April 29, 2014
I don't know about you but I think I am getting sick of writing this. I expect you may be getting tired of reading it too. It is simply too damn depressing and it no longer feels necessary although I think it was necessary and I am very glad I have spit it out in this 80th year.
It WAS an awful childhood which certainly affected the life I have lived for worse rather than for better. It was worse for my brothers and sisters who did not overcome our childhood. There are no pretty endings to this story.
I have survived and survived fairly well - maybe because I spend 13 years talking to a psychiatrist - maybe because I inherited healthier genes - or did I just have better luck along the way? My guess would be that my father's love saved me and gave me the will to survive. I remember him saying "life is sweet Bet" and wondering what he meant. Maybe I stuck around trying to find out what he meant? I don't know why I survived but here I am 80+ years later. Stuttering away.
Much to my surprise writing what I have written seems to have, in fact, put it behind me. It has been really liberating to say out loud what I have said. I believe those who are abused most often feel they did something to deserve that abuse. As a kid on Tower Street I walked on wooden sidewalks and stepped on the cracks as I recited "step on a crack and you break your mother's back". OMG - the guilt!
I expect my brothers and sisters felt their problems were of their own making too. They all lived unhealthy, unhappy lives. Much death and destruction.
There is lots more to be said but it is really all the same story of abuse until I/we got out of the house. I married when I was 17 and pregnant. After my first baby was born I decided I could pretend to be anyone I wanted to be. I tied on my apron and decided my favourite person in the world was Eleanor Roosevelt so I would pretend I had her nature and go from there. I did that for years and maybe I still do it. I am not sure I really know who I am.
The symptoms of the sickness continue in my very fractured family. Watered down neurosis but neurosis never the less. What a shame.
If you are young and also lived a damaged childhood I hope you will ask for professional help and work hard to help yourself.
If you are old and lonely don't despair. It may not be your fault or anyone's fault. It may be all about the genes we and those we care about inherited. The luck of the draw. Keep putting one foot in front of the other for as long as you can as well as you can.
Posted by Betty Bishop at 11:32 a.m.