I continued the dinner preparation, letting my thoughts of the past go by the wayside until I’d put all the ingredients in the crockpot. Sitting down shortly after that, they resumed.
The tragedy of growing up in a dysfunctional household is that the vulnerable and innocent ones must eventually deal with their past and unburden themselves of learned behaviors. Usually, it takes years of trying and failing to overcome them, dealing with false starts, and making pitiful attempts at healthy relationships. It isn’t always pretty. This legacy has played out repeatedly not only in my personal life, but I’ve been a witness to it with those enduring a similar upbringing. So much hurt, so much pain to get past. One can consider themselves lucky to survive it and create a somewhat sane life after dealing with it. I was fortunate in that I had the strength to deal with issues head-on.
I always wondered how my life would have turned out had I been nurtured and cared for when I was a child. What would it have felt like feeling loved growing up? I would imagine I’d made much better choices in men and probably would have attracted less damaged people. Having mature, healthy relationships requires knowing how to behave in them. It seems to me, having had more stability and genuine care, those connections would be with people who weren’t dealing with emotional scarring or baggage. At the very least, not quite as much as coming from a dysfunctional household. They would have been safe havens, not the merry-go-round of perpetuating my past. So happy to be past most of that.
The death of my mom in 2012, and my dad’s death in 2014, really set me free to be fully in charge of my destiny. Of course, it always was, but the trials of life endured in the beginning put roadblocks up along the way for far too many years. I’d successfully untethered myself from my mom and our dysfunction, or so I thought, back in 2002, and my journey had become a bit easier from that point on. It still amazed me, though, how residual angst still cropped up occasionally. Life is nothing if not always needing to address problems, I guess.
When my dad died, my sister and I were at once free to be the top of the hierarchy and then immediately became estranged. I guess for her, it was time to be honest with herself – there was no love lost between us, nor did she ever really care. Maybe it was just too much effort now to continue to pretend we were family? She let me go, and honestly, I was okay with that. I deserved acceptance and respect, not just be at her beck and call when it was convenient to her and her needs. It was a one-sided relationship, and it was over for me as well. Blood or not, if you can’t thoroughly enjoy and love the people you are connected to, why are you even with them? The same goes for actually wanting to have children. My parents never had any business creating children together. Neither was capable of providing that bare minimum standard a child deserves – love and acceptance.
2014, and other events between my mother and father’s death, solidified my resolve to be happier and healthier, more than ever before.
TO BE CONTINUED ON THURSDAY…