.. may break my bones, but words will haunt me forever.
I grew up in an verbally abusive environment. While I was able to eventually shake off a lot of the damage my mother did, I have an extreme tendency to internalize and dwell. I remember every bad thing ever said to me – not just by my mother, but also from years upon years of living online. I run in mostly decent circles now, so there’s a great deal less nastiness dished out on a daily basis – in fact, it almost never happens. It’s part of growing up, I think.
I don’t censor myself, but I do live by one hard and fast rule – don’t be a dick. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. I have an almost pathological need for people to like me (thankfully buffered by my overwhelming need to do what feels right; I’m not a doormat or sycophant), and I try really hard to be nice. I think I’m a good person. I’ll do anything to help a friend in need, or even people I don’t know. I just want to be a nice person; someone people think fondly of. I’ve had so many years of people saying horrible, terrible things to me – family members, friends, acquaintances, strangers – I don’t want to relive any of it.
Except I do, all the time, because I can’t let it go. I always remember the bad in crystal clarity – I go over it in my head again and again, turning it around and obsessing over it. Running in better circles than I did a lifetime ago has helped a lot – time heals most wounds, after all – but not everyone subscribes to the “don’t be a dick” way of life, and I’ve spent the last several weeks obsessing over some recent hateful words. I don’t want to, but I can’t stop. I waffle between sadness and red-hot fury, unable to find peace. Worse, it’s bringing back memories of other things said to me that I thought I had gotten over, and I’m existing in an ominous cloud of doubt and stress. I hate that words have this kind of power over me. I hate the hypocrisy of it all. I hate the aftermath; knowing that I’m going to lose (or have already lost) friends if I can’t get over it. I hate knowing that I’m the only one suffering, because no one else cares if I’m bullied. I hate that people don’t know or care; think that the attack on me was cute or hilarious. I hate that I’m being shut out because I’m not okay with being treated like that. I hate being hurt.
How do you get over things?