“Self-Indulgent”: On The View Of Victimhood
When I sat down to pen this article, giving a vulnerable snapshot of the trajectory of my relationship with my birth mother over the past decade, I was nervous. Actually, I was more terrified than nervous, my anxiety a constant companion, fear also close behind.
I have never publicly shared that experience before. Heck, it is not even openly spoke about within our family, despite the number of witnesses to it over the years. I did not write this recollection as a means to be self-indulgent or narcissistic, especially not with my long-time phobia to being seen or heard.
I have been overwhelmed by the feedback from sharing this experience, from people of all backgrounds, from those who have experienced a similar situation, and from those who can only genuinely empathize. I appreciate you. Each and every one of you.
I would also like to take this time to say that I appreciate you too. Yes, you. The Doubter. The NaySayer. The Assumer. The Devil’s Advocate. I appreciate that you have felt inclined to respond to a personal story with your doubts and criticisms. According to you, “real depression” is diagnosed, and “adults & children alike use it too often in everyday speech”. The fact that you felt the need to respond to Medium supporting my writing my sharing their article with their social media audience is not an issue. What needs to be pointed out, however, is the fact that individuals who could be referred to as Doubters, create an unsafe space for those of us who are finally beginning to find their voice to speak out.
My story is my own. Your story is yours. My experience matters. Your experience matters. Your criticisms or doubts about the “factuality” of my story, your assumption of my self-indulgence, or your supposed “need to hear the other side”, does not remove the fact that my experience was what it was, and I shared it as is. You believe that I “appear to enjoy inserting (my)self as the victim”.
I have spent years living through assumptions of “you must have done something to your mother for her to have treated you that way”. Eventually, these doubts began to creep into my own perspective of my experience, deepening self-deprecating thoughts and fueling questions of “What is wrong with me?”. I decide today, no more. That’s it. I shared my story, and you are always welcome to share yours. Mine doesn’t need to be torn about in order to be validated or worthy of being written.
Over a year ago, maybe even just a few months ago, I would have been brought to tears, an anxiety attack, and an onslaught of recurring negative thoughts to myself about myself. Your comment, and my own psychosomatic response (or rather, lack thereof), gives me even greater fervor to continue sharing my stories, and helping others to share their own.
Thank you for that.
Thank you for taking the time to read the words that have been spilling from my heart onto the screen in front of you.
We get vulnerable around these parts, and it’s no easy task finding the strength it takes to reveal your truths (whether through writing or just reading a piece).
I appreciate the time you took to read this, and would appreciate a clap or two to let me know that it pulled at a string in your spirit, connecting you from words to feelings. Leave a comment if you have any of your own words that you would like to share.