Reality — What A Concept
When I was a child, my reality was messed with. My reality was altered and, instead of enjoying the result, instead of it helping me in some sense, the fact that my reality had been messed with has left me angry and hurt and mistrustful. I still don’t know what, or who, to trust. When you tell me that something is true, I am never sure whether or not to believe you.
I try and believe. I will myself to trust. I make myself breathe. I calm myself but I compare what you say to reality anyhow. I just don’t believe you. Not at all.
I am hurting right now.
When you grow up, you learn about reality from two sources. One source is, of course, your own senses. As a baby, as a child, as a teen, you learn that reality is a specific way. You learn that chocolate tastes good. You learn not to touch the burner. You feel and sense your way through. Chocolate is eat. Hot stove burner is not touch.
The other way you learn, at least initially, about the universe is mediated. Your parents tell you how the universe is. They show you how to behave. They explain what the universe is. They show you that you are safe. They show you that you are okay and alive and a worthy organism. I never learned that I was okay. Even worse, I was lied to about the nature of the universe by both of my parents.
Did you ever go to a parent and ask for advice? Did they ever give you bad advice? Did they do it on purpose? My father did. I would ask him for advice. He would give me bad advice. I would follow it. It would blow up in my face. He would smile. My mom would yell at me for not succeeding. I would go back and try again. It would blow up again. More yelling and smiles.
You could very well ask: Why would you do this to yourself over and over again Joel? Why would you hurt yourself over and over again?
I wanted to believe my Daddy. I wanted to believe my Daddy. I wanted to believe my Daddy. Like the kid who still hopes that his daddy will come back after ten years, I wanted to trust my Daddy. I wanted my Mommy to be proud of me. I wanted to believe. I would say, and happily so, that my father purposely gave me bad advice for reasons know only to him, and that watching me fail was, in some sick way, a pleasure for him. I would also say that it was not personal. My father didn’t do it to me, specifically because it was me. That is who he was. As part of his survival from the Holocaust, as part of his survival from the abuse that was rendered by his family in Canada, as part of it all, my father became a sadist. I don’t blame him. He reacted to his environment.
I just learned that reality wasn’t what he said it was. I learned not to trust reality.
My mom, on the other hand, is, and always has been, a full blown narcissist. My life, as far as she is concerned, has always been about her and her dreams and aspirations. While my father may not have believed his bullshit, my mom still believes hers. The way she looks at what reality is, and what reality really is are at odds to each other. My mom lives in hyper structured Victorian class system. Everything today is wrong.
One could argue that my mom is old and that old people are like that. They get set and they get cranky. The problem is that my mom was always like that. When I was growing up, nothing and nobody was good enough. None of it. My friends weren’t good enough for me so I ended up not having friends. My school wasn’t good enough. My teachers weren’t good enough. Even my aspirations were never good enough. I was never good enough.
I stopped having friends. I stopped hoping. I taught myself. I gave up.
I am not giving up today. Today I am not giving up. I am doing what I need to do today.
I am healing today.
I am living today.
I am learning that, despite old tapes, I am good enough and, moreover, I always have been. I am taking responsibility for my life today. I am learning to trust myself. I am learning that I can provide for myself today.
Someday, I hope to learn to trust others.
Maybe, I dream, someday I can be loved.