Hi, it’s me again.
Spoiler alert, there are skeletons in my family closet. The kind that haunts you late at night where you cannot sleep. Emotionally I have had walls up for as long as I can remember. People have always told me, either you know me well, or you do not know me at all. I am sure that acquaintances that mimicked friendships from time to time had deep roots in trust and abandonment issues that I have harbored my entire life. I was raised with narcissists at the helm.
As I have gotten older, I have come to understand I was raised by people who were the embodiment of emotional unavailability. We knew we could not go for any type of support, affection and certainly not empathy. Whatever we were dealing with, their lives were always much worse. No one was there to hold their hand, so you better get over it. We were mocked if we cried. I remember feeling bad for my sister because she was a crier and our stepfather would prey on her. For as long as I could remember, my stepfather was a saint and did no wrong.
As a kid, I walked on eggshells and never knew what I was going to get when I walked through the door. I still cringe when someone raises his or her voice. It makes me physically sick.
As I delved into my childhood and faced the skeletons of my narcissistic relatives, I realize the weight I carried for so long was the equivalent of an onion; hard, heavy, many thick layers of memories, emotional scars and stinging as I attempted to pull the mass apart. Still, it is becoming easier as I go. I have to take a minute, walk away from it, regroup and then go back to it.
How do you teach empathy when you have never experienced it? When I was young, I never dreamed of getting married and having children. My birthday was forgotten. When I became a parent myself, I did not want to be a parent that yelled, cussed through things and belittled their children. I honestly was not sure if I could be that parent and I was terrified. All I knew is I did not want my home to be like that. I did not want to create an environment that my child could not speak to me or open the door for fear of what was happening on the inside.
I wish I could say I did not suffer anymore losses. I was very young and was not a perfect example of a stellar parent but when it came to my children, I did know love. The truth is the person I married did not get better with age. I divorced that guy after seven years. However, I did find my prince and the love of my life. He has stood by my side for just about thirty years.
As I pull back the layers of my pain for examination, eventually I must let go. They are not me. They do not define me. I am determined to stay the course, and I will break the cycle for myself.
My life is now filled with love. My happiness, success, and self-worth do not fluctuate. I am me. I am not perfect. I am a work in progress. I will continue to grow and flourish as I move on from my past. If you want to know more, read my book “I Wish Death Would Take A Vacation – My Story.”
Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©
Written with love.
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Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.