I am very honest in this blog but I do leave things out. The bigger truths I leave out have mostly to do with things I’m terribly ashamed of. Things I can’t admit to another living soul. Not even my priest or therapist. I honestly don’t know what would happen to me if I started to tell my whole truth.
In the last several days I’ve spent quite a bit of time realizing and admitting that I am a product of an extremely volatile, abusive, neglectful, and frightening early childhood. Much of it happened pre-memory and I’m glad that I don’t know more than I already know because it’s nearly unbearable as it is.
But the results of that early childhood are with me every single day of my life and with every breath I take. To be honest, and I don’t say this lightly, I am surprised I am not a drug addict, homeless, more seriously mentally ill, or dead. It shows me that I am smarter and stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. Somehow I have survived.
I’m not sure where I was yesterday when it suddenly dawned on me that I am a 57 year old woman. I am a mature adult. I don’t have to keep being so afraid and anxious. I don’t have to keep doubting myself. I know things. I am capable. I was capable all alone and I copped out every chance I got.
My emotional maturity for the most part is very, very low. Consequently I look at myself in the mirror and I simply don’t know who that person is. I honestly don’t know what other people see when they look at me because I always feel about 15 years old.
There are a couple of very brief and small exceptions to my immaturity. Well, one that I can think of at the moment. I have often (not enough) behaved like a mother to my daughter. From what I’ve been reading about early childhood trauma everyone has “sub-selves” inside and sometimes it’s the effed up ones who are running the show. Thankfully one of my sub-selves is protective of my daughter and wants the best for her. Sadly, I wasn’t a very good mom and I’ve spent the last several years trying to make it up to her.
I feel I hardly deserve her love and feel very honored that she does love me. I will always live with regret that I wasn’t a better parent to her. She was beautiful and innocent — she deserved a better mom.
One of my major life goals for the rest of my life is to earn what I can in order to leave her with some inheritance. She’s an only child and she’s unmarried and I feel so responsible that her own life has been a struggle largely due to my influence in her life.
But I am aware. Aware of how I behaved before and after she came into the world and I live with regret, guilt, and shame every single day. I’d give anything to have become aware earlier in my life. Even five years, ten years, twenty years ago — anything. Because at 57 it really does feel too late.
Nevertheless, I won’t give up, it’s just that much more of an uphill battle.
But my parents, particularly my mother, is unaware. I suppose I’m glad that she doesn’t feel the shame she should feel over how she treated me and what she exposed me to. We can’t make the clock go back in time. And she didn’t hurt me to be cruel. She hurt me because she was in her own panicked, fearful, desperate state.
It’s a cycle and it’s repeated from generation to generation. I wish I had realized this earlier in my life — I might have been able to undo some things.
I can’t say that I forgive my mother, but I don’t really blame her too much any more. She’s so messed up, and so sad, anxious, high maintenance, that any attempt to get her to examine herself is met with a blank stare. It makes no sense to me because she’s really smart. But not about herself. In that regard she likes to stay in the dark.
But I want to walk into the light.
I want to acknowledge the pain and harm that was thrust on me when I was an utterly helpless baby and child but when I just barely start to think about it, the pain is so overwhelming that I can’t continue. Just thinking about it briefly makes me want to sob for hours.
My heart breaks for that little girl that was me. And it breaks for all little boys and girls who have experienced the same. We deserved better.
But we can pick up the pieces and become the people we would like to be, even if we’re 57 years old.
I look at mature women and I’m in awe of them and I feel inadequate and feeble when I’m with them. At the same time I really want to be them. From now on I will be working on finding out who I am and who I want to be.
I feel that, having been apart from my husband for almost a year and a half, it’s time to look at what got me into that relationship in the first place. It’s past due time to move on.