All My Fault, Not Good Enough: Quick Silver Queen
Quick Silver Queen blogs at The Eighth and Final Square. This story is reprinted with her permission.
Trigger warning: self-injury.
Everything was my fault.
This was never said, but it was implied enough to really screw me up. Somehow it was my fault if the kids got into something and I was in the room with them, or just on the same level of the house as them. If I wasn’t watching them any time I was near them and they did something they weren’t supposed to, I got a spanking along with them. Sometimes I joked dryly to myself (and one or two trusted friends) that if a world leader on the other side of the globe was assassinated, somehow my mom would find a way to pin it on me.
I had a lot of anger and depression in my teens. I was growing into a woman, but was kept stifled and like a child. I was constantly told “if you act like an adult, we’ll treat you like one.” I was rarely even given the opportunity to act like an adult, and when I did prove my responsibility (like, I ran the household for a week while mom was in the hospital after giving birth to Abby), it was always forgotten.
I didn’t present a happy face enough. I didn’t spend enough time with the family. I didn’t spend enough time homeschooling the kids (which was my job, right?! Yeeeah). I didn’t spend enough time cleaning up the house (even if it wasn’t my chores). I didn’t serve my dad and brothers enough. I didn’t put enough time and energy into making dinner. I didn’t go outside enough. I didn’t keep my anger and frustration in check enough. Nothing I did was ever enough.
I’m naturally an introvert, and all the frustration and anger and blame and depression turned inward. I just was not good enough. I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t thin enough, nobody would want to marry me. Instead of diffusing my negative energy outward, I also turned that inward. I would bang my head into walls and doorways, because what did it matter if I hurt? I was nothing. And the pain helped the anger and frustration go away.
After a while I decided I didn’t want to give myself brain damage, so I began hitting my thighs and hips. I would hit so hard and so much that I had giant bruises and could barely walk for stiffness and pain. I never let it show though. I wouldn’t coddle myself, I made it hurt on purpose because I had to pay for everything that was my fault. I had to pay for all the ways I was never good enough. When the glass dishes were fresh from the dishwasher and piping hot, I didn’t wait for them to cool — I put them away anyway (I would sometimes get first-degree burns on my hands from it). Sometimes I would scratch my thighs so hard it drew blood. If dad was lecturing and I felt like crying, I would pinch my legs through my pants with my nails and draw blood. Same when he was embarrassing me for no reason in front of people.
Why should I care if it hurt? Nobody else cared.
Starving myself was also a form of self-injury for me. I went on a diet with my parents (Atkins) before I was 18. My dad reminded me (far more than he ever complimented me) often that I needed to “watch what I ate” or “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips”, and “do you really need seconds?” Many days I would eat less than 1000 calories for the entire day, drinking only coffee in the morning and having a bird-sized portion of dinner. Why should I care if I was hungry? Nobody else cared.
Sometime along in my mid-teens I figured out (or learned about) that sometimes people cut themselves. I tried with a pocket knife, and that didn’t work, so I used pliers to tear apart the head of a safety razor to obtain the paper-thin razor blades. I never cut very deep or in visible places, and never more than I needed to. My anger and frustration and depression would evaporate instantly. It was my coping mechanism…besides writing, it was the only way I could get my feelings out.
I kept a razor and a couple band-aids with me at all times for years. I felt naked without them. I told a couple friends about my cutting; one freaked out and begged me to stop. Another tried to make me promise to stop because god wouldn’t want me to. A third confessed she self-injured too. Scottie was understandably upset by it, but he also knew the environment I was in.
When I escaped wasn’t when I stopped hurting myself. I think the last time I cut myself was a year ago or more. I’ve grown out of the craving. I’m much more emotionally stable than I was (even though I have diagnosed depression and am on Zoloft now). I’m building up my self-esteem and self-confidence, both of which I wasn’t “allowed” to have. Occasionally I’ll feel the urge to cut, but I haven’t mostly because I just can’t…unless I do it in front of my daughter and I can’t bring myself to do that. I’m determined she will grow up with the confidence and independence and self-image she deserves.
I have no words of advice. I have no apologies, only my story.
Wow, thanks for sharing and I’m glad to hear that you got away from your family. I’d be curious to see how many of us former home schoolers have NOT been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. It seems to be incredibly prevalent.
My dad reminded me (far more than he ever complimented me) often that I needed to “watch what I ate” or “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips”, and “do you really need seconds?”
This really pisses me off. I got to see first hand how bad an eating disorder can be as I was married to an ED sufferer. The roots of her disease were the comments that she received from family members. It’s a nasty disorder.
Sounds like you are on the right path now though. Stay strong!
That is awful. I am glad you got away.
My dad would be gone all day, come home, see me sitting down or not being active, and tell me to go outside and exercise or to not serve myself seconds. He would not know a thing about what i had spent the day doing, and still infer that my size was due to laziness. (like somehow I should have lost 50lbs that day)
His father also did that a lot to his mother, so i think he got that by example. And i share a similar body-type with my grandmother.
Its just such a shame to have that passed on to another generation.
YES…that happened a few times to me too.