My belief is that we all, as humans, adapt to our surroundings. Some of us actually become different people depending on those surroundings and I am, without a doubt, one of those people.
After a great deal of research and therapy I fully understand why this happens to me. I am slowly learning how to be my true self around those I consider real people. This process is pain staking and harder than anything I have ever tried in my life. It is worse than trying to loose weight or quit smoking because these alters become a part of you. Its not just something you do. I would then, and will still, unconsciously call on any number of these alters, as needed. I will adjust to the situation or room I walk into before I reach the chair on the other side. This happens quickly and automatically now, if I feel uncomfortable in any way and they are different personalities depending on who is present or who I am interacting with. This is something that I learned to do and quickly perfected, instinctually as a very young child. It was a self preservation and protection mechanism my young mind and subconscious put into place long before I realized what it was or how it happened.
As a child I was repeatedly told that I was to be seen and not heard. It was law in our house that I was to be silent, especially around my father. His temper was explosive and we never knew what his mood would be like when he eventually walked through the door. The house had to be clean, food had to be prepared and I was to be silent. Militant order and cleanliness along with complete peace and quiet was what was necessary or there would be hell to pay!
I was a very active child and had a volume button that would go to ten in a heartbeat. I loved to sing and dance and act silly like most children do. I had to choose my times when I could be that child. You see in the house I grew up in, those slight window openings or safe opportunities, were very few and far between, for me at least. I desperately wanted to be seen. Be truly seen for who I was naturally. But, it seemed that being seen was something that only happened when I did not follow the rules. So, I learned how to silence my creative, silly side in order to be neither seen nor heard. It was my chance at not being punished or ridiculed.
Love was not given freely by my father. To him, it was something that had to be earned. My brother was the first born child and it seemed to me that this alone brought him the good fortune of being praised and paraded for all to see. “Look at our boy!” He was a good student who loved to play sports and of course was good at most of the sports he participated in. Now he still had to to work at keeping my fathers approval but at least he had a fighting chance.
I, on the other hand, had this misfortune of being the second born and a girl . The story my mother tells everyone, is that my father was too tired to come to the hospital to see me, when I was born. She has told this sad story of hers to whomever would listen, in front of me, my whole life and she sees nothing wrong with doing so. The ending, which is my favorite part, builds to how much this hurt her and how she cried through the night. Sometimes she will even squeeze out a tear or two for her listeners. How hard that must have been for her! For me, receiving any approval, for anything it seemed, was something that was going to be a challenge right form the start. Not to mention that the praise and parade train was all full up.
In my early years, being an empath, I always got the sense that my mother was glad I turned out to be a girl. This way she could dress me in all the frilly things she liked and of course there was another female in the house. That being said I was far from the typical little girl, of that time. I loved to get dirty and play outdoors. As you may be sensing by now, dolls were just not my thing. I was about animals and the outdoors all the way baby. I sensed my mother was a little disappointed that not only did she not get the girly girl that she wanted but that my father too was disappointed. Disappointed that I hadn’t turned out to be a boy. I got the sense that she wondered if it would have please my father more, if she would have had another boy the second time around.
My grades were not the best and I tried out for sports teams, like the boy, but they just weren’t my thing. I was a creative child. I loved to do crafts, draw, paint, sing and dance and just act silly. Oh and I really liked to get dirty. Jumping into mud puddles was a favorite pass time of mine. I loved to laugh and had a clear and hardy loud voice, which I used all the time. If someone would listen, I would talk for hours. I think it was the attention and interaction with someone who seemed interested in what I had to say that was the most appealing. This was not popular everywhere I went, however. I was told by both of my parents and my brother, that I was too loud and too silly, my whole life.
Needless to say I felt like I was the undesired child. I was good for doing household chores and keeping my mother company, especially as my father was always working. He was always wheeling and dealing as the old saying goes. As soon as my father came home, I was put to bed or sent off to do chores. I sensed that I made him uncomfortable at times, but mostly what I felt from him was anger. This in turn made my mother angry. Though I’m not sure I really understand why. So, I quickly realized that in order to keep the peace it was best for me to disappear when he was home. Which on the upside, for me at least, was a rare occasion.
As I grew I tried to find a way to communicate with him. I tried several of my different personalities just to see if we could somehow connect on any level. After all, what little girl doesn’t want to be “daddy’s little girl”, right? None of my alters worked. I eventually picked the one that seemed to annoy and anger him the least, if I had to be in his presence. After awhile I just did my best to avoid my father which was not hard because he was rarely around and really seemed to have no desire to be in my presence. When he was home it would always turn into something like a “WWE” wrestling and screaming match spectacle. Except it was not some rehearsed show meant to entertain. My mother would start at him just as soon as he walked through the door. Words and accusations would soon turn into yelling and screaming which would turn into yet another television thrown into or through the wall. I could never figure out why he always picked the television. I loved the television! Oh wait, did I just figure it out??
It would all end with someone or something getting hurt or broken. As the years passed and the fighting continued I got sick of it all and eventually started to take mom’s side. Afterall, she was at least present in my life. Really though, I was more frustrated than anything. I was tired of having to live surrounded by this, all the time. It just never stopped. I tried to be the daughter everyone wanted me to be. I tried to act the way they wanted me to act. I tried to talk the way they wanted me to talk. But it never changed. If I did this, then they would want that. They were just never happy. In the process of all of this, I noticed that the more I tried to please them the more unhappy I became. It started to become evident that the only thing I was accomplishing was to make myself as unhappy as them. In the end, all I did was hurt myself and near as I could tell, they already had that part covered. I had lost myself. I turned into some sort of stranger. Someone that I did not recognize when I looked at my reflection in the mirror.
I want to make it clear that I do not consider myself a victim. I am just a girl that had the misfortune of being born into a family who were the polar opposite of what she was born to be. I was born with an artists heart and little starting knowledge from that school of life. All that said, I am still here. I am still here and will say that I sure am educated on that school now.
I never did get to be “daddy’s little girl”, someone else got that role. I hope she enjoyed it. I now know that, that wasn’t suppose to be my path. I was meant for other things.
The practice of changing who or what I was in an attempt to suit the wants and needs of others is something that I continued on with for many years. I feel it is the result of the trauma imprinted on and within me during the years I spent in this environment and it did not serve me well. It made me very very sick! If you get the sense that someone close to you is doing just that, trying to adjust themselves to suit the wants and needs of others, please do not judge them. They probably don’t even realize what they are doing. They are obviously struggling and they need compassion not criticism. Please just try to encourage them to seek help.
As I sit here writing this, I’m thankful that I did not stay dead on that November day when I had my heart attack. My purpose has never been so clear. I needed to learn who I was and who I truly am at my core. I thought I wanted to live in someone else’s shadow, that is not the case at all. I needed to become my own person and I needed to learn who that is in order to live a life of purpose and meaning. I’ve discovered that is to be of service to those who need help in finding their true and authentic self. For me, the message here is that no one should be silenced. Your path is meant to be lived loud and free. Free of all judgement and that includes self judgement. There was nothing wrong with me, there was something wrong with the environment I grew up in. There was something wrong with the circumstances I lived within. There was nothing wrong with the little girl who could communicate with animals, sing, dance, create and had a hardy loud laugh. She was perfect in every way and I’m so excited to get to know her all over again!
I have the chance to live again and believe me when I say, I will not silence my spirit ever again!
With love as always,