I Realized That Because I Didn't Feel Important, I Therefore Became Unimportant

I too have felt that I don't matter to anyone.  I was raised alongside a very bright, verbal older brother who stole the attention by telling jokes, doing funny impressions, and shouting me down whenever I started talking.  I developed a debilitating stutter because of it, which only added to my sense of alienation, because it became more difficult to communicate.  I believe I was just as bright as my brother but was continually stymied in the expression of my intellect because of the overwhelming pressure from my family to be quiet and let him be the little king.  My parents didn't even seem to notice my problems, so enamoured were they by him.  There was some weird unspoken dysfunction in my family - my father was a closet gay and my mother was a codependent neurotic who could not accept her own femininity, so I, as the girl, received regular shunning and ignoring by the whole family. When I stumbled, my parents did nothing to stop my brother from endlessly taunting me as the 'clumsy clown'.  This is odd considering that my father was a psychologist and my mother a social worker.  Neither of them could see the wood for the trees.  I tried to pick up a few hobbies, such as playing the guitar, but invariably my brother would copy me and outdo me, so I quit them all, except drawing.  My drawings were private and there was no competition.  I could do it alone and there were no judges. 

After my parents divorced, my mother was given to just lying in bed and reading Jane Austen books and crying for us to "leave her in peace".  We had no after school care and I began coming home and eating to ease the hurt.  Things like bowls of margarine and sugar mixed together were my favourite types of snacks.  I was hurting inside and no one could see or even cared. 

The abuse from my brother became worse; he started sexually abusing me.  He killed both of my turtles.  He would play pranks on me like putting speakers in the heat vents of the house and making frightening noises at night when I was trying to sleep.  When I would come home from school alone, he would put dummies he had made to look very real on the basement floor with knives stuck in their backs.  My mom would laugh about his jokes like they had no effect on me.  She would boast to her friends about how scared I was and how creative and intelligent my brother was for thinking up such funny pranks.  My father was out getting drunk somewhere and only came by occasionally to take us out skiing or camping so he did nothing to stop it.  My mother would drone on and on about how brilliant my brother was and about how he would be so successful at university.  My schoolwork was not interesting to her and I never remember her helping me or even asking about it.  It really didn't seem to matter to her if I succeeded or failed in life and the only thing she had to say about my future was that she hoped that I would find a man and have a romantic vacation. 

When I was 12, my father killed a woman in a drunk driving accident and my mom took him back to our house.  He was in the hospital for almost a year with severe head injuries, massive internal injuries, broken bones etc.  She was emotionally absent and we basically had no boundaries, and no parental care, from the time of the accident.  I saw my dad in hospital and it was terrible, he looked like a monster.  Of course, whatever needs I had were even less important now because of my dad's needs.  My mom remarried him again, once he got out of the hospital. From then on, my life was absolute hell. 
His head injury had turned him into a raving lunatic.  He had a hair trigger temper and I seemed to be the most irritating thing around.  I found out later that because I was growing into a beautiful woman, he was insanely jealous, because he wanted the males' attention himself.  My mom was threatened by me because I was thin and pretty and she was overweight and had major body issues.  I was the convenient scapegoat. 

I enjoyed having male attention then, it was the first time I felt that someone thought I was important.  This became like a drug.  As I sought out males, my father became more enraged.  He would pick at me about everything - I was only allowed 2 inches of water in the bathtub, if I rolled over in bed at night he would accuse me of sneaking out, He would blow up if I moved something on the dinner table for example, like the napkin holder.  This continued until one night he attacked me with a heavy glass ashtray and his cowboy boots.  I barricaded myself in my room and jumped out the window with a few things and left. 

From that point on I was treated as psychotic.  I went from foster home to foster home, tried to commit suicide, was locked up in the psychiatric ward of the hospital, was kept in isolation rooms.  I was treated as an annoyance by my mother and father and for the most part demonized by the whole family.  I didn't realize how far my mother went to protect my father, excusing his addictions to psychiatric medications, his violence, his rigid personality, his paranoia, his homosexuality.  The only thing that was important to her was that she keep her man.  I tried over and over again to come home, pleading with her.  She would change her phone number.  I ended up on the street, hitchhiking across Canada.  I was raped over and over again by truckers.  I was shot at.  I was held prisoner by men.  I starved.  I basically had to sell my body for food and somewhere to sleep.  When I was so sick and tired, I would camp out with the natives and drink with them.  I was always running from the police, who put me into detention centers twice.  I ended up getting very ill with diseases picked up from doing drugs with street people and having improper nutrition.  I was 16.  I was so ill that I, in desperation, asked my grandparents to help me.  They took me in and kept me at their house.  Soon they realized I had hepatitis A (the viral kind) and got me medical help.  My grandfather who was not in good health, got hepatitis and died.  I felt terribly guilty and I know the whole family blamed me. 

I left the town I was living in with my grandparents, and moved back to my home town.  I tried to attend school to finish my grade 12.  I started college and met a man.  I had gained weight by this time because of the anxiety and shame I felt constantly.  He and I started seeing each other and he kept me in a state of terror by constantly berating me about my weight.  He would threaten to sleep with someone else.  I lost weight and became bulimic in order to keep him.  He was terrible, a true psychopath, but I felt I did not deserve anything better.  I kept going back to him after beatings because I was so broken inside.  We had a son together and I finally found the courage to leave for my son's sake, after his rages extended to him. 

I had a terrible breakdown after this and abused myself horribly.  I couldn't function and asked my parents to help me with my son for awhile so that I could recover.  I know this sounds stupid and it was.  After a few months my parents said they would never give my son back to me.  In fact they had given him to his father, who was a violent psychopathic cocaine addict.  I took my son from him and then all three of them took me to court.  The judge reprimanded them all and told me of course I should be the one raising my son.  I felt proud of myself because this was the first time I had stood up to the three people who had disrespected me for so long. 

I worked hard to support my son. I went through different relationships and none were right for me.  My son was so hard to deal with, having been diagnosed with aspergers, that no man wanted that kind of responsibility.  I spent most of my time working or dealing with issues with the schools for my son.  Although I loved him with all my heart, he was very difficult, and was openly disrespectful to teachers and authority figures.  He had probably lost trust in all authority because of the way that my parents and his father had framed my breakdown.  But I vowed to never abandon him.  It became easy to lose myself in being a mother and working hard to support my son.  Soon that was really all that I was.  I had lost myself. 

I worked as a constituency assistant for 5 years then became a legal secretary.  I was always doing someone else's bidding.  I was not trusted with decisions myself because I had put myself in the role of subordinate.  I did not have the guts or money to go back to school and get an education, so I stayed in this field.

My son was a teen by this time and had gotten into drugs.  No matter how I pleaded with him, he was well entrenched in the pot smoking culture.  He lost all interest in school and ended up being thrown out.  He had had a dispute with a kid at school and had threatened to blow up his house.  The police were called in and he was expelled permanently.  He tried outreach, but his desire to run around with his friends and smoke pot overcame his good intentions.  I could not force him to go to school, as he was bigger then me.  He became increasingly disrespectful to me, until we were arguing all the time. 

At this point I had made the mistake of dating a guy who was really bad news.  He began stalking me and tried to control my life.  He forced me to lose my job and threatened me with all kinds of violence.  He wanted me to sign my house over to him.  I packed up my stuff and moved away and left my son behind. 

I got a new job right away at a nice law firm, but the stalking continued until I got the police involved.  Then I just tried to live my life.  My son moved out to be with me, with a new attitude.  Things were tough, and we were living in a trailer park, and our car had no wipers or blower motor for the rain, and mold was growing on the inside of the car, and the roof leaked over my bed, and so on.  I had a horse that I loved but recognized that he was hurting too because the rain was causing the hair on his back to fall out.  I saw all the other miserable horses standing in the rain with no chance to be themselves, running free.  It hit me how cruel people are and how arbitrary our existence is.  I realized that I was like one of those horses.  No one would care when my back broke from the weight I had been carrying.  My existence seemed just as meaningless as the horses.  I wondered about God.  Did we just make it up to make ourselves feel better about the meaninglessness of our existence?  Where exactly was God, anyway?  I know the earth was surrounded by unfathomable depths of nothingness of space.  How could I fool myself into believing that everything I was trying so hard to do here on earth meant something?  I felt less significant than a grain of sand.  I collapsed mentally, and cried out for help to my mom.   She didn't want to help or hear, and told me I needed shock treatment.  The only person who helped was my son, who realized that I was not this superhuman person who he could just keep on treating badly.  I didn't have anything left to give.  I just held his hand one night and this was all that kept me from doing myself in. 

All the time I lived in that trailer park, none of my family visited me, even though they came to the city I lived in for other reasons.  Nor any of my friends.  I saw eventually that I had become unimportant, because I accepted the message I had been given: that I was unimportant. 

I met someone soon after this, who tried to help me.  He got me out of the trailer park, we got married, and we moved somewhere nice.  I got a new mortgage on my house which I was renting out and paid for my son to go to school to learn a highly specialized computer skill that he had talent in.  I felt that my life might be taking a turn for the better.  But soon I realized that it was an illusion.  After I got married, my new husband said that he wanted me to calculate how much money I had after my bills were paid when I was single, and this would be how much money I would be allowed to spend now.  I had quit my job at the law firm to help him with his business, which was construction.  I felt powerless and helpless.  Then he insisted it was time for my son to move out and that we had to move away to another country, where he was from.  I knew he didn't want my son around, but I knew it was too soon for my son to move out, because of his Aspergers.  But I was not given an equal role in the decision making process.  Soon, I was somewhere else, and my son was crashing and burning by himself.  He drove himself into a psychotic state by taking mushrooms every day for two weeks.  I tried to help him but he was like a wild animal. He threatened to pull out his own eyeballs.  I was so afraid for him.  I wanted to move back and take care of him but was hogtied by the money situation.  Finally I came to rescue him, with a moving truck.  I brought him to live with us for 6 months to get his brain back to normal. 

This situation was hell because my husband constantly badgered him and belittled him and also me.  He called me codependent and sick and told me I was hurting my son by helping him too much. 

Finally my son moved back to the home town again and tried to start a life for himself.  I was constantly worried about him, because of his suicide threats.  Then he met a woman, older than him, who had several kids.  They moved in together and it was a terrible relationship. Fighting, drugs, partying.  The kids were torn between their parents. 

During this time, I had a sinus infection and was given levaquin by a doctor.  No one warned me that the drug would have such devastating side effects.  Now I had permanent tinnitus, compromised liver function, retina damage, and tendon damage.  I went into a temporary psychosis (they do say this is a side effect somewhere on the circular but I was not given that at the drug store), and had no one.  My husband was away on business as usual, I had no friends or relatives, and I was alone for days in my house.  I tried to go to a doctor but he wouldn't believe me and told me I needed to go to a psychiatric hospital.  I felt that it was so unfair that I had taken such care of myself and here I was ambushed by big pharma and no one could help.  I did research myself and was able to, with much effort, supplements and natural therapies such as jin shin jyutsu, heal myself over a period of three years, although I still have tinnitus.   And more and more people are given this drug every day who will have the same experience.

During the time I was healing from the levaquin, the woman my son was living with accused him of molesting her daughter and my son was charged with child abuse.  The charges were false and she was trying to extort money from me and my husband, as she knew we had money.   I found him a lawyer and the case played out over two years.  He was found not guilty but my mind was like mush.  The stress and worry of this case had turned me into a basket case. 

Now I am picking up the peices of my life.  I am still in a foreign country.  I am too old to have the family I always wanted.  It is time to make me matter.  I realize I have to make myself important to myself, so others will see that I am important too.  I have lived in other people's shadows too long.  I have many talents and a great intellect, but I just have to start believing I am worth it.  I have to disregard how important all my husband's employees think he is, and how important he himself thinks he is, and give me a chance.  Whether that is going back to school to finish my education, or pursuing my art, I have to on an hourly basis correct myself from crumpling into a heap of nothingness.  I may not know what happens when we die, but I know that I have something to do here on earth, even if it is just finding a voice inside myself to express my uniqueness.  By putting everyone else ahead of me, I never allowed my own voice to emerge.  Therefore I didn't even know I had one.  Writing this is a good first step.  Even if no one reads this story, I at least have said something.

Good wishes to all out there who are trying to find what's important about you.  The only person who can do that is you, and until you do, people will find you unimportant, because they will see that you don't give a damn about yourself.  When you give a damn about yourself, I know others will too.
raeychelle raeychelle
41-45, F
May 23, 2012