Childhood Craziness…

The first chapter of the book talks about childhood, and growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent – I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but there are some significant portions of this chapter that stood out to me.

  • “You looked like a child, you dressed like a child, to some degree you behaved like a child, but you sure as hell didn’t feel like a child.”
    •  When you are a kid, you don’t have a “reality” that exists outside of your parents. Somewhere in my nursing textbooks, there was a section on how children see themselves as an extention of the parents – they just don’t have the ability, or the life experiences that would allow them to seperate themselves from the parents. So when one or both parents are inebriated, the child is placed in a very awkward position – not able to leave the environment, and unable to affect a change in the adults around them. So, still a child, but having to take on the role of an adult to be able to protect him/herself – without the benefits of adulthood.
  • “It was difficult to make friends for a couple of reasons. One, because it was hard to believe that people really liked you. And even if someone’s good feelings toward you were real, it was a little scary to know that if they got to know you a little better and found out, they wouldn’t be your friend.”   AND
  • “As you grew up, it became harder and harder because you reached a point where you simply didn’t know how to make friends. ‘What do I talk to them about? Why would they be interested in me? I’m not a good person. Why would they want me for a friend?'”
    • Both these quotes just rip me up, because that is where I live. I absolutely love people – I want to be one of those women with a plethora of good friends, but honestly, I struggle to have one or two good friends. There are periods in my adult life where I didn’t  have one friend who really knew me. I just cannot believe that people can find anything in me that is worthy of their time, attention, or affection; and if they do, I cannot trust it. I think, they just need time to really get to know me, then they’ll leave. It is a really crappy thing, feeling unworthy of other people’s love, and it started in elementary school for me. I am starting to learn that these thoughts and feelings are untrue – that I am worthy, but it is truly a struggle.
  • “Your alcoholic parent was always making promises and never following through. But he didn’t seem to be lying when he made the promises. What was real and what was unreal got very distorted in your household.”
    • I don’t believe that children have the emotional or mental tools to deal with this distortion of reality – and it hurts on such a deep level. So many mixed messages and broken promises litter my childhood, and it feels like walking on broken glass inside my heart to remember. And I think, dear God, I was the oldest when most of this went down and as unable as I was to deal with it, I wonder how it was for my younger siblings! The wounds from these broken promises caused permanent spiritual/emotional “disability” – I have an intense dislike, nearly a hatred,  for people who lie or play games, and I have a horrible time trusting people. It is like living in a constant state of expectency – just waiting to be let down again, and again. So, what happens is…
  • “You learned how not to want”
    • I finally figured out that if you don’t want anything, then you can’t be lied to or disappointed. About two years ago when my therapist asked me to tell her what I would want to do for a day if I had no restrictions, my response was, “Is that a trick question?” and I meant it. At thirty years old, I did not understand how to truly have wants, or personal desires – and being a mother made it even easier to sublimate those silly little things called wants. Frankly, it has always seemed safer to me to bury myself in what other people need/want, then to have needs/wants for myself.

In a lot of instances I have learned to identify these issues and sort of push my way through them, but it is still difficult to make friends and not feel as if I am always the outsider in any group I am in. I wish I could say I have made leaps and bounds of progress, but that is not the case; I’m pleased to at least identify my problems and work on getting better.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Linda
    May 15, 2011 @ 06:24:13

    How brave of you to start this journey. I am also an adult child of an alcoholic as you know, so much of this are my struggles as well. Keep going. You are so valuable!!

    Reply

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