• DeAara Lewis

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There is a Hater Amongst Us…How I Learned to Protect Myself from Mental Vampires…

The term “unworthy witness” is one that my life coach uses often.  An unworthy witness is defined as a person who serves no valuable purpose in certain parts of your life.   They have very little importance and very little input in you becoming a better you.

In the urban arena, they are just known as “haters.”  Unworthy witnesses or haters come in all forms.  Many times they are family members, close friends or co-workers.

So how do you know when you have a “hater” amongst you?  Often times, you don’t.  Because they have no idea of what they are doing, all they know is that you being you causes grave discomfort for them.  And when you are not aware of their presence and have no idea how to defend yourself, they can pollute your psyche, plant cancerous seeds of self-hatred and doubt and you could lose years on end going after your life goals.

I have had my share of “unworthy witnesses”/”haters”, it wasn’t until I became older that I realized something was not quite right, but I didn’t know what to do about it.  I had absolutely no idea how to protect or defend myself from their toxicity.  Hell, half of the time, I couldn’t even tell when they were polluting me because their entrance into my psyche was so smooth, my guard did not detect it.  I just knew that I started to doubt myself, who I was, where I wanted to go, who I wanted to be.

I have been an entertainer even as a child.  I’ve always loved performing.  Acting, writing stories, singing, drawing – anything that had to do with creating.  Unfortunately, I dealt with my share of unworthy witnesses.  I got accused of “showing off” often.  Many times some family members, so-called friends, strangers or even nemesis would attempt to humiliate  me because they didn’t understand me.

Then there were those who saw my talent and instead of giving me praise, they either remained mum or only pointed out my short-comings.

I was told I could not sing and would be laughed at simply because I didn’t sound like my older sister.  And for many years, I believed them.  I was told I was a “show off” because I liked creating, performing and expressing myself.  And for many years, I believed them.  I was told I was bald-headed therefore unattractive because my hair was not long and for many years, I believed them.  I was told that I was fat (by my elementary drama teacher at that) because I was not skinny – and for many years, I believed them.

Growing up in this culture can do a number on a child’s self-esteem when there isn’t a lot of protection against mental vampires.  And it did certainly did a number on me.  While I never fully gave up my belief that I was greater and better than who many people told me I was, a part of me was always afraid to express it fully.

Eventually, I got labeled “the actress” because I was very good at it, enjoyed it, and I didn’t pose much threat to anyone else’s lane.  And I also began a very long battle with my weight.  I had this “one day I’ll be beautiful” mentality.  One day, I was going to be thin, I was going to have long flowing hair, I was going to be discovered and everyone was going to see how great I was.  Then I would prove them all wrong!  Oh, and I’d also have a really hot boyfriend which would prove that I was worth something to all of the other boys who I liked but did not like me back.

When I shared this thinking with my life coach, he jokingly asked, “So how’s that been working out for you?”  “Not very well” I replied. That was when I learned about how unworthy witnesses work.

Granted, a lot of those thoughts and ideals I had already shed from the number of years I had been working on myself – but some of them were still very much a part of my reality.

I then did an inventory of all the people who either teased me or tried to humiliate me for being who I was.  And I was deeply shocked with what I learned.  One of them was dead, one was in jail, many had many children very early and was struggling in poverty to raise them, some were addicts, and some had just given up on life and settled for a mediocre existence.  These were the people I listened to growing up.  These were the people I let define and determine who I was; who I tried to change for simply to make them feel more comfortable.

There were a couple who had gone on to be quite successful and when I reconnected with them, they admitted to me that they too, were going through a rough time during those years  and simply took it out on me.  Basically, they did to me, what had been done to them.

This gave me a completely new perspective on who I was.  And one thing I realized is – I determine who I want to be. If I am a show off, so what?  If I can’t sing like my sister, so what?  I sing like DeAara.  If I will never be a size 6, so what?  If I never have long, flowing hair, so what?  If I have a long-lasting relationship or if I don’t, so what?  None of this defines me, none of this makes me who I am.  And if I go for any of this, then I see myself through someone else’s eyes and I become their puppet.  And that’s something I refused to be.

I am who I am.  Everyday is a battle to pull my own strings.  And the only thing that matters more than breathing is staying true to myself.  Even if it goes against what someone else may want me to do or who they want me to be.

The Real Ones walk their own path and walk with you at the same time because you all are going in a similar direction.  They are just as hungry as you are and go hard for what they want just as much as you do.  This, I’ve experienced time and time again.  If you stay true to who you are, even if everyone in your life is telling you to give up, you will meet others who will really get you, who will really see you.  And the unworthy witnesses will either change their tune, gracefully step aside or cease to exist altogether in your life.


2 Responses

  1. Great insight.

  2. Good one… Love this…

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