You are NOT Invisible

I have spent the majority of my life being content as the invisible girl. Trauma in my life has caused me to be terrified of abandonment and rejection. I tried so hard to be the perfect daughter, sister, and friend so that no one would leave me. In my struggle to be perfect, I faded into the background of my own life. 

In the time since I started at Furman, I have gone through so much growth. I am working to own my imperfections and to allow myself to feel again. I am becoming the person that I had kept hidden for so long. I have found friends at Furman that see me and, for reasons beyond my comprehension, like what they see. I know that I am valid, and I am worthy of being seen. 

This being said, I am living at home this semester with people that are accustomed to treating me like a human doormat. In the first few weeks of being home, I was a novelty. That soon wore off. I was back to being treated like the invisible girl I had been for 18 long years. My mom would walk away while we were in the middle of a conversation. My sister watches TikToks while I tell her about my day. My family doesn’t even notice when I spend an hour cleaning the kitchen as a surprise. It seems like I leave no imprint even when I try so hard to be noticed. 

After reverting to my invisible self out of habit. I decided that I was done. Done being disrespected and looked through. It took me standing in the kitchen explaining how to make apple sauce and having three people talk over me to push me over the edge. I threw down my apples and walked out. After this incident, my therapist and I devised a plan. 

My plan while I am living at home is to re-teach my family how to treat me. This is no easy task. But every day when I stand up for myself, I get closer to the respect and treatment that I deserve. At least three times a week I try to assert myself. This usually looks like stating one of my unpopular opinions at family dinners, saying no when asked to do something I don't want to do, and expressing emotions in front of family members. These are just a few examples. Each week to try to increase the number of times I stand up for myself in hopes that my change in behavior will have an effect on the behaviors of those around me. 

You are not invisible. You deserve to be seen, respected and appreciated. If you have the option to leave a relationship where you feel invisible, do it! But if you are not in the position to leave, teach the people around you how to treat you! It is very challenging, but I promise it is worth it.  

Disclaimer: I love my family. But we are a gang of imperfect and damaged people. Everyone wants the people who are supposed to love them the most in the world to understand exactly what they need without even saying it. Although you might find one person in this world that can do that for you; that is rare. You need to articulate what you need from the people around you. While this does not justify the way my family treats me sometimes, it does provide some good perspective on relationship growth.