I think I have finally figured out what is wrong with me; not just the ADHD, not just the mild depression symptoms, not even the occasional bout with anxiety, but what is really wrong with me. I believe I have found the reasons for WHY I behave the way I do, WHY I feel the way I do, even WHY I struggle the way I do. Because isn’t that all we really want; an explanation for our shortcomings, a reason for our bad behavior, or maybe just somewhere to place blame. Regardless, an explanation is long overdue. And digging deep into my past, I just may have found one!
Inconsistent doesn’t even begin to describe my up-bringing. To say that I had NO idea what I was walking into, on a daily basis, would be an understatement! Don’t get me wrong; I grew up in a clean, calm, financially sound environment. And everything tangible was good; plenty of food in the fridge, a new car to ride in, and all the playthings I could ever ask for… BUT, emotionally, I was completely and absolutely neglected. At pivotal points in my childhood, where caring, understanding, an nurturing should have been ever-present, I faced loneliness, heartache, and fear. When I was a very young girl, about 3 or 4, I remember all I ever wanted her to do was wake up. My fragile mind just couldn’t understand why she wasn’t like other moms. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t stay awake for me, I spent my days watching her sleep, and wondering why I wasn’t important enough to her… Deep feelings of loneliness, fear and insecurities began to develop. Extreme bouts of sadness and crying spells became who I was; an innocent, yet very damaged child. I had no one else to care for me, as my only siblings were much, much older. My father was always gone on business trips, or on a golf outing. As an adult, I realize what he was running from.
Believe me, there were good days, and this is where the inconsistencies really show up. On good days, mom was awake. I’d walk in the door from grammar school and there she’d be, awake, alert and wonderful. The mom I always wanted, we’d talk and laugh and go to the local 5 and dime store. I really cherished the good days and I looked forward to them as they were few and far between. Most days, though, she was in her own world. Her escape from reality was a comfort for her, I suppose. And it wasn’t until I was an adult, that I realized her sleepiness was due to benzodiazipine abuse. When she’d use, she’d pass out, and I’d be left all alone. Fear and emotional neglect is what I faced, constantly. I craved companionship with her, I just wanted her to wake up! As she’d snooze, I’d practice taking her earrings in and out of her ears, she wouldn’t even stir. Those were the days when I’d be locked out of the house, crying on the back porch, because she couldn’t hear me knocking. Those were the days when the prescription of pills would run out, now the only way she can cope is to drink. The thing is…. what couldn’t she cope with? In my childs’ mind I knew it must be my fault. Maybe if i could be a really, really good girl, I’d be worth staying awake for. No such luck, her addiction to alcohol and benzos spanned her whole lifetime; absolutely and definitely affecting mine.
Some days, however, she wasn’t there at all. You see, years and years (even before I was born) had caused irreversible damage to my mothers intestines, and every 4-6 weeks she’d be in the hospital for 5 or so days. It was horrible! Those were the days when I’d come home from school and my older sister would be there at my house waiting for me. As, soon as I’d see her, I’d instantaneously feel my throat close up and my eyes start to tear. I just knew her presence meant that my mom was in the hospital, again and that I’d be staying at her house. Even now, it’s hard for me to describe the feelings I had when she was gone. Neglectful, or not, she was my beloved mommy and she was my world. I would be completely devastated each and every time her health drove her to hospitalization and I had to stay at my sisters house. I would sit for hours, just inside the threshold of her house, with my heavy, winter coat on. I would refuse to take it off cause then that would mean that I was comfortable with staying there, and I absolutely was NOT. The feelings were mutual, I was nothing more than an inconvenience to my sister and her new family. That was evident in the was I was treated. I was a little girl, whose mom was in the hospital. Did I get hugged, held and reassured? Um, no. In fact, I was teased and ridiculed. My feelings were never validated, just brushed off like I was a bratty, crybaby. And so I hoped, in my little head, that if I kept my coat on, I’d be going home soon. My coat and my belongings became my only link to my home and my mom, so I guarded them, viciously. All I wanted was my mommy, and I cried for her relentlessly.
So, in considering all this trauma, and very deep seeded emotional damage, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am incapable of deep, bonded, long lasting relationships. I am forever in self-protect mode. My heart was broken long before I even understood what love was. I was broken, emotionally, by those who were supposed to love me the most. What exactly does that do to a person you ask? Well, it breeds a fear of intimacy, it causes an intense craving for attention and validation, it harbors insecurity, and it destroys any feeling of self worth. How could my only mother intentionally sleep through my entire childhood, and be so oblivious to the pain she was causing her little girl? Why didn’t anyone see what was going on? Why wasn’t I worth more? Why is that the hand life dealt me? Why didn’t you save me? Why didn’t you love me enough?
I could ask questions all day and it doesn’t matter now, the damage has been done. I’m just sorry to all the wonderful people in my life who have tried to love me, yet got nothing in return. My heart is buried somewhere inside me, I don’t wear it on my sleeve. It was broken a long, long time ago and I don’t know if it will ever be whole again. Those who reared me, failed me. I cry for the little girl inside me, and I protect her with all that I am because no one else did.
I never learned how to love, how to show love. A hug, to you, may feel like a warm, loving, reassuring embrace. To me, a hug is an uncomfortable invasion of personal space. Sad, isn’t it? This comes from an adult that wasn’t loved on or hugged as a child. This also comes from an adult that is tired of all the failed relationships in her life and tired of not feeling worthy. I have learned to live in self-protect mode, and that is a very shallow existence. It’s a very lonely place to be. Thanks for your interest. God Bless!