On the advice of my therapist I am currently reading “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples” by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt. She didn’t recommend this book because my relationship with my partner is bad or anything like that. Actually, I think we have a really good relationship. We rarely have conflict and when we do we communicate well. Over time, we have gotten better and better at this. This book was recommended because my therapist and I are diving into some of my childhood wounds, which the authors base their theories around.
I do want to preface this post with something, though. I love my parents and siblings and I had a childhood filled with love and care. I believe my parents did their absolute best and I never felt unloved or insecure. However, we ALL have wounds from our childhood that operate at the subconscious and near-conscious level. There is no such thing as a perfect way to raise a child. Realizing this and working to consciously identify childhood wounds is first step towards healing, which brings about better communication and relationships.
At this point, I’ve identified a few “wounds” and how I think they manifest themselves in my life. I’m sure I am off about some of them but I think I’m heading in the right direction.
New Brother: My parents had a second child 16 months after I was born, which means my parents love, time and affection was split between two of us early in my life. And, as it should be, my younger brother got more of that care because he was a newborn and more dependent on my parents for survival. I think this has impacted a number of areas of life, including a longing for physical intimacy and the wall that seems to prevent me from feeling passionate about anything. I think this is why MDMA is my favorite drug, it breaks down that wall and encourages people to share physical intimacy. This is basically one of the two fears that are the foundation of negative emotions: fear of not being good enough.
Lack of Control: I come from a fairly large family by today’s standards (six kids). As can be expected, there was a fair amount of chaos around the house. Both my parents worked (sometimes multiple jobs) and we were all sort of left to fend for ourselves. We used to joke that dinner was sometimes a stack of pizzas dropped on the table and a free-for-all to get food. As a result, I tend to make very quick decisions (sometimes not rationally), turn to food for comfort (which I scarf down), and I overly structure my life and day with schedules and to-do lists. This is the other of the two fears: fear of not being in control.
Tardiness: I absolutely HATE being late for something, particularly when I am late because of something outside my control. It literally triggers my anxiety and I enter fight-or-flight mode when I just think I might be late to something. I think this comes from the fact that my parents were very busy and often I would end up late to school or some appointment or they would be late to pick me up from something. This made me feel unimportant and I started equating worth with dependability.
I am sure as my therapist and I dive into my past even more I will discover other “wounds”, and that’s okay. Pretending that I had a perfect childhood or that my childhood was “good enough” and I shouldn’t complain will never make me a better partner, friend, brother, or son. I need to acknowledge these wounds, share them with my partner so that she can understand why I react certain ways, and work to build new neuro-pathways that are less impulsive and destructive. Knowing yourself is necessary to become your best self.