by Jennifer Stuck
It’s a natural human instinct to crave companionship. I will always need other people. It’s healthy to have people I can turn to when I’m having a hard time—friends I enjoy being around and having fun with. However, when the need for others outweighs my sense of self it becomes a problem. Nobody can be there for me all the time. Even the most dedicated friend can’t help with everything. I’m the only one who can be there anytime I need it, day or night, to comfort and entertain myself.
Unfortunately, my abusers wanted to make me dependant on them. If I needed them, they would have easy access to me and I would be less likely to speak out about the abuse. Also, at their core, all abusers are needy people. They came to us to fill their disgusting physical and emotional needs. Therefore, many of us learned to form unhealthy, needy relationships. To make matters worse, we often cling to the wrong people in our current relationships, which leads to further abuse and disappointment. The abuse taught us from an early age to accept love however it was offered.
The cycle that I noticed in my life was I used to find one person who I felt comfortable with and I would become extremely attached to that person. The problem was, I was being drawn to what I was familiar with—unhealthy, abusive people. I would put all my trust into them and inevitably get hurt.
In the past, the healthier a person was, the less comfortable I felt around them. I thought that 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, which kept me from making trustworthy, supportive friends. I continued to cling to the wrong people and get hurt. It took me a long time to realize that it was a cycle created by my abuse.
Instead of coming to the conclusion that I had put trust in the wrong person, I believed that there was some terrible flaw about me that made me unlovable. There must be something about me that made it impossible for someone to love me once they really got to know me.
Ever sense I was four years old and my family found me being abused, when their normally loving faces turned cold, I thought that 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. 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.
Not only was I clinging to the wrong people, I was making them my first and only support system, clinging to one unhealthy person at a time expecting them to fill all my emotional needs. 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. I am the first person I go to for comfort, I can make myself feel better, and I can have fun and laugh on my own. By 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 and 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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