It wasn’t brought to my attention until many years after separating from my dysfunctional parent that even though I had left, I had found normalcy and stability, the damage still lingered.
It surfaced in weird ways. It caused some grief for those who knew me after I left. Those who didn’t know better immediately pegged me as controlling, unapproachable, antisocial.
The reality is that these traits developed after I discovered the truth about life as I knew it. When I left that life and found my new path, the old ways always lingered. I was scared.
My fear had control over my thoughts and my actions. I knew what I had gone through, I knew what it looked like and I was determined to never be in that place again. If I could avoid anyone else ever crossing that place as well, it was worth being disliked.
I developed a habit of going above and beyond punctuality. I would never be caught any less than 20 minutes early anywhere I needed to be. No one would ever be waiting on me. If I was expecting someone at 5:00, by 4:55 I was convinced they weren’t coming, something terrible has happened.
Connecting back to when I would wake up in the middle of the night, or even the morning, and no one would be home. No note, no text, nothing. Just vanished. I would call and call and they would all be ignored. I would leave voicemails begging to let me know they were okay with no response. I was a nervous wreck. I was anxious to go to sleep, anxious to wake up. I never knew what to expect. Sometimes it would be hours, sometimes it would be days.
It all ended the same way, “you’re ridiculous, I can’t believe you are freaking out, it’s none of your business what I do.” I was a child. I’m not sure if anyone has told you, but it’s not okay to up and disappear on your child and then reprimand them for being upset.
So, that carried over. Every now and then I still wake up and if the other half of the bed is empty my heart pounds and my eyes tear up, and then I fully wake up and remember… that’s not my reality anymore. But, that damage might always linger.
What was so easily labeled as control was a deep rooted hurt from being abandoned and led to believe it was either my fault, or completely normal for this to be happening and there is something wrong with me for believing otherwise.
I just need to know.
I need to know you’re okay, that it’s okay.
But, why do you appear so unapproachable?
When it is repeatedly fed into your mind that -everything that is wrong is your fault,
you always overreact,
no one wants to be your friend,
you’re too controlling (see above)
You shut down.
I stopped trying. I put a wall around myself, for myself and for everyone else. I didn’t need friends, I didn’t need anybody, I wasn’t worthy of it anyway. They would probably hurt me anyway.
It’s insane. The way your pattern of thinking becomes so corrupt. How you start to believe complete lies and embracing these horrible things about yourself that aren’t even true.
Please tell me, where is it said that it is healthy to tell your child to just kill themselves already?
Where is it said that it’s healthy to tell your preteen they are fat, will grow up to be fatter, and will always be fat?
Where is it said that it’s healthy to repeatedly bring up loved ones who have passed away and use them as a chip in a dispute?
Yet, I’m told I need to stop playing victim. I need to stop treating my parent badly, they have done nothing wrong. All of the problems lie within myself. I am creating fake problems. If they are at the source of an issue, it’s because of something I have done.
How do you make friends when you have believed this for years? Even after you know it’s not true, it doesn’t just go away.
I’m not antisocial. I’m afraid. I’m afraid of putting myself out there and regretting it. I’ve been convinced I have nothing significant to contribute to a friendship. I can’t go and free spiritedly have a good time and meet new people. I was never left in one place long enough to develop long lasting friendships. As soon as I had to go, I was quickly forgotten or replaced. I always had to show up in the middle of a school year surrounded by cliques of friends who had known each other their whole lives.
Granted, I have come a very long ways since any of this but I still remember like it was yesterday.
I remember it all.