It happened again, the heavy tension, what starts off as small quarrels, him blaming me, she blaming him, him blaming her, me wanting to die. It escalates into an argument. Mom and dad shooting daggers at each other it’s your fault, no your fault, my fault, her fault I don’t know. I apologize because everything is always my fault and like always, he agrees and goes on to list everything-I-did-wrong this time and everything spirals in my head. it hurts it hurts again
My fault for being over-emotional and over-sensitive. It’s always been a fault of mine at 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18 years old it’s always been my fault because I’m the overemotional, oversensitive child that overreacts to everything and causes all the problems. It’s not what I did wrong, it’s me that’s wrong. I’m the problem child, the rebellious one, the one who caused trouble in school at 10 years old and tried to kill herself at 14 years old and again and again. I’m the one who cuts herself and gets depressed and swallows pills and pukes her food and starves herself and I’m the one they don’t know how to help and it’s all my fault
I run away, bolt out of the restaurant as far away from him and her I can get, I run away crying and hyperventilating and looking for a way to hurt myself because it’s the only way I can stop the pain. They run after me. It’s a familiar scene: Girl crying, girl desperately scratching herself, girl curled up into a ball consumed by the waves of anguish and pain that don’t seem to stop. Parents yelling, blaming each other, arguing about what to do and who’s fault it is, mother crying, father exasperated, girl yelling to just leave her alone. Girl crying and crying because it all hurts so much, too much, there is nothing but pain and it’s eating her alive.
At some point the familiar script comes into play, an 18 year old almost-adult reduced to the 8 year old child she once was.“I’m sorry dad, I’m sorry. It’s all my fault, I’m sorry, I won’t do it again. It’s me, it’s my fault, i’m sorry” It comes into play almost instinctively, because she’s terrified and would do anything to appease him. Please don’t be angry at me, please. I’m sorry, it’s all my fault. He agrees, and it triggers an avalanche in my head because he is the very proof and validation that I am wrong and it’s my fault for everything and I’m a horrible person and I feel too much and think too much and I’m a bad person and all my feelings are bad and wrong.
My therapist has been trying for four years to help me change these simple beliefs of ‘I’m not good enough‘ and ‘everything is my fault‘ and ‘All my negative feelings are bad and too much and invalidated‘ but how could these beliefs ever go away if he planted them there so firmly in the first place? There are monsters in my head but none of them are as scary as when he pops up, the biggest and loudest of all the monsters.
Minutes bleed into what feels like hours and the pain continues to come in waves. The sobbing turns into desperate wailing, cries that draw the attention of the people across the road as if someone was being stabbed and beaten up. The pain just won’t stop and the only way I could calm down was finding ways to regain control. Like if I didn’t eat, if I restrict and if I could just stay in control everything would be okay. Well, thanks for the extra motivation to get to my goal weight, dad. It’s the perfect trigger and my eating disorder loves it because this has made me realize just how much I need some form of control, how much I need to run away from all of this.
Do you see why I need to stay in control so much? Everything is falling apart, everything hurts too much, so much I want to die. If I’m in control, nobody can touch me, nobody can hurt me. He can’t touch you there, I promise, he can’t yell at you there- he can’t. I can leave everyone and everything, nothing has to matter, just being small and empty and strong.
So I convince myself it’ll be okay, like somehow purging and restricting is a valid solution for everything even though I know it will never be. But the soothing thoughts of restriction and control and numbers give me enough room to catch a breath. I hit myself in the head (not literally, but I might as well) for ever thinking I could have a normal relationship with my parents and now I know just how much I need to distance myself. I don’t need them, I can’t let them in, I need to be safe and alone in this fortress of walls and lies. I slap on a smile and pretend everything is okay when I’m just tired and so sick of hurting because I’ve been feeling this same pain for most my life and I don’t know when it will stop.
So what if I make progress in therapy or recovery? So what if I ‘get better’? They just take me, and put me back right where I started, every single time.
And the worst part is, it’s not their fault. I could easily say my illnesses developed because of all of this, because of th earguments and my father and all the times where things got physically violent, the times where my father almost could have killed me when I was younger. But it’s not their fault because they are good parents who provide everything for us, they do love us, and give us the best they can in terms of material things. They just don’t know how to parent, they’re just the biggest triggers of everything, the triggers behind my illness and every ‘relapse’ that comes. But I don’t have it in me to blame them for anything at all- so I turn everything inward because that’s all I know how to do.
I’m so tired. I’m just so tired. I don’t want to keep going, I don’t want to wake up tomorrow and go to school and work and pretend everything is a-okay. It’s been years of struggling and struggling and forcing myself to just keep going. But what else can I do?