Looking For Gold
This inherited fear has always lurked in the darkness of my mind just waiting to strike whenever I am at my most vulnerable and still today I have my share of battles with it. Born out of this cradle of fear within me was its own progeny, learned powerlessness and people pleasing. Gradually over the course of time I lost contact with any true sense of myself and my genuine feelings because it was much too risky a venture. Anytime a stray feeling would surface that wasn’t in line with keeping the tenuous peace or upholding the mutually agreed family silence then I would immediately stuff it away as we all went about the charade of our lives.
This preconditioned programming in an attempt to counterbalance the gaps in my emotional development would eventually come to haunt me in the future as all these unexpressed and unrequited emotions were definitely going somewhere…. We each inherited our own roles within this patriarchal hierarchy in order to maintain the polished veneer of a well-adjusted happy family. I now know that I subconsciously chose the role of the hero and peace maker whereas my older sister Glennis opted out all together.
Somehow she figured out the theatrics of my family at a very early age stubbornly refusing to play their game but soon after she was sent to a psychiatrist. Immediately following her sessions I witnessed her personality abruptly shift and her gradual emotional withdrawal from us all. I can remember feeling my own sadness and loss not only to see her disappear within herself but missing her genuine presence in my life as well.
I still hope one day she will return but then again that is her journey and not mine…
Not only did this incident intensify my fear of disobeying my parents unwritten rule but also reinforced my role as the hero and repairer of the breach in order to sustain our false façade which had now just fallen onto my shoulders alone.
Having taken on the yoke for my family’s psychological welfare I went out of my way to keep everyone happy. This is where I think I really lost myself in this process. Juggling everybody else’s feelings above my own. My boundaries became blurred, confused as to where I ended and where others began.
Without my conscious consent I took it upon myself to keep my Dad’s happiness utmost in my mind hoping that maybe my family would eventually transform into the one I wished and at times even pretended to have. In all fairness, when my Dad was in good spirits he was actually a lot of fun with a great sense of humour. Dad and I did have many wonderful times together and I know he enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed his. But the more I attached myself to him however the deeper I felt the hurt whenever he would disappear into his anger and melancholy which inevitably followed his outbursts spurred on by how own guilt and self-hatred.
Having lost myself in the psychological vacuum of my father’s struggles was reason enough to lose touch with my own emotional needs but instead of being cushioned and supported through this process by my mother she actually accelerated it. I know deep down in my heart she never intentionally meant to hurt me but then again she never paid close enough attention to come to the understanding that she ever did.