As a child, everything, for me, became a source of shame, because nothing about our family,home,lives was normal or normalized. It was directly communicated that if no one is feeling it or talking about a thing, that is because it is only me, who percieves it. And I am therefore wrong….wrong at a cellular level for thinking or openly communicating about an experience or feeling which noone else would share or acknowledge. I could find no comfort or relief from this dynamic. Gaslighting, from my earliest days.
Literally anything which was not pleasing or relatable, to people in my family of origin, was pathologized. There was the constant message, you are like us and with us or you are wrong and against us and will be treated accordingly. And so I was. Treated accordingly. Because I was overwhelmed and over stimulated by just about everything. And this vexed the people in charge- who felt it my duty to be pleasing or at the very least easy to ignore- or pay the price. Catherine G Whitney
Our house pulsed with rage- with vile laughter, rage with volume and raging silence, but no peace -no quiet. My sensitivities and differing needs set me on the outside from the get go. Collectively rejected. I became the target for my family’s anger and dis-EASE. I was shamed for my emotions, my hunger, my inability to tolerate many sounds, smells, textures, my inconvenient need for a restroom, nap or an extra blanket or sweater. It was tolerated and normalized for others to say about me(to or in front of my mother- if she was not the one saying it), things like: Ugh, nobody else is complaining. She is the only one who has issues with it. Why can’t she lighten up and quit being so difficult. Just be easy for once? Selfish. Always trying to get attention. What a pain in the ass. This was regularly said to me and about me, within earshot.
I wanted to matter, not be ignored or fixated on, just allowed to be who and how I was. I cannot help but cry for lil Magda. Always in the dog house for differing, struggling, and needing, incorrectly- coming undone and trynuh to crack the code for how to become or appear ok, worthy, connected. I am not sure what anyone thought or hoped to accomplish by curating my life experience in this way.
I think I was supposed to hate and distrust myself enough that I might fall in line- listening only to the words of the people who could punish and alienate me. But also not hate myself so much that it caused disturbance. Unsurprisingly, I did learn hate and distrust—-of myself, them, and others.
I continue to agonize over one of my sons being “handled” in a similar way by his similar father who enjoys wrangling our other son into agreement over the wrongness of his brother. Choosing pathologizing language and expressing collective displeasure. He is not even a collective with anyone but his other son. I am fn sick of people being divisive and diminishing and feeling right about doing so. I literally do not know how much more I can stand. Ugh.
This rant was prompted by this Hafiz quote about being a cage builder or a key dropper. I like to believe that my sharing here, is dropping keys for those who have not yet found recovery or words to help them unlock their cages. Finding the langauge to name my experience gives me power of understanding and meaning and best of all, healing and connection. I will continue sharing. Oh- and one more thing- Fk the shaming, pathologizing, cage builders.Much Love,
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