Where do you belong in the world when you were raised as nothing or no one that mattered by your family of origin?
I find that lots of people try to tell me that this history doesn’t matter—that I am still someone–no matter how horribly I was treated. I find these well intentioned people have one thing in common: they were all raised by at least one parent who thought they mattered and cared about their wellbeing.
I keep coming back to the metaphor of a house to explain my thoughts. In order for a house to be strong, sturdy, and even to stay standing, it must have a solid foundation. When it doesn’t, people can keep throwing money at the house to try to repair the faulty foundation or build around it, but they never end up with the strong home they long for unless they tear it completely down and rebuild it.
My start in life was bad. Both of my parents were alcoholics, and my mother was hitting her peak of alcoholism when she was pregnant with me and during my early years.
My parent’s alcoholism didn’t just affect them. It affected my entire family system.
For reasons I may never clearly understand, my parents were involved with some sick and on the fringe behavior and people.
I have two older brothers, but my parents wanted a girl, so they tried one last time. I had always thought they wanted a girl for the normal reasons one might want a girl after having two boys.
I was wrong. My mom hated me for as long as I can remember, and possibly from the moment I was born. I was never good enough for her, and she criticized me daily about who I was.
What has become clearer to me recently is that both of my parents treated me in ways that no child should be treated.
From a very early age, my value in my family was to meet the sexual, sadistic, and financial needs of the family.
My entire family sexually abused me on a regular basis. I tried to deny it as long as I could, but my dissociative barriers started really breaking down, and my childhood amnesia is starting to get filled in.
With the memories of my incestuous abuse from a very early age, I can no longer deny that my family not only didn’t love me, but they also didn’t even care for me enough to treat me like a human being.
I was intentionally hurt for their pleasure or financial gain. “Parts” formed in response to keep me alive through this horrific childhood. My spirit died, but my body stayed alive. This distinction is important because I am not sure one can recapture a dead spirit, at least I haven’t so far.
I live today with many, many parts who are like people sharing my body with me. Some people may think it is cool, but I do not. I envision many souls trapped in one body leaving all the souls to live an incomplete existence under the best of circumstances.
The many parts living within me are all smack in the middle of facing the truth of our childhood in many different ways. The truth has taken our breath away. Some sit paralyzed with this new information, others feel extremely despondent and broken with this realization. It isn’t easy for any of us in our system.
Forget the processing and grieving of what we have been through. How does one even pick up the pieces to carry on with knowledge that no one loved us, or cared one bit about our innocence as a child. We did not matter to anyone for a very long time.
It is hard to face the truth that we were merely a “thing” for people to do whatever they wanted with. Either they did not see us as a human being, or they had no humanity within them.
Facing the truth, and not believing the fantasy version of my life I created, is an extraordinarily painful state of being.
I alternate between these states: incredible sadness, suicidal feelings, anger, self-harm feelings, and feelings of being lost and numb.
I don’t know what the next step is for me. My therapist worries the memories and feelings are too overwhelming for me. The way I look at it is I have two choices: I can face the truth and hope I don’t die in the process, or I can stay dissociated and keep myself living in La-La Land.
Neither of them sound appealing, honestly. Since I have been living a dissociated life for my entire life, I suppose it makes sense to travel the newer road.
As I choose this new road, I worry about the questions I can’t answer right now. “If I am not who I thought I was, what does that mean for my identity today?” “If I accept the truth that I was treated like garbage by my family of origin, can I still exist knowing that my creators valued my life at zero?” “Is there something inherently wrong with me that my family decided to treat me as garbage who didn’t matter to anyone?”
I can’t find sufficient words to describe my feelings about this journey. I have never quite understood how this journey works, but somehow I have always had the feeling that someone else, someone wiser and more powerful, has control over the path this journey takes.
There is comfort in knowing I am not in control of the journey, perhaps because I would hope a higher power would show me more mercy than I give myself.