Most days, there is this voice that shows up in my head. It’s not a very nice voice. It tells me a lot of things, but mostly it tells me I suck. Not just that I suck, but that I suck harder than anyone has ever sucked before.
I went to a meeting today. It was a good meeting, but I had a hard time paying attention because I was distracted by the voice.
“You don’t belong here,” it said. “Most of the women here are obsessing over exes. Ex-boyfriends or husbands that actually loved them. People that they were actually in a relationship with. You’re obsessing over guys you used to have sex with. None of them ever loved you or even liked you. No one has ever wanted to be in a relationship with you and why would they?”
“The men here are obsessing over women far more beautiful and successful than you. No one would ever get obsessed with you or even be attracted to you. The men that you used to be involved with were only interested in you because they were sex addicts themselves and they would have slept with anyone. Everyone in this room has a better job and a much better life than you. You are, by far, the worst one here.”
I’m not positive where this voice came from, but I have some theories. I remember at a very young age my mom, who died in my early teens, would say to me, “You’re so selfish! You just think the world revolves around you, don’t you?” I was probably four or five. I know my mom who worked full-time in a demanding job was overwhelmed by the stresses of working, paying the bills, and motherhood. She also had some serious health issues around that time and was also dealing with depression. If she knew that this statement is what would stick in my head twenty-something years later, louder and clearer than anything else she ever said, I’m sure she never would have said it.
She did say it though. Maybe she said it several times, maybe she only said it once and immediately regretted it. I don’t know, but it still plays in my head like a loop, “You just think the world revolves around you, don’t you?” Don’t you know that your needs don’t matter? You’re a burden and need to stop bothering me.
My mom also said kind, encouraging things to me. She told me I was smart and that I was beautiful, but those memories are foggy. “You’re so selfish! You just think the world revolves around you, don’t you?” is as clear as if she said it an hour ago.
After my mom died (my dad had died a couple of years earlier), I went to live with my Aunt Buffy. She was verbally abusive and made it clear that my presence was a major burden for her. Almost everyday she reminded me that she wished I would just go away. I tried hard to be the perfect kid and win her over, but she could find fault in anything. One time she went into a verbal tirade and ripped me to shreds because I had closed the refrigerator door “wrong.” I had gently bumped it shut with my hip instead of closing it with my hand like a “normal” person. I’m sure the voice was already in place when I moved in with her, but she reinforced it and made it louder and stronger.
I know there is another voice in my head too. It’s faint, but sometimes it comes through over the more dominant, “you suck” voice. “Good job,” it says. “I love you no matter what.” “You are doing so great. I’m proud of you.” The relationship I have with my sponsor is reinforcing this positive, nurturing voice. I know the positive voice in the real thing. It’s my higher power, my higher self, God, whatever you want to call it. The “you suck” voice is just bad memories from childhood that got lodged into my psyche.
I’m now tasked with turning my will and my life over the the care of my Higher Power, who says, “I love you no matter what.” I need to let my Higher Power run the show, but the thing inside me that tells me, “you are the worst ever,” doesn’t want to give up the reins just yet.