I have been pretty honest about the fact that I am currently in a massive reading slump. We’re coming up on the end of July, and, so far, I have only finished one book (hopefully two by the time this gets published, since I’m scheduling this in advance). And that book was, for me, so far outside the norm of anything I read or have ever discussed on this blog. Since I know it is going to come up in my wrap up this month, I thought I’d take the time to talk about it now, because it probably won’t be a quick or easy discussion.
Before I get into the book, I just want to preface this post by saying I’m not at all writing this so that you feel sorry for me. Honestly, please don’t. But there is something pretty big that is part of my life and I have only very vaguely brought it up in the past. It’s something I am majorly struggling with right now, and it has definitely impacted my reading. Stay tuned for the end of this post on what I’m doing about it. But there’s a happy ending, I promise.
The one book I have read so far this month is Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride. And, since I’m being totally honest here, this is not the first time I have read this book. But, when I discovered it a few years ago, I felt far too much shame to ever admit – to anyone – that I had read this. Or that I needed to read it.
But I’ve realized that’s not how I can heal from my childhood trauma. And yes, having a narcissistic parent causes a lot of trauma – I’m sure anyone else who has gone through it knows. I have actually been diagnosed twice with C-PTSD because of the emotional and psychological abuse I experienced growing up. (And if this has happened to you, too, know that it is real. You are not crazy or wrong. And you are allowed to feel exactly what you’re feeling in this moment. Your feelings and experiences are valid. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel otherwise.)
This year, I have been struggling a lot. This pandemic has been extremely hard on the entire world, and I do not want to discount anyone else’s experiences, I’m just sharing mine here. What this meant for me was working from home. Which I am very fortunate to be able to do. But that also meant being stuck in a house all day every day with the woman who made my life a living hell for the past thirty years. It’s been hard on me for a long time, but this has just amplified my negative emotions and taken away any means of temporary escape (like going to work or wandering around Target for an hour).
Let me just say, I am doing a lot better than I was a month ago. Which is due in part to this book. I think part of the reason I felt the need to write this post is to just say: it’s okay to be open about what you are going through and that you’re working on getting better. It’s okay to be human.
My mental health has been pretty crappy my entire life, but this book helped me better understand why. And, while I’m still in a reading slump (and not happy about it), I feel better than I have in a long time. Because I have finally decided I am done being the garbage can for the rest of my family’s garbage thoughts and feelings. I’m just done. I probably hit my limit about twenty years ago, but it took me being a full adult to actually realize I can choose a different life for myself.
I won’t go too much into exactly how this has impacted me (feel free to ask questions, or email me if you feel like you might have experienced something similar and want to talk – I would honestly love it if I’m able to help someone else). Just know I was in a very, very bad place. For a very long time. And I need to stop hiding that if I really want to get better. Because I wasn’t being myself at all. I was being more myself on this blog than I was in real life, and that’s doesn’t seem like a good thing. So this is me. I’m not broken, but I do have my fair share of cracks that need fixing.
I do think this is a great book. It helped me in so many ways. From not feeling so ashamed and alone to finally realizing I had to make a decision about whether to continue being a part of a toxic family. And, I feel so free for having made that decision. Spoiler: I have never felt like a part of my family, so I’m going to keep moving forward and hopefully make a new one for myself that doesn’t make me feel like crap all the time. It was not an easy decision to make, but it feels oh so good. It is definitely the right choice for me and my life.
Also (more good news!), during this terrible time, I somehow also managed to get a promotion. (It’s been weird, and I’m currently still doing my old job, too – while only getting paid for one – so there have been a lot of overwhelmed, stress tears.) But, that promotion means that this year – even though I know everything going on will make it extra hard – I am finally going to move out of my family’s house! Still very annoyed that it took a master’s degree and two promotions while working for the government to make enough money to do that in California, but it’s happening!
I also just wanted to share that. Because my living situation has made running this blog so much harder, and I’ve just never said anything. I am so very excited to finally be able to do things like sit and write blog posts (or horde books) without being judged. And take pictures to post on social media without having to be sneaky (if you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting much on Instagram, it’s because everyone is home all the time and I don’t have the space take nice pictures without judgmental glances that I don’t want to deal with). I’ll be able to wake up on a Saturday morning, make a cup of coffee, and read a book without having to answer a single question or deal with any hurtful comments. Just the thought of that is making me feel like I’ll be able to breathe again.
So, I wanted to talk about this book, because it’s what put me on the path to actually get to this place. And I am so very grateful. I just felt like it needed maybe a little bit more explanation than a short blurb in my wrap up. If you’re struggling with the same thing, I would highly recommend picking this book up. Also, I am always available to talk. Even if you want to send my a long vent-y email just to get it out, I’m here. I truly understand how much just getting it out helps. Especially to a stranger.
Which is why I’m writing this post for thousands of my followers to read. That sounds like it should be more terrifying than it is, but you guys have never given me anything but support and I appreciate that more than you will ever know. I have been struggling so much and for so long behind the scenes, having this community to turn to has probably saved my life without me even fully realizing it. It’s just amazing. I don’t know you and you still feel more like my family than the people who are actually related to me.
I am sorry if this is a long, ramble-y post. It’s just something I wanted to get off my chest before my wrap-up post at the end of the month. And if this helps one person, it’s absolutely worth me baring my soul to the internet.
Please, please don’t comment feeling sorry for me (it’ll probably just annoy me). I’m struggling, but I’m getting better. I’m in therapy again and there is a light at the end of this tunnel. I feel like myself for the first time in…. I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever felt this much myself. It feels really good. You guys are a part of that, without even knowing it. So, thank you. And thank you for giving me a place where I can be myself and be honest. It means the world.
Don’t worry, we’ll be back to regular posts next week, I promise! (This month’s secret TBR post will be slightly delayed because I am very behind on pretty much everything – but it’s coming soon!)