Caring From Where?


I came to the entirely clear realization not too long ago that my mother had planned to give me up for adoption when I was born, or was at least was thinking very seriously about it. She left me, a newborn, with an Aunt in Ontario for weeks while she went home.

But she ended up coming back, or my aunt driving me home to her. I have heard other stories of my mom leaving me with aunts or friends for days or weeks at a time. And I remember the days and days and days I would spend with babysitters when I was young.

And on top of that I remember how irritated she would get, quickly irritated, when she couldn’t ‘go out’ or have time with boyfriends away for me and my brother. When she and my dad were still married, and I was maybe 6 or 7, I remember her coming outside where I was playing, to tell me to stay outside and play for a while longer because “she and daddy were going to make love”. Ick!

That translates into something for a child. Whether the child can sense it that early on, or whether cumulatively there are 100 million little clues that communicate that they are a bit of a burden, kind of like a not so important pet, like they don’t entirely belong.

The bigger picture, I figured out, told me, “keeping you was my ‘other’ option”… Maybe she thought something like, “the lesser of two evils.” Or, Suffering a kid alone is better than being a parent who actually gives their kid away…

As I am trying to figure out the terribly upset feelings inside as I try to move away from my ex, I discover there that there are so many moments that I only feel excruciating pain and sadness. But the pain and sadness are not coming with any words that explain why I feel so bad. I should be elated to free myself from a dishonest, disloyal, traumatized, inconsiderate, volatile, manipulative, cruel, lost man. I should be angry but then happy because I am away from what angered and hurt me. But I break every time I think of the failure of this relationship. I think I failed! Me! I feel regret, as though I am at fault. My heart has literally shattered 100’s of times with him, because of him.

But i feel guilt. I am still looking to quash my anger, pretend I don’t feel it, tell myself I am stupid and thoughtless and selfish and childish and…an idiot. Tell myself ‘He doesn’t have to love me the way I need him to. He only needs to love me like he wants. I have to accept that.’ I am feeling bad because I just didn’t accept his efforts as adequate.

When my mom decided to keep me, and every year since, she could not hide that deep down she doubted that it was the best thing for her. She resented her misfortune of god saddling her with a child. She resented the sacrifice of having to spend her days caring for another human being, for me. As a mom. Cleaning and feeding and comforting and responding to me… Whatever it is that goes into childcare… I could feel it. It was obvious to other people.

I think that the way she cared for me, and the voices she heard in her head, and the underlying messages that found their way to me, they underly the choices I make to care (and not) about myself, the voices in my head that tell me whether I need what I say I need, whether I feel what I say I feel… And the explanations I give myself for how I provide for myself, and how I choose the people I bring closest to me. And how those people should care for me.

I have been so desperate to “reparent” myself. To come up with ideas for what to do and how to do it and how often to do it. And I encounter my own disapproval of all of it. Because I don’t believe it. My efforts. I see through my efforts, like I grew to see through my mother’s.

All I know about how to care for myself I learned from a mother who struggled alone with me, but more than that, who felt more than not, deep down inside that she was sad that this had happened to her. She felt that it was unfair. She felt that someone owed her. She felt that ‘if she did what she was”supposed” to do and took care of her daughter’ that she would be rewarded with something better.’ I was not the reward. Not that important. That was something else…

That model, is the model, that my self-concept is suffering from. When I search my self, deep down, for the kind of love and acceptance and esteem I am looking for others to show me, that is all I find. I think that there is maybe more, but that is the script that is written on the walls of my past, the script that I have thought I was supposed to follow.

I feel with every devastated globule of me that if I continue to try to love off of that script, that I will die.

I want to care about myself more than that. I want to care for myself in ways that I will be unable to doubt. I want to care for myself in ways that I can not disapprove of. I want to care for myself in ways that I am proud of. In ways that make my heart bleed with happy tears, like it does when I see strangers loving their kids with honesty and tenderness and pleasure and happiness, and personal responsibility.

I want to make my own dream of love a reality. I wonder, is that possible, to love yourself and your own child the way you were never loved…?

I will start with the idea…s

“I have been blessed by your birth Shantelle. You are a gift to me”.

“I have never been shown such love and faith and graciousness accept when you became mine.”

Everything I ever say and do and experience will make your life better, because I will forever more say and do and experience the most honest, fulfilling and healthy things so that you can learn love like that.

You are never an option for me. You are always the person I sharemy life with. You are at the center.

You are never an ‘expense’ to me.

You are never an inconvenience to me.

Your trust is not dispensable in this relationship. Without your trust I am nothing.

I will not let you spend time with people who make you feel uncomfortable.

I will never make you feel that I ‘prefer’ a date with a man over you.

I will never use you and pretend that you are benefitting from that.

I will never ask you to lie to make me look good.

I will never ignore your pain to please a man or even a friend.

Taking care of you is my purpose in life. I have no other purpose except to care for myself. And I care for myself because I must demonstrate for you how a loved woman cares for herself and how others should always care for you.

And I care for myself so that I can love you and care for you to the best of my ability.

You belong in this world, Shantelle. In my world with me. There is no other place you should be. And every day I will show you that.

Starting right now.

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About wonderfulshantelle

Journey To My Wonderful Self

Posted on February 17, 2014, in 12-step, Adult Children, codependence, emotional abuse, emotional sobriety, Inner child, recovery, Relationship, Uncategorized, withdrawal. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. It’s hard to know you were not wanted. My mother gave me up for adoption to her own mother and I was always an inconvenience, a dirty little secret in the family. The only way forwards though is to stop looking back and wishing things had been different, they weren’t. Look to the future and build a good life despite what has gone before rather than because of it. 🙂 Find something good in every day to make you smile, no matter how small and let the bad things go if you can.

    • Thank you mariekeates. I am sorry to hear you have had to wade through similar sadness. Even at 41 I feel the undertones of awkwardness and shame and embarrassment when people in my family bring up things from the past and try to mask them as something different that they were.
      I have looked into the future multiple times and then someone gave me another piece of information that built the picture even clearer of what I have been up against. I tend to feel kind of worse for those around me who have struggled with the secrets about me than for myself. I am, after all, unlike them brave enough to pursue and face my own truth.

      I do feel like I am taking more steps ahead than I am taking back. Gradually discovering that I am a good, valuable and loving person in the world despite the circumstances in which I was brought into it and brought up is entirely a good experience.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and encouragement.
      xS

  2. Hugs and love to you. You ARE worthy. You ARE loved. Even if it from afar and from a stranger who read your blogpost today.

    • Hi Phoenix,
      Thank you for the reminder – thank you. I am wading through all of this past and present gunk to get to the place where I feel the love all the time !
      Loving and accepting thoughts to you too 🙂

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