Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wishful Thinking

I've said this before: I don't remember a great deal from my childhood. As I read many other posts about narc parent behaviors, I want so badly to be able to recount some of that from my upbringing.

Was I trained to not remember it?
Perhaps a useful tool for my mother to instill that sort of mindset in her malleable child?
What can I do now? Force myself to remember? Are they stored somewhere in my memory banks?

I'm hoping that my dreams and my subconscious will provide some insight on that. I never journaled (boy THAT would have been helpful though) save for a short time years ago when I was about middle high school age. Actually, I was basically blogging: writing down everything I was thinking and everything that was happening to me in an open forum with an option for it to be private. I can't remember nor do I have stored anything I posted there but I had a sense of community. I can't imagine that I was posting about anything super-deep back then, but there's also that possibility.

Should I be able to do it again, I would attempt to write everyday -- what happened, with whom, how I felt, even if it was just a blah, I stayed home and watched tv and this show was on. Writing things down helps to solidify those memories in the brain. There was a study conducted at a university which put forward the idea that currently, our minds need not remember as many things since the advent of the Internet. Everything is litterally a click away: fixing computers, a house, a relationship, phone numbers, directions, names. You name it, it can be stored somewhere that isn't the human mind.

My wife and I were discussing something of a revelation she had and it damn near took my legs out from beneath me. She asserted that I was the scapegoat of my family of origin, specifically the scapegoat for my mother rather than the golden child. I could do no wrong because I was trained to do no wrong.

Now, I've already said that I believe my mother and father did not want, nor were ready to have a child when they got pregnant with me. I think they got married becuase that's what they thought they were supposed to do and, hell, they'd just make the best of it. My mother was 22 at the time and I think that she was angry at me for being born, for taking away her freedom from living her life the way she wanted. Couple that with the fact that they didn't want kids and I was just as useful as a wart. I believe my father checked out (of emotional commitment) long before I was born. According to my mother, they'd fight all the time, and he'd be out doing what he wanted. I didn't ask my father about this, becuase at the time I was talking to my mother, I didn't have reason to question her. This was years and years ago.

You know, I don't even know how long they'd been seeing each other at the time they concieved, married, and had me. My father doesn't like to talk about his past -- he's said this to me, and I've never pushed the issue. My mother made mention of some of her childhood and what it was like, but I've to take with a grain of salt. The memories are most likely distored or a blatant lie.

I never thought to question who my mother and father were. Not even the slightest bit curious of who they are, where they came from, what kinds of things they went through. I just accepted them at face value, after all, they were Mother and Father. Who else need they be, right? Now though, I kick myself some for not asking questions of them, I can speculate off of the vagueities that I do know of them.

My mother's second ex-husband, the father of my sister (technically, half-sister), was a piece of work himself. Knew next to nothing about him also but knew enough as a boy of 10 that he was not capable of being there, emotionally or physically, for his daughter. That's why I stepped into his role -- with no objections by my mother of course. I thought I was doing the right thing, doing what I was "supposed" to be doing for my sister, after all, she needed a good male role model, right? In that respect I was not wrong; she did in fact need a good male role model, however it should have been her father. My mother didn't say this. I'm betting she didn't even think it. She was too busy working and having extra marital affairs. And my sister now, is so much a part of my mother I don't know where she ends and my mother begins. I believe my sister will never see our mother the way I do; it will go against everything she is.

I got into talking about this guy because I remember one time I'd done something to get into trouble, I was around ... gosh, 11 or so, maybe 12. But anyway, I don't remember what I'd done to get into this trouble with my step-father at the time, but I was in my room and I was upset and crying, we were yelling at each other, and he flat out tells me, "don't be such a dope". At the time, I was super-hurt by this and started crying even more (gosh I cried at lot at 10/11...). I'm not sure if he apologized to me, or if it was my mother who said that he didn't mean to call me a dope. Also, I can't figure out why I was so crushed by this, perhaps I still longed for a father who was there and who actually wanted a son. I'm really not sure what the case was with my former stepfather and I'm not sure if he even really wanted kids. But I do know that wouldn't call my 11 year old a dope and I know that I'm a better parent than my mother, father, and former stepfather.

My father remarried too, but since he didn't get custody, I barely saw him, from what I can remember, on weekends and some holidays. He was the one who told me about "the birds and the bees" and yes, he actually called it that. I can recall his discussion with me regarding Santa Clause. This was before my sister was born so I wasn't even 9 years old yet. I hadn't even gotten to 10 and my little boy spirit was being forcibly taken from me. Why even have that discussion? Let the magic of that time of year last for as long as possible.

No real conclusions here, just a little wandering of a brain.


  1. I got my memories back by writing about my earliest memory (age six) and working forward. Previously, everything was clouded by fear but once I realized there wasn't much to fear from a shriveled up old man in his 90's the trickle became a flood!

    You might try it, but I sometimes wish I hadn't remembered because now I find it hard to let go of the resentment. Intellectually, I accept that the past no longer exists but emotionally I'm finding hard to move on.

    Good luck with your journey!

  2. I made a list of everything I could remember, which wasn't much. I've decided that I don't need to or want to remember everything. It does help to be able to talk things over with my sister, because we remember different things, not differently but entirely different events that the other doesn't remember. The insanity we grew up in we remember exactly the same, though she remembers it at a worse level, but I became the family hermit, so I wasn't as invested as she was. My sister has decided it's okay to not remember some things, and in fact it's sometimes better not to remember. I've worked to remember enough to help me make healthier decisions, I hope.

  3. Judy is right. I decided to stop trying to remember. I had the outline of what happened and after awhile I decided "fuzzy was good." At first I wanted all my memories back, then I had a couple of episodes of all night - night terrors, I really don't need the details to know there is no way I was going to treat my kids the same way. I made mistakes but they were my own mistakes. I was asked how I decided to raise my kids - What ever my mother did, I did the opposite. In a weird way, it actually worked a good share of the time. Memories can be complex mixtures of events, symbolic of an event, or weirdly enough actual events. My sister verified that some of my weirder memories were real since she remembered them too. Nice when you can get some form of validation. The human mind processes information in ways that would make a super computer jealous unfortunately the mind doesn't distinguished between an actual event or a movie I watched. Writing things down gives a frame work but only you will know if what you learn is worth the effort. Memories are like onions, layers and they can make you cry as you peel back the layers.

  4. For right now, I'd still like to remember more. I believe that will give me more...confidence in myself, that it wasn't my fault that my parents didn't want/love me. This is my journey through the beginnings of my life, my record of memories as I believe reliving what I've forgotten will provide a way for me to get in touch with my deeper emotions...ones I've long since supressed/repressed.

  5. Sounds like for right now remembering more will be important part of your journey. Another avenue that opens your memory channels is art work. I found photography and drawing both powerful ways to access parts of my mind that refused to open any other way. It is why I have so many pictures in my book. I agree with you, deeper emotions will be tapped into on this journey into your past.