Growing up was mostly terrifying. The safest place in the world was the bathroom, locked. I sat and waited for the out-of-control freak out to move to another room or stop before I came out. After my violent, autistic sister, Annie, was no longer a threat, I carried on with my day in a stage-fright type stress, all in the gut. Hot stones churning butter that coursed through my body, tingling me all the way to my face, which, unsurprisingly, developed unvoluntary nervous tics, and gave me social embarrassment and anxiety from the fear of being noticed.
After the shock waves of Annie the Terrible subsided (and this happened almost daily), I do not remember many instances of being comforted by my parents. They may have, but I don’t remember if they did. And if they did, it was infrequent enough to be unmemorable. This has been stimulating feelings of anger in me today. I have never been angry at my parents before for the way my childhood played out. Now, I wish they did better by me because I am having a hard time being happy about going through all this shit as a 36 year-old woman. Seriously.
My parents lived a life of burnout, and my lifelong mantra has been one of understanding. No one had a choice. Annie was unpredictable in her violence, mostly targeted at me, the little sister. Our house was a battleground, and for many years, my untrained parents fought alone on the front lines. It was catastrophic for all involved. I always understood that. There has never been a time in my life where I would think any different. Until now. Now, I am pissed.
What could have helped was do something – anything – to help me feel like I am worth anyone’s time and effort. Come and spend time with me after an episode. Buy me fucking jewelry or toys. Take me out for ice cream. Bring me to the park.
Yes, they were overwhelmed, over their heads, drowning, struggling, barely hanging on, etc., BUT I WAS THERE, TOO, GODDAMNIT. I NEEDED YOU, TOO.
I knew not to make demands. Keep to myself. Don’t make things worse. Surely I didn’t always act like a princess. I was a stressed out, hyper kid to parents already stretched to chronic limits of human endurance. Yes yes yes, I always understood. Well, here is me, now, three decades later, feeling for the first time that it just wasn’t good enough. Because now I have:
Impaired sense of self
Thanks a bunch. Now I have to ‘heal’ some more and stop being an angry person who, in turn, makes others suffer. Wonderfulfantasticfuckyou.