Long one today…more of a personal diary entry on the childhood recapitulation and letting go trail.
They keep arriving – just popping up to my awareness, bits of by past experiences from which I formed defences, where I tried to protect myself. My crusty bits are getting dissolved little by little.
There was the family itself, where nobody had my corner in the immediate family. Not my dad or sister when my mum was rampaging. They were too scared of her. And she was a shouty slappy unpredictable tantrum queen. I never fully connected to my sister due to this lack of camaraderie and loyalty as was experienced by me at the time. She didn’t get the harsh treatment being younger nor did she stick up for me. I see now she was too scared of the treatment being turned in her which is understandable.
A middle class household so a sense of entitlement and confidence went with that, but lacking was a core care and empowerment, love and validation in me as a person. Got quite the opposite, except from my grandma who was my ‘enlightened witness’. From her I realised in late childhood it wasn’t about me, but still, young kids always think it’s about them unconsciously.
A loss of connection with a couple of people I was attached to hurt me a lot. And mostly confused me. At aged 11 our primary school closed down and I was split from my best friend to whom I was very attached. And then never saw her again. I cried for a long time about that.
A little younger than that my next door friend’s parents discouraged her from hanging out with me, after she fell off her bike, they thought I was bad for her. At 12 my best friends family split up and the mother took her to Canada. I was absolutely devastated, cried so much, and felt bereft with pain and disbelief.
And around aged 13 and 14 a couple of other friend’s parents discouraged their children from playing with me, I was a rebel by then and questioned rules and they thought I was a bad influence. These later ones didn’t count so much but were a little bit of a surprise and painful. Especially when the friends obeyed their parents wishes.
It set a pattern of perhaps not getting too attached to others and contributed to the case I made that I was somehow defective in some way, unlovable. My mum helped that belief form by saying to me quite often, ‘I love you but I don’t like you’. I think she honestly thought that was a nice thing to say, it wasn’t intended to be cruel.
And this is the origin of my desire to please others – which came into try and rescue me, if I show others I am nice and kind and helpful and useful, so in other words, lovable, they will love me. and it will invalidate that knowing fear that I am unlovable. I became a people pleaser. I made myself available. I sacrificed my needs for others. Well it didn’t work.
And it went on and on and on like this – I chose one ‘loser’ dropout boyfriend after the next. I probably didn’t feel worthy of much better. And not such a big deal if someone I don’t respect rejects me. Plus I was brought up to believe my dad was a bad guy, that love causes pain, that I would choose someone like him, and also he didn’t show any love at all really. So I never experienced a loving give and take relationship with my dad and didn’t see it in my mum and dads relationship so I was lost at sea when it came to choosing guys out there. Plus also I found the sensible normal guys and people in general boring. I liked complex characters and artists, poets musicians and thinkers.
Then I learned that I didn’t have to seek for validation out there, I can find it right here.
Wow, what a beautiful secret to come across.
That process started around probably 35 years ago with my digging into deep books on psychology trying to understand how to rid myself of pain and anxiety. The processes intensified with conscious self compassion around 10 years ago. For me it has taken a long long time to undo some of the conditioning and the early beliefs in my own defectiveness.
Even today, though I love and feel compassion for myself, I still find residues of the old habits. I find myself trying to impress others. It happens so automatically. Trying to gain acceptance. Hoping the men will hear my cool music and think I’m cool. Or it could be signalling to some other middle class person that I’m also one of their club to feel accepted by them.
Can do this by name dropping or some cultural reference point only middle class people would get. Or making sure my rings are on display to someone so they can see how nice they are. Or posting only the very best photos of myself on Facebook, or arranging my hair before I meet a friend, or touching up my lipstick, or being blasé about money to demonstrate I have enough not to care about it. I’m going to make a whole list of these in another post. Time to face it all and get over the cringe.
I did it the other day. I was at the local National Trust stately home I frequent and they told me there was a Hornel exhibition happening this month. I immediately took the opportunity to tell them that my uncle just bought a Hornel and that he and his partner had a collection of them, which is true. He specialised in Scottish paintings as his job as an art dealer. But of course entirely unnecessary to communicate to a volunteer National Trust staff member. That was me trying to impress. Boasting I think they call it. They probably thought I was a fantasist or something.
Anyways, so here we are. The residues are arriving to be loved up and let go of, and I’m a willing participant.
In keeping with todays theme, here’s a pic of the Hornel he just got in the hope you will be thoroughly impressed that I know someone who has the taste and money to buy such a thing. And then you will maybe think I’m worthy of knowing and liking. That’s how this goes, ‘other’ esteem rather than self esteem.
Nothing gets to escape coming to awareness on this journey, no matter how cringy and embarrassing it all needs to come into the light. No more hiding.