It has come to my attention that my emotional Richter scale has not registered a whole lot of emotions on the whole, for much of my early life, which continued into the present. Specifically, my lack of emotional response to criticism (other than intermittent bouts of rage in the last 3 years) and praise. Registered tics are small hills up and down from the baseline, but a mountainous tic, there isn't.
I think to compensate for the lack of emotion, whether it resulted from lack of proper development and teaching, or from a manual block that I put in place to help me survive, I see my life not as emotional milestones (well not until recently) but as a series of events, facts, like they came from a history textbook, and not from a soulful human being.
I think that's why I can simply say, oh yes, my mother had a decade long affair and destroyed our family, without blinking so much as an eyelash. I do however, think that's a problem, which is why that's something I'm working on. It helps me to understand my life if I put it into a history text-like format and perhaps that's a result of something I did to myself or something else. Time will tell I suppose.
I do have emotional responses though, especially when it comes to my kids, and lately, my wife - which is a good thing. I've always known when I was growing up, and I've said this before, that I've felt a little out of place when it came to reactions, which is why I watched TV and played video games. I was able to simultaneously escape the unfamiliar world by engaging in a fantasy, and I also got to observe emotional scenes and characters' reactions. That way, I would be able to react how I thought I was supposed to, basically I would be guessing. I'm not sure how that worked because I can't remember much of the day to day stuff growing up.
I did want to take the easy way out too - what if there was something misfiring up in that big ole head of mine? I looked into hypnotherapy a bit, but nothing too in-depth, in the hopes that my hypno-state would reveal something in my past that would make me go "oh THAT's why". I also thought I should get some kind of brain scan thinking that a neurological problem would be the answer to my mal/dys/dis-functions. I'm slowly finding it's not that easy. Change is work and work is change.
I wrote the letter to Little Me with my son in mind, because in looking exactly like me, he probably acted similarly to me as a lad too and I have the chance to reverse the effects of being raised in a dysfunctional world.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Dear Little Me,
Hey kid. No no, don’t look away, look at me. See? I’m smiling. Yeah, look, you can smile too you know. Go ahead. Try it. Not now, huh, well that’s ok, we’ll try again later.
Who am I? I’m you of course,
Confused? That’s ok. Most importantly, I’m here to help you, to help us find our way back to ourself. Heh heh, yeah, I suppose it’s a little silly to think about but one of the most important people to keep happy and healthy is yourself. Yep, it’s true. I know. I know you like doing things for other people. They give you the attention you want right? But, who did you really want the hugs and attention from…Mom? Yeah, I know you did. Did she make you feel like you got all her attention, Little Me? Sometimes? Not good enough, though, was it. Still feel like you're lost in yourself, don’t you. That’s because what Mom gave you wasn’t good enough. Yes. Really, yes. All of the “yeah but”s won’t change that really sad piece of truth my little man. You don’t have to understand fully now, but at least listen, ok? Do you feel happy now? Maybe? Hm, we’ll work on that. How, well that’s something we’ll both be learning about on our journey. Hey, hey now, learning isn’t all bad. You like video games don’t you? And why, because they’re fun, especially when you get pretty good at them, right? Well what we’re doing is a little like that, we’re learning how to get better at living, that way it can be more fun – the more we play (live), the better we get! Still not enthused, huh? Hm, another thing to work on I suppose...We'll come back to that. Big Me.
Well, I also just wanted to let you know that I’m still here. I’m still growing with you. I’ve still got your hand here. Look, I’ll hold it tight. Let go? Never. We’re in this together, you and me. I want you to trust me. Trust that I’ve got what’s best for you, what’s best for us in mind. That seems like a lot of hot air, I know, but you weren’t, how should I say this, nurtured correctly. What’s that mean? Oh, well it means that you were hurt real bad and didn’t heal properly. Heh, no sir, it’s not something you can see on your skin, but you can feel it, right here. Yep, in your heart, and here, in your mind.
I can see that you were hurt real bad for a long time. I’m working to make that right. Oh, it’s ok, you can cry, I see your big brown eyes tearing up. You haven’t done that enough. It’s ok to cry you know. Yeah, it is. I can see by that surprised look that was never taught to you. Hey, know what else, you can disagree if you want. AND have your own thoughts and opinions! I know, you don’t know what to think unless someone tells you, but that’s what you and I are making this journey for. We’re going to teach ourselves how to think. Well, it may sound boring to you, but it’s very important, and, well you trust me don’t you? Good, I promise this will help us both.
Maybe when you feel up to it, you can tell me a little bit about what it was like for you, being so young and treated the way you were. I know you don’t get it really, but that’s why I’m here. You learn from me, and I can learn from you. Of course, I can learn from you! You have a lot you can teach my man! So as we hold hands here, we don’t have to talk, or anything just yet, you just be comfortable, be you, and we’ll see where that goes ok?
I love you.
I am here for you.
You don’t have to hurt anymore.
Your Big Me.