Growing up a child does not get to choose what is taught. A child can be taught black is white and hate is right and cruelty is funny. Yes, I experienced some of these. So when a child hits teen years usually enough other people are in their life for them to doubt, question or rebel against their parents opinion of them. Sadly abusive parents send a distorted message that sometimes it takes counseling for the person to believe anything different. I didn’t want to accept that the distortions were false because it meant facing my unpleasant reality. I watch some people embrace lies in their lives rather than facing uncertainty or painful truth. In counseling, I stopped lying to myself. Telling myself my childhood was great protected me from painful memories but impeded my progress. I needed to accept that the second-hand opinion of my parents was not an accurate assessment of me.
“All people cross the line from childhood to adulthood with a second-hand opinion of who they are. Without any questioning, we take as truth whatever our parents and other influentials have said about us during our childhood, whether these messages are communicated verbally, physically, or silently.” Heyward Ewart, AM I BAD? Recovering From Abuse
One of my counseling sessions my counselor took almost the whole time describing the essential growth that occurs during teenage years. I nodded my head through the entire conversation. I knew what teenagers were like my husband and I raised 6 of them. I agreed with everything he said. Then he rocked my world, “Did you ever do that?” I blinked at him several times. It never occurred me that in my effort to survive I never took part in the essentials of growing up. I never rebelled. I never told my parents that their idea of me was completely false based on their own distortions. I never told them to go jump in the lake or any of the very necessary things a teenager should and must do. He continued talking about the human need to go through this needed growth. A horrible thought dawned on me……”Don’t tell me I have to be a 50 year old teenager.” He shut his mouth and raised his eyebrows and I wanted to scream “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice!!!!!” Yes, I had / needed to be a teenager. Good grief what a pickle I am in when I recognize myself behaving just like a teenager. Oh dear. At times, there is a real advantage to be working at a high school. They are a bit more accustomed to interacting with teenagers and less like to notice that my behavior isn’t much different. Life is just weird sometimes.