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Hey there! I really appreciate you taking the time to read our blog, it means so much to me! Justin and I focus a lot on positivity and mindset and I know sometimes it may get annoying. But I think that it is so important to spread positivity, and offer words of encouragement and support because it wasn’t that long ago that I was in a very dark place. There is so much stigma around mental illness in society today, but with 20% of adults experiencing some form of mental illness, it appears that just like teaching sex-ed in high schools -> if we don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist. Right?
So I have taken it upon myself, as a mission of some sort, to share my struggles with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, toxic relationships and anything else that I have experienced in my life that I feel others might be experiencing too. With the hope to do everything possible in my power to reach out to those who are hurting and let them know that they are not alone. So, with that I ask you (if you choose to consider reading) to please take a minute and let the people in your life know that you care about them (including yourself) and that you are there for them. Because even the happiest of people may be crying themselves to sleep at night.
The other day I received an email reminding me that I had opened my online journal account 4.5 years ago and made my first and only entry on that day. And When I logged in to delete my account, this journal entry opened up and naturally I decided to read what I had written:
Reading my own thoughts and feelings from so long ago really just breaks my heart. And it makes me so sad thinking about the fact that no one ever stopped to ask me if I was okay or if I needed someone to talk to. I have always considered myself as someone who is very good at interpreting other people’s emotional states and feeling what they are feeling. I was always more concerned with how other people felt and how I could make them feel better. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that not everyone felt this way. I was always doing everything for everyone else, never asking for anything in return because it made me happy making other people happy. And I figured that by them being happy that was enough, but I often felt like I put in way more effort than I received and often was left feeling unworthy and taken advantage of.
Anytime I tried to talk about my feelings (and let me tell you as a teenage girl with raging hormones, divorced parents and two step families -> I had a lot of them) I was more often than not met with “you’re overreacting” or “you are misinterpreting what they are doing/saying, because they would never do that.” And I was left feeling even more unworthy after speaking my feelings than I felt before I had said anything. So I learned that it hurt me less (or so I thought) to just keep those feelings inside. I lived for so long with the belief that my feelings did not matter and that the only thing I gained from sharing how I felt was more pain. It was less that I was overreacting, than it was to hear from someone else.
All I ever wanted was for someone to care about and validate my feelings and let me know they were there for me. It seems so simple, but often times people are listening to respond and not listening to understand. They were so focused on fixing things and forgot to ensure me that my feelings were understood and they cared. And it only takes so many times before instead of “they would never do that” you hear “your feelings don’t matter, so I stopped trying to ask for help. I now have come to realize that the only person who has the right to decide how you feel is yourself, YOU are the only one. Someone can decide that they didn’t intend to hurt your feelings or that their actions/words may have been communicated, but they have no right to tell you how you feel.
Unfortunately keeping everything bottled up inside wasn’t something I could sustain for forever, and I was slowly reaching my breaking point. I went from being able to live my life by putting forth a facade that I was happy to withdrawing from everyone around me because: 1) I didn’t want to explode all these negative hurt feelings onto some unsuspecting person and 2) I didn’t believe I was worthy of anyone’s time or attention. But, when I finally felt like I couldn’t take it anymore, not for one more day, not for one more second something inside me said “don’t give up.” In that one moment, it became so clear to me that the only person that I ever needed to be there for me was myself. I needed to believe that my feelings mattered. I needed to believe I was worth something. And I decided that I wasn’t going to live another moment on this Earth if I was going to continue to feel this way and I knew I had to decide whether I wanted to stand up for myself or not.
And over time I have crawled out of that deep dark hole I had once believed I had been destined to live inside for my entire life. And as sad as it makes me to see physical evidence of the feelings I once had, it makes me so damn proud of myself for choosing to stand up for myself and get out of that toxic place. So proud that I have worked through all that pain and hurt. I want to be that person that I needed, that person who is there to help others find their strength. Yes, the only person you ever need to validate your feelings is yourself, and everything that you have ever needed is inside of you but you are not alone on this journey.
I may not know you personally, but if you are currently or are ever, feeling like you are worthless, helpless, stuck, numb or whatever it is that you are feeling. I want you to know that I will always be here for you. I am not telling you this because I want your pity or because I want attention. I am sharing this because if the person I was when I wrote that journal entry was to stumble across something like this, I would hope that she would feel slightly less alone.
And I’m also writing this for you all because regardless of your mental health, past or present, I want you to know that you are important and you are enough. I want you to know your life is worth living and realize that you want to live it, and live it to the fullest capacity.I want you to know that your feelings are valid and you deserve to be heard. And I also want you to know that it is going to be hard, nothing in life comes easy, but you don’t have to do this alone. Things won’t always be this way, you didn’t come this far to only come this far -> you just have to have a little faith. You have survived 100% of your worst days thus far and that is something to be so proud of. You are strong. You are a warrior. You can do this.
We are often taught at a young age that when someone does something hurtful (like hits you with a toy) they need to apologize, you accept their apology and move on. But no one ever teaches you what to do when someone does hurtful things but never apologizes. So the natural thing is to hold in that anger and resentment towards someone for hurting you, until they apologize. Sometimes these people refuse to acknowledge the fact that they have done something to hurt you and will not apologize, they might even blame you for feeling that way. So now you are left with feeling hurt for what they have done and now feeling like you are the one who is in the wrong for feeling a certain way. They haven’t apologized, you haven’t forgiven them and it’s a lose-lose situation (or so it appears). The thing is that often times if someone doesn’t believe that they have hurt you, they don’t even spend more than a few seconds thinking about it. And after your conversation is over, they feel they have done their due diligence by telling you that ‘it’s just the way you’re looking at the situation’. They feel better and move on with their life. But what about you? You hold those hurtful feelings in, bury them under self-doubt and start to think that maybe they are right. Is it just the way you reacted towards the situation? You convince yourself that you must just be overreacting and you have to work on the way that you look at things in the future. And you try as hard as you can to move forward and forget about the hurt, until this person hurts you again. And again. And again. And again, each time the cycle repeats itself: you mention that they hurt you -> they tell you that you’re overreacting -> you bury your feelings -> they move on-> they hurt you again. So how do you stop this cycle? If they never apologize, how can you forgive them? You feel stuck, and trapped and icky and it appears that you’re kinda just shit out of luck. You believe that you are destined to feel this way forever and ever and it becomes this downward spiral of doom.
What I have come to realize is that holding in all those negative feelings can actually cause you a lot of emotional and even physical harm -> It can lead to bouts of depression, insomnia, headaches, stomach aches and even poor immune health. And you may not even realize that you are doing this, but by burying down your feelings about something because they don’t believe that they have done something wrong is not healthy at all. But letting go of something someone has done to hurt you is not an easy task. You really have to begin to realize that whether you stay angry about this and bury your feelings or whether you decide to let them go -> the choice is ultimately up to you. The person who did/said these hurtful things may never acknowledge how you feel and they won’t lose any sleep over it. The only person that you are affecting by holding on to all these feelings is yourself. You can literally be making yourself sick and that is just not a way to live at all!
Someone only has power over your life if you give it to them and unfortunately this includes you giving them the power to continue hurting you. It doesn’t matter if this person did or did not intentionally hurt you, they should still acknowledge your feelings and how their actions have made you feel. But if you continue giving them the power to hurt you, that is on you. You cannot control anything that happens to you, but you definitely have total control over how you react to what happens to you. And I mean this in the most vague way possible: controlling how you react can be choosing to not let something bother you (but let’s be honest, if you are trying to not think about elephants the first thing you think about is elephants), informing this person that their behavior is unacceptable and you would like to be treated/talked to differently or completely removing yourself from their presence and not choosing to be around them anymore. In each situation the necessary actions will be completely different and you may even need to try them all and more. But the important thing is that you decide that you are no longer going to tolerate them causing you to be hurting.
So you may be thinking at this point that while I may be saying things that make sense, there is no way you could ever do this because this person is someone who you love very much or is important to you. But let me assure you of one thing -> someone who is hurting you, and ignores your feelings and chooses to not work on your relationship (whether it be a family member, friend, co-worker, significant other , etc.) does not have the right to make you feel horrible. And just because you choose to not let them hurt you anymore does not mean that you cannot love them and care about them. It just means that you are choosing to take care of and respect yourself, as they are also choosing to care and respect themselves. That is the hardest thing to come to terms with.
My whole entire life I have wanted nothing more than to have a loving and caring relationship with my mother and I could never figure out what it was that just wasn’t working about the relationship that I had with her. And honestly, I may never really know. But I do know that my mother despises my father, and I mean despises. She refused to even be in the same room/building as him unless it was absolutely necessary. She would always make comments about how I am ‘just like my father’ or tell me that my father was lying or making up stories about her and try to convince me that my father was such a horrible person. My mother also would send me presents on the wrong holidays, get me excited for vacations that never happened, fly me down to come see her for the summer and not ever really make me feel like I was part of the family. But over the years I would bring up that she was hurting my feelings or that I didn’t want to go see her and I was always met with a very stern swear-word filled phone call from my step-father about how my behavior towards her was unacceptable. I can even recall a time that I was scolded for something I sent to my father over text and email about her and they found out because they were reading copies of both my texts and emails. And every time I would let my step-father yell at me, scold me and then I would cry myself to sleep and the next day everyone acted like nothing ever happened. And this cycle continued for years. I can’t even put into words how many times this happened but what I can tell you is that every single time I CHOSE to continue the relationship with her. And every time, I would end up back in the same place, asking myself WHY this was happening to me. I used to always beat myself up asking why couldn’t I just have a normal family like everyone else? Why do things have to be this way? And over time I realized that things were this way because I was letting them be this way, I had the power to decide that she would no longer treat me this way and it was a decision that only I could make.
It wasn’t until May of 2016 that I realized I had had enough. I had just quit my job working at a restaurant to work as an energy consultant for a solar company, which in the sunny state of Arizona seemed like a great financial opportunity for me. I was living with my mother at the time and I would travel 2 hours each way every single day just to go to knock on thousands of doors and try to find clients interested in solar panels. I was so proud of myself because I would get up and leave right after the sun came up and come home after the sun went down, and I really was just giving this job 110%. The first month we made 4 sales and man I was so proud of myself. I went home, told my mom and the first thing that she said to me was “Are you sure this is the right thing for you? What about going back to school”. Like, excuse me?! I just wanted to share my excitement with her and when she didn’t reciprocate I was devastated. I felt very unmotivated and like I wasn’t making the right decisions in my life and I wanted to get away. So I started sleeping over on friends couches in Tempe and really spending as much time as I possibly could away from the house. And that’s when all the real, bad problems started to surface.
You see my mother had just gotten a new job and it would be the first time she had a full time job since my little sister was born (who was 15 at the time). I have no idea what her salary was, but I know it wasn’t even close to the potential for income I had in a sales position with the solar company. On top of that, I was invited to attend a Tony Robbins event for free with my company which was something she had wanted to do for years. And in my mind, and how I have come to terms with all of this, is that she felt inadequate because she was comparing herself to me. She started picking fights and really hinting at the fact that I had changed and that she was scared of who I had become. She complained that I was coming home at all hours of the night and even had some random person she knew call me, text me and harass me to figure out if I was on drugs or was prostituting myself. So, I just spent more time away from her house, and only really going home two or three times a week (sometimes only to shower and grab new clothes). You know that feeling you get when you are in complete and utter heartbreak? When you can hear your heart beating in your ears, your palms get all sweaty and you feel like you’re going to throw up? That’s how I felt every time I walked into her house and I just could not stand it anymore. And one night I had come home from work after dark but not super late, cooked myself some dinner and gone to bed. I rinsed off all the dishes in the sink and left them to wash in the morning so I didn’t wake her up while she was sleeping thinking that I was being courteous because she had complained a few times before about how loud I was when I cooked. [I feel it is important to note that she went to bed around 7 PM]. The next morning I woke up to a photo from her of the dishes in the sink saying “Really Ky? Your step-dad just did the dishes.” So I responded to her and I apologized for leaving the dishes in the sink and let her know that I was trying to be considerate of her sleeping and I would make sure not to leave them next time and clean them up. And not even 3 minutes later I get a screaming, raging phone call from my step-father telling me I need to apologize for hurting my mother’s feelings. Apologize for making her upset and ruining her day at work because I was being a smart-ass by telling her I won’t be considerate of her feelings next time. eye roll Because that is not at all what I said. And here I was SURPRISED that this was happening AGAIN. I was fed up, and angry and so I got up, and I left.
I went to work that day and then went to my friend’s house to spend the night and hang out. But little did I know the phone calls and text messaging was not over. That afternoon my mother sent me a text message letting me know that my behavior was unacceptable and that she could not sleep when I was making all the racket in the kitchen. She requested that I obey quiet behavior and not come home if it wasn’t between the hours of 6AM and 6PM and if I couldn’t do that I was no longer welcome in her home. And I just remember sitting there thinking to myself that this was unreal. How can someone possibly ask that of their own adult child? It’s not like I was up throwing parties or coming home at all hours of the night drugged out and drunk. I was coming home from work and making myself dinner. I was just blown away. And at that moment in time, I decided that enough was enough. My friends were kind enough to offer me a place to stay and so I told her that I wasn’t living there anymore and I would come get my stuff. And then I just broke down. I was devastated that she would do something like that? I didn’t understand how someone could ever kick out someone they loved and potentially leave them homeless. I really had quite the breakdown and I really just didn’t know what to do. And that wasn’t even the worst part. The next day she sent me a ‘notification of abandonment of property’ and told me I had 14 days to come get my things and had to schedule a time to come pick them up with not her, my step-father. Yup, she didn’t want anything to do with me. She kicked me to the curb and washed her hands of the dirt like it was nothing. I wasn’t able to afford getting a big moving truck or anything so I got a few friends and the cars that we had and I gathered all the things I could take. While my step-father watched my every move and yelled at me as I was taking my stuff. When I couldn’t take certain things because they didn’t fit and/or weren’t necessities he told me he was going to put a lean on my car and sue me for leaving my personal belongings on his property. Even just writing this now I can’t help but laugh because this is just so ridiculous and childish. But none the less, I packed my things and drove like hell to get away from there (not without stopping to have a good cry I must add) and I haven’t contacted her since.
It took some time over the next year to really work through all that buried hurt and emotions that I had from all the ways that I had been mistreated by her. But I really just let it all out. I let out all the hurt and confusion I felt about not being treated well by her and came to terms with the fact that I will never understand why she acted the way she did towards me. And you know what? That is okay. I honestly hope and pray that she treats my brother and sister with respect and kindness and that they are free from any of this hurt that I have felt because feeling unwanted by the someone who you are literally half of isn’t something I would ever wish upon anyone else. I had to work a lot on myself and how I view the world. I realized that I had a guard up a lot of the time and had a hard time really dealing with people not accepting my feelings as valid, and it hasn’t been easy. Sometimes I still have bad days and some of those negative feelings about myself start to creep back up, but I know how to work through them now. It is so powerful to realize that you don’t have to put up with things that make you feel hurt.
There has only been one instance this past year that I had with her and it was when she tried to contact me through Instagram pretending to be my little sister. My Instagram is not private so anyone can message me/follow me etc. because I use it for my business. I remember this moment clear as day because I was getting ready to go to one of my classes and I got a notification from my little sister’s Instagram account and it said “I know we haven’t talked in a really long time but I really need help. Being at home has been really tough because Mom and your step-dad are really manipulative and I feel like you understand what I am going through.” There was more to the message but I couldn’t even bring myself to read the rest, it was like the whole world had just stopped and I could feel the nice happy life I had built just start crumbling down around me. I was torn because I knew that there was no possible way that it was my sister, you see my mother is a VERY manipulative person and very good at using people against themselves. And by this I mean that she knew by pretending to be my sister that she could get an emotional reaction out of me. But there was still a very tiny shred of doubt that made me truly wonder if it really was my sister. After thinking about it for a long while and talking to my father and Justin I realized that if it was my sister, and she needed help she would send another message and that it was best to wait. So I deleted the message, blocked that account and tried not to think about it for the rest of the day. And thank god I did. Because not even 6 hours later came another string of messages, all from different accounts on Instagram telling me how horrible of a person I was and trying to make me feel bad. Of which I deleted and blocked as they came in. To me creating all these accounts seems like a significant amount of effort on her part just to try and get under my skin, but you know some people have no limit to what they will do to try and hurt other people. They are unhappy with their lives and they don’t want anyone else around them to be happy either.
But the thing is that it didn’t hurt me, I was not hurt by these words because if it was my sister reaching out, I would help her and my sister knows that. All she succeeded in doing was getting me to turn off my phone, have a good laugh at her expense, and watch some Disney movies with Justin and Roo. If I hadn’t realized my worth and decided that I didn’t deserve to be treated the way she was treating me, I would have been devastated by this. But I removed myself from her life, dealt with all the pent up feelings I had about her and I forgave her. I forgave my mother for how she had treated me for the past 24 years of my life, I forgave her for kicking me out of her house, I forgave her for not being able to love me and care for me as her daughter. But just because I forgave her doesn’t mean that I have to accept being treated as any less than I deserve. And I choose to not allow her into my life, and as I continue to work on myself and learn and grow I realized that I could have done that a long time ago. But that is okay, everything happens when we are ready for it to happen and I am so glad that I have found the reason for all the hurt she caused in my life. My relationship and interaction with her helped me realize that I am strong, I am in control and I deserve to be loved.