I wonder what you, as a reader of my blog, think of all my ruminations of my childhood and how it continues to affect me. I know I write about it because I hope in sharing, I help others who may feel some things resonate with them.
I know the reason I try to help to others is that I don’t want other people to suffer needlessly if something I’ve experienced or learned might help them avoid that.
For me, it’s a partly due to high sensitivity and intuition, and even though I know through trial and error that some people do not want to be enlightened, I feel like it’s my mission to help others from suffering like I did and from having their childhood issues affect their adult lives.
I know that child victims of neglect or abuse grow up to either be abusers or rescuers. Before I had kids, I was always a rescuer. But after 3 kids in 3.5 years, one with emotional and behavioral problems, without conscious effort and determination NOT to become one, I would have ended up an abuser. For a while, all my intelligence didn’t do anything to prevent deeply embedded emotional wounds from opening up. I did go on medications for a short while, because I was a wreck and I didn’t want to hurt my children.
I should have gone to therapy, only I had worried that if I opened up all of myself, I wouldn’t have stopped, and all my stories would come out, and the therapist would have seen the anger issues I had and would have petitioned to take my kids away from me. Or that somehow my family would find out and petition to take them away from me.
Yes, me, a loving, caring, gifted, sensitive, normally hugely empathetic person had felt quite, quite the opposite for a while. I am ashamed to say I was a raving lunatic some days. The medications helped. I went off them as soon as I got equilibrium again. But thinking of those days frighten me even now.
This is why all these posts of late have been about healing that inner child. If it just affected me and no one else, I could be content to suffer in silence for no one else would be affected. But it’s not that simple. It comes out in things I don’t mean to say – the sarcasm and thinly veiled irritation I give my husband sometimes or downright inviting him to fight with me because I have a need to fight when I am stressed and angry.
Or in the snapping at my kids for disturbing me when I’m engrossed (hyper-focused) on something I consider important. Or the irritation I express rather unkindly when they are late getting ready for school.
I wonder, really and truly, how life was like for me as a child. Was my mother as impatient and snappish when I was really little as I can be? Am I subconsciously re-living the scenarios of my early childhood? I know my middle daughter has a lot of similar temperament as I do. She taught herself to read, as I did. She called up in me the most visceral reactions when she had her tantrums and meltdowns. I wonder if I was like that when I was her age. I wonder how my mother treated me and if it plays into the reactions I had when dealing with her.
I have vague recollections of my years between 3 and 5 (the most difficult years for my middle daughter so far). There are a scant few memories of that time. My mother divorced when I was 2 and remarried when I was 5. I wish I could go back to that time and see how I was as a child, and how my mother interacted with me and my sisters. I know, from talking with my sisters, that we three seemed to cause trouble a lot.
I have a few memories of myself as a little girl, and some artificial memories created out of pictures I have seen of me as a child that young. But I don’t have any recollections of my mother of those days.
I wonder why that is. Did I blank those memories out? I remember a few parties, a few children that came to play with us. I remember slamming my hand through a storm door window and the chunk of glass embedded in my wrist. I still have that scar, and I’m 39. I remember slamming my sisters hand in the car door accidentally. I remember also biting her in the butt (for some reason).
I remember accidentally pooping in my litte pink short pants, when I was 4 or 5…and going to the bathroom to take them off and clean myself up before my mom found out because I was afraid of what my mother would do. But I don’t remember my mom’s reactions to any of those incidents.
I remember one reaction my mother had. I was about 5 when I was standing at the top of the stairs, on the green shag carpeting, and saying “shit” to my mother (why I don’t know) and her coming up the stairs and washing my mouth out with soap.
I desperately wish I could be hypnotized so that maybe I could access those memories. I wonder what I would discover about myself and my mother. I wonder if it would explain those visceral reactions I got to my own daughter’s meltdowns.
About that anger thing…
It turns out – as I am learning from another book called Anger: Deal with It, Heal With It, Stop It From Killing You by William Gray Defoore, MD – that anger does live in the body and needs physical release. A person with unhealed childhood/adolescent abuse has a lifetime of anger absorbed into themselves. Burying the anger, rationalizing it away, even “forgiving” the persons who hurt you does nothing to release it. It stays with you until you re-live it and release it through safe physical means. When I told this to an email friend of mine he said,
Yeah…I wonder why this is so obvious and accepted with other stored/repressed emotions & thoughts but anger gets this weird treatment. I mean, we don’t think that we can “talk out” our need for affection (or sex), right?
That is so true. I do feel better after giving physical expression to my affections, definitely for sex, and anger is not much different.
My goal is to work through this book alongside the book on narcisstic mother book. I’m pretty much done having anger control me at times rather than the other way around.