Photographer Mikaela Svarfvar

I have a girl-friend that I have known for many years. She was there for me when I was going through rough times and she was the one that encouraged me to seek therapy. Many years I struggled with self-hatred, depression and much worse things. There was a reason behind all that and she knew it very well. She knew that I wanted to change my life and live my dreams, something that I have never been able to do before. When I was done with therapy and had done massive progressive in life, she was there cheering me on. She cried with me when I was upset or sad, she really helped me to go through a dark time in my life.

She became even a better friend afterwards just because I could see and appreciate her in a whole new way. She was the best friend any girl could wish for! When I did a mistake, she would say “Learn from this and keep going! You are doing great!” I never knew that you could have a friendship like I had with her! It was a true sisterhood and warrior mentality. Together we could conquer anything! Sometimes she would say some mean comments about me, but I often let it slide because she was so dear to me. She was the one that has encouraged me when I was feeling lonely or when I was afraid. She was the one that picked me up when I fell into bad habits again.

I had 7-8 years of joy, laughter, dreams, goals and I was killing it. We both did. I was living the best life I could and I was HIGH on life. I never knew I could be this happy! I never knew that I could achieve so much AND that I could do that while I was loving and being content towards myself. I always saw improvements and my friend said that it is good that I’m honest with myself, to be able to see my flaws but still loving who I am no matter what I was facing or going through.

My friend is very pretty, she is smart and sometimes she is really funny. I love her sense of humour, I love that she sometimes says puns by accident and fall down laughing when she realizes it. She is very strong, stronger than she thinks she is and I don’t think she knows how to use that to her full potential. She would set goals and go after it like a crazy person and the coolest thing was that, if she didn’t succeed with something, she always saw a lesson learned or one experienced richer. When she had a goal and reached it, she would celebrate and be really happy with the progress. She would just set a new goal and go after it, over and over again, celebrating every single victory. She is very kind, friendly and loves animals. She will cry a river if an animal dies on TV. She is very loyal and she would do anything for her friends and family. She is not perfect or flawless but she is brilliant in just being her.

After many years of having an awesome friendship, thinks went suddenly wrong. When I met my husband she was very supportive and we became even closer because she knew how long I have waited for the right guy to show up. She was there when my biggest fear of being single and alone for the rest of my life just because I couldn’t find someone that had the same values as me. She prayed with me, she prayed for me, she blessed me in so many ways. She showed me grace and forgiveness so many times.

She made me laugh when I was sad, she made me a better person and she always saw good things in other people. She sometimes made excuses for people that didn’t treat her right or she just saw their flaws and loved them anyway. She had a problem to stick up for herself sometimes or say no, and people took advantage of that many times.

On my wedding day, she was celebrating with me all day and she cried of happiness when I saw my husband for first looks. She was so happy for me that I have found my husband and that we are living a great life together and enjoying being married.

I don’t know what changed and when it happened. Suddenly she became very critical of me and my dreams. She sends me links to other photographers website and wrote “Look how awesome these are, maybe you should learn from them? They are SO good! Could you EVER achieve something like that?!”. She also showed me a lot of Instagram posts, people that were living their best life and was successful. She would comment and say: “See?! This person has been through this and doing awesome! What is your excuse?”
She knew that I was struggling from living in Sweden to suddenly adapting to live in England and find a whole new clientele. She was quite pushy about it that I should try that idea or that idea, and when I did and showed her… She said it was horrible and that she couldn’t believe that I have gone to photography school, being an intern in NYC and being taking peoples wedding pictures. Who do you think you are, she said to me many many times.

When I was struggling with having black mould in our apartment and then find out that I had copper toxicity in the body, gaining weight and have crazy hormonal episodes. She said I just seemed to have excuses after excuses these days.
She even called me fat and hopeless. She said my husband would leave me if I didn’t shape up and act better. She said I should not let him in and see what a mess I am. She really really hurt me.

She called me a liar, she said that I could never feel like I did during those 7-8 years of my life. I should just shut up and accept that I will not become anything or do anything of value. I have told her many times that I want to help people in some way but I don’t know how. She laughed and said that I have nothing to teach anyone, to encourage anyone or bring any sort of value into their life. That broke my heart because I have always hoped and dreamed that my purpose is to help others.

Sometimes she would make excuses for me when I wanted to change something or make me scared of even trying something new. She told me that if I’m not careful, my husband will be tired of me and regret marrying me. That triggered a big fear in me. How sad wouldn’t it be that I have waited so many years to find the right guy for me and then when I “have” him and I would just mess up everything.

I didn’t take her advice of not being honest to my husband, I told him about everything, from when our friendship was really good and now, suddenly it was really bad. I was confused and sad. I asked myself over and over again if everything that happened those years – were they real? Was I that happy or did I really had such a great time and friendship with her? I loved her as a friend! A beloved, brilliant and wonderful friend! How could this go so terribly wrong? Have I done something to her? Has she pretended to be my friend all these years just to shoot me done over and over?

My husband rightfully questioned why I put up with her. Why did I even have her as a friend? She might have been the best friend I could ever wish for but now she was becoming so mean, critical and horrible towards me. I denied that she was abusive because I still remembered all those good years and fun memories with her. My husband asked me several times why I accepted this kind of behaviour when I would never accept that from someone else? I would dump them very quickly if they treated me poorly. Why was it so hard when it was about her? I felt like an idiot for giving her so many chances. I hope that she would change. I gave her books about self-improvement, I did a Pinterest board of motivational quotes. I did everything I could to give her the tools to change. I even played her favourite music that many times made her cry of happiness, now it didn’t move her at all.

I saw that my husband tried to understand. He has seen me trying to put down boundaries and rules for her. He has seen me trying to stand against her abuse and failed over and over again.

She would say all the time that everyone is deserving empathy, love, and understanding. She complimented SO many people. She would encourage our friends and being that awesome person that she is to them. She would be really nice and loving towards my husband but not me. She is so happy for everyone else but not me. Sometimes she would behave as she used to be, my best friend and biggest cheerleader. When I saw those moments of her, my heart lit up and I felt so happy about having my friend back. It didn’t take long until something set her off again.

She used every mistake or failure I did against me. If I did something really good and I was proud of it, she would say it was awful or it was not good enough. She would grab my chin, pull it and say that I’m so lazy and that I really have left myself go. And even when I told her why I was struggling she wouldn’t listen or acknowledge it. Every time I tried on a new dress or sweater, she would say that it would look much prettier if I lost 10 kg. She would mock me when I was speaking English to other people, she said my accent is too horrid and that I don’t make sense at all. She teased me and reminded me about my dyslexia all the time and said so many times that no-one that struggled so much in school like me, will become anything in life.

She even used my faith against me. And this is the worst she ever did to me. She quoted one of my favourite verses from the bible. It’s from Matthew 22:37-39
“Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ “

After she quoted the verse for me, she said that everyone else deserves love. God mostly. Then people. But for me, no I don’t deserve love or acceptance for who I am because I have too many flaws. Too many mistakes. I am not smart or even clever.
She told me over and over again how hopeless I am. She told me that I should just accept that certain things will never change for me. Even if I try my hardest! Even if I shed blood, sweat, and tears – I will never achieve my goals and dreams. She forgave people that have done horrible things to her but me, she couldn’t forgive me for messing up the slightest.

Yesterday I saw a video that really made me question myself. I will share it further down on this blog post.
I decided that I needed to do something.

You see.. My friend. My friend is me.

Before therapy, I went through this kind of abuse from myself. For years. Those happy 7-8 years of my life, was really my happiest. I have never been so free and excited before! I accepted myself, loved myself and I was so happy that I could feel this way about myself without being a totally self-centric prick.

I know that I got rid of this side of me years ago. And somehow I was letting her back again in my life. Controlling me. I got fooled that I would be this happy person for the rest of my life, I did the hard work back then, WOHO life is fun now! I didn’t realise that just because things have stopped and I have learned how to live a happier life – it doesn’t mean it will be like this forever.
I think when I left Sweden, with my biggest supporters and dearest friends living there – I think that is one of the reasons why I let negative thoughts to come back into my life. I felt lonely, I felt insecure. I felt different. I felt very Swedish when I have felt very Un-Swedish before.

I also think that being married to my awesome husband, triggered me to say this to myself: “Okay, you don’t need to love yourself anymore because now you have this hottie for husband and he loves you so much. Live through him. Your purpose now in life is to love him, be loved by him and make cute babies. That is it for you. You were not that smart anyway. Your husband is waaaay smarter so put all effort to be there for him instead. “

That made me terrified that I even thought like that. I know that my husband wants me to love myself because I’m important, I’m worth loving, he married me for the awesome person I am. He has not made me, he compliments me but he doesn’t complete me. I don’t live just for him and our future. I live for me too.

Thinking like this have really hurt me in so many ways and I have tried to stop. I have been so confused why this old and ugly side of my former self has shown her face.

There is a battle of our minds going on. And if I don’t do anything about my mind, I will lose my spark. I will lose my creativity.

I am not who I was years ago. I am a new person and I will fight for her freedom no matter what. I owe that to myself because I didn’t survive those horrible years just to be back at it and ruin my life again.

I refuse to let my past and my wounds determine where I should go or achieved.

I wrote this situation as I was my own friend. This is something I do all the time when it’s some sort of problem, to think about it from another perspective, in a different relationship. It’s funny that I would not let anyone else be abusive to me but I allowed myself to be abusive and mean to myself. That is not right. I have been through worse than this, depression, self-harm, self-hatred and suicidal attempts. I know that if I don’t stop this abuse to myself now, I will become that again.

Now that I know how freedom feels like during those years, now I know it’s possible and doable.

So this is how I will do it:
1. I acknowledge that this is a problem and something that is not right to do to myself. I acknowledge that you don’t have to be mean to yourself to be successful and go after your dreams. It is better to love yourself and go after it so when stuff goes wrong, I still loved myself through it. Just because you love yourself doesn’t mean you are going to be a self-centred, awful person. I acknowledge that being negative and hateful to yourself is actually making you very self-centric and selfish.
2. I forgive myself and ask for forgiveness from myself. For every mistake, I have done. And also that I didn’t protect myself well enough to see this old way of living, coming back. I forgive myself of being so abusive.
3. I will work on myself, read and study how to become the best version of myself and self-love.
4. I will not let any negative thoughts land in my mind and I will every day go against any abusive or disgusting behaviour or thoughts. I will not let any negative emotions and thoughts control me.
5. I will make a contract between myself that if I do something like this again, I’m going to go to therapy again and get some help.
6. I will speak up about this, especially when I know that those ones that have been trauma as a child often blame themselves and is dealing with a lot of shame. I will be honest and transparent so others also understand how important it is to seek help when something like this is happening.
7. I acknowledge that not loving myself is going against what God has said in his word. It goes against my favourite bible verse, I should love God, other people AND myself. If I believe that I’m a Christian and I believe in God, I should also believe that loving myself is also important. When I loved myself more in the past, I had more love and understanding for others too! Love feeds love!
8. I will go and live my best life. And I will love myself better than I ever did before. I will move from this experience, a little bit wiser and much more determined that this the end of my bad friendship with myself. I will walk in FREEDOM! I’m the master of my fate, captain over my ship. I want to live and I want to live my life well, full of love and joy.

Thanks for reading!


She was my friend

March 8, 2019

  1. Ané says:

    Thank you Mikaela for sharing your journey. It is true we all do that, you sharing it makes me and I am sure many realise, it is not acceptable to treat ourselves that way, because we wouldnt let anyone else do that.
    Adapting to a new country and setting is so hard, all I can do is encourage you to stand. I heard a guy talk about how the Priests stood with wet feet in the River, waiting on God’s promise that it will dry up for them to cross over to their promised land. While they were standing it looked like notjing was happening, but behind the scenes, up river God was damming up the river.
    STAND, know God is working behind the scenes, it may feel wet and uncomfortable, but soon you will walk into your promise.

    I cant wait for an opportunity to book you to take some photos!

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I'm Mikaela