Confessions of a Wallflower

People often comment on my confidence and ability to be myself and how easily I mingle and laugh. But I was not always that girl.

During my childhood I went to 23 different schools from kindergarten to Grade 7! My mom and dad fought like wild people and lived the “leave – come back – leave” vicious cycle of an abusive, destructive relationship. I was their youngest and was caught in the middle.

By the time I got to junior high I was the meekest, quietest, most self-conscious young girl you could imagine. I wanted to be invisible. I was a loner and walked with my head down to avoid eye contact. I was bullied and beaten up frequently but it was just part of life.

Then came the first school dance! I had no desire to attend and certainly didn’t expect to be asked by a boy; but this weird thing happened. One of the girls in my class said she would go with me since I was new. It was a mean-girl trick and as soon as we arrived I was mocked, laughed at and left alone.

I literally stood at the back of the gym leaning against the wall. My body language begged everyone not to look at me – head down, hair flopped in front of my face, utterly humiliated. I was lonely, sad and without hope. That was me throughout high school and beyond.

I felt so worthless that I lapped up any offering of “love” or positive attention from a guy. The result: 4 abusive relationships. I was the perfect sort of bait for an abusive man. I had no guts, no boundaries, I was desperate for love and friendship. I was the shining example of “You attract what you reflect.”

My final abusive relationship almost killed me and left me feeling defeated, worthless and indulging in very self-destructive behavior. It was my worst moment.

My heart now understands that what felt like my worst moment, my biggest failure was actually my biggest gift. I found a wonderful mentor and friend who helped me through the process of self discovery. It was horrible and I was so resistant. I did not want to get to know the real me – I hated ME. Truly there was no one in the world I hated more.

If I gave in, healed and got to know her; I might be noticed by others or be expected to interact with people – heaven forbid!!  Even though I was sad and lonely, it was comfortable. I could be in a room and no one would expect anything of me. Easy. Wonderful. Don’t look at me.

But I persevered and opened myself up to deep self discovery, self acceptance and finally self love. I broke free of my past, learned to set boundaries and put myself first.

Am I perfect? No and I don’t want to be. I want always to be a beautiful work in progress.

Losing the self consciousness allowed me to connect with others and HEAR THEM. I realized I’m not the only one who lived life as a lonely, self-conscious woman desperately seeking any type of attention or “love” – a woman who easily becomes caught up in a toxic or abusive relationship.

I became a reluctant expert and I love that I can help others grow, let go and change their lives and embrace life and love. I watch women move from feeling self-conscious, unworthy, unlovable, ugly and settling for less than their worth to confident women of value with comfortable, solid boundaries, brimming with joy and ready to take on any challenge and adventure that comes their way.

To be able to do this for others is my joy and it is the gift that my story of loneliness and abuse gave me. Turning the page was tough but I courageously worked on me and now my story is vibrant and colorful.

But most importantly is that I show up as ME, whether it is with my husband, my kids, my friends, my clients – anyone who crosses my path. I’m prepared to keep going deep so that I can keep showing up, warts and all. I can look in the mirror and say – “I Love You, You Are Enough.”

Not bad for the girl who was bullied, friendless and desperately lonely.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know that your story is filled with chapters. You can choose to complete a chapter or turn the page and write a brand new chapter. You do not have to stay in the old story and negative patterns. I am a shining example of how your life will change when you choose to turn the page, take charge of your life and write your vibrant new story.

To your new chapter! I can’t wait to read it.

Susan Ball is the founder of Empowered Her, an abuse recovery expert and a bestselling author. "Empowered Her" blossomed from Susan's own abusive relationships and is built on the belief that all women are entitled to live free, fulfilled and fearless.
Susan is on a mission empowering women to Rise Up, Show Up, Free Their Voices and Move Out of Victim-Hood.
You can connect with Susan on her website or join her Healing Narcissistic Trauma Facebook Group.

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