Unpacking the house I am discovering many items that stir emotions for me. I have kept many things as keepsakes that have meaning to me and I am finding that it stirs up a lot of memories and emotions to be seeing them again. I have a feeling digging through these things is more theraputic than a month of therapy (which is good since I was told Wednesday that I am not a candidate for therapy 😉 ).
Please bare with me as I try to write down someof the thoughts, feelings, memories that have arisen. I am feeling rather confused and conflicted about some of them and any feedback would be so very much appreciated.
Growing up I had a Dad who had been raised to believe that men didnt show emotion and love except by working and bringing home a paycheck. There was never any doubt that he loved me and us, but I didnt learn ways to love others and be loved from him. My mom…..idk if she is capable of really loving someone. I think she is. She seems to have loved my Dad. She does not and did not love me though. I dont think she loved or loves my sister either but thats a bit harder to tell for sure.
As a young child I loved my parents. In very rare moments my Dad would hug me and I felt love. It was wonderful and amazing. I also always knew that my grandparents loved me very much. It was different with my mom. I never felt safe around her. She leaned on me for help a lot by the time I was 4. my whold world revolved around protecting her from a million things, keeping things from happening or turning out in a way she thought was wrong. She was quick to anger and quick to go nuts. Quick to cry or rage or freak out. She was always looking for someone or something to blame for when she felt angry or sad or mad. I was home (since I was so young) so it was usually me. If it wasnt something she could blame on me then she would look around and find something that I had done that she could use to get her emotions out by directing them on and at me. She was the same way with good feelings as well. If something made her happy or made her feel good she would go at it with the energy of an addict chasing that next high. She shopped frequently to make her happy and was more than a little upset if people around her didnt join in or seem as happy and excited as she was to be purchasing things. Anything that would make her happy was something she HAD to have or HAD to do and heaven help anyone or anything that got between her and what she needed at the time.
I learned to people please to survive in my house. I learned to anticipate what she would want, think, need, hate, what would set her off. I learned to never ever ask for help or show weakness. To do so would be disasterous. A weakness shown on Monday would be used against me on a later date. Usually publicly and in a very embarassing way. I think she hated that she needed me and hated that I was the true adult and was terrified that people would find out. So she found ways to make herself appear better than me in public. Or find ways to make me look like a bad kid.
I learned at a very early age to not have friends over. She always hated my friends (it seems then and now that she hates everything that makes me smile). They didnt konw that we had a million crazy little rules and would of course break them. She would just smile and wait until they left. Then I would pay for all their sins. She believed nobody should ever argue with her. Seriously. So if a friend had an opinion different than hers (even when the kid was in grade school)….I'd get it later. She expected total quiet and you always ALWAYS had to play in your room and couldnt leave the room until it was picked up. Of course my friends didnt know that and I'd get it later. You never closed the door to the bedroom, and never asked her for snacks or bugged her or did anything at all like that. Of course my friends didnt know that so I'd pay for it later. It just wasnt fun to pay at my house for them or for me. If she met a friend and didnt like them (which has been every friend I have ever had) then she made it nearly impossible for me to hang out with them. This is why I honestly did not have one friend I ever did anything with util 5th grade. In 5th grade I was allowed to ride my bike around our neighborhood unsupervised so I sometimes played with a couple kids at the park.
I was never supposed to talk. To this day if someone "shushes" me I get instantly furious. If we were with family our out in public and I would say something she would shush me. If she could do it in such a way that nobody noticed then she was the happiest. She was always embarassed of me and thought I made her look bad. I was a painfully shy child to begin with so it was very very rare that I ever did talk. However, if I got the courage up to say something she would shush me. I would feel angry, embarassed, ashamed and very dumb.
So by the time I entered kindergarten I was a very trained people pleaser. If I could keep mom happy then I could survive and be alright. I rarely got positive attention until I went to school. School was amazing. So much positive attention! I found that if I did well and learned fast…..I got even more positive attention. It even helped at home a bit. Mom liked having a "smart kid" so I found that if I was reading or studying she generally left me alone. I learned to pretend that I was so ingrossed in what I was reading that I didnt hear anything that was going on. It allowed me to tune her out and sometimes avoid being yelled at and put down. (learning to fake sleep very convincingly helped too). I began to have a secret life. My school life was what gave me a reason to live. I was never accepted with the kids (might be because I never had nice clothes and never could do anything with any of them or have them over after school) but the teachers always loved me. (lol people pleaser and it was easier to make teachers happy after living with my mom lol). My home life was one that I just survived.
Now I find myself trying to unlearn things I have known my whole life. I dont do what I want. I do what will make others happy so that they will like me and not hurt me. It doesnt really work very well. I dont like material things, they just dont make me happy. thats they only way I was taught to make myself happy or to behave. In someways I think I am still a toddler. I know in my head a lot of things but I havent figured out how to stop that knee jerk response yet. Mom taught me to never tell anyone about what was going on at home. To never let anyone know what I truly thought, or liked, or wanted or to show weakeness by asking for help. That nobody will ever want, like, love me for who I actually am. That I am ugly (lol I can give a whole list of physical things about me that she hates) and untalented and not worth the space I take up. That I need to work constantly because if I were to be resting when someone else is not….they will know how useless I am and leave me.
I am sorry if all that was hard to follow. It was kind of a jumble of the things running around in my head.