My name is Mercy*. I continually believed mental health is a scam, until recently when I discovered I may be suffering from it. I have by observation learnt that I am a less likeable person, with many internal struggles that are less known of. Outside, I appear like this person who has everything put together.
When I was young, I felt like I always had to pay for affection to get it. I had to work hard to get my parents affection. We are 4 siblings. When addressing me, my mother would call everyone’s name before she remembered mine. I had to work hard to make her validate me. My actions would be often misinterpreted, and often I was beaten for siblings’ mistakes or for mistakes not done at all.
My dad was not an exemption. Being the top girl in your class was not enough. You needed to have more marks than the top candidate in the neighboring school. It was never enough. If you needed one hour with him, you just needed to do a mistake. While I do understand, and acknowledge that am in more need of validation, understanding, affirmation and appreciation, it does not occur naturally to me that I need to give these things.
I have discovered that people have to work really hard to get my attention and validation. At times I pity the people in my circles. My help never seems to do enough. My friends have sort of to prove they are worth my time. Mostly (though subconsciously) I am a me, myself and I person. I justify my alienation with, I just need a break. I never knew my childhood contributed to this. Do not get me wrong; I cannot count myself among those who have had difficult childhood days of mistreatment. And that is why I never saw this. I do not know how to make requests, or how to negotiate. I make demands, assuming the other party knows their wrong, that I am right and that my need is greater. Even when I need help, I prefer expressing my frustration than asking for help. I never saw anyone ask for help, no. My family always expressed frustrations at each other, made demands, and occasionally fought.
When people talk about emotional banks and deposits or withdrawals (one’s relationship with another. Stephen Covey explains the concept of an emotional bank account with a metaphor: “By proactively doing things that build trust in a relationship, one makes ‘deposits’) I feel like I do more withdrawals on every relationship than deposits. And that is how I was taught. Work harder, prove yourself. Deposits were rarely made. I often push people away, and I never planned it.
My communication is also affected. Any criticism my way starts with defense. I immediately block negative feedback as I automatically assume that one wants to invalidate me. It also makes me resent anyone who is proving me wrong. When I am angry, I cannot communicate. I hold up my emotions and move on with, its fine, I am ok when I really am dying inside. Out of this, I loath comparison. It takes me back to my childhood days when mom kept comparing me with my siblings, proving I was a failure and they weren’t.
No one knows my story. And I tell you to write it for whoever may be feeling the way i do to know I understand them.
I am at the point where I am inviting God to help me deal with these holed up emotions. I am learning to lay down the bitterness I have towards my parents, and to heal from it. I am praying that moving forward I will not be a people pusher, but with wisdom accommodate even the unlovable. I am becoming deliberate to learn to listen, to accept whatever feedback I am given, carefully evaluating it. I am learning to first prepare for conversations before I get into it, to articulate it. I am learning many other things, in the hope that one day I will encourage someone.
Pray with me that I will be cautious to bring up my children differently, lest it its up like a family chain. Pray that the grace to serve people will be available that I make deposits in their lives, thereby contributing a positive impact. Pray for the healing of my mind.