I have always been a more quiet person. I am an introvert and have always had much more going on in my mind than comes out of my mouth. It is just how I am now. I don’t think I was always this way. When I was a child, I was the Queen of the Beach, as my dad called me. We lived in a small beach community and most of the families there were older with grown children. My parents lived in the apartment above my grandparents’ garage right after they married and my father came home from Vietnam. So, there I was, one of the only new babies on the beach. My dad says everyone loved me and I was the little princess soaking up all the attention from all the adults and passersby.
I think of that time now and wonder how I ended up so reserved from such a startlet’s beginning. When my parents began to fight and later divorced, I realized that my mom wasn’t very strong to handle all the fallout from these tumultuous life events. She was very emotional and my brother and I felt the pain she was going through in every outburst. I learned very quickly to hide things from her. I hid my dad’s affair, I hid my dad’s later marriage and when they were having a baby it was months until she found out. I just couldn’t bear to see her pain. It was cowardly, I know that now. But back then, I knew my dad wasn’t telling her and I just felt like I was protecting her.
Fast forward many years to my marriage. I married someone who was the sun to my moon. By then, I was very quiet. He was loud and funny and very inappropriate. I was my mom’s good little girl in every way….and I felt trapped. I took care of my mom and made sure she could cope with being a single mother. I took care of my brother, made dinner, did the laundry….the usual big sister jobs. But this guy I met was something altogether different. He was crazy and so was his family. They were so much fun. They were so big and loud compared to my conservative little family. I wanted to be a part of that. He was so strong and pushed and pushed until he got his way. At the time, his way meant I would be free from her.
What I learned much later was that I just traded filling her needs for filling his. I was so timid and he was so verbal…his needs were the only ones that ever gained the stage. Mine were buried. Every time I exerted my need for something, it was squashed…by him, by me. It was an equal opportunity silencing.
Many years later, I realized that I had created the perfect co-dependence. I enabled him to slide into alcoholism and he pushed and manipulated me to do the same. It took a very kind and adept recovered Alcoholic Counselor to show me how this happens. He showed me how the alcoholic manipulates and how the co-dependent enables, how each lose their connection to their feelings and how I was ultimately silenced.
In my silence, I began to write. My inner person was screaming to get out. My own desires were alive and well but locked away inside my heart and mind. Writing became my first way out of this self-inflicted prison.
To be continued…