I think that everyone has some level of insecurity; some of us are insecure about our looks, some of us are insecure about our educational and job skills, and some of us are insecure about our parenting techniques. But my level of insecurity has been all of the above and then some, and for a very, very long time, in my eyes, everyone was better looking, smarter and a better parent than I could ever hope to be.
I blog and I write extensively about the physical abuse my mother inflicted on me as a child. I write about the physical pain and the emotional scars that Mom left on me and the struggle to get over the pain of child abuse as an adult. I write about my flashbacks and triggers, the pain of cutting out a toxic parent, and how I deal with seeing and feeling the physical scars of my childhood on a daily basis. I feel like I help a lot of people with my books and my blogs and for me to admit that I still am deeply insecure, almost childishly insecure, because of my childhood makes me feel as if I am a failure.
It’s the truth though – regardless of how much I have accomplished, how well my children do in school, and how beautiful I’m told I am, I still can’t stop comparing myself to other people and assuming that they are better than I could ever hope to be. I can’t help the way I feel because I was raised to be this way. Typical conversations with Mom would go something like this:
“Mom, I got an A in Math on my report card!”
“But Justin got an A+. I bet her mother is proud”
“Mom, I qualified for the state track meet!”
“You’ll lose. Why even go?”
“Mom, do I look nice in this shirt?”
“You look like shit everyday of your life. What makes today any different?”
You get the idea.
But looking back, I think Mom was one of the most insecure people I ever have or ever will meet. I remember being out in public with her and my stepdad on numerous occasions and Mom snapping on my stepfather just because a pretty girl happened to walk by.
“I saw you checking out that woman! What did you like her boobs or did you like her ass? You are disgusting and I hate you!”
My stepfather would usually stand there with a dumfounded look on his face as Mom went on her rants about these random women. He knew better than to argue with her, so he would just go silent as Mom threw insult after insult at him, accepting her abuse just as the rest of us did. Mom degraded women and people she never knew all of the time just because she was insecure about herself. The more I sat and reflected on the way Mom acted during my childhood, it began to become crystal clear that Mom’s insults and her constant degrading attitude towards me and everyone else was her way of projecting her insecurities onto everyone else.
I wasn’t ugly, stupid, or void of any talent; those were Mom’s insecurities and she projected that onto me. My stepfather wasn’t constantly checking out other women, the problem was that Mom hated herself so much that she had to put everyone else down around her to make herself feel better. Mom hated herself so much that she abused me and everyone around her.
I don’t want to be Mom and I don’t want to hate myself so much that everyone around me suffers. I remind myself on a daily basis to accept people’s praise, recognize that I have accomplished a lot in my life, and that I am a human being worthy of love. I remind myself when I hear Mom’s taunts in my head that it was her problem, not mine. And I have pity for my mother, pity because I realize now how she sees herself in the mirror every day and pity because I know how she must feel about herself. We are all insecure about something, but we should never hate ourselves because of it. So the next time someone puts you down or says something hurtful about you, just remember, it’s a reflection of them – not you.