Dear 19-Year-Old Me: It’s Going to Work Out
I know how much you are hurting right now. You are trying so hard to be a Mum, but you are feeling lost. You are so sure that you are a terrible mother that you are about to hand your little boy over to his father, and walk away.
You are in so much pain because you think you aren’t good enough to be his mother. For months you’ve struggled to cope. You feel your anger and frustrations rising. I know you don’t know what to do, so you long for the weekend when you can bury your pain in drugs and alcohol. You’re so convinced that this is all your fault, that you can’t see what is really happening.
You are being played. You are being punished for hurting a manchild’s ego. You are being held to a ridiculous standard by a man who had told you he loved you and wanted to marry you. But the problem was, it wasn’t you that he wanted as a wife…he wanted another version of his mother. You knew you couldn’t live up to this expectation, and you never wanted to. You wanted to be you, not her.
You also realized that at 19, you were far too young to be married.
You told him you didn’t want to be his wife, and he told you he would take your child from you. His eyes looked so cold.
My darling girl. I do so wish you could see what is happening. For the last year, you were belittled, criticised, shamed, mocked and beaten down. This has been a deliberate campaign to break you. That man built up your self-esteem from virtually nothing when you got together at 16. He knows your weak spots and he is using them to hurt you. He has alienated you from your mother so much that he knows you won’t turn to her for help. He has made you feel weak, made you think you are a bad mother, made you feel undeserving of anything but contempt. Of course you aren’t functioning well—you’ve been wrangling with emotional abuse and gaslighting for a year.
You also have some lingering mental health issues. You went through bulimia after the baby was born and you were traumatized by a breastfeeding failure. You need help, but the abuse has left you feeling so much shame that you can’t see it.
I cannot change the decision you are about to make, but I want you to stop feeling you are to blame.
You are in an impossible situation. He can’t see that what he is doing is not only hurting you—it will also hurt the child he claims to love. He is only doing this to stroke his own ego, and not thinking of the consequences. I know your future, so rest assured this will all work out in the end. Your son will know the truth one day.
I want you to know that you are and always were worthy of being his mum. I want to tell you that you are, and always will be, wonderful, beautiful, and very very worthy of love. But until you can see that for yourself, you won’t believe it, no matter who tells you. Not even me.
One day you will begin to heal from this pain. You’ll be able to look back at this agonizing time of your life and see. And when you do, I will be there, crying and smiling with you on the other side of the mirror. And you will tell that beautiful woman you finally see that you love her completely and that it is all ok.
I love you, and one day you will too. You are amazing.
Your 45-year-old self
Esther is from Wales in the UK. She beat 20 years of alcoholism and drug abuse at the age of 41 when she trained to be a yoga teacher. She has been sober since Oct 12, 2014, and has written a book about her adventures (Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga).
Esther loves music, Yoga, her babies (three human sons and one dog daughter), walking in the hills and at the coast, and dancing like no one is watching (even when she is at the grocery store!). She is passionate about the power of Yoga to create health and happiness, and believes that through its transformational power, and particularly learning to breathe, we can create space, peace, healing and joy in our lives.