Wednesday, February 5, 2014
"My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me accoridng to Your word."
I have spent the last few weeks reflecting on my life as it stands today, the childhood that brought me to this point and the choices I have made. This reflection has brought some understanding to the person I am now and hopefully will help me change and become the person I want to be.
When I look back onto my life as a child my memories are really from the age of 11 and up. This was a significant time for me full of changes and challenges that would truly begin the development into my adult life.
I always looked at life with childlike eyes. My eyes were wide open, aware of everything around me and aware that I was destined for a bigger life than the one playing out for me. However, along with those big eyes of wonder and hope I hide a dark secret behind them, fear and anxiety.
At the age of 11 I was living with my mother and two older brothers. Life was not easy as a child. My mother was a single mom, who for years dated a married man with a family of his own. It was known and understood in our home that we were not to talk about this with anyone, especially the wife who happened to be my mother's friend. My mother really never worked outside of the home. She relied on the income of social security from the death of my two brothers' father. In addition to the social security checks my mother had support from the married man. This developed a very unstable lifestyle because we were constantly moving from rental to rental. My mother would move us because she got bored or she would have to move us because she could not pay the rent anymore. We moved once and sometimes twice a year from as far back as I could remember till the age of 14. This created the fear and anxiety of not feeling secure.
My mother loved her kids; there was never a question of that. However, the love my mother had for the three of us was not the normal mother child love. It was clear to me at a young age that my mother felt slated. She felt as if her life should have gone another way. She use to tell me the day she married my brothers' father she told her own mother she didn't want to marry him. My mother explained to me that her mother told her it was too late for that kind of thinking and basically said "You are going marry this man." I could always sense the resentment when she would talk about this to me. It was not a story that she shared in hopes to help me understand that she wouldn't force me to marry someone I didn't want to. Rather it was a story of self-pity and almost a way for her to lash out at her kids saying if only that one decision could be changed her life would have been so much different. This created the fear of not being loved.
When I think about the relationship I had with my mother it was a giving one, me giving to her. I basically took on the role of trying to make sure my mother was happy. I cared for her needs as well as tried to care for my own. My mother would go through weeks of depression. She would be up all night and sleep all day. This required me to have to not only have to care for myself but take care of the house as best as I could at that young age. It was always my goal to make sure she had what she needed. I loved her so much I wanted to have her love me back and I thought the way to achieve this was to give myself to her and care for her in any way I could. But no matter how hard I tried or how much I gave to her, I could never pull her out of her depression and I could never help her accept and make the most of her life within herself and with the three of us kids. This created the fear of not being good enough.
My mother could not tell the truth to save her life. My brothers use to get so mad at her because she would tell us we were going to do something or she was going to do this with us and those times would come and go. Our life was full of empty promises and lies. My mother would make promises to us that she would never keep. She would tell us about a trip she was planning only to find out it was trip she was taking by herself and would leave us with friends. My mother would promise to come to school events but then never show up for one reason or the other. This created the anxiety of not trusting.
I always defended my mother and always stuck by her side trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. I was the peacemaker in the family and I wanted everyone to be happy. Looking back I can see my pattern was that I believed if I gave her unconditional love her own heart would soften towards me and my brothers and she would finally step up to be the mother we all wanted her to be. But she continually chooses her own feelings over ours, made choices that really benefited her first and continued to make promises she could not keep.
It's funny how you can go through life continuing on a pattern of behaviors that you are not even aware you are doing. Then one morning at 2:00 am it all becomes clear that you have lived your whole life this way. I have always given people the benefit of the doubt. I have always wanted to give myself to those in need in hopes to help them become a better person. I hide my fears and anxiety from the world in hopes to gain my own strength in others to overcome them.
As an adult when faced with these fears I have triggers that have come up over the past four years that really have set me into a spin. I now understand how these fears affect my own life today and the choices I make. I understand that rather running or hiding from my childhood I need to embrace it so I can understand and finally grow from it. I have stunted my own growth due to fears of the past and fears in the present.
Fear is a very powerful emotion. It has been embedded in me for years, this I now know and understand. I can look back now and see the patterns I live today are mirrored by the patterns I lived as a child. Yet rather than facing the fears young and learning how to grow from them I pushed them into the back of my mind and powered through whatever I had to get done. Rather than learning how to manage the fear, I ignored it and simply moved on. This can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing.
As I sit here today typing, my mind searches for a lesson or for some motivating thoughts to help anyone reading this as well as help myself. But the bottom line is I need to understand my fears and learn more about them. I need to fully understand and see that those fears as a child still live in me today as an adult. I need to understand and recognize my trigger points and work my way through them. I need to depend on my hubby more and get him on board to not seeing his wife as the strong one but rather in a position where I am vulnerable and seeking his help. I almost need to step back in my own life so that others can step forward allowing me to work on helping myself.
For so many years I have cared for everyone giving them my all, I made myself the last priority on the list. Along with putting my needs last I compartmentalized my own fears and tucked them away never to be dealt with. There is nothing wrong with fear; it is a survival emotion that can save your life. However, being stuck in these emotional and paralyzing fears is destroying me from the inside out. I don't want to live in the shadows of fear any longer. With the Grace of God and the love and support from my hubby and friends it is time for me to break free from my fears and start living the life I was meant to live!
Posted by Michell Galvan