Struggling with my Inner Demons

I have had a rough week.  I have been struggling with my inner demons off and on all week.  I came out of two different meetings this week beating up on myself; feeling that my tone was a little too confrontational in one and perhaps a little too defensive in another.  That is all it took.  A few sentences spoken with the wrong tone in two work meetings and it has unleashed a torrent of self-hatred.

I thought that I would have conquered these demons by this point in my life.  But it seems that the hateful voices in my head are as loud today, when I am 55 years old, as they ever were.  What do the voices say?  “You are such a terrible person; so blunt and aggressive.”  “You are such an insecure person; so quick to take offence; so quick to get defensive.”  “No wonder nobody likes you; you are so critical and judgemental.”  When these voices get loud, I have trouble sleeping; I feel depressed; I feel like I wish I were not alive.

I know where these voices came from.  I recognize my mother and father’s words in these phrases.  More importantly, I know that these voices have so much power because there is no counter-point to them.  Nowhere inside me do I have loving words to counter the negative.   I don’t remember my mother or father ever telling me that they love me.  I don’t remember either of them ever telling me they were proud of me, that I did a good job, that I was good at something.  I don’t remember my parents ever hugging me or kissing me, although I am sure they did from time to time.  This is not about blaming my parents.  They are good people.  They were kids when they had me.  I know they did the best they could to raise me.  And I do believe that they loved me.

This is about understanding where the hateful voices come from.  It is about learning to counter the voices; to forgive myself for being imperfect; to ask for help;  to become a more secure person, a more loving person, a less fearful person.  It is about learning how to be in this world without hating myself for my failings; to believe that people can like me despite my faults; to believe that people can love me!!   It is about learning to love my self!!

About kp

I am a woman and a mother, a sister and a wife. I have called myself a socialist and a feminist, an environmentalist and an activist, a pagan and an atheist. But, at this stage in my life, none of these labels feel right. I am searching; trying to find an inner calm; trying to make peace with life's disappointments; trying to answer the big questions in my own small life.
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21 Responses to Struggling with my Inner Demons

  1. I don’t have a single memory of my mother being anything close to tender with me. As an adult, I can rationally see she loves me despite all the harm she’s done, but that doesn’t take away the part where I grew up believing my mother hated me. And as you, I’m pretty sure there had to be some times when she would express some love to me, however what stays with you is not what happened as an exception, what sticks is what happened all the time. And then I was left with an inner child desperate for any sign that I am loved and a grown exterior adult rationally explaining, to no effect, that there had to be some love…
    I can relate very much to what you wrote, down to the part about self-hatred, and you are so right about learning to love oneself, thanks for reminding me of this.

    • kp says:

      Hi…Thank you for understanding. It is comforting to know that I am not alone with the childhood experience or its lingering effects. When I sink into that place, it feels very dark and somewhat pathetic. Rationally, I feel that I should be over it by now. But, unfortunately, our parents’ voices become our own internal voices. I can say that I feel different today. The sun is shining, I slept well, and the voices are at bay. Thank you for sharing your own experience and for your support!!! Kim

      • Kim. I’m very glad today was better. I shared my experience because I felt very related to what you were feeling. I wish we’d be able to find effective ways to substitute those voices for loving, caring ones…
        I hope your day continues being a bright one!

        • kp says:

          I have been surprised by all of the loving responses I got to the post today…..and it makes me realized that maybe that is part of what all of us are doing on these blogs. Sharing our experiences, offering one another support, and helping to replace the hateful voices with loving ones!!! Thanks for writing today….and know that you can do the same when you need to!!! Kim

  2. oh how i know this struggle. i’m sorry you are struggling too. ((hugs))

    • kp says:

      Thank you….I know from your posts that you do understand. It helps to know that we are not alone in our experience of these dark feelings. Today, I woke up feeling good. While age has not lessened the force of the voices, it has made their visits less frequent. Age has also taught me that the dark days pass and that is good to know. Hugs back to you…..Kim

  3. jazzminey says:

    I would say you are making a good start on learning to love yourself with awareness. I too have dealt with self hate. One trick that helped me find the love inside, love that was always there, love that could not be squelched or killed when as a child I was given negativity and violence instead of kindness and loving, is to ask my inner Self for guidance and help. Do you find that you can give loving support to others but not yourself? This technique allows you to give to yourself what you give to others. Use paper and pen, or pencil,or computer and have a dialogue with your self. It mike look something like this:
    Me: Why does it always seem that I got to this place of self hate? What can I do to love myself.
    Self: Excellent question, I am so glad you asked. I have been waiting for you to turn to me. I am always here. Always. All you have to do is turn to me and you will find me waiting. One thing you can do right now to learn to love yourself, besides turning to me, is to remember that you are loved by the universe. You are here for a reason whether you know what that reason is or not. All you need to remember is that there is a reason. Live your life. Do what you love. Be you. and you will find the reason unfolds naturally. Remember to be gentle when old habits rear their ugly head. You are old enough to know that things pass, let this storm pass. Observe your thoughts like you are doing now and be kind. You are loved.
    Anyway, that is what my Self tells me when I feel unloved and unworthy. You may need to do it often, maybe not, but whatever you need is ok.

    • kp says:

      Thank you Janice….Excellent suggestion!! And yes, I find that I can be much more supportive and gentle with other people than with myself; particularly with children. I needed to write that post last night; it has been bubbling in me for a week. BUT I was afraid to write it because it felt like I was exposing something too embarrassing about myself. SO, I really do appreciate you, and others, writing in to say that you too struggle with self-hatred. Thank you for connecting and for the great suggestion!! Kim

  4. You know Kim, learning to love ourselves can be hard… But you are obviously awakening up to your inner self.. recognising those inner voices have not always come from within our own being, but are in-grained in our subconscious by indoctrinated upbringing … We all of us have those inner demons, ALL of us,,, I think you have been extremely courageous in voicing your thoughts here Kim…. Please try to let go of self hatred.. for it devours us and consumes us with its loathing…
    Know you are a Beautiful Being of Light and Love… acceptance of who we are warts and all is part of growing… None of us are perfect in this world…. And while you are beating yourself up, Im sure others havent given it a second thought…
    So Please let it go….
    sending you a Big Hug…
    Sue x

    • kp says:

      Thanks Sue…It is so true….we are so much harder on ourselves than on other people. This was a scary post to write but I felt so light afterwards; like the darkness lost some strength when it was exposed to the light. I have also been comforted by the loving response that the post has elicited. I will try to hold on to the Beings of Light image, and also to the notion that we are all imperfect, but still worthy of love. Kim

  5. Just know that we can see the beauty in you :)

  6. Deliberately Delicious says:

    The journey towards loving oneself and accepting oneself is a lifetime’s work. That you understand where the voices came from – and can do so without blaming – speaks volumes to me about how far along already you are on your journey. Here is some of what I appreciate about you: your courage to write about deeply personal things, your insight, and your commitment to moving forward in your life.

    • kp says:

      Thank-you!! That was a hard post to write and I worried that it would put people off; you know, being “too much of a downer”. But people, such as you, have been incredibly supportive and that does mean something!! Kim

  7. Kim one thing I have learned is that when we learn to have compassion for ourselves the world feels kinder and there is less to defend against. It took me 48 years to figure out I wasn’t this freakish anomaly that needed daily criticism to get by. I too was so hard on myself, my self defeating tapes still run but I have found some distance from them realizing they are part of an old defense mechanism and not based in reality. You are an amazing person the fact that you are aware is the road to greater compassion for yourself. I highly recommend the book Getting Real by Susan Campbell her book helped me learn a better way to communicate honestly with less defensiveness. I still have my defensive moments but this helped immensely. Peace to you. Marsia

  8. Pingback: Divine grace uses demons to guard “angels” « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  9. I think we are very hard on ourselves and the biggest judges. The most important thing you mentioned in here is forgiving yourself….. AND……. how to be in this world without hating yourself for failing. I tend to be hard on myself but there is always someone (like a good friend) that says “take it easy on yourself, it’s ok, don’t beat yourself up” then I feel a little better with that reminder….. :)

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