How about we don’t?

I don’t take compliments well on how I’m dressed. It’s getting to be a problem because now people are calling it out without understanding that it’s not about false modesty.

There’s a reason but if I say it to someone when they’re mid, “Vene, learn to take a compliment,” talk, then I have to explain what it was like being the daughter of a narsissistic mother who berated me before and after going anywhere in public because I never looked good enough for her. And if someone did say something nice she interrogated me for hours afterwards about what was said and by whom.

Nothing I did was ever good enough and there were always consequences and humiliation to be suffered for not just months but years to come. She never let anything go. I didn’t have a separate existence. I was either a giant disappointment and shameful or I was an extension of her and a compliment to her.

I’d show up to school dressed well and the other kids would make fun of how my mother dressed me or hate me because they thought I was showing off so it was just one more thing that called attention to how weird and not ok I was. But no one ever asked me if I was ok.

At home, my mother knew how to use my sisters to extend the cruelty. The only times I ever felt safe were when I would leave for camp far away from home and be in places where I could explore myself. But then I’d have to come back to more rounds of interrogation and mind games and bullying.

It didn’t end when I became an adult. It just got more complex.

If this sounds overly dramatic it’s because it’s only the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

I don’t ever bring up the really fucked up stuff because I don’t want people to ever have to suffer even the retelling of how terrible it was, let alone have a real idea of how terrible it was to live it. Just watch Mommy Dearest and Carrie and then you’ll have an idea.

So, no, I’m not being falsely modest. I’m trying to melt into the wall because no good ever came of calling attention to myself but it was also drilled into me that if I looked anything less than perfect I would pay a price later.

This is just some of the darkness I have to keep a lid on because people don’t know and they wouldn’t understand and no matter how much therapy or medicine or meditation or anything…you never quite escape it. You can rise above it. But good luck trying to escape your mother’s voice in your head.

So no, I don’t take compliments well. I don’t need to be called out for not taking them well either. Don’t compliment me and then insult me because I’m not good at it. I am already stretched so thin trying to do my best to human.


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