I was incapable of managing
The insanity in which I was raised.
Helpless to act, powerless to control.
Only a scared young child with no skills,
I quickly learned to adapt to survive.
Fearful, I did what was necessary
To limit the pain inflicted on me.
“Don’t talk, trust, or feel” was my mantra.
I turned inside myself. Made myself small.
Wanting to disappear from the harsh words
And raised voices, I withdrew to my room,
Trying to use books to combat my fear.
Any situation could turn angry.
Kind words said in derogatory tones
Were often the first indication of
The meanness to come. In roll the storm clouds.
Yelling, stomping, slamming doors echoing
Throughout the house. Anxiety ran high.
All close objects were used for punishment.
My fault, I was told, when the yard stick broke
Across my back. I just wasted money.
Red metal spoons, belts with shiny buckles,
Even fly swatters were her instruments
To teach me to be a good little girl.
Most things I said were labeled “arguing”.
Arguing earned me many punishments:
Writing five hundred matching sentences,
Cleaning until every room was spotless,
Being confined to my bedroom, alone.
I kept quiet until I erupted,
Unable to continue swallowing
My speech, I vomited anger right back.
Tried to hold it in, but wasn’t able.
Indignantly livid, my screams matched theirs.
Both my incensed feet stomped in time with theirs.
Though my door slammed harder, faster than theirs.
Not just fear, I endured criticism.
Nothing about me was acceptable.
My very presence brought irritation.
The list of things “wrong” with me was endless:
Smart mouth, quick temper, fat knees, chewed nails,
Silly beliefs, grades in school, saggy boobs,
Bushy eyebrows, clothing choice, fav movies,
Vocabulary, diet, music tastes.
I learned their lesson: they thought me worthless.
Good only for mocking and hard labor.
I considered myself Cinderella,
Being abused by family who hates her.
It was made clear I mattered far less than
My siblings. Our treatment was off balance.
No wrong came from them. No right came from me.
The easy scapegoat, it was all my fault.
No matter what happened, I took the blame.
No wonder my anger grew at warp speed.
I believed all the words they said to me.
I knew no better – a helpless child.
No one knew it would grow to consume me.
It was assumed I’d get past “growing pains”.
I was just a normal adolescent.
So everyone thought. So I was told…
Scared child to maladjusted adult,
Unsure how to act in society.
Friends were never as close as I wanted.
They’d show interest and I’d suffocate them,
Not understanding why ev’ryone left.
I did all I could to make them happy.
I thought it my job to please those people.
I lost myself to be who they wanted,
And then was crushed when I also lost them.
Soon I became numb and kept others out.
Easier than allowing them inside.
They wouldn’t stick around long, anyhow.
All wrapped up, I isolated myself.
People, places and things terrified me.
Especially people. Angry people.
Angry ones who had power over me.
My boss’ loud, raised voice made me tremble.
Panic would arise at the mere thought of
Conversing with those in authority.
Making it happen was impossible.
No matter how tolerant and gentle,
I see a monster in my boss’ chair;
Waiting for fuck ups. Waiting to eat me.
Despite its presence, I felt no mercy.
I’ve known in my being that I’m just wrong.
Between the two of us, you’re always right.
I’m stupid, thoughtless, silly, just plain dumb.
All your kind words hit me like pointed barbs.
I know that you can’t possibly believe
The positive things you say about me.
What’s the set up? What’s coming at me next?
There’s no fucking way that you could like me.
You don’t know me yet. Not the “real” me.
Just wait until I show you who’s inside.
I know me, and I despise who I am.
My inner view is spot on. Give it time.
Numbing out as I have, I’m just not sure
How to express what I’m feeling within.
I’m incapable of telling myself
What’s going on. Far less could I tell you.
I can’t name most emotions, likely cuz
All I feel is numbness, anger, guilt.
Guilt pops up when I think of myself first.
Don’t worry, I won’t stand up for myself.
I know that’s wrong. Easier to deal
With feeling shat on and walked all over
Than to think I have the right to matter.
I know I exist to give in to you.
The cherry on top is the drama that
Endlessly follows me. I can’t stop it.
I feel calm when the chaos starts up.
I’m knocked off my feet when things are steady.
I don’t know how to let life be peaceful.
That’s just not normal. Doesn’t feel right.
I am more settled when you start to yell.
Despite my fear, anger is a welcome
Friend. Comfortable and predictable.
I can handle disorder and discord.
Tranquility is unknown and scary.
Commotion is the drug that will soothe me.
As the fog of denial releases
Its hold on me, I can see the laundry
List of bad behaviors that I possess.
No longer a child, I can hardly
Claim helplessness. No more in denial,
I’ve lost excuses not to act, to change.
In the past, I’d rebuff accusations
Of the precise actions just detailed,
When I did all of the above…and worse.
I now see my games, manipulation
Of people and, of course, my victimhood.
Others saw my conduct clearer than I.
Now that I’m aware, now that I can see,
I can take the twelve necessary steps
To endeavor the changes desired
In my life. No way will it be easy,
But the program is so simply laid out.
All I have to do is follow, and I’ll
Not help but see drastic differences.
Read the book, attend meetings, call people,
Share honestly and, above all, trust GOD.
I know it’s a process, not an event,
But slowly, surely, life will get better.
There is hope at the end of this tunnel.
Already I feel a weight lifted.
Seeing this makes life more manageable.
I’m still powerless. I have no control
Over other people, places or things,
But there is one person I can control.
I now have the wisdom to know that the
Only person I can force to act is
Me, myself and I. Now, as an actor,
I am no longer that helpless child,
Just tossed about and reacting to life.
I no more need to be miserable.
I’m not perfect, but GOD’s perfecting me.
I’ll continue out of isolation.
I’ll be rigorously honest, even
With myself. I’ll reach out to others and
Let them in. Trust them. Be vulnerable.
I’ll stand up for and take care of myself.
I’ll show and feel love, intimacy.
It will be a gift, not an unknown fear.
With the help of GOD and fellow trav’lers,
I’ll know I matter. That I’m important.
I’ll expect the best and I will get it.
I’ll reparent myself with lots of love.
I’ll improve and I’ll be helpless no more.