A short selection of things my family have considered it acceptable to say to me in the past year:
- No wonder you have no friends
- You have had every advantage in life. You're just too lazy to get a job.
- You can find yourself somewhere else to live
- Why don't you just kill yourself?
- I hate the sound of your voice
- You are dirty and disgusting and you smell
Then there are the more subtle forms of abuse by outsiders. The pseudostepmother who thinks it's OK to make you stand in the corridor when your dad is in intensive care because 'it's a different kind of love'. The pseudostepfather who pretends you don't exist. The waitresses who pretend they can't see you, the cashiers who demand ID even though you have grey hair, the Big Issue sellers who hassle you. All the little unkindnesses.
My sister's best friend lied to her that she had cancer. My pseudostepmother omitted to mention the fact that her rich husband was twenty-five years her senior and had a granddaughter. My mother lied for over a decade about having an affair. I don't know anyone who is honest. I don't know anyone who isn't judgmental. I don't think I even know anyone who is nice
It is a lot like my phobia of dentists, actually. It doesn't deserve to be called a phobia because it is entirely rational, and justified, and based upon empirical experience. And when I overcome my fears, it turns out that I was right to be afraid. Guess what, dentists do
inflict unnecessary pain on you in exchange for vast quantities of money! Just like they did before you stopped going!
I was scared of traffic even before a car knocked me over. If I'd been that little bit more
anxious, it would have saved me from getting in an accident and the greater anxiety that resulted from that. Yeah, anxiety stops you living life to the full. But sometimes it's the only thing which keeps you alive at all.