Does this sounds familiar?

*The following is a composite, not a specific account. 

Dear Diary,

I just want someone to understand me.  I want to feel like I’m enough.

“An abuser isn’t abusive 24/7. They usually demonstrate positive character traits most of the time. That’s what makes the abuse so confusing when it happens, and what makes leaving so much more difficult.”

— Miya Yamanouchi

I’ve felt like this for so long and it never seems to change.  I’ve been with a man for 6 years now, who always tells me when I make a mistake, that I don’t try hard enough.  Every day it’s something new that I haven’t done right.  Some days he is so nice, so sweet, so loving, and others it’s like he’s so angry that he yells and stalks me through the house, blocking my movements and acting like he is going to hit me.  Please don’t let that happen.  I never know what to expect from him, and that leaves me feeling on edge and scared.  I’m nervous, and feel a pit in my stomach when I know I will be seeing him because I wonder which person he is going to be today.  When he’s nice, I feel loved.  I feel worthy and special.  And when he’s not, I desperately want to find out what’s wrong with me.  There must be something about me that’s broken or else he wouldn’t act that way.  He tells me that, and I know it has to be true.  It has to be.

 domestic violence, emotional abuse

My parents acted like I was broken, too.  They both were so busy dealing with their own things that they never had time for me.  My father was an alcoholic and my mother was so anxious and depressed, covering for his drinking and trying to clean up his messes that they ignored me.  When they were angry or fighting, it scared me, and when I saw my father hit my mother, I just didn’t know what to do.  What’s worse is when I was thankful that my father was angry with my mother and not me because I couldn’t handle hearing the names he would call me, telling me that I was worthless.  I can still hear that voice in my head late at night when I’m trying to sleep, along with every time my partner tells me I’ve made another mistake.  The common denominator is me, so it must be true.

If I wasn’t broken, it wouldn’t hurt anymore.  I wouldn’t feel hopeless or helpless, I wouldn’t feel sad anymore.  I’d actually go out and see my friends, learn to trust people again.  I wouldn’t panic when someone speaks with me.  I’d learn to trust that people won’t treat me badly, that they won’t see where I’m broken, that they won’t see how I panic and feel like I’m dying inside because I don’t have anyone I trust.  I’d have someone to speak with who believed me about all of this, and who would help me if it starts again.  I’d actually go outside and spend time soaking in nature and the sun; enjoy a trip to the beach or a walk with my dog and the kids.  I’d be able to find a job that was fulfilling for me and I wouldn’t be afraid that I would fail.  Maybe my partner will calm down and show me how much he loves me every day, or maybe I can find someone else who will love and accept me for who I am.  Wouldn’t that be nice.  Maybe if I go to therapy I can fix myself and make someone love me again. Maybe……

I yearn for a life with family and loved ones, where I can give my children the life I always wanted for myself, and where they can be the focus of my world.  I want to give that to them now but it’s such a struggle just to survive.  I want to love and be loved.  I want to rise above all this struggle and pain and find peace.  I know I can.  Maybe if I find that person who can understand all this weirdness that encompasses my life.  I’m willing to work for it.  I want to feel like I’m enough.

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Stacey Alvarez