“Never make the mistake of thinking you are alone—or inconsequential.” ~ Rebecca McKinsey
It’s still fresh in my memory.
It was tiny. There was only enough space for four people and we were all scrambling to find the remaining leftovers. It wasn’t a fight, but I can say with certainty that there was an underlying assumption that whoever got their hands on it first was able to claim it, so there was competition.
When my father took the spoon from my hand, I grabbed it first.
“Dad! Give it back!” I said in my most rude teenage voice.
His hand came to my cheek and he smashed me on the ground. My mom came running in to check on me, as she was washing laundry.
I laid there helpless, not fighting but not struggling.
My mom looked at me and then my dad. After a short sigh, she turned the corner and left.
My brother was still on the ground and he was eating at the same bar as me. He looked at me as I was eating, but said nothing.
It was the first time that I felt alone. It was a reminder that hit me like a ton of bricks that nobody was coming to save me… nobody.
Of course, this reality check didn’t come without consequences. This reality check left me with a huge hole in my heart, and parts that were almost impossible to heal. But I survived. But I survived without my parts that could love and accept compassion.
Although trauma from being hit by your parent can have repercussions on you, it is the neglect of suffering that has had the most devastating consequences.
I was devastated to have both my parents abandon me simultaneously. Then, seeing my brother go on as normal was a complete shock.
It was both a reminder about my value and a reminder that I was insignificant within my family at the time.
This was the voice that shaped my entire life.
It’s funny, though, because I never remember feeling alone as a kid, and it’s probably just because I never understood what that even looked like. To understand what I felt was not significant, it took me years to accept my feelings. Years.
Because I did not have a vocabulary to describe my feelings, it was very difficult for me to make them normal. With confidence, I am able to look at the feelings I felt with clarity and give them less weight. You can now label the feeling, let it go, then look objectively at it and get on with your life without getting attached to it.
Today, I understand that the feeling of loneliness, insignificance, and unseen was not something I did, but an effect of my parents’ emotional maturity. But as a kid, I internalized it as a problem with myself because I couldn’t properly label it and assign meaning to it. Instead, I made what I was feeling a part of my character, and thus I subconsciously became a magnet for all the things that would validate that “character flaw” in myself.
I was a victim of people who treated my like crap, and sought out bad men. Friends were cruel to me. I was constantly feeling unlovable because of my friends who were hurtful.
And I’m not gonna lie, I’m a lot of “too-much-ness” for a lot of people, but emotionally mature people cannot just handle me, they can love me too. Because while I am a lot, I’m also full of a lot of love too.
Because I learned that acknowledging our feelings was essential to communicating without blaming others, I told this story. This isn’t just true for children going through a difficult time. For many adults, this is also true.
When we own our feelings, we’re less likely to blame other people for causing them because we understand where they originated and know it’s our responsibility to work through them.
When it comes to my relationships with my family, my feelings of insignificance won’t go away. Mother’s Day was difficult for me this year because it brought back those same feelings of loneliness (and a bit of sadness), but they no longer hold the same weight. Now I can accept my feelings without having to judge myself or my character.
Instead, I know that…
My worth is not negligible. That is why I created my family, full of love and meaning.
My “too-much-ness” is only “too much” for those that don’t have the ability to see the beauty in me. That is why I only surround myself with people who love me.
It is important to understand what your feelings are and how you can identify them. Learn about your emotions so that they don’t control you.
Michele Mendoza from California is a blogger, coach and communicator. Dave, her husband, helps clients communicate in love and compassionate ways to create the type of relationship they desire. You can sign up for their free weekly newsletter on their website at www.micheleanddave.com
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Tiny Buddha’s post, No One was Coming to Save me: What I Feeled as a Child appeared first on Tiny Buddha.