a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Perspective and Anger

I’ve been thinking a lot on the experience I blogged about previously. I realized it wasn’t so much my colleague gunning for me as I’m overly sensitive to people questioning me.

This is another childhood hang-up with a story.

My family moved around a lot as I was growing up. I think I counted once that I had moved 16 times before I graduated high school, most of it during my formative years of grade school. I had very few opportunities to learn how to navigate the social waters and all the rules and regulations of interactions for I never lived in one area long enough for me to bother establishing any relationships. I tried it a few times early on and learned that it wasn’t worth it.

And on top of this, my parents fought all the time and were emotionally and physically abusive. When questioned by people, at first I would be honest with them, but then the wrath of my parents would fall on me:  “why was I lying to all these people about what was going on?” they would charge. Soon I learned that I must be mistaken and began to really lie by not telling the truth.

I developed a severe complex. All throughout school I would find myself lying for things I didn’t even need to because it had become such an ingrained habit. There would be times when I would lie about the origin of a bruise (I’d blame sports or being a klutz) or there would be times when I would lie about why I misspoke (instead of simply making a mistake, I tried to make myself seem cooler by saying my Russian pen pal was teaching me her language and I goofed trying to say one of the words – totally transparent). It was bad.

When I graduated, I realized the extent of this and stopped the behavior. I flipped and instead of lying a lot, I became brutally honest and blunt. I also developed an intense sensitivity to people calling me a liar because I used to lie so much. I’d wonder, “Am I? Am I telling an untruth? Am I still doing that?” And instead of standing my ground, I’d back off and end the conversation; totally awkward.

And I realized earlier today that that’s what happened the night of the play. It wasn’t so much that this colleague was trying to trip me up, she was asking a clarifying question and I took it the wrong way.

I have been so angry this weekend. I am so upset that after all these years of healing and therapy and writing and knitting and talking it out that the way I was brought up is still affecting me adversely. It’s so frustrating. Here I am, nearly 27, a professional in a very public and social position, and because of my childhood experiences, I seem incompetent because of these hang ups.

I’ve also been wondering if I should go back to counseling. It didn’t do me any good when I was growing up (yes, I went to counseling for YEARS and YEARS as a child as my parents thought I had a deep-rooted negative memory from childhood, what it was, they would never say, and that’s why I was such a mess). But I wonder if it would now that I am an adult in a very stable and supportive environment?

All I know is that this has got to stop and I don’t know how to make it. I can’t continue being so sensitive to people and situations. I can’t seem incompetent in my job because of my awful childhood.

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4 responses to “Perspective and Anger

  1. nettie November 23, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Man. I wish I had the courage to be this honest on my blog. My everyday life is still affected by all that happened to me during childhood. I had to do a lot of ‘lying by by not telling the truth’ too and it still bothers me. I often wonder how different my life would be if not for so many bad experiences. Counseling didn’t really help me then either. I also wonder if it could really make a difference now.

  2. knittinnoodlin November 23, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Oh my goodness can I relate to what you are saying. I moved 8 times by the time I got to high school, and while my parents were divorced, they fought like cats and dogs and my mother constantly put us in the middle of things. And, I spent most of my childhood being “the new kid” so no matter how settled in I get, even as an adult I feel like I don’t quite fit in.

    It took a long time to stop and make myself really think about whether I was repeating a pattern or responding the way I would like to concerning a relationship, friendship, or how I treat my munchkins and their father. I still get it twisted up sometimes (at 32 years old), but at least I understand why.

    Don’t beat yourself up over it. You understand what happened so now you can move on. Trust me…you’re the only one upset about it and still dwelling right now, and the only person who can change that is you (and it feels so much better to let things go!). =)

  3. Holly November 24, 2008 at 6:51 am

    I’m learning more and more about your childhood through your blogging and your honesty and I’m so so sorry that you had to go through all that you did. Even worse is that I am sorry that I didn’t recognize the signs and was some sort of help to you. I bet you would find that counseling would help you now, even though it didn’t back then. Now that you are in a stable and loving environment and you have no one to protect, you would find yourself being brutally honest in the counselling sessions. I say go for it. It definitely cannot hurt.

    Life is all about learning sweetie. We all make mistakes, but what is important is that we learn from them and try not to make the same mistake again. Hard, I know! Just like knittinnoddlin said — you are the only one that is hung up on this and because you know why you are feeling the way that you are feeling, it’s time to move on and forgive yourself for letting the past get in the way. It’s not always easy to move on and heal from our life experiences but I think you are doing a wonderful job at it.

    ((HUGS))

  4. LittleWit November 24, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    You have a great analytical ability. If you think that going to counseling may help you to work through some of your more deep seated issues then I would tell you to go. I am sorry to hear of all that you have been through. I hope that as the years progress that it begins to hurt less and that you will be able to work through everything. *Hugs*

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