Have you ever felt unseen? Unheard? You know… when you are standing in front of someone sharing your heart and feels like you are invisible?
I don’t think there are many things that are more painful than that. Instead of being greeted with an “I understand,” We leave empty and confused.
We feel a little less important, like what we have to say doesn’t have value.
He Couldn’t See Me
I experienced this for half of my life, my ex-husband never saw me. I was hurting and time and time again I would share my heart. He only heard nagging. He would tell me that I was negative, that I couldn’t connect with others, and when something bad would happen to me he would say, “Well, what did you expect.” As if I deserved bad things happening to me.
I kept trying despite his inability to see me. I wanted to connect with him. I wanted him to love me.
His words started to take their toll on me and I didn’t know who I was anymore. I started to believe that I couldn’t connect with others, that I was odd and awkward. The loneliness was unbearable. I tried to hide it for years because of shame, I thought I deserved it. I was hearbroken!
Have you even been convinced that you are something that you are not? A bad wife? Mother? Friend? Have you ever felt that you don’t deserve to be seen or heard?
Have others justified their bad behavior on you? Have you ever felt like someone had to leave because you were too hard to live with? Do you reach for connection over and over again to be struck down? I sure felt this.
I Couldn’t See Myself
I have since learned that not only was he unable to see me, but for most of my life, I was unable to see myself.
I didn’t know who I was so it is easy for him to come in and tell me what I was. He told lies and deceived me into believing what he wanted me to believe. When we met I was a young girl with no self-esteem and no identity, I was a chameleon. I was a perfect candidate for manipulation. My unwritten, unspoken motto: Whatever you needed me to become, I will become.
I understand that I have childhood wounds. Growing up I was told what I was and how I should be, I never questioned it. I was never given the opportunity to discover myself. I learned that it was easier to follow the path of least resistance, or so I thought, and I willingly molded myself in to what others needed.
This proved to be my downfall for years!
Can you see yourself? Can you tell me who you are?
In 2013 when I showed up to a counselor a complete shell of a person with no identity. I didn’t know what I was. I felt like I was a bad person. I would say things like, ” I am really hard to live with and be around, he has to get away from me.”
I remember when my counselor asked me what I was and I told her I was smart, and a hard worker. The way I described myself was not what she saw, so she started to dig. Thank Heavens for her!
Finding Myself & Denial
Over time I recognized that I was nothing like the picture he painted. As she got to know me she would point out my gifts. For months I thought she was saying those things because she was a nice person not because it was true.
I remember one day we were talking about denial. I told her that I didn’t have denial about my husbands addiction. I knew it was there.
I will never forget what she said next:
“Your denial was never about him. Your denial is about you. Norma, you come here week after week and you beleive that you are ordinary. You are not ordinary! I meet with women all week that are in your situation and they hate their husbands for what they have done. You don’t hate your husband at all, you love him even more despite what he has done. I have never met a woman who loved like you do.”
It took me months to believe her. Seeing myself and hearing myself has been a journey that I am still on. I am getting better at defining myself, but I have days when I can’t see me.
I have a deep desire to be seen and heard by others, and I have learned that not being able to see or hear myself is worse.
Up until the last three years I had no idea that much of the pain and suffering I was facing was because I pushed myself aside. I was the first to ‘think’ I was unimportant. To ‘think’ that I didn’t have much to offer. To ‘think’ that I wasn’t worth enough to be seen or heard.
As I shifted, and as you shift into hearing and seeing yourself you will recognize that you can’t make other people see you or hear you. Others will make judgments about you and define you however they want to. The power comes when you choose to see and hear yourself and it will make all the difference.
Photo Credit: FloOiL. (2009, December 17). Feuchtgebiete