Wednesday, Mar. 01, 2006
The MC Dynamic
As anyone reading here has no doubt ascertained by now, life at my house is somewhat chaotic from time to time. The rest of the time, it's pretty much pandemonium.
Not that I necessarily mind that, though lately I wonder what drives it. I am rarely able to really rest or relax, except when forced to do so. I'm a classic overachiever, driven by deep-seated insecurities that no amount of verbal reassurance will ever resolve.
From the time I was small, the primary message I received was that my needs weren't important enough to be addressed, and that my sole reason for existence was to work for the regime - whether parents or bosses, whoever was in charge. My parents had their own issues and always made it clear that while they were proud of my achievements (on the surface, anyway) they didn't want to be bothered with any real emotional ties, and they also made it clear when I was little that I was pretty much responsible for myself. I learned to sew when I was about 8 and was making my own clothes by the time I was 12 or thereabouts. I did the cooking and cleaning, and was required to help in a quarter-acre garden. By the time I was about 12, I was also responsible for my younger sister and, to a lesser degree, my barely-younger brother.
My mother told me she loved me - so long as I did exactly what I was told and never complained and never asked for anything.
God forbid I ever ask for anything.
On the rare occasions they did anything FOR me, payback was always at a significantly higher price than I wanted to pay, generally requiring I leverage my self-esteem, my peace of mind and my soul. It didn't take me long to learn that asking for what I needed was not only not going to provide my needs, but it was going to put me into a substantially worse position. I wasn't very old before I stopped asking. I think I was maybe five or six, if that.
That ingrained repression of needs has carried over into my adult life. I will take virtually anything - anything - if it means keeping the peace. Starvation. Physical abuse. Verbal abuse. Low wages.
It just struck me, as I was writing it, what I said in that last paragraph. If I was receiving physical and verbal abuse, it wasn't peaceful.
Perhaps the saddest part is that until now, I didn't recognize the fact.
When nicim was here visiting in November, she gave me a book that spelled out things I already knew on some level, but they really stuck with me after I read. The premise was a pretty obvious explanation of why people who grow up in an abusive home tend to return to that scenario again and again in their lives. It's simple, really: the abuse, however bad, feels like home. Your subconscious is drawn to the familiar dynamics, even though your conscious mind doesn't make that connection.
Just to clarify: no, MC has not become abusive in any way, shape or form. On the contrary, the more I discover about him, the more I look back and grow more aghast at the things I previously took as "normal." Over the past few years, I've seen 00 repeating my pattern, and as much as I agonized over her life, I couldn't offer any solutions or even any feasible suggestions. Until MC came along, I didn't know what a good guy looked like, myself. How could my children know?
MC has no children, and once made the statement to me that he wanted to do something worthwhile with his life, to leave some sort of mark on the world. I have told him in bits and pieces some of the things that my children and I lived through. It wasn't meant to denigrate him or to scare him off - but to emphasize that he has the potential to help turn around the lives of several people, all simply by being who he is.
Well, I have come to the end of another day, and while I've got more I could say, I don't really have time to say it right now. It has been a long, long day...
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )