My Art Therapy Journey

In my lifetime I have been told I am miserable.

I’ve heard it from more than one person.  I’ve heard it from people in my family…and I’ve heard it from people who have no way of knowing me, for instance, my daughter’s step-mother, because she has always refused to speak to me or acknowledge my existence…beyond, of course, assuming that I am miserable.

Whenever I have heard this I have always been speechless.  It always has hurt me is such an unreachable place I don’t even know what the feeling is that it brings up for me.  It’s so unexplainable and I’ve never been able to understand being informed of my misery, lol.

I still can’t really understand it.

But I’ve been dealing with a lot of things lately.  Coming back to life gradually, in bursts.  So I’m looking at my past and my history to what has brought me into being born all over again.  This privilege I get, that sometimes I have to work at accepting because of the pain it also brings with it.  It brings with it the reality of my life.

And so I run into the past.

I don’t run toward my past.  I run into my past.  (And that is a very big distinction.)

As I move forward, my past is there.  It greets me, and I can’t move beyond it without acknowledging that it is there.

And so I’ve been thinking about times  in the past I’ve been told or heard that I was miserable and the turmoil and confusion that has always caused to erupt from inside of me.  I could never figure out why I was hearing that because inside of me my heart was not miserable.  I didn’t feel miserable…but I eventually started believing that I was, indeed, miserable.

“You’re miserable.”

“You’re a miserable person.”

“You’re a miserable excuse for a person.”

I didn’t understand.

It did hurt though.

It hurt A LOT.

And I was alone for so many years and nobody ever told me otherwise.

I still couldn’t figure out why that must be what I was.

Because even though I probably should have been, I wasn’t.

However, I experienced my confusion about being miserable as…miserable!

Well, I’m happy (not miserable) to say that something has occurred to me over the past day or so.

I’ve realized that the people who have ever told me that I was miserable were possibly, themselves, miserable in some way.  However, I would never say this to another person.  I couldn’t imagine telling another person they are miserable, even if they were inflicting (or projecting) misery onto me.  I can’t even imagine ever saying it which gives me some sort of faith that misery is not what defines me.

It still hurts so much that people who were designed to love  me when I needed them most did not love me enough to be able to see past their own pain.

But I’ve been in therapy for the last couple of years with a therapist who treats me with dignity, and even though receiving respectful, compassionate care has been the most excruciatingly scary, I’m beginning to take some breaths of respect and compassion for myself.  It hurts, but this is the part about running into my past I’m talking about.  It takes me back to all those places where history got it wrong.  My life has been given grace to correct itself.

For all the times I could never reply, I am hitting “Reply All.”

“I am not miserable.  I am not a miserable person, and now that I love myself I have no excuse to believe that anymore.”

So to my brother and to my mother, I hope this finds you well.

And to my daughter’s step-mother, I would still sit down and have a cuppa with you anytime your heart will allow.

I’m my own person now.  I would love for you to get to know me.



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  1. November 11, 2012

    Not sure what you mean when you say people ( family? ex-friends?) find you to be a miserable person. How do you manifest this supposed “miserablness”??
    Also, what do you mean by “people designed to love me”???

  2. November 11, 2012

    Hi Stilesroad, thank you for reading and for your questions to clarify. “People” is more specifically my brother and my mother, in my memory. Toward the end of my post that is why they are addressed. (They do not know about or read my blog, to my knowledge and my name is private here as a measure of reasonable privacy for others. I attempt to keep the focus here on my journey, however others have been and are a part of it.) I have experienced quite a bit of abuse in my life, primarily by my family. But I didn’t understand it as abuse, necessarily, when it was happening as I was growing up. I just believed I must be an extremely miserable person! But now, I understand that I was so confused about hearing this about myself when I would hear it because my heart wasn’t miserable…except for the misery of the pain inflicted upon me by other. It’s an excruciating pain.

    When I say “people designed to love me” I am referring to my beliefs about family. I believe that family is designed/created to support its members. To love them, to nurture them, to care for them, and by all means, not to abuse them.

    I hope this helps clarify. Please let me know if you have more! And thank you for reading!

    • November 11, 2012

      I’m sorry, I missed your question about how I manifest this supposed miserableness…

      I can give you a couple of examples of times I was told this…

      Once, several years ago, in my mid 20’s as a single mother I was invited over to another family’s house with my daughter for dinner during the holidays because my family does not celebrate them. This really upset my brother when he found out. He called me and the phone call consisted of being cussed out. One of the things I was told during that phone call was that I was just miserable…a miserable person.

      As far as examples with my mother go, she often told me I was evil as I was growing up, as a very young girl. I do not recall doing evil things, but I have believed I was very bad from any time in history I can remember. There were a lot of these instances with my mother. I cannot remember the specific instances of my mother telling me I was a miserable person, but I know that I did hear it from her.

      And even telling these very real things that did happen, I feel extremely guilty for telling them. But I tell them just as part of my history and the truth of what has been in my life. Not in any way as retribution to my family. I still very much care for them. I have focussed on keeping myself safe in recent years, however, which has meant being apart from them. I am 32 and married now with a teenager and a toddler of my own.

  3. November 11, 2012

    Thank you for sharing …. this is very similar to my story. I too have been alone SO much of my life that I still believe a great deal of what I was told by those designed to love me. I sometimes worry that I am too damaged to ever allow myself to love and be loved, when people tell me other than what I was taught most of the first 30 yrs of my life, I am immediately suspicious of them, wondering why they’re lying to me or humoring me, trying to tell me something that doesn’t match the stories I heard so often. You’re a very brave, lovely lady!!

    • November 12, 2012

      Sherrie, thank YOU for sharing. It’s so amazing to me how many there are who can relate and yet how many of us have felt so alone. I sometimes think the loneliness is the saddest and hardest part to overcome. I want to tell you one thing, and that is that you are SO, SO loved and lovable. No lies, no smoke. You got that one way covered. And you sharing and being vulnerable here with me is SO LOVING! You are helping ME feel loved and cared for!!! And I have no need to humor you or anyone, really, promise. I’m very glad to know you along this journey of life…Let’s keep truckin.

  4. November 11, 2012

    you’re not miserable

    • November 12, 2012

      Nafees, thank you so much. So powerful. So healing. You have my deepest gratitude.

      • November 12, 2012

        most welcome, watch movies to heal your soul. They work magically, my personal experience.

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