Originally published on Everyday Feminism.
For almost my entire life, I felt as though I couldn’t trust my own memory.
If something happened that upset me, hurt me, or angered me, my reaction was often met with some variation of “That didn’t happen! I never said that! You’re overreacting!”
I would think to myself, “Am I making this up, am I creating this hurt, am I fabricating this anger?”
Parents and partners alike would deny my experiences, washing away painful memories as if I had simply painted them for my own amusement.
I started to think that maybe I really was “too sensitive”, that I really was overreacting, being unfair, blaming others for something that was happening inside of me.
And that’s a confusing, frustrating, and even dangerous place to be.
Because after years of being told that your memory is not reliable, you begin to depend on what others say truly happened. Nearly every time I felt angry or hurt, it was the person angering or hurting me that I believed had the “real” knowledge of what had transpired.
And even in the moments when I began to believe myself, I’d feel a pulling in my brain: “You’re hurt—no, you’re just imagining things” or “You’re angry—no, you’re just too sensitive.” This tension nearly pulled me apart.
But one day, I pushed back.
I had gotten into a huge argument with a family member. As per usual, this family member entered my home making homophobic comments as hellos, which then escalated to a full-blown argument.