I have survived quite a bit, and on most days, my resilience and adaptability are strengths, not weaknesses. But there was something about my resilience that made me feel like a fraud. Even though I did survive terrible things, and even though I did turn as much of my life as possible into something positive and productive, something in the background was nagging at me. My accomplishments felt empty. Even though there was obvious fruit from decisions I made to shut abusers out of my life, I still felt on some level like I didn’t deserve to enjoy a good life.
This nagging feeling was what eventually lead me down a deeper path of self-reflection and healing. Even though I knew all the facts of what emotional and narcissistic abuse was, I never felt comfortable fully embracing that I was, in fact, abused. I lived in a wasteland between the lie that I was somehow responsible for what happened to me and the horrible truth of what really happened.
Resilience felt like a mask. Even though on the outside, I carried myself as a generally positive person, I was constantly on the defense. I was constantly reading people to see if/how/when they might hurt me. I was constantly preparing Plans B, C, D and E for when Plan A would inevitably go awry at the hands of a toxic person. On some level, I expected people to purposely mess things up for me, punish me, or attack me. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
This is hypervigilance, and it is a symptom of Complex PTSD derived from trauma. Turns out, I had all the other symptoms, too.
Stepping into the truth meant climbing a mountain of grief. There is never a good time to grieve. It took up every once of time and space that I had. Perhaps that’s I why I held out so long. I knew at some point I would have to really deal with things. And yet, I discovered that the only better time to grieve than today is yesterday.
For me I found the truth of what I deserve on the other side of grief. I deserve to be loved. I deserve peace. I deserve family and friends who love me. I deserve joy. I deserve to celebrate the good.
And so I will.