At a time when most young people are experimenting with their independence and trying on their *real* self, I was processing feelings of shame, disappointment, grief and abandonment.
I love my parents and have worked very hard to overcome some of the damaging things that they have done.
Neither one of them is malicious. But they were both selfish parents. That is the real truth. And whether they meant to or not they put their personal needs over the needs of their children.
I have forgiven them, but the truth is you do not ever forget the things that have been done (or not done) and the things that have been said (and not said). And somethings run so deep that they have altered your makeup... for the worse... and maybe forever.
Recently I received a very nice message from a relative. And that message brought up a lot of feelings I have about myself. I try to be a good person. I try to do the right thing for everyone. I want people to like me and will often sacrifice my own happiness and well being to place myself in their good favor. I do it because, of course, I don't believe that the real me is lovable, or beautiful, or deserving of much but back handed praise.
And so I surround myself with people who are rejecting.
Even Mr F who most certainly does love me, has passive tendencies... that... feel... exactly... like... rejection.
Remember my life long best friend? Yes, there was a reason she was in my life... and now... isn't.
Listen, I know I'm not alone. I know a lot of people (maybe most) share this secret. That it is a secret passed down from generation to generation like a latent gene.
When your parents have said...
"I'd be proud of you if there was anything to be proud of."
"If you make me choose, I'll have to chose you."
It affects you.
Because I wasn't just a not-bad kid.
When you are a good person, who has never done anything to cause any trouble (ever), and you are still not enough. When your parent sees no merit in your being. When your parent doesn't want to chose you... but will... if they have to.... it affects you.
And those are just the spoken injuries that most certainly come to fill in the places kept warm by years of unspoken ones.
And so I am a different kind of parent. A kind that neither of my parents can recognize with praise (at least out loud).
You can't always know what is going on in the minds of other people. There are hurts and injuries there and reasons of their own. But I cannot fathom the day that I would not be pleased, and proud, and joyfully happy to be the parent of my girls. A day when my love became not unconditional but conditional. A day when my own injuries would trump those inflicted on my children.
That day is never going to happen.
My parents have made me someone incapable of it.
And for that I am thankful.