Different People, Different Reactions
Why are you the way you are? Like, think of one of your bad personality traits. Any reason why you’re that way?
Some mental health experts like to think each child is born with a clean slate. I.E., their personality is created by experiences. Realistically, this makes little sense.
Still, I find it fascinating to explore people. Why am I the way I am? Why are you the way you are?
One of my negative traits is that I’m controlling. I want to have a precise and accurate and efficient plan for everything. Then, I want that plan carried out to a T. I get edgey with detours from that plan and often get angry if things don’t happen the way they were intended. Grr. I hate this about myself.
Why am I this way? Well, I can’t specifically point to instances from childhood, but I can certainly imagine it has something to do with my blindness and loss of sight at 18. See, I had zero control while I was hospitalized. I couldn’t feed myself, wash myself, breathe on my own…even wipe myself. Zero control. So, when little bits of self control started coming back, I latched on with a death grip!
Secondly, in my life as a single blind dude living alone, I had to plan things pretty specifically. I’d stock up on groceries because, well, if I run out of something, getting to the store isn’t quite as easy as it once was. I kept my home in a moderately precise order. If the remote control gets misplaced, I can’t just glance down at the coffeetable to see it’s still there, just two foot out of the way. Plus, as much as it pains me to admit it, there was a weird insecurity thing I had going on: I will be anal retentive and even more precise with my appearance. Never, EVER do I want people to say, “The dude has two different colored socks on. What do you expect? He can’t see them anyway!” Yikes! Never!
So, a few nights ago I was watching that lovely show, “Intervention.” Pathetic case of a 40-something mother of three who became an alcoholic. She really drank like a college freshman; with complete abandon, no control, acted ridiculous when she was wasted, made terrible decisions when shhe was drunk.
In an interview while she was sober, she(the alcoholic) told the story of a visit to the next door neighbor when she was a child. That neighbor molested her. When she told her parents, they swept it under the rug. Her mother(also interviewed) said, “Something happened, but it didn’t harm her. There were no repurcussions from it or anything bad at all.”
Say it with me folks…WTF? A child is sexually abused by an adult and there are no repurcussions? What planet are you living on, lady?
So, we have said alcoholic pointing to the molestation as a reason for her addiction. We have said alcoholic’s mother saying it didn’t hurt the child at all. Wherein does the truth lie?
Frankly, I don’t believe any child can be sexually molested and NOT be effected from it. Duh! They may learn to cope, they may learn to adapt, they may even take it as a later opprotunity to further improve their life, but saying there’s no effect? Pshaw!
This made me pause to think about my own childhood. Quite lucky was I that molestation never occurred. But, bring it to something less damaging; my controlling nature. Is there an event from my childhood where I felt powerless, thus today I want to be the puppett master? Probably. And just as probably, there are instances where my parents put good, educational life lessons in my head that, without them today, I might be a serial killer. Who knows?
It just made for some interesting food for thought. How come one child can be disciplined and they grow up to see that as a benefit, yet another child saw their discipline as oppression.
It really makes me wonder about the influence I have on my stepkids, Maddison and Jordan. If I speak crossly to them once, will they be on a show, 20 years from now, talking about how their stepfather’s behavior towards them caused them to go on a shooting spree? If you think too much on the effect adults can have on children, well, for me, it almost makes me impotent with fear. The last thing I’d ever, EVER want to do is hurt a child…but that’s a risk every parent takes, isn’t it?
What’s my point? I dunno. I guess I don’t really have one. In the end, this brain candy has just made me take a closer look at how I interact with my stepkids. There are enough issues in the world which can screw a person up without parents adding to them. Parents should be adults in every sense of the word: but especially emotionally. How does an adult take on that emotional maturity? By thinking through scenarios, leaving the adult him/herself out of the equation and, ultimately, determining what is the best for the child.
God, I’m like Dr. Phil or something, eh? Ha!