New Year’s is just around the corner and it’s time for some resolutions. I generally don’t make resolutions as they’re a guaranteed way for me to feel like a failure. When you make them, your expectations are high but people often make resolutions that are too lofty. The idea behind them is to make you a better person somehow. When you’re the adult survivor of abuse, you reach way beyond getting better to attaining perfection.

An abused child learns many lessons. The first lesson, though, is if they are just perfect enough, the abuse will stop. Of course, this is a lie that the abuser uses to justify their treatment of the child. The child learns they aren’t smart enough, fast enough, pretty enough, good enough, bad enough, enough to make the abuse stop. Of course, after the abuse the abuser will often show affection or give the child some gift out of a sense of guilt which reinforces the lesson.

I learned this lesson far too well.

In later years my abuser would point to the gifts they gave and claim this proved they didn’t abuse me. Of course, this is an abuser’s trick, like a magician making the audience look one way while the truth lays in the other. Even at the age of 45 I was still chasing that impossible Will-O-the-Wisp of perfection, thinking this time my abuser would finally love me. It wasn’t until I cut them, and my family, out of my life that the realization hit me; I would never be perfect.

So this year I’m making a reverse resolution. I’m going to learn how to make mistakes. Learn how to fail and be okay with it. I’m going to learn how to enjoy my errors. I expect that the upcoming year is going to be interesting.

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