Truth – Day 8: Lessons Taught

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. ~Galileo

I struggled with Day 8. The Day 8 Truth is “Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit,” and…I have nothing for it.

Not that someone in my life hasn’t treated me badly. I have a schizophrenic sister that did some pretty awful things, and an uncle that did something pretty unacceptable to me once, my stepfather was not the best father to me as a teenager, and my first husband was an alcoholic that liked to take his rage at the world out on me, physically, when he was drunk, but…these things happen. They didn’t make my life hell, and they didn’t really treat me like shit: they did something bad, I removed myself from their ability to continue doing so. And I certainly don’t dwell on those things (in fact it has taken me three days to write this because I really couldn’t put anyone in that category without some really hard thinking.)

There are just too many people in my life that have treated me with love, kindness, compassion and fairness that they far outshine any singular or occasional blight; to allow those times to be dwelt upon would be to allow them some hold on me, something I simply won’t do. Life is too brief to dwell on the bad things, and frankly, too sweet to do so either.

Hmm, okay, I have thought some more on this, and I will tell you one thing that someone did that affected me profoundly, and did does, and speaks to some of the personal peccadilloes that I wrestle with (and write about here) on occasion.

My stepfather had a particular (unhealthy) of “communicating” his anger to me. I wasn’t a bad kid, but we butted heads, as all parents & children do on occasion. Unfortunately he wasn’t real skilled in the “how to raise kids” department, having been raised in a singularly dysfunctional home, and his way of punishing me was to simply withdraw from me.  All love, all attention, all affection. He would ignore me–completely, as though I didn’t exist–for days. And well, I am who I am, continuously and always seeking approval…and it was horrible for me. I would about kill myself to win back his favor. Until, one day, I couldn’t take it any longer, and I stopped trying. In fact I left. I moved out when I was 15-ish, and didn’t go back until I was in my 20’s. I didn’t set foot in their house again when my stepfather was there, didn’t speak to him, hardly went over even when it was just my Mom home.

So, you can see where my overactive fear of rejection lies, and why withdrawal of attention (perceived or real) equals a withdrawal of love to me; and even why I fear making people angry at me: if I make them angry, they may stop loving me. Oh of course I know that’s all bullshit logically, but subconsciously? I am maybe not so logical.  At least knowing from whence it comes helps me to deal with it in a way that (hopefully) doesn’t damage my relationships.  I am learning.

(From the Truth Meme. Start here with #1.)

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