I have realized that I am the willing victim in a lifetime of subtle abuse. The abuser? I’m not entirely sure.
The church is one. Church teachings that women are inferior to men are still entrenched in my psyche. I understand rationally where they come from, but emotionally I am still crippled. My desires are as important as my husbands? He says so. I say so. I don’t act so.
Now, the church isn’t the source of misogyny, but it certainly upholds it. And, cleverly, places the blame of my own abuse back on me. It also hides the fact it is doing so, especially when you start out as a child. I am done with rationalizing it and excusing it.
Female silence, obedience, and sacrifice was praised. I crave praise. I was a submissive child, my spurts of survival instincts were squelched as rebellion. My teachers described me as ‘compliant’. I thought it was a good thing.
It was only when my brain was drowning in thoughts of suicide due to self-hatred of my femininity that I chose life. I choose life. And dignity. And value.
And of course, my biggest abuser is myself.
I have been trained in self-destruction by example, teaching, and positive reinforcement. My negative self-talk, called humility and false humility, is automatic. I was praised for being ‘strong’ enough to apologise first, even when it wasn’t my fault. Not just to turn the other cheek, but to accept failure as my own and to pass of my successes as someone else’s. I just realized that most of the people I pass off my successes to are males. God being one.
The voices in my head, some of my own and some of others, spilled over into physical abuse. Eating disorders. Trichotillomania.
I want to be done with it.
And yet, I am addicted.
I noticed the relief I felt when male headship was affirmed and thought that maybe it was best afterall. Then I read a woman describe the relief she felt on getting back into an abusive relationship. It was the same. The relief I felt was a recognition of the familiar, not a recognition of the truth.
I probably release endorphins when I hurt myself. At least, in numbs my mind. I go into a nothing box and can stop thinking. And feeling. And being.
Ahh, the sense of security is hard to give up. As long as I am submissive, nothing I do is ever my fault. I give up my claim to running my own life with the delusion that I give up responsibility for ruining my own life.
Because I am scared. What is more frightening that facing death due to hatred of being female?
I am not sure.