"If I only could make them happy" Image
Healing & Recovery

“If I only could make them happy…”

My inner journey of healing and discovery is reaching a turning point. For the past 5 years, I’ve been digging and going deeper and more inward like it was my job. And it was my full-time job – I’ve taken this task of nurturing self-understanding and awareness so seriously, it became my primary focus and priority.

Layer by layer, I’ve been stripping old programmes, paradigms, and conditioning. I was determined to get to the core of things, to the root of all pain and ailments, emotional and psychological. Last year in September, I stumbled upon one piece of the puzzle – my mother had suffered from a mental condition and a personality disorder. I was emotionally abused and neglected. At her hands, I suffered abandonment and rejection. Later on, she left the country and the abandonment was full.

I grew up then with my father who’s had an extremely traumatic childhood and, in essence, he’s never grown up emotionally to be a man. His emotional development was frozen in time and even though he was a father and a husband, he was emotionally immature.

After my mother left, my sister and I turned into the caretakers and “wives” of the household and himself. But by that time my sister had reached 18, she was attending college and she had the privilege of having a life of her own, more or less. She was going out, meeting friends, dating, drinking – anything to cope and numb the pain from the upbringing. I, on the other hand, was left alone.

Soon after my mother left when I was 10, I went through a transformation. By the clock, as soon as I hit the teenage years, I turned into a different person. I cut my hair, changed my clothes, changed the music I was listening, dropped the friends I had. It was really hard – my teenage years were full of self-harm and self-loathing. All the pain I’d felt through the years so far, turned inward. Alcohol, drugs, reckless, oppositional and rebellious behaviour, I was a magnet for conflicts and troubles.

At the same time, my father’s insecurities and coping mechanisms were out in the open – he had numerous affairs with women and I was a witness to all of it. They’ll come into our house and declare they will be my mother. And I didn’t mind because all I’ve ever wanted was to have a normal family. My sister was rarely there for me so I was desperate to have someone love me and be with me.

By the end of my teenage years, my hometown and family home felt so suffocating, I was dying to get out of there and have a life of my own. I was accepted in a college three hours away and I felt I was finally free. Eventually, I went even further away and left the country altogether to find an escape from all this past pain.

But the pain didn’t go away – it came with me. Years later when my sister died from breast cancer, the big wide hole inside of me opened and was threatening to consume me. I had to stop all the self-damaging and sabotaging and examine my life thoroughly. I put my life on a pause and jumped in the dark depths of my soul.

Layer by layer, I was getting closer to the bottom of it. And just yesterday, I may have found the root of it all. I don’t have any memories from the first seven years of my life, which makes it extremely difficult. At some point, I was afraid of these repressed memories – I didn’t know if I could handle remembering them. I knew that in order to repress all those years, there must be something traumatic.

I feel that I’m ready to remember now – I’ve done enough emotional work to be able to detach and distance myself from the emotional pain they may bring up. Remembering will help me process that part of my life and move on. They will be just memories and a part of my story but they won’t have any emotional power and hold over me anymore.

Just before going to bed last night, after placing another part in the puzzle of my dysfunctional family, I had this thought:

“If I only could make them happy, they’ll stop fighting and we can have a normal family…”

It’s an innocent thought. It was the child in me that spoke. It was me when I was 4 or 5 or 6 when I decided that I have to do everything to fix my family and I took the responsibility to make it work.

If I only made them happy, they’d love me and spend time with me. If I only made them happy, they’ll be nice to each other and we can be a family. If I only made them happy…

You know how this one might end, right? And of course, it did.

It’s taken me 30 years to release myself from the burden I took when I was 5. It’s taken me 5 years to come to this thought alone and realise how terribly it has affected my life in every aspect, crippling and suffocating my development and becoming an individual of my own.

I became a caretaker at the age of 5 and have been my whole life. But never been taught how to take care of myself. I would completely go beyond any norm and would have zero boundaries with people. I would allow my father’s moods, likes and dislikes, to continue to affect me and instil deep guilt in me if I don’t perform according to the programmes from childhood.

My life is stifled and dictated by somebody, everybody, else’s caprices and inconsistencies. That’s the truth of it all.

So now, I can take a deep breath and start releasing, releasing, releasing… Little by little, all of it will be gone.

I’m inspired to start building the life I WANT FOR MYSELF. I plan to start working with a therapist to help me remember, integrate the memories and complete this chapter of my life. Then I want to start working with a personal trainer so I feel stronger physically and more able to handle the challenges of life. I want to find a way to earn money for myself and stop being dependent on my partner. I want to study and educate myself in the subjects I’m most passionate about, I want to start driving.

Yes, I have plans 🙂 Because I have a life of my own to live now. A life I can claim back now, a life that inspires me and a life I actually want to live.

Wish me luck, x

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Vilina Christoph is a spiritual writer and uses the power of words to help others on their journey of healing and recovery. She distills challenging life experiences into meaningful lessons and practical wisdom. She believes that finding our voices and speaking our truth empowers us to transform our lives and reach long-lasting fulfillment.

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