You are not me

internalisation

I have learnt that the voices within are not all mine. They are not me. They are the voices I internalised as a very young girl. I internalised two voices; that of my father and mother. These voices created thoughts and feelings that don’t belong to me, but I had no choice back then. I was five years old and swallowed them whole, unthinkingly as a natural coping mechanism in a very traumatic situation. I was sexually abused by my father and my mother did not nurture, protect or empower me.

Sometimes the voices sound the same and other times they say the opposite. But they are wrong all the time.

My father’s voice sounds like this:

  • I am bad
  • I will be punished
  • I deserve this
  • I asked for it
  • I enjoy this
  • I need to be quiet
  • I am shameful
  • I need to keep still
  • Nobody will believe me
  • I can’t trust anybody
  • I am disgusting
  • I am ugly
  • I am alien
  • I am too loud
  • I take up too much space
  • I am voiceless
  • I am powerless
  • I am helpless
  • Nobody can help me
  • I am alone
  • Everything is my fault
  • My essence is bad
  • Nobody will believe me
  • I am not important
  • Sexuality is a bad thing

 

My mother’s voice sounds a lot like this:

  • I am alone
  • I will be alone forever
  • I am unwanted
  • I am unloved
  • I don’t deserve to be loved
  • I need to grasp love and attention wherever I find it
  • I am not good enough
  • The world is a scary place
  • I am not worthy of love
  • I am not enough
  • I have to prove my love
  • Everyone is better than me
  • Nobody wants me
  • I have to smile and be ok all the time
  • I inconvenience people
  • I am wrong
  • I am to blame
  • I don’t have a right to say no
  • There’s something terribly wrong with me
  • The universe is against me
  • I have very bad luck
  • I need to have a man to be ok
  • My needs are not important
  • My desires are wrong
  • Be scared all the time

Only now at the age of 40 am I able to step back, and see how much damage these voices have caused. They are so powerful because they were the voices I heard in my tender, formative years. Only now am I able to have some distance from them and acknowledge them. For so long these voices were all me. With these big scary voices, there was no space for the authentic ME. How could there be. My mum taught me that I had to grasp and clutch at the straws thrown in my direction while my father taught me that I couldn’t get too close because I was too bad and shameful and unworthy of any love given.

As I unravel these voices slowly and painstakingly, I am also unfolding my very own voice, the one trapped deep inside, and each day I love her more. The sound of my voice, the warmth and generosity of  my spirit, the courage and fearlessness within and the fun-loving and playful side of me. I am finally emerging and unburdening myself and you can too.

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12 thoughts on “You are not me

  1. Every time I read your posts I cry because I relate so deeply. I have the same voices and I thought I was the only one who had these: “I am too loud. I need to keep quiet. I take up too much space.” The mother voice I have tapped into and learned to identify and it’s easier to let go of, but the father voice makes me want to hide and cover myself up and disappear. Just reading it makes me feel disgusting which means I have more work to do there for sure! And yet it’s freeing because I understand it. I see it for what it is: ABUSE. And not my voice. Thank you for this. You help!

    And this I love:
    “As I unravel these voices slowly and painstakingly, I am also unfolding my very own voice, the one trapped deep inside, and each day I love her more. The sound of my voice, the warmth and generosity of my spirit, the courage and fearlessness within and the fun-loving and playful side of me.”

    Thank you .

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad that I can help. I know, I relate deeply to your posts too. Isn’t it so sad how profoundly ABUSE affects adult survivors and the voices are the same regardless of the details. That just goes to show even more poignantly that they are not our voices! I am different in that I have more trouble lately with my mother’s voice and that fear of aloneness and feeling of being unworthy of love. It probably has something to do with being recently divorced. My father’s voice is still a struggle to hush but in a different way, in a more distant way if that makes sense. Yes it is liberating to identify the voices and have distance from them and free ourselves of their stronghold. Thank you for always validating and empathising!

      Liked by 1 person

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