Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Background History

I spend a lot of time on introspective thinking.  I have not lived an easy life. I know that others have had it a lot harder than I.  But mine wasn't that easy either.  I am the adopted only child of an alcoholic father and a martyred mother.   I was an extremely hyperactive child and in hindsight I feel there is a strong chance that I am also a high functioning Asperger's.  The tales my mother told me of repetitive traits and self-destructive temper tantrums combined with the sensitivities I had to foods and loud noises along with the issues I had in grade school with my peers make it very possible.  Although I cannot completely dismiss it as the result of a highly sensitive child being raised in the toxic environment of my mother's resentful blame of my father's alcoholism.  At 46 I really have no desire to spend the time and energy to get a diagnosis.  

My father was a functioning alcoholic who was a pretty decent guy despite it. He was a Leo and a good old farm boy.  He treated me with respect especially when he had to discipline me.  He could always explain to me what I did wrong and why without making me feel that I was worthless.  By the end we'd both be crying.  My father was always the one to get me up and off to school.  We had a very good relationship.  The damage done to me by his drinking was mainly neglect since he was usually gone for the evening by the time I got home from school.  He wasn't there to protect me from my mother's insanity and rage.  I only experienced his irrational drunk side against me personally twice growing up.  

My mother blamed me for his drinking and I bore the brunt of her resentment against his alcoholism.  It was the worst during my middle school years, grades 5-8 I think. The worst was during the recession in the early 80's.   I would come home from school and do my best to stay out of my mother's sight and way hoping I wouldn't accidentally piss her off and trigger her anger.  That resentment was always simmering away and I was always the proverbial straw breaking the camel's back when it came to her anger.  I quickly learned to find ways to blame myself for most everything.  I never truly felt good enough or smart enough around her.  She didn't so much discipline me as she punished me for his drinking.  (as an adult she admitted to me that it was my fault my daddy drank and no I know it's not)  Lashing out with her words and occasionally her hand, she constantly abused me mentally-berating me about my stupidity, worthlessness, laziness and being good for nothing.   Mom didn't take me aside and tell me what I did wrong and why.  She just attacked me viciously out of nowhere.  As a result I have had to deal with a lot of self-respect, self-esteem and self-love issues as well as being passive aggressive. Did I mention my fear of failure?  My marriage to an alcoholic just made thing worse in the long run.  I am sure my being a sensitive child didn't help either.

She also taught me a lot of good things too.  I tend to think of her as a "split-personality". There was a wonderful mom who taught me a lot of good things.  The fact she chose to walk me a mile a day instead of drugging me up on Ritalin when I was diagnosed. Her patience with my tantrums, forcing me to do embroidery to improve my fine motor skills. The time she spent drilling me with flashcards she made herself to help me learn my basic addition and subtraction math skills.  All the time she spent tutoring me in math.  She always read to me and instilled a love of reading in me.  Especially science fiction.  

Edited to add-I think the real difference between my mother's and father's style of discipline boils down to one thing.  With my dad a mistake was okay, we'd all live, but don't do it again.  With my mother it was the end of the world and it was never okay to make a mistake.

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