Aahhhh IVY – where to even start explaining her.
IVY (inner voice yelling) became a negative influence in my life when I was very young. I was never good enough, smart enough, fast enough, pretty enough…I was just never enough for the people in my life that should have been there to build me up.
Being the super sensitive person I am, I took every stone thrown my way extremely personally and this was just compounded and reinforced by my upbringing. I started reflecting onto myself the things that those outside influences were saying and it wasn’t long before I thought worse of myself than they probably did.
IVY was sneaky…
At first, she was just a self voice that defended me, that gave support when I had none – “They’re wrong – you’re fine…”
Then she weaved tendrils of doubt in there – “What if they are right? I mean, how can these important people in your life say these things if they aren’t true?”
As I came into preadolescence (about 10 years old or so), I developed a chest and started my period and things escalated from there. IVY went from a worried companion to a constant reminder of my failures and shortcomings.
She never missed an opportunity to criticize or point out a fault. I remember sitting in the driveway at home, crying hysterically and drawing spiral wells sucking little stick figures into them…at 10 YEARS OLD!
I began agreeing with her – I knew she had to be right…how could every body else in my life be wrong? That was just selfish to think they were wrong and I was not to blame. (I wasn’t but I couldn’t see that then)
I spent many years (probably 25+) listening to her, believing her, feeding her hatred. I bought it hook, line and sinker. She has affected every relationship, platonic and romantic, I have ever had. She has affected friendships and jobs and realistically every decision I have made in my life has had a whisper of her in it. You can see why she earned her own personality.
It wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I started making headway on quietening her and building new thought patterns. It has never been easy but there are now far more days where she silently sulks in the corner than speaks her mind. On the days that she does still have a lot to say – I have ways of filtering the information and sorting out what is true, what is anxiety and what is just false.
It is a process – every day, every time I get upset – but I am finding my way and damn if it doesn’t feel good some days to just shut her down and be content. I am not my past – it has certainly shaped every part of my life – but I am in charge of the direction of my life now and I can choose to fight her or succumb.