I Spent 40 Years Thinking There Was Something Deeply Wrong With Me

It was you all along

Ali Hall
Black Bear
Published in
4 min readDec 12, 2022


Photo by jake Hailstone on Unsplash

I read the sentence again. The words echoed my experiences, but I had never encountered anyone else with these complexities.

My eyes scanned the page repeatedly to ensure I was reading them correctly. Yes, these were her words and her honest sentiment. Feelings I knew too well.

In Rose McGowan's book Brave she writes:

“I would watch kids with their dads and I would get jealous.”

I, too, would watch. I noticed their relaxed bodies, uncontrollable laughter, and high-pitched squeals. I clocked their emotional safety and trust. I watched as they interacted like a sturdy piece of rope of mixed fibers, stronger together and interconnectedly woven to create a bond of mutual love. An alien concept to me.

It was all my fault.

I was oil to his water. I tried to play by the rules, but predicting and presenting the desired behavior was impossible when the rules kept changing. Just when I thought I had figured out the system, it changed, leaving me scrambling around the maze of relating, trying to get back into the safe zone.

A chuckle one day could show up as rage the next. I couldn’t figure out the equation.

I was the problem.

I dared to have different interests. My polyphonic energies clashed with his monophonic tone. I defied his instructions on how I should live my life. Even from a young age, I rejected his hobbies in favor of my own. Now I realize he took this as personal criticism — from a child! He tried to carve me into a mini him, and my own inner knowing rebelled.

I was difficult to love.

From age 7, once they separated, I was regularly told to “sit down; you must hear the truth” before a barrage of one-sided slandering toward my own mother was thrown out of his lungs. He mistook his opinion for “the truth” and still has this problem today. I looked at my feet and dared not whimper. Trapped in an impossible situation. A mere child, frozen with confusion and being told twisted nasty tales of her person of comfort and safety.



Ali Hall
Black Bear

Kindness = my superpower. ✍Psychology, friendship, social justice, feminism & personal growth. Destigmatising the childfree. Lover of trail running & dogs.