I am not sure how this occurred to me yesterday, perhaps I was reflecting, but I felt good, really good. Actually, I felt great, so free. It was strange since I just lost my mother although we had been estranged for years.
The entire time I was growing up, was constantly besieged with constant warnings, threats, reminders - so, so often "DO NOT TELL!". Meaning, do not tell anyone what was going on in our house. The drugs, the physical abuse, anything they did, nothing. It got to the point where I shut down and many times could not even talk to adults. Whenever I would go somewhere without them, to a friend's house, to babysit, with my grandparents, anywhere, most times I got the warning before I left.
Once, I was watching television by myself at my grandparent's house. I do not remember what show it was, but it had a marijuana theme. Everyone was watching the same program in another room. My mother rushed to where I was with urgency to tell me not to tell anyone! At that time, I was hurt. I was hurt because she thought I WOULD tell. I knew to keep the "family secrets" secret.
I was in my mid 20's the first time I finally divulged anything about my childhood to a therapist. It was not on the first session, it was awhile in of her pressing me. When I finally did, I really had no idea that anything that had happened was that bad. How could I? I had never told anyone before. When she a horrified look on her face, I dismissed it. It was her way of showing sympathy to something I clearly had trouble talking about.
That night, for some reason, and I do not remember having any sort of dream, I remember suddenly sitting up in bed in a panic. My then husband asked what was wrong. All I could say was "I shouldn't have told" over and over again. I was so scared. While I knew I was safe, I guess I was conditioned that there was going to be dire consequences for what I had done. Some how, some way, she had managed to absolutely terrify me about it.
But now - that is all gone. I realize that for some reason, even though I have not seen her since I was 18, here mere existence was enough to intimidate me and leave me with guilt. Now that she is gone, there is a very noticeable change that I can feel - a positive one.
I do believe this is life changing. I thought this was some temporary grief process I was going through, but now I think it is a permanent change in my personality.
This is one that I do not want to go away. I do not want the guilt or fear - that I did not even realize I still had until recently back. Yesterday, I felt so liberated, it was the craziest feeling.
But later in the day, I slipped back to my old habit. I started regretting something I had said, and right away my mind started thinking..."so THAT is why she told me that so often. She was right about me all along." I got really depressed and still feel a bit of a sting, even when the person let me know they appreciated what I said.
It is a journey I am sure, but a really tough one. I do not know where this process is headed. It has barely been two weeks. I am such a mess! I must be so transparent - surely everyone can see I am on a major emotional roller.
Yet everyone - even those that do not know my mother has passed away has been so very kind to me. The people that do know, I mean, I could not ask for better friends or family members. I had no idea people cared so much. Sure, people can say the right things when they need to, when they find out bad news about someone, but nothing requires them to continue to check on me, to see how I am doing and if I am ok. Nothing requires them to be understanding when I am erratic, to even come back for more. I apologize PROFUSELY, I have no IDEA why I say what I do, and when I apologize, I can't say that I am sorry for WHAT I said, because I am honest to a fault, only that I am sorry if I hurt them. No one has yet to say I have, but do they say that out of pity?
I am so freaking confused. Truthfully, I am probably overreacting to the things I say. I was most likely way too guarded before now. The way I currently am, I do not know if it is normal, but it is different. Anything out of my comfort zone feels uncomfortable of course, so I very well may have, and of course how could it be completely gone, remnants of the past ghost of "DO NOT TELL, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING". That is enough to freak anyone the elf out. : )