So this weekend was emotionally tough yet wonderful. We have a nice guy who is rather fun to be around and then bam that awful question of ‘what do you want?’ oh bother we’re not talking about a takeaway cause egg fried rice would be good, oh bother you’re expecting a serious answer! However, the thing to know is I avoid this question like the plague, well ok that’s a bit dramatic but you get the idea. But, to my simple logic if I can avoid it altogether then the question no longer exists and we’re back to egg fried rice please.
However, that’s unfair to the questioner who asked it in all seriousness. The thing to know is that I always try and head off before it bounces into my brain. If I can avoid it then I don’t have to answer it because answering it means opening a box that is so carefully under wraps at the recesses of my brain few even know it exists. But it does, and it colours everything.
I crave yet fear intimacy, it was denied to me early on and that fear of rejection stays. That fear of if I say or do the wrong thing they’ll leave, if I open myself up then the hurt will be enormous. So, I batten down the hatches, don’t let you in – it’s easier that way. It’s how I’ve survived this long – but truthfully I’m not sure it is living, yes it’s surviving but hardly a positive way to live. That sense of unconditional love wasn’t present in our household, and it’s only as an adult I understand it’s significance and the damage its absence it did.
When I was little as any child you assume the world revolves around you, you are completely unaware of what adults go through to keep you safe and happy and that’s exactly how it should be. Kids are supposed to be gloriously unaware of anything outside of themselves and their needs. And again we’re back to food, how much food does a 10yo need??? Clearly tons! However, what happens when that child becomes incredibly aware of the surroundings they are in? What happens emotionally to the child that steps in as a peacemaker, morality barometer and so nervous to step out of line for fear of being left? I should not have understood this type of thing, I should have been worried about what’s for tea, why does my best friend have curly hair? Will my boobs ever turn up? Normal life-threatening things for a kid.
For many years I was aware that I lived with a difficult parent, however, it’s only as an adult I realise just how difficult. Passive-aggressive, pah I lived with the master! There were many instances over the years where I thought one or both parents would leave and not return and it was often around Christmas time. I understand now as an adult how stressful Christmas is, well it isn’t for me because I hole up in my pajamas and a good box set of films and the box sets of chocolate so that’s all good. But I sort of get how they struggled to try and make everything perfect, but the reality is most families eat too much, have a blazing row over an undercooked turkey, and it never is perfect so I say just go with it and open more chocolates.
As kids my brother and I found a loose floorboard on the landing, we hid some of our favourite toys so that if ever we had to leave in the middle of the night we knew where to find them. It’s funny how as adults we’d immediately grab our phones but for my brother it was his Action Man and his cars, that beautiful innocence of what’s important.
We were never physically hurt, but we were constantly told ‘I’ll leave if you don’t …….’ so the auto programming started early. It leaves you with a strange sense of compliance and being made to feel that you are being difficult or troublesome if you challenge or disagree and sadly you carry that into adulthood. Somehow you’re made to feel that it’s your fault or your actions that are making them want to leave you. That auto programming leaves you with a sense of misplaced compliance, and compliments are incredibly difficult to hear because the auto programming goes ‘aha, that’s because they want you to do ……’ so you say nothing to rock the boat. You deny your own feelings and desires, what if they don’t fit with what someone else wants? What if they leave too? You sort of expect people to leave as that’s what you’ve heard from little and it’s incredibly difficult to shake off.
However, from conversations with friends, it appears this experience is all too common and my conclusion is that adults are ill-equipped to remember how to be children, perhaps they should eat more sweets or watch more cartoons while blowing bubbles because they can?
So, to answer the question of what do I want? I don’t know, but I do intend having a lot of fun finding out!