A friend told us a story of his childhood last night during dinner. How he had gotten a small plant as a boy and he was so thrilled he put it in the window and fussed over it everyday. One day he came home and it was gone. His mother didn't tell him where but he saw it later in the window of a neighbors house. She had given it away.
I said this was meanness of the worst kind from the most important person in a child's life. It made me want to cry these things that shape us forever. As a boy "don't get too attached to anything" or worse "Mom doesn't want me to be happy". His mother was abandoned by her own mentally ill mother and dropped off at an orphanage only to visited periodically to rub salt in the wound. The nuns finally ask her to quit coming.
We all have experienced something that has shaped us in ways we don't even see. We just think this is the way we are and I think it is the little messages or big messages of how unimportant we are to the people that were suppose to love us that does the most damage. We decide whether we are worthy of love from those moments.
We don't get to pick our parents. My own parents were loving for the most part even with the whippings my mother gave me. I was definitely a wild child and a handful but I felt totally loved. The school wanted to medicate me (this was the 70's) She was strict but we were happy and she encouraged us to push our limits even as girls. This is why both my sister and I can do the work of 3 people on an off day.
The worst ideas that were planted in me came from my step mother, Her jealously and immaturity over the relationship I had with my dad made her a the worst kind of mean. I was no match for her at 12 an easy target for her constant manipulation and mean comments about me. I think because my father didn't stand up for me I believed the things she said were true. I didn't feel worthy I was worthy of love and I wasn't worth fighting for this is the belief has shaped my life. I have chosen the same kind of people over and over the kind of people that didn't value me.
I have finally learned to value myself and not look for any kind of validation from the outside. I understand that even with my stepmother she was damaged herself. Dumped by the love of her life just before meeting my dad. When I saw her recently after all these years she was still talking about it. The trap was familiar to me "not good enough" even though my dad worshipped her.
The story of my friend really touched me and I feel tears in my eyes now. He has a good relationship with his mother now and accepts her limitations. What choice does he have if he wants to move on.
I think those of us working on what holds us back are lucky that we can recognize how we came to believe what we believe now. What shaped us and how we can see that those ideas don't have to be permanent. Just another person's sickness put upon us. They didn't know. It was about them not about us.