How Hiding My Emotions Made Me Lose Myself

Everyone always tells me how nice I am.

I’m sure that is generally a compliment, but it makes me wonder if being nice allows people to take advantage of me. I sometimes feel like I shouldn’t be nice because I only end up getting hurt. Growing up, I didn’t have many people that I could turn to for help, and when I did, I only gave part of my story. I was too ashamed of what was happening to really open up and let it out. Those I did choose to confide in never believed me because “those things just don’t happen.”

I never wanted to be patronized. I was being abused and neglected, but people either didn’t believe me or didn’t want to get involved. I can understand that, but because of that, I shut down. I refused to talk or let my emotions show. I cried and hid from people. I was afraid of being by myself, yet I never felt safe.

The world wasn’t easy; love seemed complicated and messy. My life was empty.

I was certain I would never feel safe or cherished. Love didn’t seem real: I thought it was just an idea that people bought into. In my eyes, love was like being hungry and someone giving you fake food. It looks like food, but it does nothing.

Eventually, because of all the abuse and neglect, I started feeling very angry. I was angry at myself, the people around me, and I was angry at every situation I was put into that compromised my safety and my life. Because I am a perpetually nice person, though, no matter how angry I became I couldn’t hurt other people, meaning I didn’t say the things I want or need to say, or express true feelings. I didn’t want to push my negativity on other people, so the more I felt, the further I pushed people away

This all started improving when I started writing, though. I finally felt like I was able to open up and sort through my feelings. I was able to share bits and pieces of my story with others and hopefully inspire them to keep pushing on.

It may seem like I am writing these things to make people feel guilty for not helping me or feel sorry for me, but that’s not true. I write these things to prove to myself and other people that I am stronger than I get credit for. I write these things because writing is what has helped me sort through my past: Encouraging others to share their stories and get through their situations has helped me work through my own.

I’m still not completely over not being able to share my feelings.

There are people in my life that I wish I could say some things to, but I can’t because I’m just too nice. Maybe that’s my biggest flaw, but I never want to make anyone feel the way I did. Maybe I should, but instead, I tell my truth through writing. So if it makes people feel guilty for the way they treated me in the past, maybe it should. Maybe they will learn to help the people in their lives and be a little bit kinder.

I am incredibly ashamed of the person I used to be: that scared person who had no idea what her purpose in life was and hid so much. I am now learning that my past is what made me who I am.

There is a quote that says, “The same boiling water that softens the potato, hardens the egg.”

This quote helps me see  the stuff you are made of that helps you survive in the world. I may be nice, but that doesn’t make me weak. I may not be able to clearly express my feelings, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have any. Through all that I have learned, I know I want to give my life a more positive nature. I want to be accepting of myself. I want to understand that not everyone is good; that some people are bad. I now know my strength and that I have the ability, through writing, to spread some positivity and that is what I will continue to do.

Featured image by Joshua Rawson-Harris from Unsplash.


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