These Thoughts Are Not My Own: Living Through Emotional Abuse


Emotional abuse is a de-programming and re-programming of the mind. Sometimes it can seem almost worse than the physical kind, because it comes through the inside and you unquestioningly absorb the lies upon lies that have been thrust upon your consciousness until you believe them to be absolute truths.

It is the manipulation of the developing brain of a child or an identity-seeking adult. It is the destruction of those who are vulnerable. A thought is never a stable thing: it can be formed and shaped over and again within the hands of the abuser. The abuser is the god, the superior, the controller of which that should never be controlled.

This specific brand of wound is not something that can be bandaged over and forgotten with confidence that it will heal on its own. It does not even know it is a wound; it has accepted itself as an aspect of normality. Worthlessness becomes commonplace, ugliness is a hopeless fact. What once triggered a burst of sadness has settled into a gray, desolate feeling of almost being.

You begin to think, to justify your abuser. The things they have told me are true, how can they not be? As I have been told and told and told, who am I to argue against what they see?

They must see me truly as I am, every day, without my holding a mirror and checking how I project every sound or smile. They must know me better than me, all I know is the clattering of my words, falling over each other as I speak them. All I know is a backwards version of my face. I could not judge my own beauty because beauty is perspective and I am, of course, biased of myself. I’d like to think I am beautiful, and kind, and smart. But they are telling me I am not and it must be so. They have placed themselves in a place of ultimate judgement, and their judgment must be, or at least close to, the judgement of I to all the others.

The abuser always wins because the power they have over you still reigns even after their physical presence has ceased. They have worked a sort of dark magic, and have turned you against yourself.

You become your own abuser. That is the thing you didn’t realize, the thing that those who have not experienced it do not understand. Emotional abuse does not land lightly on a heart. It embeds and spreads like an infectious disease that you are convinced is of your own creation.

Healing can only begin when you catch yourself in the middle of your self-loathing stream of thoughts and become aware of their origin. It seems impossible to look at them objectively once you are already drowning in them, but it can happen.

You must realize these cognitive lapses are the result of things that were falsely inserted into your mental faculties. You must learn to break outside of the glass that so often feels like your skin. You have to commit to relearn yourself, even if yourself is something that is long abandoned and has deteriorated to near nothingness.

You are something, even if you were led to believe otherwise.