Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Hurtful Words Tell You Who You Are Not

You Define Who You Are

My Mamaw (great-grandmother) said “Give ’em to me” via a psychic last summer. Mamaw was talking about the hurtful words I have absorbed and any hurtful words I may hear in the future. She said those words didn’t mean anything – they weren’t true, and the only person hanging on to them was me.

I should have listened then, but I am ready to listen now.

Last summer I was healing, but I didn’t want to let go of those hurtful words. They were my fuel. Holding them close, allowing them to rest inside of me, created a kindling reserve. Anytime I felt I couldn’t go on, I’d rub those dry old words together and spark myself into action.

I felt I needed that spark last summer because those tiny words that had grown from my husband’s mouth were all that I thought I had. I didn’t know how to continue without reigniting his abusive words, without blaming and excoriating him.

I fueled myself on the lies he fed to me, and I selfishly protected every hurtful word because, painful as they were to hear and relive, I felt that without them, I was nothing. The hurtful words at least told me what I was not.

  • I am not selfish.
  • I am not disloyal.
  • I am not irresponsible.
  • I am not a liar.
  • I am not pig-headed.
  • I am not a whore.

But now, after burning those words for energy, I find that removing what I am NOT is quite different from deciding and discovering what I AM.

I’ve burnt through much of that kindling. My energy is diminishing in noticeable ways and I’m beginning to feel concerned. If I relinquish who I am NOT, then who will I BE? How difficult will it be to be me?

I want to cry from mental and emotional exhaustion. I think it was far easier to NOT BE something than to be me. It was definitely easier to attempt proving I was not a liar to my husband than it is being honest with myself.

I find that I’m still hoarding some of his hurtful words JUST IN CASE being me is too hard. Hating him for telling me I’m a failure in every conceivable way gives me an excuse to fail.

I now see Mamaw’s wisdom in her request. “Give ’em to me,” she said. Because Mamaw is dead she is presumably in a better and wiser place than I inhabit. She’ll know what to do with the remaining kindling I’ve fearfully stockpiled.

Mamaw, I’d like to give you these words:

  • failure
  • pointless, nothing more than, inconsequential, meaningless, only and merely

Now I am crying. It physically hurts in my throat and in my chest and where the fire-hot tears sting my eyes. It literally hurts to give away these words that I am NOT.

I don’t yet know what I am without them, and I am more than a little fearful to discover that who I am is powerful.