An open letter to the people who hurt me most

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why you did the things you did to me – imagining what it must’ve been like to live in your head. How a person could get to a point where they either didn’t notice or didn’t care how much they were hurting another person.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. In fact I know that I’ve hurt plenty of people, too. Many of you included. But let’s not compare scars. I’ve tried to use my experiences of being the bad guy in the story to help me figure out how you did the things you did.

But I’m really… bored of rehashing those thoughts over and over until my brain goes numb. Because I think… while I know some of you genuinely cared about me, a few maybe even loved me so much that you couldn’t control it, a few probably hated me, and a few didn’t think twice about the fact that I had a mind of my own, at all… the one thing you all had in common was that you were so caught up in yourself, you were blinded, or perhaps just willfully blind, to the fact that my internal experience of my reality is every bit as real and vivid and immediate and meaningful as yours. That a reality you can’t experience first-hand can nevertheless be exactly as saturated with the heaviness of being “real” as the reality you can. That I am not merely a character in your story but the hero of my own, that I am not a paper cut-out of a person but a real one, and that you, in treating me otherwise, have not tarnished my reality, but your own.

And now, I’m scarred. I’m sure you are, too. But I choose not to let those scars make me forget that you are also human, that you also feel helpless, and that you deserve compassion, too, no matter how deep the scars you gave me feel. Life is a fucked up fun house and you’re lucky if you get out with only a handful of disasters on your conscience. So this… this is all I have left to say to you. All of you.

I’m sorry that life hurt you so badly that you felt that you had to hurt me. I’m sorry that you can’t see that other people’s pain is as real and important as yours is. And I’m sorry you bought into the false narrative that you and I are separate, because the truth – or at least I believe it is, maybe I just hope it is – is that everything you did to me, you did to yourself, as well.

The fun house mirrors might make your reflection look like a different person, but the eyes that stare back at you are still the same. What do you see, now, when you look at mine? Can I even convince you of the reality of the ocean behind them? Will you ever see the people around you in high resolution, or will you live your whole life creating caricatures to superimpose onto them instead? Will you even read this? Would you understand a word of it if you did, or would this just become another piece of evidence in my file, labeled “crazy girl number 467”?

Do you understand that I pity you, that I show you the mercy you failed to show me, not out of weakness, but strength? Can you see beyond your insecurities and your ego and your relentless self-abuse enough to realize the mountains I had to climb within my own mind to be able to write these words? Is there anything I could say that would make a difference to you at all, or can some people really just never be convinced that the earth rotates around the sun, and not themselves…?

Maybe we’re not as different as I’d like to think. We’re probably not. But I, at least, can see that. Can you?

8 thoughts on “An open letter to the people who hurt me most

  1. Ya. Most definitely. It’s a struggle day to day, but ya, I believe in you and I hope you can get to a place that you’re happy in and happy with your mental health. I know it’s not your fault those things happened to you, just like I know I didn’t deserve what happened to me, but it doesn’t define us. And ya your blogs are really interesting. I mean… Look at this post. You’re super brave to be so upfront and vulnerable about your abusers, the things you’ve seen, how you felt, how these people seemed to not see you as a person, and finally how you can still empathize and see them for who they are. I think you are more strong than you give yourself credit for. I know ruminating can be a symptom of depression and PTSD. That’s why I was kinda concerned seeing how bored you are of rehashing everything in you mind. I’ve been there and still am in alot of ways. I guess that’s why I was so adamant about sharing what’s helped me to leave some of that behind. As always, I appreciate your authenticity. I don’t feel attacked or anything. I’m glad you said what’s on your mind

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  2. Wow. This is really powerful. I love that you still continue to see the humanity in your assailants, even when they failed to see your own. I’m going through a bit of a metamorphosis in my own life. I think an important thing I’ve realized is that an event is only an event. We choose how it dictates our emotions and therefore, our lives. I don’t in any way mean to diminish your suffering, but I have found, in my life, that holding on to that pain has been a crutch that I have leaned on for so long. I’ve allowed it to justify so much self destruction and self loathing. So much so that I fell in love with my suffering. But I refuse to continue to live in delusion. I control my fate. My experiences, injustices done upon me, are just events. I dictate how they affect my emotional state. And therefore my life. I hope you don’t live with any crutches, but if you do….. You can always get rid of them. With self determination.

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    1. I mean, I dunno, I think everybody heals at their own pace. I agree on some level that we choose how we react to things, but I feel like there is a lot that we don’t choose and those things deserve to be met with compassion, too. A lot of trauma causes actual physical brain damage, for one thing, so… I don’t think you can just magically flip a switch and decide not to let it affect you anymore. Just like, yuno, you wouldn’t expect someone with a head injury to just will their way to recovery. Will is part of it, for sure, but that’s not the whole story, is all I’m saying.

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      1. (Plus the whole “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” narrative is pretty problematic for the people who can’t. I’m lucky to have enough social support to get back on track after just a series of… Yeah. But not everyone is that lucky. Not everyone has the luxury of taking the time to focus on themselves enough to heal.)

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      2. I wrote a response, but I guess it didn’t post. Ughhh here we go again. I feel what you’re saying, and I feel you’re right to criticize my response. I think I may have worded it incorrectly. I’ve been dealing with the effects of an abusive household for…. Well my whole life. I’m 28 now. I said I love my suffering. I meant that I loved it on a subconscious level because it validated my behavior. I still deal with depression and anxiety toward a litany of healthy situations and environments, but I’m beginning to feel like that shouldn’t “justify” my actions. Depression and anxiety are real AF and they are issues I still strive to work through, but I have to be determined and not run from every sweet girl that shows me affection or freak out if things are going well in my personal life. In my experience, determination is helping me to face those fears and not resort to self medication and those types of behaviors. I feel I need to force myself to take some accountability rather than rely on crutches. You may disagree with me, but I think determination can be a precursor to overcoming some issues. And you’re right not everyone’s. But it’s helping me out. I was sort of, in a really shitty way, just trying to express something I’ve found that’s helped me out recently.

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      3. Yeah no worries, I was just pushing back a little because, like I said, it’s not that I don’t think determination and taking control of your own destiny aren’t important, it’s just, yuno, not the whole story. But I figure most people, most of the time, are talking more about themselves than anything so I didn’t feel you were attacking me or anything, I just… I mean I did the same thing and responded about my own point of view lol. Idk if that made sense but the point is, I wasn’t trying to be rude or anything and I’m just happy anybody bothers to read my blog at all. 🤣

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      4. Personally what I try to do when I’m feeling sorry for myself and letting it get the better of me, I give myself a time limit. Like okay, you get to feel sorry for yourself and make excuses for today, or for a week, even a month or a year, but if you let yourself feel bad today, then tomorrow you have to clean your sink and do the laundry. If you let yourself self sabotage this week, next week you have to do better. I just try to beat myself up as little as possible when I fail, now, after a lifetime of engaging in merciless and constant self-abuse. That doesn’t help anything, anyway, yuno?

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