An Isolated Childhood
Please don't fall asleep, this is the short version. It is a story that I hope explains why you should never hold someone you love to tightly for you may cause permanent irreparable damage. Okay, deep sigh, here is my story.
I am the youngest of 3 siblings and thinking about it now. I came into the a situation that set me apart from my siblings. Out of all of them, I was the only one who would never truly remember what if feels like to have a mother around.
She left when I was one years old and my father took the helm as single parent. Okay time to get the mother stuff out of the way now. My sister, brother and I reunited with my mother when I was 23 years old (30 now). She has proved to be a disappointed. You see we wanted her to say that she was pushed out. But everything she says and does suggests that well, she didn't want us around. Not in a Flower in the Attic sense but more like, she was her main priority. I've gotten over it because if I don't I'll go nuts but my sister who is now a parent hasn't.
My father brought us up with certainty that food would be on the table and we were in a safe home. His strong character impacted me in the sense that I don't really take rubbish from anyone. But he protected us to the point of harming us. We hardly went out and were kept in front of TVs to watch films. Unfortunately we didn't relate much to other kids except in school. For my sister and I, it wasn't so bad cause we were girls. But I believe that it immensely had a bad effect on my brother. He has struggled in all aspects of his life and continues to suffer from low self esteem.
But for all of us, the effect has been that our social lives were controlled by my father. If he got upset with a family and we were friends with their kids, the friendship usually ended there. We were hardly allowed to go anywhere. I was an introverted (INFJ) child who didn't mind solitude so much but it hurt deeply when I didn't seem very good and keeping friends or boyfriends. It got to a stage that I stopped trying. Now, I have learnt what type of friends I should have so I have about 3 friends now. The internet and our mobile age definately helps for a socially weak person like me. As for intimacy that is my real stubbling block now. But I'm seeking my artistic dreams now and coming to terms with a childhood where although we were materialy secure, there was a very strong emotional poverty present in our young lives.
There were deeply hurtful moments of neglect when my father was absent. Cruel teachers and guardians, a viscious and manipulative step mother ( she used to beat me repeatedly as a child). But I am trying to keep going. However, my sister's isolation as a single mother and reliance on me to support her angers me. I adore my sister and would do anything for her but I'm angry that we were isolated from friends, family on both sides to such an extent that we have no-one to support us. My father built a world where he was our only protector and possiblity in life. I believe that is why my sister is isolated and reliant on my help and why my brother at 32 years old does not believe that he can make something of his life, therefore keeps self sabotaging at every opportunity.
I have read so many books about dysfunctional families, spirituality and self help. My conclusion is and always will be that you only have one life. Therefore, I am trying to make the most of it while I am still here - although I am left fearful of intimacy and of having children.
Today, I am grateful to my father's support - a support which I know my mother would have never given us. But I will never understand why he had to hold us so tightly that he's broken us. We were protected but broken. Now the shards of glass still stick and the wound still bleeds.
I want us all to be okay. Meanwhile as my father cares for his new young family, my siblings and I are all trying to pick up the pieces and I feel so powerless.
And yet, I plod on with my paint brush in one hand and hope in the other.
Who ever is reading this and whatever your trials and tribulations, I pray that you find something that takes you beyond the madness and dysfuntion that is family. I hope you are contented. Thanks for reading this tale. God bless and comments warmly welcome