It’s such an impactful exchange.
It’s what we all want, right?
To be seen. To be recognized for our efforts. For our concerns to be heard, for our moments of achievement to be witnessed and shared.
But what happens when you’re not acknowledged?
What do you do when the person who has caused you a lot of pain, doesn’t take responsibility for it?
What happens when you’ve spent most of your existence screaming and crying to be heard, validated and understood with zero acknowledgement?
What happens when years later you’re focusing on healing work and all of these questions come up without the one person who can help you clarify the truth about them?
How does that affect someone and how do they deal with it?
When I take the time to think about my life; my childhood, my adolescence, pre-teen, teenage and early adult years – I immediately motion to hug myself.
When I channel back to all of the previous pain or memories, specifically within Narcissistic Abuse, my jaw gets tight, my chest feels heavy and sometimes I even feel oncoming rage.
And I briefly picture myself, standing in front of my mother, and giving her a piece of my fucking mind.
I’ve always been very expressive so there’s been multiple experiences where this has happened but it wasn’t until early this calendar year that I realized the only person who was ever hearing me, was me.
Even when she complied and said she understood, there was an agenda. It was never to get on my level and really meet me in a vulnerable place. I knew this because no changes were implemented long enough to see real progress.
And the screaming, the yelling, the pleading, the gathering of evidence, was only taking me out of my own lane.
I was literally just giving my power away.
It began to make more and more sense to me why I was always exhausted.
Or why in different situations, the thought or slight suggestion that someone was dismissing me, would just set me off.
That I eventually spent so much time aimlessly searching and over working for woman mentors, so an adult female could finally recognize me.
The reality is,
Up until this year, I spent my entire life desperately looking for my mother to realize the pain she has caused her children.
To realize the impact of her decisions.
For her to understand how exhausting it was to continuously have to repeat the same argument but in different words.
But it didn’t matter. No matter the words I chose, the evidence I collected, how loud I screamed – I lost her the second it meant her taking responsibility.
And it wasn’t just the big events that needed acknowledgement.
It was little Amanda, who was upset about her mom not buying her the proper ballet costume.
It was teenage Amanda, who was told to shut up when wanting to express to her father how much a decision he had made, had impacted her.
My thoughts, my desires, my fears, my concerns, my wins, my defeats – they deserved acknowledgment.
I, in my last 28 years, deserved recognition.
And I was tired of needing it. Or asking for it from someone so incapable of it.
So I made a decision.
I did the only thing I could possibly do, over and over and over again.
And that was, I had to acknowledge myself.
I had to become my own parent.
I had to be my biggest advocate and cheerleader.
And it sounds simple, like an affirmation I could tell myself every morning, but this was more extensive than that.
It was, it still is, an everyday, every decision kind of commitment.
I had to not only surrender to the fact that the acknowledgement wasn’t coming and then manage that anger,
I had to rewire my own brain chemistry surrounding how I saw myself. How I had always seen myself.
I had to start seeing myself as valuable. I had to start realizing that there were people in this world who would choose me over and over again and I don’t have to keep fighting the same fight all the time. People who could move through conflict by lovingly expressing themselves while then offering a compassionate ear to listen to my perspective of it.
I had to accept that I knew my pain and what I experienced, and that had to be enough.
I learned to breathe when my mother would get upset when I would challenge her decision making.
I learned to move forward from a brutally confusing relationship ending without ever hearing that it was worth it to him.
I had to believe I had the right to question her without, ‘are you fucking kidding me? Do you not remember –‘
I had to accept my boyfriend’s absence as extreme pain and believe that my worth had nothing to do with it.
I have to check myself, even now, when I think that giving anyone a piece of my mind would do anything other than temporary relief.
And while the acknowledgement from her, from him, from anyone who hasn’t stepped into their side of responsibility, sounds great. Again, I vision myself right now, standing there,
‘About fucking time.’
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& it’s true, it’s tempting, and when I feel empty; it’s all I want.
it’s like dessert.
It can seem like it’s necessary. I know it’s there and if I keep pushing for it, if I keep thinking about it,
I may even convince myself that I won’t feel better unless I have it.
But now, after intentionally focusing and putting work into what keeps me full and fuller longer. .
I no longer crave it.
I no longer need it.
& that is what it feels like, to be really free.