I hated the person I used to be. I find the word ‘hate’ to be a bit extreme in most cases, but in regard to this, it seemed fitting. Now, take note that I used past tense. I do not currently hate who I used to be, because I’ve accepted that the old me got me to who I am today. However, I thoroughly disliked being reminded of who I used to be because I simply refused to acknowledge a few things: I was emotionally fragile, easily manipulated, and as a result, I became manipulative myself, cold, and frankly, an asshole.
I rarely talked about my adolescence before this past year. I wanted to just pretend that it didn’t actually happen. Avoidance is a coping skill, right? Part of this avoidance and outright denial of who I used to be may be connected to the fact that I was physically and mentally abused for 5 years of my adolescence and in my mind, that excused my shitty behavior toward others. The fact of the matter is, I didn’t take back my life after the abuse. I avoided. I projected. I denied. I buried. I pushed away. Most of all, I hurt others when I was hurting. This is why I hated who I used to be.
When I was in high school (bleh), I was pretty consistently cheated on by the same individual. I didn’t know how to cope with this except by having a nervous breakdown (multiple times) and then find a way to retaliate. I chose to retaliate on the girls that he was cheating with, rather than address his unfaithfulness appropriately. I did this by getting into massive “text fights” with them that would immediately turn ugly. I would try to pull others on my side of it to isolate these girls. Lastly, when my partner ended things with me to be with one of these girls, I went over to his house every single day after school because I knew he’d cheat on her with me. In my mind, this was winning him back. I don’t feel I was intentionally trying to emotionally harm the girl I’m referring to, because the cheating was a secret for a very long time, but I did what I could to essentially sabotage their relationship. I hated myself for this.
Now, the only reason I’m making a blog post about the mean person I used to be is to show you that if we take ownership of our faults and actively work to change, it can be the most rewarding experience. I often use my personal experience as reference in my sessions with clients experiencing self hatred and low self worth, because it offers a light at the end of the tunnel. We are who we allow ourselves to be. I made amends with these girls that I had hurt in my past and I vowed to myself to never allow another person to have so much power over my emotions and actions. I had made a blog post a few months ago about the bullying that I had experienced in high school during this time as well, and it gives a good idea as to how confusing this time period was for me. I felt so hated and despised by strangers, yet forced others to be isolated in my own retaliation. Perhaps it was some way to make myself feel powerful, but in the end, it hurt everyone involved.
I hated who I once was. But I worked hard to build a better life, a better me, a happier me. I love the person that I am today and that took about 27 years altogether to say that. I don’t identify with any part of who I used to be, but in some way, I am thankful for her because I’ve made it to today.