Words are powerful. Actions may speak louder, but words cut deeper and are much harder to forget. Speaking is one of the most basic way for humans to interact with each other. Nonverbal communication is more subtle and thus less offensive when errors in understanding occur.
Unfortunately, until recently I have spent most of my life disrespecting the gift of language and using words as weapons. I have been blessed with the gift of being a good speaker. And, like any skill one possesses, it has been up to me to determine to what ends I will use my talent for.
I wish I could say I have always communicated from the heart and with intention. I would like to claim a level-headed and rational approach to emotional situations, and that I have never hurt anyone with my words, intentionally or not, but that is sadly not the truth.
Along with an understanding of speaking concisely and effectively, I also have a strong understanding of the human psyche, allowing me to hit almost anyone where it hurts. However, although I know a lot about other people and their minds, I haven’t always been straight up with myself regarding my own mind. Too many times I have given in to skewed notions of other people, tainted by projections of my own inner demons upon those around me.
I have been paranoid, angry, hurt, and frustrated at myself for a very long time. Not being mentally prepared to deal with these issues I have focused all of the feelings I have had about myself as a person into every single interaction and event in my past. I have unleashed both my inner wrath and love for myself on many people who have been in my life.
The single most effective way I ever had to defend myself from what I used to believe were life’s injustices were words. I have never been very physically strong and this began well before I had the resources to leave situations at will, when I was a child without a car or a cell phone. I had experienced some physical abuse when I was growing up and it taught me if I was going to fight back, it would have to be with my words.
Sometime as a child I began to believe the world was the enemy. Deep seated depression and an eating disorder have been another two constant characteristics of my life for a long time. And they arose so long ago, over so little. My refusal to confront the problems I have had with myself has only led to inflating the them so out of proportion that a total reemergence is almost necessary to sort things out.
Throughout the more recent years of my life, moving away from my family and living on my own, I have noticed a trend going on. The way I have been perceiving life in the past has reflected a series of widening circles around myself. The farther away things, people I am acquainted with or places I go here and there, are only slightly altered by my internal emotions. But the closer you get to the center, the bull’s eye where I live, the more my perceptions warp the way I see and interact with people to reflect those really deeply imbedded negative emotions.
When I was a teenager, I desperately clung to the notion that my life would magically improve when I “escaped” my parents’ house. Then I did that, but it wasn’t enough. My new surroundings weren’t perfect, so I had to run somewhere new. I have been bouncing around for quite some time, trying to flee the way I’ve felt inside.
I have returned home gratefully since, and realized the people that I blamed the most for my own problems are the ones most well-equipped, ready, and even willing, to take me back and have my back. There are no two people in this world whom I have treated and spoken to worse than the ones who gave me life. This guilt has only fueled my self dislike and led me to recreate similarly uncomfortable relationships with others throughout the years.
A lot of the things I have said to those closest to me in the past when angry were exactly calculated to hurt the victims as precisely as possibly. Even some of what I haven’t said. But all of it was directed toward myself.
I’ve felt ashamed and regretful of so much of what has been said by me. By coming back to my parents’ I am here to make amends with my past and myself. To fully realize how warped my thinking has been at times and so that I can learn how to fix those thoughts and address the real problems behind the words.
I’ve truly said more about myself than I have about anyone else each time that I let my internal feelings cloud my judgement. And as much as it hurts to admit I have been wrong and said things I am not proud of, I would much rather face myself head on now than drag my baggage with me everywhere I go, begging someone to see my verbal abuse as a cry for help. I can never take back what was said, but I can let those people know I am sorry, and make sure that no matter what I do or where I go in the future, I will not hurt myself and others with the amazing and powerful gift that is communication.