do I have to be like that? Why do I have to need to be seen?

It was like being told something terrible and shameful is showing. I never said that to her. I just wondered silently why she was telling me that.

And I also wondered why she thought only I need to be seen. Doesn’t everyone?

It was deeply puzzling. And I just nodded.

I just felt terribly ashamed. I thought about that shame. I stayed with it, and wondered about it. It felt like not being allowed to move or breathe or exist.

It came to me how much my childhood was about control. It doesn’t immediately come to mind, because there was no pattern–life at home was utterly chaotic. On the one hand, not having consistent rules leaves a child uncertain of what will be allowed and what won’t be, so the child ends up endless searching for the limits. That’s some of what I’m doing that leaves me very vulnerable to shame: I’m trying to find the limits. The emotional indication of having crossed a boundary is shame.

But my parents both felt very unsafe and frightened and they exerted control intermittently, suddenly and arbitrarily just to feel safer. I couldn’t count on anything I did or said or felt to be okay.

I don’t know how to express this, but it feels much better just to be with that, and to think this is what is going on inside me and it’s okay for that to be happening. It’s okay to go to the dark, painful stuff as I feel it. It’s okay that this is how child abuse affected me.

Inside myself, it’s okay just to be myself.