When I was much younger, I chose to see the good in everything and everyone. I was one of the most devout believers in this concept!
I was always hard working and driven, but I was quite naïve to others' failings and had no idea about toxic people or narcissists, as I had only ever been taught to see the best in everything and everyone from parents who had only ever experienced the goodness of those close to them. I'd never witnessed 'dysfunction' in my upbringing. My parents were great and I had a large wider family that we regularly socialised with. I couldn't have had a happier childhood.
I had an immense love for my family, life, and had the simple desire to get along with others and enjoy my life like anyone else. I have always been the type of person who constantly tries to achieve, and who values family greatly. I like to support others, put in the work to maintain relationships, and celebrate life with those who I believe are there for me.
When I became a young adult, to my naïve horror and dismay, I was on the receiving end of the most extreme, toxic, unjust and narcissistic behaviour by those people who should have been there for me for life.
Suddenly, I realised that seeing the 'best' in others, while well intended, was nothing more rainbows and lollipops because in reality I was being savaged by jealous and insecure individuals without just cause. Even if they "thought" there was a good reason, it all seemed very extreme, intently damaging and sinister in its execution - as they punished me with the full force of their 'law' - especially given my close personal relationships to them, my very young age, and despite the fact that they all knew I'd always been a good person.
It was a complete shock and was the polar opposite experience to anything and everything that I had been taught about and witnessed in my childhood. It was incomprehensible at the time...because it was so senseless and soul-destroying by large numbers of people, who were deliberately seeking to 'punish' and harm. All of them were people I had previously completely trusted.
When I think of most people, I honestly don't know how any of them would survive these situations in tact without going off the rails somehow. I'm not saying that like I'm better than everyone else; I'm saying it because these situations were that horrendously difficult and should never have happened. It's impressive that I not only survived but thrived. I'm telling you that for a fact.
The severity and senselessness of those people and events forced rapid and immense personal growth that I know many will never experience. People these days with far less life experience than me, who don't truly know my journey, like to feel superior, or take aim thinking they know 'better' about life, and believe they know me well enough to make various assumptions. That's just ignorance, inexperience and naivety on their part, which causes those beliefs and judgments.
Most people wouldn't be able to wrap their heads around what I've been through in my adulthood, let alone believe it - especially after I had a contrastingly different (happy, functional) childhood that I have so many fond memories of. In adulthood, it's been smear campaigns, family scapegoating, social ostracism, widespread relationship breakdowns, tragedy, sinister betrayals, toxic people, sudden tragedy, life threatening meningitis and sepsis... in case you didn't realise it, these are not minor things - they're major life catastrophes!
Some people might think, upon hearing all that, that I must be some sort of villain to get such treatment by the masses. Oh, how I wish I could say I deserved any of it... at least then it wouldn't have felt so unjust. No... the worst part was that I didn't deserve any of it.
In fact, I had no idea why I was being treated like that, being so young and naïve - but when it's people who have previously been close to you or who you had wanted in your life, it can blindside you and have you feeling severe confusion, hurt and a sense of betrayal rather than having you proactively seeking answers and trying to understand the reason why virtually everyone had ostracised you.
Even if I'd done the latter, it wouldn't have made any difference. It was all the result of various people's jealousy, illegitimate personal issues, rapidly changing family and power dynamics caused by tragedy, adversity and other significant life events, and others' intense insecurities and beliefs that existed throughout.
Only as years went by and I grew older did I start to see people and situations for what they truly were. By doing so, I started to understand how and why I had been treated like that. I mean, it affected my whole life and resulted in mass relationship breakdowns and social hate and abandonment. It's difficult to ignore or pretend like it never happened.
I discovered that one of the main reasons this happened, was that there was immense envy and insecurity by others, which I'd failed to identify before. Not only was it in relation to me, but much of it had long existed in relation to the position and status my immediate family held prior to and following my father's death.
With my Dad no longer around, I was the strong, happy and perceivably successful one who became the perfect scapegoat for all of that pent up envy that had existed. All they needed was a good 'reason' to unleash it...which isn't that difficult, when there are one or two people who you suddenly discover have complicated motives and deep insecurities and who are desperate to prove they are more powerful or important than you.
Combine that with an ability to use social ostracism to achieve their reality, and suddenly you realise that there was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off the whole time.
I'd failed to notice it before, understandably... given my age and given I looked for the good in everything and everyone, like I was taught and wanted to. I had no idea that so many people envied my family's successful position or envied me that much, when I thought I people had been happy, supportive and friendly.
I'm so proud that I've managed to retain my composure, personality, sense of humour, mental and physical health, and spirit in the face of the most extreme adversities and sinister betrayals.
My strength, resilience, and realistic view of life hasn't come easy. It's taken the fight of my life and the hardest work ethic, focus, and the most extreme discipline you could ever possibly imagine to be able to survive it all because it was solely upon me... given that in my life, allies had become adversaries, and then later, upon my determination to heal and forgive, my adversaries became 'allies', which was also a hard transition given everything that happened and the widespread trust that had been destroyed.
I have forced myself to use these events to my advantage rather than disadvantage. I have chosen to unearth the jewels of knowledge, wisdom and growth in amongst the devastation and destruction.
I've managed to retain all my good traits because despite all the fabrication, jealousy, insecurities, and adverse events of my life that have threatened to destroy it, I couldn't stop being the person I was born to be.
My character will always prevail: my immense spirit, strength, kindness, generosity and uncomplicated nature will always remain. But now I am acutely aware of how people think and behave... and seeing the best in everyone is not only naïve but it's unrepresentative of reality and unpractical.
I've since learned that to survive, you can't just live in a naïve state of rainbows and lollipops all your life. If you do that, and are met with real challenges involving others, you'll never survive.
I've fought so hard and for so long to survive and thrive, that this way of life has stuck. No matter where I'm at in my life, I keep striving hard, pushing forward, learning and forcing my ongoing growth and improvement and never take my current situation or relationships for granted.
All of these horrendously difficult and painful events ignited and stoked a fire that is so raging that I can't put it out. It keeps driving me to achieve bigger and better things every day - to some people's dismay! I keep rising and rising and rising... above and beyond every person or life event that mounts their challenge.
Some toxic people resent me for the fact that I'm not a victim...they threw me under the bus, and not only did I survive ... but I thrived, which makes me a victor. That wasn't supposed to happen! I'm the one who's supposed to be the poor unfortunate one...the pitied one, given all those 'unfortunate' events! Certainly not the one who is arguably the most successful.
Given all that I've been through, when things are quiet and peaceful, it almost seems foreign and different that someone isn't coming for me: trying to bring me down or destroy my life. I'm almost suspicious when things seem too easy or pleasant... as though it's the calm before a storm.
That's why I'm never complacent or sitting idle. Instead, I keep forging forward and I take control of and responsibility for my life rather than being a sitting duck for whatever and whoever, comes my way and seeks to pull me down. Sure they still try... I have experienced that. But when they do, it's always at their own expense.
Let this inspire you to get through whatever it is that is testing you, in your own life. Stay strong and believe in yourself - especially when no one else does.