New Level of Understanding about my Childhood - and Adulthood
I'm reaching a new level of understanding about my childhood and the source of my inner struggles.
Unexpectedly, my stepmother has opened up to me and shared a great deal about my childhood. I have learned why my Dad abandoned me physically at a young age. Even bigger, though, I learned that my Mom did not care for me as much as I thought she did. I have been perplexed my whole life about why she seemed to care so deeply for me once in a while, and then go for months without responding to me or my needs as a child or as an adult.
Then I made the discovery this year in an email she wrote. She said that she was selfish as a parent. I felt inclined to reassure her that that was not the case. But as I reflected on what she wrote, what my stepmother wrote, and my own experiences with her, I could find no better explanation for the severe emotional abandonment that occurred mostly after she remarried, but also before then.
She even invited me to leave home at age 15, which left me bewildered. I ended up leaving home before age 16. In my mom's classic style, after I responded to her letter about selfishness, sharing and asking questions, I haven't heard from her again in 5 months so far.
I have the typical sad stories about the sexually inappropriate stepfather, the mother who would not protect her daughter, the father who left the daughter, and the parents who shamed her for normal childlike behavior. But I also have poignant times of feeling truly loved by my father and receiving kindness from my mother. It has been difficult to put the pieces together and understand the contradictory messages that created so much pain and unbearable loneliness that I suffer to this day.
Lots of things ring true for me in reading this article. I hate to be bored. No, make that HATE to be bored. Which may be why I am chronically late. If I am early, I feel terrible discomfort with my own thoughts while waiting. I have tried to be the good girl to win the approval of my parents and have rarely (if ever) been able to feel anger at them. I have horrible fear of being judged.
I want to curl up and die if anyone criticizes me, so I'm trying to start my own business rather than work for someone who could judge me and find fault with me. Yet, I'm afraid to promote my business so I stay at home most of the time in isolation. I have had nightmares for my entire adult life about REALLY bad, disturbing things -- especially if I'm about to step out of my shell and take a chance in the real world. I also have recurring nightmares about being with someone who loves me, only to find out that they don't and left me alone to be eaten or hunted down by monsters. Oh, and I'm a perfectionist -- again, to avoid criticism. And that makes me unable to get anything done in a timely manner.
I'm often frozen in indecision and analysis. I have always struggled with addictions including cigarettes, alcohol, and pot. Once I quit those, I started a shopping addiction, but now that I have little money, I have an eating addiction. I have had deep depression, but I also have outbursts of anger that leave me feeling ashamed. I can also relate to the idea of having the phony self that I show to people so they will approve and won't see the real me.
I'm at the bottom financially. I'm afraid of losing my home. My bank account is overdrawn. Yet I wake up every day and do the same thing -- fritter away my time. And have nightmares every night about going out to promote a business which results in unspeakably scary or shameful events happening.
Gosh, I wish something could help me with this. I could really use some help.