The Truth About My Experience With Men – part 1
It’s kind of like doing a step 4…Pulling up the truth about one’s relationships.
Although I have thought about it 1000 times and attributed by behavior with and attraction to certain men to the ways in which my father(s) treated me as a child, I think I can now get a little more specific about how I am reproducing my experience with my fathers…
My birth father was never really in my life. My mother got pregnant and had me when she was 19. The guy did not take responsibility for his part at all. I think I saw him once when I was 2 yrs old. But the first time I remember seeing him I was about…13…? It was a real shock to look at a man whose face I could see myself in.
He came back for maybe another visit… I think my mom had gotten in touch with him because she wanted to ask him for money. (My 2nd (adoptive) Dad did not contribute adequately after he and my mother split up). Because I think he felt a little manipulated…and because had not told his family (no one!) about me so had to sneak away (1hr drive) to see me…he f’d off for another 5 years. When I was 18 or 19 my mother called him again for money (for my university, because she had taken the fund my other father had saved up for me). He came to see me a couple more times, gave me a little money for school and bought me a bike…And then f’d off again. He told me that it was because my mother just wanted money from him. But I was still a secret so he probably just felt it was easier to f off again.
Until now I had spent a LOT of time thinking about why he decided to stay away…but thinking about it in a way that I thought of all the reasons as excuses. All of his efforts and non-efforts affected me but I did not have the ability to reflect that carefully. I think I was struggling with too much turmoil with my mother and with the ridiculous relationships (except for 1 or 2) I was getting myself into, and into surviving life as a lone girl.
Now I see that lack of interest from a father absolutely slathers rejection, low self-value, sadness on a girl’s sense of who she is. The most horrible thing is that when you are young you just live with such things as though they are a fact of life WITHOUT paying attention to any of the feelings or sensations that you have about them… Especially if you live with a mother whose life revolves around finding a man more than it revolves around paying attention to your kids’ feelings. When I reflect back…I saw myself constantly as having to simply accept events such as my birth father coming into and going from my life as simple circumstance and not as anything that I should have had any loud feelings about or say in.
On the couple of occasions that I have contacted or tried to contact him in the last 20 years I got half-effort, or no response whatsoever. Eventually I learned that this experience has taught me a valuable lesson. Blood is not thicker than water. And ABSOLUTELY no one, not even our parents, are responsible for your well-being and self-love more than we are. Many parents may do wonderful things for their kids and instill loving and caring values and behaviors that people take with them and value forever as their parents’ role in their successful lives. But the bottom line is that we all have choices. People who have fantastic home lives make the choice to go to bad places in their own. People who have horrendous or no home lives as children take their lives in miraculous directions. My birth dad’s absence has been heartbreaking: I am a part of him and I wonder if there is the ability inside me to abandon my own flesh and blood. But, his absence and fear has taught me to find in me what I thought I would only find in him… It would have been nice if he had ‘come to the party’ and brought his love for me. But I had to learn the hard way that your own flesh and blood not loving you only reveals a greater love.
And my 2nd Dad’s (J) influence on my life?
I was pretty scared of that man from the beginning. He and my mother married when I was 2 1/2 yrs. old. They had known each other for 3 mos. I would hide under the bed at the babysitters when i knew he was at the door to pick me up. I was traumatized and dreaded the smell of ship grease that he had on him when he got me after work. His face and his expressions were scary. His face twisted when he got angry or irritated. He did not know how to be with a little girl. I lost my inner sense of security by the time I was 3…if not long before.
J was 22 and from England. He was severe. His way to parent was to threaten. I was the softest kid. He kept a switch in the corner of my room. He got angry at me when I would not play with him. He told me to eat my tomato soup after I had puked in it. He was reading me a bedtime story (Disney book) one night and I started to cry because I was scared of him, and he got angry because I would not stop crying so he grabbed my pillow and smothered me so I would shut up. I couldn’t breathe – I thought he was going to kill me. He just got up and left the room. He picked me up to my feet out of a dead sleep early one morning and smacked my butt as hard as he could and I peed myself. He discovered I had eaten chocolate easter eggs out of his side-table. He took me sailing on a laser for the first time one day (our house was on the ocean) when I was about 6 or 7 and tipped the boat without any warning…part of his sailing ‘lesson’. I was afraid I was going to die with him. I remember when they first got married, going to bed and having to sleep in the same bed as them. My mother moved to the other side of him and left me to sleep on my own at his back. I was so scared that I got up and went and curled up in the bottom of the closet and slept, because it felt safer. In the morning he got mad at me because they couldn’t find me when they got up.
I learned that I had no choice but to be subject to a man’s discontents. I learned that if a man treated me well, or simply gave me positive attention, it was because he wanted sex from me. (I was molested when I was 4 o 5 by the neighbor, and at 9 or 10 by the babysitter. Both times my mother negotiated away my sense of security with the parents of the boys (15 and 16years old respectively).
I learned that there was nothing that could be done to protect me from angry men. I learned that all I could do was wait it out. I learned I am vulnerable with men. I learned that men may likely see me as weak, fragile, useless, someone to intimidate, someone to be bored with, someone whose feelings are not of any consequence, someone who is a burden. I learned not to ask a man for anything. It will seem too high of a cost for them. They will just leave. They have no real attachment to me. I learned to ‘behave’ myself for men. I learned to ‘be no trouble’ for men. I learned to pretend that it was ok that men be angry and mean to me. I learned that there were little if any consequences for a man hurting me, scaring me, violating me, rejecting me. I learned that those things are things that should be kept under wraps. No one will rescue me (my mother never did). I learned that men’s behavior has more to do with me than with them. I am the cause. I learned that being around men should be hard work. I learned that being around men means that they could leave at any time. I learned that being around men meant that I should watch my p’s and q’s. I learned that it may be impossible for a man to really love me.
Now – how would I prefer my life with men, or with A man to be?? Is that possible….
Posted on April 2, 2014, in 12-step, Adult Children, codependence, emotional abuse, emotional sobriety, Inner child, physical abuse, recovery, Relationship, Uncategorized, withdrawal. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.