So this thought has been sitting on me today, so I’m going to try to put it into words. It’s one of those things that was exceptionally hard for me to really get in my recovery, so if you dont want to deal with hard concepts right now, I suggest moving on. Its one of those things that makes sense, but it hurts to hear if you are used to functioning in a certain way.
Self hatred is not a form of gratitude or apology. If person A has done something nice like an act of service for person B, it makes the relationship incredibly difficult to navigate if they respond with “oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, i cant believe I didnt do that already, I’m such an idiot, I’ll do it next time i swear.” Bonus points for difficulty if person B starts crying.
And like, I GET that reaction. Painfully so. That is a trauma reaction from abusive environments growing up, and I get it. I have reacted that way hundreds of times. I am so guilty of this that it hurts.
But person A was genuinely trying to do something nice for person B. There was no implicit guilt trip involved. It was probably more “I noticed you were struggling and stressing over getting this thing done, so I did it for you.” Its an expression of love. They wanted to see person B relax and smile. Instead, they appear to have made everything worse. A thank you never happens.
An even harder situation is if person A notices person B is struggling to get something done (say struggling in with basic house chores like cleaning up after themself), so person A gently tries to address it with person B and person B implodes in self hatred. This is really important in people who live together, as someone failing to take care of themselves and living area can impact the person they’re living with. Person A might be frustrated but is ultimately trying to help, trying to figure out whats wrong, trying to be supportive. Person B has most likely been acutely aware of the thing not getting done and is so buried in self hatred that they dont know what to do. No thank you is given for being willing to address the issue, no apology is ever given for the thing not getting done. Just panicked appeasing of person Bs implosion.
Trauma reactions are uneblievably difficult to conquer. But this is one worth focusing on. And im not trying to guilt anyone who does this. If you react this way, then chances are reading this is making you feel guilty inherently. Its OKAY to struggle. Its okay if trauma is eating you alive, choking your throat, and clouding your mind. I want to reiterate ITS OKAY and a PERFECTLY understandable reaction.
Whats not okay is never trying to fix it. For abandoning any idea of trying to fix it. This reaction can really strain relationships in even the most compassionate people. Especially long term.
Quite honestly speaking, this is probably why I had a really hard time keeping friendships for the first 20 years of my life. I burnt out the people around me. And I have slowly, very slowly learned to forgive myself for that. I was struggling from immense trauma, and things just sort of play out certain ways on the way to recovery. It doesnt make it okay. It doesnt mean I didnt hurt those friends. But I get it. I get that I was an exasperating person to deal with. I get that I had reacted violently so many times to the most gentle things that people became SCARED to help me, support me, do nice things for me, approach me at all. I get it. I have worked to fix it, and I have forgiven myself for the pain I caused. I have apologized to these people where I can. I have taken that anger directed at myself, and I have directed it at my abusers instead.
I am responsible for my own actions yes. 100% But I can also simultaneously recognize that my actions were heavily influenced by things that were done to me that I had no control over. I can be angry at my abusers, mourn the loss of those friendships, apologize for those actions, and work on myself all at the same time. Without hating myself.
I am still learning when to say thank you and when to say I’m sorry. Sometimes I still react violently, but rather than lay that reaction on the people around me, I have learned to calm down on my own, and THEN communicate what it was that upset me so. When I couldnt calm myself down and needed the other person to help, i have still waited to situate my thoughts first before talking to them about the problem.
Communicating through both rational and irrational thoughts and emotions is one of the hardest things to learn. And im still learning. But its WORTH working on, no matter how hard it is. The family you have made for yourself LOVES YOU. They wouldn’t be there if they didnt. So dont give up on yourself, cause they havent either. I am learning to love myself enough to fix myself, if not FOR myself then for the people I love. And when I see someone else doing the same negative reaction over and over, I do my best to have both compassion for their struggle and support them AND compassion for myself enough to take care of myself.