At the age of thirty-one, I finally heard those words, “I’m proud of you.” It did not sound as expected by that time, so I sat there wondering what to say back. I waited to hear someone say they were proud of me for decades; eventually, I lost myself in the wait. I listened to what I wasn’t but never what I was. I shared my heart’s desire to hear those words; I also acted out to get attention and redirection. Why wasn’t I being encouraged to dream? Everything I did wrong was magnified, but when I did well, I experienced minimization. It seemed as though doing good was not rewarding, so I sunk. It crushed me not to hear what other people were telling their children; it tore me apart to have my efforts dismissed. My drawings, writings, exceptional cleaning, and doing things a child should not have to do to hear someone say, I am proud of you. This type of deprivation takes an emotional toll on a person. It wounds the child, and the child never grows up emotionally. At the age of thirty-one, I may have been eight years old emotionally. Trauma repeatedly arrested my development. Once I started healing, I had to plead my case concerning several offenses. Healing is continual, so continually, I am awaiting my time in court to get free.
Internally, I kicked and screamed for love, appreciation, encouragement, and an end to cycles of disappointment. At times, I pulled it together enough to achieve a goal here and there but still nothing. What was taking place internally only attracted more people that would do the same to me. I found myself in cycles of being what everyone needed to gain their support, only to have them in some way attempt to destroy me. Hearing other family members’ children told the things I desperately longed for sent me spiraling. Everything seems to go up in flames. Those moments were triggers for me, and I knew I needed to heal, but at the time, I did not know how or if that was a possibility. That feeling of not being good enough created a path that took me years to sever. I was not too fond of that road; it cost me a lot. I felt like I was repeatedly dying as I finagled through life needing support and never receiving it.
The wounds I experienced made every decision for me. My life was a ball of disappointment. I did not think anything better was my portion. The suffering went on silently. I withdrew to the point of suicidal thoughts plaguing me. I became so much to so many, but no one saw that I was dying inside. I hid pain under whatever I had to at the time. These things started in my childhood and followed me until I sought help.
Affirming our children is crucial because it helps children develop positive foundations on which to grow. I had no foundation, so with every wind, I was tossed. I did not know who I was, nor did I have any direction, so I repeatedly took the wrong course. What we say to our children makes a huge difference. Do not affirm them negatively by saying they will never amount to anything, then get amnesia when they struggle in life, leaving you no bragging rights. Parents, we lay the foundation. We set the tone. As our children grow up, they will encounter situations that may make them doubt who they are, but the moment they hear your voice in the background encouraging them to go forth, it breaks the cycle of self-sabotage. Children who lacked encouragement may not be able to bring themselves out of such situations as quickly. Let’s collectively start equipping our children to be warriors. It is time to unlearn to learn, apply, and reapply. We got this!
Thank you for reading my story. If it touched you, please share it with others on your platforms. I can now help other emotionally deprived adults break the cycle of stagnation in their lives through cognitive-behavioral techniques. Schedule a clarity call with me today to pull you out and set you on course.