I have spent my life trying to make the people in it happy. When I was 6 years old, I came home from school to find my father sobbing on his bed, I asked him what was the matter... He told me that he wanted to blow his fucking brains out. A co-dependent, caretaker was born. A year later I would find the rejection and disappointment that comes with seeking the approval of others, just too much to bear, and I made my first attempt at suicide. My MOTHER's response: "We don't talk about these things... Don't you dare bring shame to my family... What will people think? I won't be able to show my face in church if you don't start acting right... What's wrong with you? People are going to think you're a crazy person".
Sometime around 9 years old I discovered the art of cutting. Come to think of it, this may ave started with picking Mosquito bites, I remember those being problematic when I was young. I cut my thighs, my arms, my stomach, my hands, even my face I carved words into my arms and the words "fat bitch" into my belly, backwards so that when I looked in the mirror I could read it. In the beginning, it was simply because physical pain felt better than emotional pain. Toward the end, I was doing it because I hated myself and I "deserved" the pain. Around 11 or 12 I had sex, with a boy my age, it didn't do anything for me, it would be years before that was done properly and became an unhealthy addiction of it's own. Home made and underground tattoos took the place of cutting temporarily, while Cocaine on the other hand, provided me with EXACTLY the relief I was seeking. One small line and within an instant I saw pure anarchy, and felt my body release the pressure of fear, doubt, shame, insecurity, and rage as fast as an untied balloon being let go. I loved it, I sensed mayhem, I sensed evil, I sensed depravity, and I was overcome by the need to chase it all. Side effects of my regular use of stimulants were: increased focus, weight loss, decreased appetite, loss of moral or spiritual values, increased interest in crime, mood swings, increased irritability, emotional instability, propensity for violence, increased rage, decreased artistic creativity, developed a mastery in the skill of manipulation and the art of lying. Now my parents would not trust me, they would not speak to me, they would not want me to be a part of their lives at all. I felt rejected by my own family, misunderstood, and cast out.
All of my choices were unhealthy, and stemmed from the original Daddy issues... I needed to prove myself to men, I needed approval, I needed validation. I did EVERYTHING I could to feel appreciated, loved, complimented. I believed all I had to do was love. If I loved my Dad, he wouldn't blow his brains out. I've been in ALL of my former relationships thinking, "if I just love him right he won't drink so much" or "if I can prove how much I love him, he won't be so angry" or "if I love him the way he needs to be loved, he won't hit me" or "if I love him enough, he'll never cheat on me"... Yet my track record will show, I've been cheated on, beaten on, screamed at, and I've carried the drunk into the house at night. So for the sake of my own mental and or emotional health, I needed to change my behavior around men.
I'm not a victim of anyone else's behavior. My own poor choices have been the catalyst behind the pain, chaos, and drama in my life. I've been a willing participant in my sordid past with relationships. hat is the pattern I need to break for myself. It appears that I am attracted to the wounded ones... never the actual needy ones, but the scared and defensive, and often dangerous ones. Even today, while working on real recovery, I am able to see that I STILL make these foolish choices. I am now realizing that my own father will never give me an ounce of what I thought I needed from him. I recently stopped chasing him for approval, I stopped seeking validation. I turned and faced him, at almost 40 yrs old, and I demanded his respect. He froze, he laughed, he agreed and I was given validation, I felt empowered and emancipated at the same time.
Perhaps few people identify with this as described. Far fewer, I bet can capture the elation of emotional growth.