Monday, June 30, 2008

No Place To Hide

It was not easy for me to make friends.

When one feels their own essence is diseased, it is difficult to muster up the ability to stand independently when surrounded by others, and to not become overwhelmed by the agonizing fear of being suffocated by your intense wanting to feel like you belong. You must learn to survive the tug of war between wanting to belong, and the fear of that same wanting.

I was too young to know why my mother disliked me. The only thing I remember is hearing her say many times that she and I had a 'personality conflict'. If her thoughts about me ever surfaced around family or friends, this is the excuse I heard her say. It was as if the phrase soothed her as well as excused her uncomfortable feelings for me.

I know now that the discomfort she was feeling, was merely a mirror of the discomfort she felt within herself. She was unable to love her Self, therefore she was unable to love me. I may have been an innocent little being that needed to be nurtured, but so was she. And she had suffered greatly in her childhood due to her mothers emotional absence that was the result of her mother's severe dependency on alcohol.

When I was a child I never felt safe. I felt as if I lived in the Twilight Zone, as if nothing was really real. The mood between my mother and I was abrasive, and often when no one was around I felt picked on, as if I were her whipping boy. When my father would come home from work, my mother's demeanor would immediately change. It was as if she were playing a role. A role she knew would make my father happy.

My mother taught us to pretend as well. If my brother, sister or I were arguing in the house before my father arrived home, and once my mother heard the slam of his Volkswagon Van, she would stop in her tracks, glare at the three of us and through gritted white teeth say, "Shut the hell up you kids. Your father is home!" By the sound of her voice, the stiff movement in her body, and the intense look upon her face, we knew we'd better swallow whatever it was that was going on and smile, because daddy was home.

Through the peephole of awareness, back over my shoulder and while searching the lost files of my minds library, I can understand why my mother did what she did. When my mother gritted her teeth at us, and demanded we stop whatever it was we were doing, she was simply trying to make sure my father came home to a calm house after a long hot day of work. But what she didn't realize was, that in all those innocent moments she was conditioning us to disown our feelings, and to fear making others angry. Unbeknownst to her, she was in the process of creating enablers.

My mother was not an alcoholic, but she was codependent, and unknowingly the lack of awareness she had about her Self and how alcohol had effected her on so many levels, my mother ignorantly infected her children with the same dynamics that had effected her as a result of living with alcoholics.

Alcoholics consume families. They are self absorbed individuals that lack self awareness themselves, and find various creative ways to justify why it is they drink until they pass out, lose their jobs, get into fights, cannot keep a clean home or sustain themselves financially. Alcoholics lie, and expect others to go along with those lies. And when someone challenges the alcoholic, the alcoholic plays the victim, and twists reality to fit his/her personal view of it.

Alcoholics don't see you. They cannot. When a child is born to an alcoholic, that child is born to a person who is incapable of giving that child what he/she needs psychologically, emotionally or spiritually. An alcoholic may have a great job, a great house and a great car...but they won't have the ability to love authentically, or be able to take care of a child the way he/she deserves to be treated.

That child will have no place to hide. Interactions with others become feared.