I do not believe I am defined by my past so I don’t dwell on it, blame it or shame it, but I hope that if I share my story it may help someone like my younger self who is feeling a little lost or hopeless.
I am the daughter of 2 parents who struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. My mother was an 8 out of 10 in narcissistic tendencies, so I don’t really know what it is like to have your mom genuinely care or put your concerns above their own. The trick when someone doesn’t know they are struggling with their mental health, is they don’t get help. We grew up without extra money and sometimes not enough to pay all of the bills.
My Dad tried to do various home based businesses, which always failed. It is a real challenge for someone who cannot control their impulses with alcohol to be responsible enough to make good business decisions. My sisters and I were very fortunate that some of my mothers siblings had a huge influence in our lives.
We received enough positive influences from extended family, neighbors and friends to all live functional lives and have not carried substance abuse into our lives, which actually defies all odds.
The environment I grew up in gives me a HUGE ADVANTAGE in so many elements of functioning in life TODAY. I didn’t always realize this. There were definitely times in my life where I felt sorry for myself and blamed any short comings or failings I was experiencing on my past and let it affect my success.
Insert CHER song “If I could turn back time” tune. I often wish I could turn back the hands of time to tell my younger self one thing. That thing would be that “this too shall pass”. I now know that everything that I thought was a road bump or something getting in my way so far, in time, has turned into a positive redirection. I realize now that some things didn’t happen when I wanted them to, because I couldn’t handle it all and would have injured myself in some way (emotionally, physically or mentally).
The environment I grew up in didn’t come without its share of psychology bills a little later in life and some emotional scars that remind me from time to time that although it could have been a lot worse, I maybe could still have some of these great life skills still, with it being just a touch easier.
I do not wish for anyone to grow up in a house with turmoil and having to rely on your life skills on a daily basis to function. I do not wish for anyone to know what it feels like to have a mother that doesn’t care. You do not have to experience things to have empathy, but it isn’t quite the same as going through it yourself.