I was a hot mess when I left my abuser at the end of 2012. So much so, that even without me having to utter a single word of my story to anyone, if they were observant enough, they could see the stress, exhaustion, hurt, sorrow, and damage etched upon my face. My eyes were dead, my posture slouched, my walk slow and purposeless. I felt defeated, weak, and inferior, rife with insecurities and failing to extend a complete measure of blind trust out to anyone.
I have spent sixteen months tirelessly, endlessly fighting my demons that never really relent and give me space to breathe. But I function, I handle my business, and I always find a reason to laugh.
When I falter in my strength, and a crack momentarily makes itself known, this is not the time for you to criticize. This is not the time for you to nitpick and point out all my flaws that in my battle against my trauma have already made themselves more than manifest to me. So much so that I criticize myself and humiliate myself by spewing that hateful garbage he planted in my head… and I do not need you to add to it for me. I guarantee you that I do it enough on my own.
When I waver in my self-control, and I temporarily lose track of where I am, this is not the time for you to point your finger at me in blame. This is not the time for you to lay waste to the self-esteem that I fought so hard to rip back from that monster, fighting to hold onto it as though against a rabid, starved pack of wolves, every minute of every hour of every day and splatter my imagined transgressions upon the walls, lit up for everyone to see and decry. For I guarantee you that I have already advertised them on billboards on jammed highways that you don’t even know exist. My self blame has traveled roads that you are not privy to, because I have blocked you off. I promise you, I willingly point my fingers at the rafters in my eye and am far too busy to notice how big the splinters are in yours.
When I stumble and fall, losing my happy, kind, cheerful demeanor, this is not the proper time for you to vanish and cater to my fear of abandonment. This is not the time for you turn me into a convenience and heave silence upon like heavy enough to smother and suffocate the life out of me. Somehow, I already know how empty, how defeating, how futile, how lonely that feels, and bearing it again makes me question all the progress I have made. For I battle the monster of isolation every day, even if I do not say so, even I don’t normally let on, and when I am purposely, callously cut off, perhaps then, that makes all the devilish things that man did to me true. It makes it real, for if it wasn’t so, why would I be cast aside like common trash?
When I am struggling, when I am fighting to make ends meet, this is not to time to tell me exactly how I got myself in this position and therefore have no right to complain about it. This is not the time to tell me what you would have done differently and then brush me off on someone else, telling me maybe someone else would care enough to help, because I am not worthy of your pity. Trust and believe that when I was foolish enough to reach out and ask you for your help, earning your pity was the last thing on this earth I expected in return. Asking for help is probably one of the absolute hardest things for me to do, and when you offer but renege when I reach out, you become just like everyone else I reached out to try to help me get away from the beast. For I am well enough aware that my credit is in the toilet and I have to save up from multiple paychecks to handle the simplest of things that you boast about being chump change. You can keep your chump change.
I may have no place of my own, my furniture may be gone, I may not be able to have a bank account yet, the car may not be on the road yet, and everything I now own might fit in that ten by ten room on the second floor of my parent’s house, but at least I have the common courtesy not to throw someone to the wolves when they are in need. At least I have the courtesy to treat people with respect, help them in any way I can, and give them encouragement even when I am myself in desperate need.
Even when I momentarily lose my mind and my PTSD takes on its own life, at least I have the decency and compassion and sense to reign myself back in and not only acknowledge what I have done and apologize. At least I have the respect to make amends and treat others like human beings, instead of kicking them along the gutter like a busted up, rusty tin can.
I may not be perfect, but at least I am working on my faults and on repairing the damage. What are you doing besides perpetuating destruction?