Nothing More Than A Burden

These last two years have put me through so many life changing emotions that when I sit back and think about it, it feels unreal.

The biggest emotion that I have been struggling with, as you guys have seen here in previous posts, has been making myself a priority. I’ve still really been struggling with that one, even more so since the surgery. My friends are awesome, can I just say that? They rock my world. After the surgery when I finally told everyone that “surprise, I let a doctor break my face,” they came through big time. They came with groceries and meals, they came over to help out with the after the kids came back, they brought balloons, books, stuffed animals, and even sent a fruit basket from Florida!

As much as it made my heart swell with feeling loved, it also made my heart feel very heavy.

When I wrote the post about not making myself a priority, all of you had amazing insight into how allowing others to help me, not only helped me, but how it was also good for the “helper” as well. I totally understand that, because on all of the missions trips I have been on, I know how soothing it is for the soul to be able to help someone else. I’ve never once thought “Oh this is great, look at me, I’m being so helpful and Christian like.” No, I’ve always been grateful that I was given the opportunity to help someone. It felt good that I was able to give someone what they needed. Yet even now, I still have a hard time applying that to my own life when other’s try and help me. Even now, when I finally understand and accept that I do deserve help, it still doesn’t feel right.

So with all the time I had to sit around being trapped in my head after surgery, I decided to explore that feeling a bit. You see, I do have a healthy sense of self esteem, and it has honestly been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I do think I am a good person. I do think I am funny. I do think I am pretty. I do think I am smart. I do think that the world is a better place because I am here. As self inflating as that sounds, it’s really not. It’s healthy. I’m not saying that I am funnier, prettier, or smarter than anyone else, I’m just saying that I believe I am funny, pretty, and smart enough for myself. I am all of those things in quantities that are enough to make me happy, and I am happy that I can see that coming from what I have. On top of that, like I said, I have finally accepted that I do deserve good things in life.

So why then, if I feel good about who I am, and I love myself enough to understand that its ok to be a priority, is it still so hard for me to accept help?

It finally dawned on me, that it when it comes to other people, I’m afraid that if I let myself become a priority to them, that I will also become a burden, and that they will leave me because of it.

I think, generally speaking, that the vast majority of people grow up with a fairly common and what might be considered “normal” set of reinforced emotions. I think that it is also safe to say that most people start out life with a fairly common, or average, set of life standards. Now they may have all been raised in different fashions, but for the majority of people, they were born, they were cared for, loved, and cherished. As they grew they learned the meaning of love. They learned what it felt like to be happy. Their parents instilled in them virtues of self respect and self importance by constantly reinforcing the feelings that they were loved, that they were important, and that they were worth something. A healthy sense of pride was also instilled in them. Their outlook on life was based upon the foundation of “I am important. I am loved. The world is a better place because I am in it.” As they grew, they learned what didn’t feel good, and how to process the negative feelings such as anger, fear, and hurt that resulted from those “not good feeling” situations. Sure, everyone goes through rough times and periods of self doubt, but for the majority of people, they grow up believing that the world is generally loves them, and when they didn’t feel like that, they had enough of a foundation to stand firm, and to weed out the negative with a healthy set of coping skills.

Then there are the rest of us. Not loved from the beginning, or simply just being failed along the way. For us, there never were any feelings of security. There was no foundation to build upon. It was a disaster from the start and it set the tone for the future.

I look at myself and I see how it went wrong from the start. My first memories were not of being loved or of being happy. Not much of anything that would ever help me in life was instilled in me. Despite the facade of a family, I was taught from the beginning “You are not loved. We do not want you. You are nothing more to us than a burden and because of you, the world is a little bit uglier.” The emotions that I grew up with, the emotions that I was taught to base my standards off of, were uncertainty, sheer terror, and that I was always one millisecond away from being gone. That because of the simple fact that I existed, I was making the world a little bit worse. I was nothing more than a burden to be dealt with.

So to tie that all together for you, most people start out with a general idea that the world is happy that they are there; that the world is a little bit brighter because they exist. As they grow, their goal in life is to get everything that they were taught they deserve to get. The rest of us have it harder. I started out my life as the worst thing that had ever happened to someone and my challenge became clawing my way out of that label, and figuring out who I was and what I deserve.

It’s not easy. I always say that I am responsible for the choices that I have made, but I blame my parents for setting the stage for me to make those bad choices. Growing up, when I wasn’t being reminded of what a burden I was to my family, I was being bounced all over the place to accomodate my mother and her problems. At one point, I was dropped off at a mental hospital for reasons that I still don’t understand. I remember sitting on the couch in the day room one day and I could overhear two of the attendants talking to each other. “Why is she even here?” one asked the other. “I don’t know. No one can get ahold of her parents. The social worker said they aren’t sure what to do with her, so I guess she is just staying here until they figure out where they can stick her,” replied the other one.

No one wanted me, I was a burden all around.

When it came time to release me, I threatened to kill myself. I had learned real fast that other kids were there because they were suicidal, and if I didn’t want to go home, then I had better pretend to be suicidal.

I chose a mental hospital over my family.

Eventually they caught on to what I was doing and released me, and not long after that I ran right into the arms of my ex husband. I actually gave him the ring back before the wedding and told him that I couldn’t marry him. I knew I didn’t love him, and deep down I knew it wasn’t right. I remember that moment so clearly it feels as if it was yesterday. We were sitting in his car in the parking lot outside of his apartment. I had just taken the ring off my finger and handed it back to him. He looked at me and he said “This is right, you just don’t know it because you don’t know what love is. You don’t know how to be loved. You have never had anyone unconditionally love you in your entire life and here I am, telling you that I love you and I want you even when I know that you don’t love me. That is unconditional love.” Everything he said was so true and yet so wrong. Yes, I didn’t know what love was, I didn’t know how to be loved, but someone that loves you, someone that is 8 years older than you should know better. Someone that truly loves you would not use your deficits against you. They would want you to be happy and would not talk you into something that made only them happy. But I didn’t know any better and honestly, I didn’t think I would ever be able to do any better than that. I was happy that someone was willing to take on the burden that was me.

As I’ve mentioned before, he turned out to be extremely abusive. Honestly though, as twisted as it sounds, I would take the beatings and the rape over the emotional torment he put me through any day. He just tore me down any chance he got. He took everything my parents had instilled in me and reinforced it tenfold. Nothing I did was right, I was completely useless, and I was made to feel grateful that he allowed me to keep breathing. He controlled every aspect of my life by telling me exactly what he needed to in order to ensure that I remain broken.

“I have to sleep with other women because you are so fucking ugly. I see that you are eating dinner, you didn’t even thank me for working today so that you could afford to be able to eat that meal, and people who are not thankful don’t get to eat in my house. I’ll just buy your clothes from now on since you don’t know how to dress yourself. No one has ever wanted you so you had better be thankful that I put up with you everyday, because the day I decide to stop putting up with you will be the last day that anyone sees you. Do you think anyone will even care that you have disappeared? Who will even notice? Its not like anyone ever wanted you around anyways. You have been nothing more than a burden since the day you were born, and you should be grateful that I allow you to continue to exist.”

Anytime I ever tried to stand up for myself, I was quickly reminded of “your own parents didn’t even want you and they birthed you. Evolution was designed to weed out the inferior, so you had better just keep your damn mouth shut before nature catches up with you.”

I stood no chance in ever gaining any self respect. Then one day when he saw greener pasture’s, he threw me away, freed from the burden that was me.

I didn’t even allow myself any time to recover before the next guy swung in and promised me the world. This time telling me “Your ex was a waste of oxygen and working organs, but I really love you. You are so lucky that I love you despite how damaged you are.” Can you see where this is going?

Yup, I believed him too.

Even when he punched a concrete wall so hard that it broke his hand and he told me “you are lucky that wasn’t your face,” I actually thought to myself something along the lines of “wow, I am lucky. This guy deems me worthy enough to not actually hit me. I’m so lucky.” Loved that guy right up until the moment that he threw me away too, telling me that he wasn’t a garbage man sent to pick up the trash that was me and thus solidifying the fact that I was too much of a burden for anyone to deal with.

Growing up, I’m not sure how, but I did love me. I have another distinctive memory, (I’m not sure if I have shared this on here before, so forgive me if I have) of being locked out of the house in the snow with no coat, no socks, and no shoes. The pavement was so cold it was burning my feet. I actually tried to climb under my dad’s car because I could see that there was no snow under there, but the driveway was burning my palms. I took something, I don’t even remember what, put it on the driveway, and crouched down into a tiny little ball on my tippy toes on top of it. I remember crouching there with tears freezing to my face and asking myself “why bother?”

I have had a lot of moments in my life where I have wondered “why go on, is it even worth it,” and thankfully I have reaffirmed to myself each time that my life was worth it, but this, this was the first time. This was the first time where I consciously thought to myself “you need to decide right here and right now if you loving you will be enough for you, even if you spend the rest of your life where no one else sees anything good in you. You need to decide if you will be enough, because if not, just give up now.”

Reflecting on that now just breaks my heart. A child so young, with her whole life ahead of her, should be inside with her family, but instead is freezing on the driveway and wondering if she should just die.

Thankfully I decided that I was going to be enough, I was going to love myself, and I can honestly say, despite a few times of needing to reaffirm that thought to myself, that that has never changed.

What I have come to realize in this last year though, is that I don’t expect anyone else to see that. Somewhere along the lines, being ok with being enough for myself, turned into “I will only ever be enough for myself, and I will be ok if no one else sees that,” and so I let people treat me like trash. Even though I love myself, and I understand what I deserve, I have just relinquished myself to the fact that I’m ok if no one else ever sees that. My whole “I don’t really care what anyone else thinks of me” persona works great for me in a lot of scenario’s, but it totally screws me over in some of the most important ways when I don’t expect the respect that I deserve. Even though I love most every part about myself, my goal has been to not become a burden to anyone else. Because I have always relinquished myself to the idea that I will never be anything more than a burden to anyone, I have spent my entire life going completely out of my way to make sure that my presence in their life is nothing but a benefit.

Things are changing around here for me. It finally dawned on me one day that if I didn’t want to continue to get screwed over by people, that I needed to start expecting more from them. I don’t want to marry another loser. I don’t want to continue to let anyone who wants “in” on my life become a friend. I’m tired of being walked on and used. The foundation of any healthy relationship, is a mutual benefits package. There has to be give and take, or you end up in an abusive relationship/friendship. If I don’t want to continue to get used and abused, I need to be ok with not fulfilling every want, desire, and expectation that the other person has of me. If they stick around, even when I take and don’t give (as long as its equal in the long run) then THAT is a healthy relationship. If they don’t, then I dodged a bullet.

I look at my children, and I know what I want for them. I know what they deserve, and I know what I want to teach them to expect for themselves. I realize that I am the example that they will grow up learning from. I realize that they will model what they expect for themselves, by watching what I expect for me. It’s been interesting, because as I am parenting them, I am also parenting myself. When I am faced with a choice and I don’t know what to do, I think of what I would want for my daughter, what example I would want her to learn from, and then I apply that to myself. If I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that they are burdens to the world, not only do I need to fill up their self esteem tanks, but I need to be able to show them that it is ok to accept help, and that it is ok to expect things from other people.

This whole new “I am not a burden and I am going to expect more” has spilled into my dating life. I’m sure you guys are well aware by now that I am a serial dater. My friends think I am nuts, but I think its healthy. I am learning what I do and don’t like. I am learning what traits I want in someone. I’m learning to put my wants, and my needs, into action. I am finally at a point in my life where I am not craving the attention of a man. Sure, I’m lonely sometimes, but it’s not a hole that I feel needs to be filled with a boyfriend. I’m loving this whole serial dater thing. I am very, very, upfront with every man that I go out with that I am not looking for anything serious and that I am seeing other people, because my intention is not to hurt or mislead anyone. Its good for me to see that guys do want to get to know me and it is good for me to see that they do see value in me.

By no means am I looking for a man to give me value, but it is good for me to see that I am not a burden to everyone. It is good for me to see that I am a person who is sought after, because it means that I am learning that I don’t just need to settle for someone out of fear that no one else will ever want me. It’s also good for me to break up with them. It’s good for me to learn that I don’t need to just be ok with something that I’m not ok with. That I don’t just have to put up with something that I don’t like. It’s good for me to learn that I can set boundaries. That I can say “no,” when I don’t want to do something. That just because a guy leaves my life, doesn’t mean that I am going to be alone forever.

It’s not only good for me to learn these things, but its good for me to practice them. This is a good thing people, and I am loving the lesson’s that I am learning from it. I love that I can now see that I can go after what I want, and not just try and put up with what I am given.

I see this new found “expect more” trait when I am in the business world. Not only am I better able to set boundaries with my cleaning clients, but this whole not for profit is forcing me to stand up for myself, which is again, something that I am not used too. Anytime you approach an organization or a political figure with a set of problems that you have spotted and ways that you want to change them, they are naturally immediately going to get defensive.

The first few conversations I had with people, I totally got railroaded, they just ran right over me in the conversation. I had a talk with one guy that came at me so hard by the end of the conversation I had no idea what I was even talking about anymore. I want to make changes, I want to help other women, but in order to do that, I needed to change myself first. I need to be able to stand up for myself before I can stand up for the women that I want to help.

My meeting with the senator on Friday went fairly well all things considered. I was sitting at my kitchen table that morning and I was literally freaking out. A lot of the things the social worker had told me had completely screwed up everything I wanted to talk the the senator about. I’m sitting there at the table and I’m honest to gosh talking to myself out loud. “Ok girl, you need to pull it together. Forget about everything you don’t know, you don’t have any time to fix that now. Let’s talk about what you do know. You know xyz, and xyz, and xyz. Stick to that. Ok, how am I going to do that!? Ok, you don’t let her get onto the topics of the things you don’t know about. How do I do that? Ok, you need to control the conversation. Ok kid, good plan, this might actually work.”

I get to the meeting and as soon as she introduces herself, I start talking. I’m not even going to give this woman a chance to direct me into something that’s going to put my back against the wall. I was freaking out internally, so I just kept telling myself “look her in the eyes, act dominant, you got this.” I was kind of laughing because now I can totally see how political debates go, where they just try to control each other, and when they don’t have an answer, they just throw in some relatively related facts and statistics and take the conversation right back to where they want it to be. Thankfully, I am a statistics queen. I may not always be the brightest crayon in the box, but nobody will ever beat me in a statistics competition. My brain is so totally overflowing with facts, statistics, and quotes that it is absurd. Anyways, I digress, but I was proud of myself! No matter how it turned out, I was speaking up. I was feeling like what I had to say was important and I wanted to make sure that I was heard. That is HUGE for me, huge. When I left she said she was interested and was going to make some calls and get me into a few other meetings. Score!!

I think a lot of this change in my mindset is why I’m not letting the nutcase neighbor thing go. The other day I was trying to figure out why it bothers me so much. Like yea, there are all of the obvious reasons why it should bother me, but it bothers me MORE than that. It bothers me more than a lot of other things that should bother me do. Does that make any sense? I finally realized that it bothers me so much because I’m finally standing up for myself. I’m not going to to take this shit from them. I’m not going to just crawl back into my house like a wounded little puppy that they keep kicking. Nope. I am going to keep showing my face around them. I am going to keep trying to get my money from them. I am not going to be made to feel “less than” in the one place in this entire world where I feel happy. This is my house dammit. This is my life and they are not going to just sweep me away because they have decided that they no longer want to acknowledge my existence. Who knows where that whole thing will end up. I have a feeling that one of them is going to explode on me soon and you know what? Bring it on. I do exist and I’m not going to just disappear because they want me too.

So with all that being said, I am proud of myself for realizing this and making the necessary changes in my outlook and in my life. Growing up and in my marriage I was never allowed to have any pride in myself because that would mean that I was something of value and that simply went against everything that the people around me thought. If I was allowed to have any value placed on me, anything that deemed me a worthy human being, well then all of my abusers would be doing something wrong when they hurt me. But since I wasn’t worthy and I contained nothing of any value, then the abuse was ok, because who cares when you pick up a piece of trash and throw it away?

I care. I am not trash. Call me recycled, call me the pearl from the sand, I don’t care, but I am important. I am not just a burden and until I allow myself to see the value that I bring to the lives of others, then I am going to continue to let the wrong people into my life. The only person that is making my life harder at the moment, is me. I have so many people around me willing and wanting to help, and I don’t let them because I am too scared that they will leave me. Well that’s just great girl. Why let all these amazing people in your life if you aren’t willing to let them show you any of the benefits of them being there? “Hey, let’s just keep the people around that suck you dry and don’t want to bring any value to your life, and everyone that wants to help you, well lets just keep shoving them away.” Great logic there, isn’t it? Yea, I get it now.

So I’m ready. I’m ready to accept the help that people offer me. I’m ready to be vulnerable and open up my soul a little bit to the people around me. Will I get hurt? Maybe. Will I be let down at times? Most likely. Will I recover from it? Absolutely.

It will be ok. I will be ok. This new part of my journey is a bit unsettling for me, but the best view is from the top of the mountain, and the climb is easier with a team. There is a reason that people don’t climb Mt. Everest by themselves, they would never make it to the top. You need other people to help you when you are weak, to help you when you don’t think you can go on. You need other people to keep you on track and help you find your way. That doesn’t make you a burden, it makes you part of a team.

I not only have finally realized that I deserve to see the view from the top, and but I’m finally ready to let my team help me get there. I am not a burden, I am a team player, and just as my team is lucky to have me, I am very lucky to have them. The teams that make it to the top, are the one’s that work together the best. I am ready to be a team player.

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  • Anonymous
    February 17, 2014 at 4:50 am

    I have a question, and I don't think anyone can answer this better than you.I have been in a relationship for over a year now, and we have had so many challenges and ups and downs. I'm afraid I'm starting to see the relationship breaking down. It's like I'm trying to do all I can to stop it from falling, but I can't do enough. We're either stressed out because of bills or work, or we're just tired of the same routine. He's been coming home later and later every night, and I know something is up…I've seen hidden messages to other people.I wish that I had the self respect to be strong and stand on my own, but I'm in such a situation financially that I'm depending on this relationship to keep me from moving back in with family who have watched this spectacle for the past year.How can you handle being single? The fear of being alone is so crippling that I can't bring myself to leave. The world is such a scary place to be when you're struggling on your own. I know, because I was there at one point. I'm scared if this relationship doesn't work out, then it reflects on my future, and it reflects on what kind of relationships I will fall into later. I'm not getting any younger.And if I see him out someday with somebody new, how am I supposed to feel about that? The only answer I could think of would be to kill myself…I couldn't handle the thought. So how do I let go of the fear of ending up alone again? We put so much work into this, and it really took a lot out of me to open up and trust this guy…and if he cheats on me, what message does that send? How am I supposed to trust again?

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      It is scary when you leave a relationship. Being alone was downright terrifying for me in the beginning, and its still not always easy now, but I’ll tell you from experience, it only gets harder the longer you wait. Right now you are tied to him because you have no where else to go. But if you make that your reason to stay, then in the future you will be tied to him because you have a house, and kids, and tied assests, and more.

      If he is cheating on you, you need to find out. You need to make plans for your future security that don’t involve someone that you can’t trust being your security. If he is cheating, then what you have now is a false sense of security. I know thats hard to hear, but what you want, and what is, are not the same things.

      Its hard to watch your life fall apart, but you can’t be responsible for the lives and future of two people. Sometimes things just don’t work out. The world is littered with broken relationships, and they hurt. I remember feeling like my heart might actually stop beating, it hurt so much. But you will, and can, get through it. You can’t postpone the inevitable because it is difficult now. It will only make it harder in the future.

      Sit down and talk with him. See how he is feeling. Maybe he feels the same way. Maybe there is something to work on, maybe there isn’t. But if there isn’t, you deserve to know now, not years down the road when you have wasted even more of your time.

      What I hear from you is not “I love him,” its “I don’t know how to be single and I don’t want to live with my family.”

      Being single is hard, and honestly, I love it. After I got throught the heartache, I find it to be empowering. I couldn’t have learned this much about myself if I was with someone else.

      You deserve to be happy. You deserve someone who is faithful to you. This is not the last guy you will ever meet. Don’t miss the right one because you are wasting time with the wrong one.

  • vanessa
    February 17, 2014 at 8:40 am

    It is a blessing to be able to bear witness to you coming into your own. It's like watching a caterpillar realize that it is, ultimately, a butterfly. <3

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      You totally just reminded me of the fact that they first thing I ever wrote, was a play called “the moth and the butterfly,” and it falls eerily along these same lines. It won a national play company’s contest, and the play was performed all over the nation with actors and sets, and everything. How strange to watch my fourth grade work come full circle…..

  • Anonymous
    February 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    You are acknowledging it yourself that the relationship is not working out any longer and you are trying to make it survive because you fear of being alone in a cruel world. In reality, this relationship is not giving you anything albeit some comfort or rather safety of not being alone… however, if he is coming home late and hiding messages from you, he is not seeing to that either, it is only just what he is representing that you are in love with.It will be a struggle but ultimately a well worth it one when you struggled enough to achieve what you deserve, nothing less. There is a life beyond a relationship and you should really think about being comfortable with yourself and your 'lonely' self as you called it before getting into another relationship. A healthy relationship is not when you depend on someone but when that same relationship complements your life. YOU DESERVE TO BE LOVED!!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      I think this comment is in response to the first commentor’s question, and I agree 🙂 Good advice!!

  • Mary Anne
    February 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I am so delighted to hear of your break through here! It is so hard to let others help and give to us when we have never learned we are worth it. And it is equally wonderful that you have started to see that relationships need to be a two way street! It can not be a true friendship if one person does all the giving. But I would give a small warning here….when I finally decided that I would not any longer be the person that did ALL the giving in my relationships, I let the pendulum swing too far the other way. THESE were the things I expected out of a friendship and if they weren't met then I was fine with letting the relationship die.It wasn't like I told people that but kept kind of a mental “notebook”. And I never said to someone “you don't give what I need so I am done”…I just drifted away. I didn't allow for the fact that people express love in different ways, that others also are broken, that I also needed to show grace. I am sure I walked away from a few friendships that could have been really good. It took awhile before the pendulum swung back to center and I became a bit more moderate in my assessments. Perhaps you will be more modulated in your relationships than I was but I guess what I am saying is go with your gut on people but still think carefully before you walk away.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Yes!!! I am afraid I am going to do that to. Its such a fine line to walk, especially when you aren’t sure where an appropriate boundery line is to begine with. Luckily I have all of you smart people on here to bounce things off of. Lol! And just you wait, I will be asking….

  • Butterfly14
    February 17, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    🙂 !!!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm


  • Amanda Harris
    February 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    You have it absolutely right. You are worthy of attention and love; I am absolutely floored at how willing you are to not only stick up for yourself, but how you articulate it and how you manage to stay positive. Kudos.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Its definitely been a learning process. Thank you!

  • jcarson84
    February 17, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    I absolutely love this post. It's so great to see you standing up for yourself and acknowledging that you're worthy of the help and love other people have to offer you.So much of what you've written here could be from a book about my life. I was raised in an environment where instead of a family, we had “The Team” and the team was only as strong as its weakest player (that would be me, of course). I was told from as early as I can remember that I'd never be smart enough to live on my own, that I should get plastic surgery to lessen/remove the scars on my abdomen or I'd never get married because nobody loves a girl with scars, that I was always going to be dependent on my parents because I just wasn't good enough, that if I didn't completely change who I was as a person, nobody would love me, etc. We also moved around a lot, so by 9th grade, I was in my 6th school in the 4th state we'd lived in and halfway through high school, I kind of took on a “Just screw it” attitude.I became a hermit. And I mean a serious hermit. I was bound and determined to prove my parents wrong. I didn't need them, I didn't need friends, I didn't need boyfriends. I would do EVERYTHING on my own.And for the last 15 years, that's what I've done. I took care of my brother and sister during my parents' divorce. I played cook and homework helper and chauffeur and bedtime story reader and maid and everything else. I put myself through college with exactly ZERO help from my parents. I did it not because I wanted to help my parents or because they expected me to do it, but because they told me every single day that I couldn't do it – I wasn't capable. So I proved them wrong.Except by taking it to that extreme, by pulling into myself and only myself, I've pretty much lost the ability to interact with other people. Moving around a lot didn't help either, I know. Because I kept losing friends with each move. Sure I can have conversations with coworkers and neighbors, but it never goes beyond general conversation. I don't know HOW to move the conversation beyond that point. I leave most conversations with people thinking what a fool I made of myself and how I really should just stop trying because I'm fully capable of being an entirely independent adult.But then I get lonely.So I'm in therapy. I'm doing individual therapy and a women's group and it's a slow, painfully slow process. But I think it's helping. I'm trying to branch out a bit. I'm in the process of joining a few meetup groups in the area and hopefully going on some hikes/nature walks once this two feet of snow melts.This is getting a heck of a lot longer than I intended. Sorry, I have a tendency to ramble.I'd just like to say that you are freaking amazing. It's wonderful to see what you've been able to accomplish. I think it gives the rest of us hope that the same can happen for us as well.Sending many hugs. 🙂

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      I’m glad you like the post 🙂

      Your childhood sounds like we had a lot of similarites in “raising” our siblings. Its amazing how many things get messed up for the rest of our lives just because of how our parents treated us.

      I’m glad you are seeking counseling, thats a great step!!! You deserve to have people around you, and just like me, you are learning to do so. We all have to start somewhere. We didn’t get the opportunity to learn appropriate social relationships while we were growing up, so now, not only do we have the hard task of learning them when we also have social pressures, but we have to unlearn everything that feels “natural” to us.

      I applaud you for working at it 🙂


  • toni choate
    February 18, 2014 at 12:47 am

    as always, exactly what I needed to hear. it's wonderful to hear from you, lady. :))

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks hun, glad you found it helpful 🙂

  • Sara A.
    February 18, 2014 at 1:56 am

    “It finally dawned on me one day that if I didn't want to continue to get screwed over by people, that I needed to start expecting more from them.” THIS! This is key. When you have high expectations of others they will either rise to meet them or they won't and you let them go or lower your expectations for that person. You will have to make a decision about when it's best to just cut your losses. For my mom, as long as the other person isn't actively trying to be mean, she'll lower expectations. Even with reasonable expectations, people will drift in and out of your life and it's sad.Didn't I tell you to take the conversational reigns when there's something important? In all areas of life you are in charge of your story and you get to decide how to spin things. I think of the baby you were and the little girl you were and I wish I could hug you. You aren't a burden. You never were. Your parents are no-good good-for-nothing expletives for imbuing you with the impression that by feeding, clothing, and housing you they were doing you a favor. I wish you'd had someone you could go to as a child! I'm sorry, I've been picturing someone doing that to my daughter and I can't understand it. I don't want to understand how one could do that to their child.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      I don’t want to understand it either 🙁 I can’t imagine treating my kids like that, it makes me sick to think of them hurting.

      Thank you for your advice 🙂 Smarty pants you

  • Anonymous
    February 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I could relate so well to your post, it was almost scary. Because technically I am one of the “normal people” you talk about, I have both parents around and they truly care. But I fully know the feeling of “being a burden” and not wanting to accept help, because I feel like I don't deserve it. My parents are great people, but they did not exactly plan their children and we always showed up at the wrong time. They never explicitly told us this was our fault! But as a matter of fact my parents have brought financial problems on themselves and having three children amidst that is not the best of ideas. 😀 Sadly they argued a lot in front of us and we grew up with the feeling of being just about bankrupt. Apparently that wasn't really the case, things were far less dramatic, but you can't really grasp these things as a kid and one of the earliest feelings I know in my life is fear. I was just terrified all the time. I am absolutely convinced that my parents did the best they could, but I (I'm not sure about my siblings here) always felt that it would've been easier for them if I hadn't been around. Bullies at school did the rest, convincing me to the core that I was not deserving and I could not talk to anyone, when I faced a problem.It is ridiculously hard to shake off that mindset. I have the greatest friends, who are always there and know how I feel (most of them are just as messed up :D), but I am really struggling with asking for help when I really really need it. I always feel people must have something much more important to do and I can not bother them with my minor hassles. They are far from minor to me, but hey, it's probably not important, because it's me, right? But I am trying hard and slowly achieving things. What sometimes helps me is to sit down and think: if one of them would call me right now, asking for what I am needing, would I be pissed and think it too unimportant to care? On the other hand, as you said, I try to not have myself walked over. It works out slightly different with me; I appear pretty dominant (which I'm not) and I lash out badly when I feel I have no way out. Thing is: I feel like a heap of crap afterwards, although it was probably a looong way of me always giving in and putting my opposite first to get there in the first place. By now I realize that when I feel this way there was usually someone who pushed me against a wall until I snap, so I have to tell myself it's not always only my fault and I have a right to try and fend for myself, but I should try to do that before I get to the point where I hit the roof. So again I sit down and try to see myself from the outside: As my opponent, would I care about “her” needs?So it's essentially the same question and asking myself this not only slows me down, so I don't do something rash (hit my head against the wall instead of calling someone or lashing out instead of fending for myself sooner, but softer), but it also gets me to the point where I am able think: It's ok, I would not mind at all if I was called in for help for this kind of problem, so I am allowed to call someone. And it's ok, their feelings are not necessarily more important than yours, you can step up for yourself and disagree sooner.I wish you all the best on this rocky road, heads up, you'll get there!!!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 19, 2014 at 12:00 am

      Thanks for taking the time to write!! I can see how your upbringing would have led to you feeling the way that you do, and I’m proud of you for recognizing your “issues” and working on them. I like the whole “conversation with yourself” thing. I do that a lot, and it helps 😉

      I am glad you are here, and I love your insights 🙂

  • Sara A.
    February 20, 2014 at 4:25 am

    Not to add to your problems, but if you suspect your partner has been unfaithful, you need to get yourself to a doctor and get yourself screened for STIs. Women are strong and have always been able to do what they have to to survive. You will find the inner strength to make it on your own. You might see him out with another woman, and hopefully you'll be able to think “Good riddance to bad rubbish!” If not, you might be sad, but it's ok to feel sad. As to how to trust? Well, it will take time. Maybe not this year, but someday you'll be ready to lend out your heart again.

  • Cathrine
    February 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    This one kind of hit home with me, my mom always wanted a boy and first got a daughter… then another daughter(me)! Then finally, a boy. This isn't something they have hidden, we all knew that early on. That and so many other things have made me feel unwanted by my parents, my mom being very cold and not showing her emotions is another. When I left my husband a couple of months back my parents and family wouldn't help me in any way. They wouldn't even let me stay there when I had nowhere to go. My grandparents wouldn't take me in either, even though I know they have a room left over even after their dog got its own room. Yes, they let their dog have its own room but not their granddaughter.So I know the feeling of being unwanted, it's a horrible feeling and I'm trying to learn how to get out of it. Many times I've felt like it would have been better if I was never born and that the world would be a better place without me in it. But taking one day at a time, I'm slowly learning that is not the case. Thank you for this post, it was, as always, very insightful and nice to read.<3

    • NotMyShametoBear
      February 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Yep, my family wouldn’t take me in after my ex left and I thought I was going to lose the house. They were perfectly fine with me and my kids living in a shelter. (shakes head)

      I’m sorry that you had to go through stuff like that as well 🙁 It sucks!! But know this, their issues are not your problems. You are important, and even if you don’t know exactly why yet, the world absolutely needs you. Don’t let their childish behaivor influence the way you feel about yourself. It I had, I wouldn’t be here now either. You can do it, and we can all help you!

      Love you hun!!

  • Anonymous
    April 27, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I still find it amazing that everything that we are, how we are molded, happens at our young age. Had you grown up with the reinforcement that you are brave, and strong, you would have never stayed with your children's father longer than a split second – you would have been taught to stay away from such a threat. But…on the bright side of it all, as disgusting as he is, the two good things that came out of this, are your children. They will be/they are the reason for everything now, and will be your motive to get you through anything…this is what a co-worker told me when she found out the father of my children and I split up. I've learned that there are so many blessings in disguise…

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      You dont always get what you want, but you can love what you get 🙂

  • Anonymous
    April 28, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Absolutely 🙂

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