Throughout the relationship I lost count of the number of times I was told I was worthless, that I couldn’t do anything right, that I’d be nothing without him, that I was stupid, lazy, clumsy, dumb, ugly. The insults were relentless and he never held back on dishing it out when he wanted to. Slowly but surely, because I was being told these things so often, it became my inner voice.
A shift happened. I went form him holding me back to holding myself back because my inner voice was echoing everything he said to me. I carried the inner voice that had been created by him long after we broke up. Anytime I would think of changing jobs or trying out a new hobby I would automatically retreat into telling myself I couldn’t or I’d never succeed. I became scared of trying new things and being stuck in a rut.
My life as whole did move forward. I found a new relationship that was healthy, I moved away from my home town, I’ve had two beautiful baby girls, I’ve to changed jobs of a similar nature. My life carried on moving forward but I just stayed stuck. I held so much of myself back because I had become scared of putting myself out there and stepping into being a fraction of the woman I was before I met him. I didn’t recognise that this was happening for a very long time because I felt that my life was moving forward so I must have healed – and in a lot of ways I have; I just didn’t realise how much more of me I had left behind.
Since this realisation I have been journaling and doing some inner work. Mainly connecting with the woman I was before. What qualities did I have then? What did I enjoy doing? What goals did I have? What did I want from life? I asked myself every question necessary to connect myself back to, well, myself.
Once I was aware of how much of myself I still had yet to reconnect to, I then decided how much of that woman I wanted back. It took a while for me accept that I had restricted myself so much because of the abuse I had been through. I wanted to change my inner voice. I wanted to be the woman I wanted to be, not the woman he wanted me to think I was. Ever since I came to the realisation that I was holding myself back I have been working to move myself forward and catch up with life.
As I stepped further and further away from the prison that my mind thought it was still in, my own inner voice has been gradually getting louder and louder. I learnt just how much I’ve been holding myself back using the narrative that was applicable at one of the lowest points of my life. The narrative is outdated, it has passed its expiration date and a new narrative is unfolding before me. After all, if I kept behaving in the way he shaped me to behave, he would always win. Even if he didn’t know it.