I'm not sure if that's because the majority of events that took place were negative or if it's because the negative makes a bigger impact on memory than good? I think I remember hearing years ago (I'll have to research it) that for every negative experience a child is subjected to, it takes 4 times as many positive experiences to compensate - to provide a balance, if you will.
I've spoken previously about the physical that's gone on and while that's an important part of the person I am today, the things that had the much bigger impact on me (and I'm sure on my siblings as well) was the verbal messages we received. Every day.
At least the physical violence didn't happen every single day.. but the verbal (dare I say) abuse happened daily.
I tried to explain to my husband years ago, when we sought marriage counseling, that just because he tells me that I'm smart, beautiful and a good person... I wouldn't automatically believe it - he had to show me.. which he never seemed capable or willing to do.
Adding up the negativity of years and years of being told:
- You're stupid!
- You'll never amount to anything!
- What am I raising.. a slut?!
- Dumbass! Jesus H. Christ you're stupid!
- You are so irresponsible and lazy!
- I can't believe how stupid you are!
- You know how much you embarrass me!?
- Once again, another disappointment from you....
- I wish you'd never been born...
This was and is, very hard for him to grasp. I'm not a person unworthy of being loved - or am I?
I've lived my entire life trying to "make" my parents be proud of me. Just to take back one of the things they used to say daily.
I had been working at a bank. A man came in to make a deposit to his account and I recognized him. He was a man that had worked with my dad for years. I spoke to him briefly and didn't say much more to him.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and this guy came back in and came right to my window. He told me he had mentioned to my dad that, "I ran into ********* at XYZ bank a couple of weeks ago." My dad told him, "Oh yeah... that was my first mistake."
I finished waiting on him and had to excuse myself. My supervisor looked at me and knew something was wrong.. she had said all the color drained from my face. I promptly locked myself in the bathroom... and cried.
Even in my adult life, I have sought to try and gain some kind of acceptance - especially from my father. In the process, I feel as though I don't really know myself. Which to me, is the worst thing of all of this.
I look into the mirror and have no idea of the core that makes up *me*.
The next time someone uses the children's saying:
Sticks and stones may break my bones --- but words will never hurt me.
Tell them how wrong they are.
It should be:
Sticks and stones may break my bones ---- and words will surely haunt me.