My therapist asked me to write something about the differences between my family and I. This is what I wrote:
It’s taken me all week to figure out how to write this. I started to a few times but was dissatisfied with my analysis. As I write now, I feel a passion I have not felt since I wrote three years ago and one year ago.
The difference between my family and I are: an ability to place myself in the shoes of others, compassion by nature, an always open mind, an honest look at myself, a sense of spirituality and a large amount of patience.
I have also retained a lot of my childhood sense of wonder. I have experienced a lot and am quick to learn.
When I was younger, my mom spent a lot of time telling us (me and my siblings) who bad people were. Homeless people, drug addicts, athiestd, and sometimes people of color. People she judged.
She was and still is very judgmental. I am not sure where her compassion is. I think she must not like herself very much. She wasn’t always like this.
I sense that she has a lot of shame. She always would tell us about her high school years. Perhaps those were the times she felt okay with herself the most. A time before she felt she had bigger reasons to feel ashamed. Young and ambitious. She had high academic marks, was a cheerleader, and was one of the only children from my grandmother to graduate.
Her oldest sister became pregnant at a young age and was not given the opportunity, one sister got into drugs, one who lived with her grandparents and later became an alcoholic, a brother who committed suicide at age 17. And a rival sister who she always fights with to this day.
I imagine coming from a family so engulfed in shameful events caused her and her siblings a lot of undeserved pain. Perhaps because of this pain she sought out ways to break away from it by joining the military. But she is not perfect and mistakes were made. Hence my existence.
For somebody who felt compelled as she did to hide from such shame, she sank into denial of herself, unable to admit any wrong doings. This is a lot to do with the strain between her and I. And one of the main differences in our lives.
I actively sought out to find out what my wrong doings were. My mom had an image of perfection she expected us to uphold. When we were unable to she became upset. This is where my perfectionism came from. I have since dealt with this issue but I continue to work on my wrong doings.
In my late teens and early adulthood (earlier adulthood) I had to deal with my transition on my own. It took a lot for me to even come out.
I don’t exactly understand the origins of when and why the differences between my family and I exist. I only know that they do. Perhaps it is in my core from birth. Maybe my higher power gave me more help than I realise.
I wrote my life story 3 years ago and titled it “My Epiphany”. The main point of the whole story was to point out my realization that people loved me and that there was nothing wrong with me. If the love from other people caused such a change in me, maybe that is why I turned out so different.
If my family wasn’t telling me what was wrong with me they were neglecting me. There was no closeness. People may say “all families are like that” but that does not justify it.
I also feel that in my desire to not be my mother, I suffered a self esteem loss. I was and still am afraid of becoming the narcissist she is. I desire a balance of my pride and humbleness. I never want to lose my connection with people as she has.
I have a fairly strong sense of spirituality as well. I feel very in tune with my spirit. I do not follow religion. It feels odd to me that people can have a personal connection with god on a group level. Unrealistic even. Regardless I connect very well with my spirit on my own.
I am not sure how truly spiritual my family is. They have gone to church but sometimes just for show. I cannot tell how much they actually comprehend.
My siblings almost fell irrelevant to write about here. They are all different in their own ways. And not in ways that I feel directly impact me.
At the root of everything, I was simply unhappy. That was all the motivation it took. I wanted a life that differed from my family. In ways not yet totally understood by me I have achieved that.
I practice self care, I am considerate of others, I practice correcting my wrongs actions, I practice honesty, I have love in my life in healthy forms.
I am not perfect but I believe my life will be very fulfilled, so long as I stay me. So long as I follow my heart, and not the habits of my family.
Audrey Lynne Romero