I used to think that you could not possibly understand me because you didn’t grow up with the type of parents I had. My mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder later in life, not that she stayed on her medication consistently anyway; my father drank like an alcoholic; and my extended family didn’t fare much better.
I became a control freak as a result of this chaotic upbringing. I learned to keep track of all the things you had done wrong and all the things I had done for you, in case I needed to use them as ammunition against you.
I was never responsible for anything I did. It was always somebody else’s fault. I had it hard for sure, but I also thought that I had it harder than anybody else around me. Nobody could possibly understand what I had gone through.
I had to grow up really fast and learn to be as independent as possible so that I could survive. I also did it so that I did not have to ask for help. My family reinforced this behavior by praising me for not ever bothering them.
I left home at 19 years old not knowing why I was leaving. All I knew was that I had to get away.
My life got better then but I wasn’t able to have close friends. I thought I couldn’t trust people because people were going to hurt me and leave me. It turns out that I was pushing people away in an effort to protect myself from being abandoned. You can’t be abandoned if you leave first, right?
It wasn’t until I reached my bottom as an addict that I realized that no matter how hard I tried to change and control the people around me, I was never going to be happy.
At this point in my life I had all the material stuff I had ever wanted. I had a loving partner who was there for me and who tried really hard to make me happy but something was still missing. I mean, I was happy with him but I had a void inside of me that nothing could fill.
I didn’t know until it was too late that I needed a spiritual program to learn how to enjoy life as it comes, to be able to get excited about what was happening around me.
I was used to not getting too excited about anything so that I would not be too disappointed when things fell apart. I was forever foreboding happiness.
I had a reason to be that way. I was doing the best I could with what I had. But I have put down the weapons, I mean, tools I acquired growing up in exchange for a spiritual kit.
I can now see that we all can have a hard life, that what is hard for you may not be hard for me but that doesn’t make it any less hard. And it turns out that only children can be abandoned. As an adult, I can learn to let people in and out of my life with grace and dignity because I am no longer a child.