by Jennifer Stuck
When I was four years old, some members of my family found me being abused. Their normally loving faces turned cold.
I came to believe I had to hide what was happening to me. Even more than that, I thought I needed to hide who I was. I thought people only liked the fake me and the masks I put up, but not the real me underneath.
The healthier a person was, the less comfortable I felt around them. I thought there was no way a healthy person could love and accept me if unhealthy people didn’t.
Because of my fear of rejection, the only people I would fully open up to were unhealthy people. I was drawn to what I was familiar with—unhealthy, abusive people. I would put all my trust in them and inevitably get hurt.
That confirmed my belief there was some terrible flaw about me that made it impossible for someone to love me once they really got to know me. It never occurred to me that I trusted in the wrong people and that there might be something wrong with them. I could only blame myself for not being good enough to be loved. It took me a long time to realize that was a cycle created by my abuse.
Not only was I with the wrong people, I was in a cycle of finding one person I felt comfortable with. I’d become extremely attached to and dependent on that person. I made them my first and only support system, clinging to them, expecting them to fill all my emotional needs.
My abusers wanted to make me dependent on them. That gave them easy access to me and I was less likely to speak out about the abuse.
At their core, child molesters are needy, dependent people. They depend on children to fill their disgusting physical and emotional needs. My abusers modeled to me unhealthy, needy relationships and taught me to accept love however it was offered.
It’s a natural human instinct to crave companionship. It’s healthy to have people I can turn to when I’m having a hard time. However, my need for others outweighed my sense of self.
By depending so much on other people, I was setting myself up for disappointment. No one person could fill all of my needs, especially if I wasn’t filling my own first.
Now I’ve learned that I need a multi-person support system headed by myself. Nobody can be there for me all the time. Even the most dedicated friend can’t help with everything. By learning to be here for myself and depending on myself first, I eliminate the need to cling to unhealthy people. If I’m not desperate for love and support I can be choosier about who I invite into my life. I don’t need to look for love from unhealthy, abusive people. I can love myself.
Related Links: My Fear of Being Alone
Jennifer Stuck is whole-heartedly pursuing physical and emotional health and is determined to heal the wounds of her childhood sexual abuse. She loves to write, especially poetry. She is currently studying for a career in Physical Therapy. When she isn’t in school Jennifer is at home spending time with her two beautiful daughters.
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