They said “it is all your fault.”
And so I apologised, and promised I would try harder. Do more, ask for less. Think more carefully. Make less fuss.
They said “you are an emotional blackmailer and attention seeking.”
And so I hid my feelings, denied my pain. I became ashamed of my tears. Afraid to say ‘ouch’.
They said “you are useless and a waste of space. You mess everything up.”
I said sorry. Again. More. I made a note not to ask for help so often.
They said ‘You are difficult, high maintenance, exhausting to deal with.”
I reminded myself to ask for less, to not burden other people.
They said “it is inconvenient for us if you make a fuss. We don’t want to deal with what’s happening, it is not our problem.”
I admitted that it was not their problem. They owed me nothing.
They said “we will take your work but we don’t want to acknowledge you in any way.”
And on that occasion I managed to say no, sod you all. No.
They said “We don’t have time to talk to you.”
I started saying ‘well in that case, maybe I am not doing this thing you wanted me to do.”
They harassed me, made my life difficult, and while they did it, they said “you are the bully. You are the bad guy and must be stopped.”
Eventually I started to wonder about this.
They have worn various faces down the years. They have always been willing to take the best of me, bleed me dry, and complain if I ask not to be bled to death. They have walked on me, and been offended when I have asked not to be used as rug. It has taken me far too long to consider that I might not be the one in the wrong here.
It has taken me a long time to learn that there are people who do not see my flaws as justification for hurting me. There are people willing to think the best of me, deal kindly, play fairly, exchange and support in return. Perhaps they were there all along, and I could not see them for the feet of the tramplers, and the haze of too much blood letting. I see them now. And they say things that do not take me apart.