The book I’m reading now is “Loving Yourself – 4 Steps to a Happier You” by Daphne Rose Kingma. It’s very enlightening and very depressing all at the same time. I love what it has to say about dysfunctional families:
“We’ve heard a lot on recent years about “dysfunctional families,” as if the majority of families actually function, as if it’s only the rare or uniquely troubled family that’s dysfunctional; but the truth is, every family is dysfunctional to some degree. Mine was. Yours is too.”
It goes on to talk about our life theme or psychological issue that we have to work through. It is that powerful emotional cord that is struck when we are children and is reinforced when similar events/emotions reoccur through-out our life. She breaks these life themes into six broad categories: Neglect, Abandonment, Abuse, Rejection, Emotional Suffocation and Deprivation. The problem I’m having is picking just one of these. As I read on I keep saying yes, I’ve felt this, yes, still feel this and that and that. At the end of the chapter it asks you pick which one is most like you and to write about experiences that have contributed to your life theme. So I’ve decided to take each, one at a time.
Was I abandon? Oh, yes! My mother’s way of dealing was to fight with my father and then leave. She never said a word to us, and we never knew if she was coming back. This happened over and over again through most of my childhood. They would fight, she would leave, and I would worry she was never coming back. Sometimes the worry would last only a couple of hours, sometimes it would be a couple of days, it was all tied in to when she decided to come home. The only problem was that even when she was home, I was always waiting and worrying about the next time; would it be the time she didn’t come home?
I was abused. There is not denying this fact. I was a sexually play thing for my grandfather. I had to live through my mother and the physical abuse that she gave out and then forgot about. I have a father and sister who use hurtful words and put downs to make themselves feel better. I was told that because I was a girl I could never be more that a secretary or a housewife and that was all I deserve to be. Even though I have brains and creativity, I shouldn’t use them that it was unladylike.
I can still remember the day I first asked my mother why she stayed married to my father if they made each other so unhappy. Her answer – Because of you, kids. After that I couldn’t help but think that if I’d never been born my mother and father could get a divorce and be happy.
I’ve spent my life knowing that my mother was reliving her life through my sister. My sister was everything she wanted to be and she was her favorite. I made me feel that my life was not good enough to be coveted or use to relive what my mother had wanted in her life.
My father, the person that I close to, turned away from me when my abuse came out. I was no longer the apple of his eye. It was like I was now damaged goods and not worth his time. Or I was so messed up that he no longer wanted to deal with me.
Due to the fact that my parents fought all the time, I became their go between. They wouldn’t talk to each other so they would tell me their problems, issues, needs, whatever and I was made to feel that I had to patch things up between them. If a decision had to be made and they couldn’t agree, I made it. I was an adult before I was even a kid.
Ok so I have 4 of the 6 life themes going here – how to I decide? No wonder I’m depressed.