Friday, March 20, 2009


I hate myself. That's the short of it. I have struggled with this as long as I can remember. In talking with my therapist this week, he reminded me of some of the reasons that I am a good person. I hear it, my brain processes the words, my heart wants to believe it, but then the familiar words of "if he only knew" creep in and consume any hopes of believing it is true. Sad thing is, he does know. He knows more about me than any other person... he knows the nitty gritty details, the good, the bad and the dark & ugly. So if someone who does "know" can still find the good in me, then why the hell can't I believe it?

It's frustrating. I don't enjoy walking around feeling like this. Shame is my cloak and hatred follows me wherever I go. I envy the people who have good self-esteem because I am not one of those people. My husband is one of those who just looks comfortable in his own skin. My skin is too tight. So I cut.

I was taught to cut. By someone close to me who was hurting me. It is almost as if it was their calculated attempt to hide my feelings from the world and show me how to turn them inward. The sad thing is, cutting as I was taught did ease my feelings of guilt, shame, anger, etc. It was my release and my best means of controlling my feelings. A simple cut was a distraction to the larger pain. I believe this is where my self-destructive behavior took root.

Over the years my self-destruction has taken many forms. Alcohol, prescription drugs, more cutting, binge eating, purging, not eating, and pushing everyone away who even attempted to love or care for me. "I will make them leave before they can decide on their own to leave me", that was my constant thought. I've always thought it to be better anyways because anyone who got to know me surely would be repulsed by my secrets. I work hard to ruin my own success because I'm terrified of the good happening in my life. Good means that it can turn to bad. However, it sure is a lot of work to live my life like this and from the outside looking in, it must look strange to watch me ruin the good things going for me. I know my husband sees it as strange; a frequent argument between us is my resistance to let him love me. He knows me, maybe not all the dark and sordid details but he still knows me. And even then, I still resist the good that is him in my life.

All this leads me back to the silent treatment. I ignore my own feelings, thoughts, emotions, and dreams. In a sense, I give myself the silent treatment. And in return, that pain created by the silence, leaks out as self-destruction and hatred. When the good comes in my life I embrace it for a time and actually attempt to feel. But then, like clockwork, I shut down and the silence begins. An internal temper-tantrum eventually ensues, screaming to get my attention only to be met with more silence until I can no longer ignore it. By then I am so out of control that I resort to self-destruction which temporarily cures the larger pain in my life.

In writing this, I can see that I'm actually quite predictable. No wonder people close to me are maddened to watch this process happen time and time again. So here goes, I'm going to start listening to myself and hearing them out instead of screaming back to shut up. Hearing myself has to be easier in the long term than continuing to make a mess out of my life through self-destruction because now, for the first time, my own destruction is hurting those around me who love me and that is something I cannot continue to do.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Due to some issues in my home having to do with my step-kids, I've been researching how the silent treatment can affect a person. I have spent the past two months literally having two words per day spoken to me by the kids. The rest of the time, I am invisible... unless they really, really need something and hubby (their dad) isn't around. I walk in a room, they leave. I try and talk to them, they go in their rooms and shut the doors.

You're probably wondering what I did. Am I the wicked step-mother? No, not at all. When hubby and I married they embraced me. We had fun together, we laughed, we cooked, we went on bike rides together. I guess we were having too much fun because slowly but surely their mother has turned them against both their dad and me. She has stopped at nothing trying to destroy our family and she openly states that she won't be happy until she succeeds. So unfortunate and so painful for her own kids. Fortunately hubby and I have a solid marriage and a commitment to our family. But it still isn't easy.

I can't describe the feelings I physically and emotionally experience during these times of the silent treatment. It is both numbing and painful. I want to throw up my hands, I want to dig in and fight for my home and my family, I want to be invisible like they wish me to be, I want to be left alone, I want to scream in the middle of my living room until someone acknowledges that I do exist. Maddening.

Here's what I found on the silent treatment: Probably at one time or another you have been either on the giving or receiving end of a silent treatment, otherwise known as the cold shoulder. What you probably didn’t realize is that the silent treatment is a form of ostracism. When someone is ostracized it affects the part of their brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. Do you know what the anterior cingulate cortex does?

The anterior cingulate cortex is the part of the brain that detects pain. When you give someone the silent treatment you are causing that person physical pain. Simply by ignoring someone else’s existence you can inflict pain on them. This is what the ever popular “time out” with a child is so effective. The child feels ostracized, therefore is feeling pain even though no physical pain was inflicted on them, and therefor they want to behave so they don’t have to feel that way again. The silent treatment can be a very destructive behavior when it involves personal relationships. (

Everything I read related the silent treatment back to the brain's reaction and the physical reaction. No wonder I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest and that there's a bowling ball in my stomach on the weekends that this takes place in my home. I know that some reading are probably saying "but they are just kids...". I tried making that excuse for them too; until I saw that they are wholly capable of being warm, friendly, and affectionate to others when they want to. And they are not young children either. They are Jr Highers who get decent grades, stay out of trouble in school, and have friends. They choose this behavior and that is probably the most difficult part of all of this. They want to treat me like this. I feel like a complete and utter failure. I feel like a stranger in my own home. My automatic response is to blame myself even though everyone around me tells me that I've done nothing wrong. It's their mother, it's the situation, etc... Whatever it is, it hurts.

Writing all of this has made me think of how this applies to how I treat myself. How I give my own thoughts, feelings, memories, and even dreams the silent treatment. No wonder I have relentless self-hatred and self-destruction that runs a mile deep. More later...