Earlier this year, E observed that when I listen to what Doubt tells me, that I made up my “memories” of having been abused, I feel depressed. I tend to hate myself. On the other hand, when I reject Doubt and say, “even though my memories don’t feel like regular memories, I will accept them and believe that little girl,” I feel better.
So in the course of this past week’s therapy, I chose (and I did choose) to focus on things that [may have] happened when I was under 10 years old. And sure enough, it took less than 24 hours for Doubt to show up.
E and I, in anticipation of her arrival, had made rules for her ahead of time. One of those was that she didn’t get to bring Self-Loathing with her. But she ignored that rule. Maybe she and SL are conjoined twins or something. I don’t know why I can’t separate them.
After all, would it be so terrible to say I was wrong and made up the abuse story? It’s not as though I used it to confront anyone or take someone to court. No one has been hurt by the story. (No one but me, at least.) So why does doubting my story mean I need to detest myself?
But it does mean that. And if I step back and just observe the way this process works, I can see how bizarre it is. It’s not even that I think, “Oh, I’ve made up a bad story about my father, which makes me an ungrateful daughter with a perverse, dirty mind.” I used to think that way, I’ll admit. But now I skip that intermediate step and just go straight to much simpler messages, like “disgusting!” or “stupid!” or “fat!”
“Fat” is especially weird. Because yes, I have gained weight over the past couple of years especially, and I’m not happy about that, but how is “fat” a critique of a woman who doubts her abuse story? And what about the fact that I felt the same way about myself 20 years ago, when I was noticeably slimmer?
I have just realized how terribly sexist SL’s comments are. She calls me other names, too, like “bitch” or “slut.” I would never call other women these words; I reject those terms. “Slut,” for example–why is there such a disparaging term for a woman with multiple sexual partners, but when we talk about men, there is no equivalent term? It’s ridiculous. But apparently SL has absorbed all the sexist thinking in our culture and spits it back at me with venom.
“Stupid bitch yourself,” I say to SL. “Bad enough that you keep coming around. But I’m not listening anymore to this garbage. You’ll have to come up with something better before I buy into your story of self-loathing.”
My little act of rebellion for the day.