Thursday, June 5, 2008

One Household- Two Childhoods

It's never a good sign when something has to be prefaced, but here goes: Let me preface by explaining why I created this blog "My Therapy". It was intended to be just that. It has morphed into quite a random crap kind of ramble. Which is fine, most of the time. However, NEWSFLASH! I have skeletons, I bet many of us do, but I have some doozies. In order to air out some of the issues that may arise in my everyday life, some back stories may be necessary. I have written a few of these over on the Anthill, but felt I needed to air out some dirt laundry at my place now. There will be more to follow so my future posts will make more sense in the correct context. So here is just a taste of the dysfunction that is me:

I have a sister who is 7 years younger. My parents divorced when I was 10 and she was just 3. I have many memories of my chaotic childhood and some issues from it, as well. My sister, however, remembers nothing negative. Our whole life, you would have thought we were raised in two different families, because essentially, we were.

My dad was in and out of rehabs throughout my adolescence. I remember the violence, the rage, and the fear his disease created in us. I remember wondering if he would have the face of Dr.Jekyl or Mr.Hyde on any given night. I remember the apprehension in the air waiting for his return home after a night out and hiding under the covers as all hell would break loose between he and my mom. When I was
15, my dad finally found a program that worked for him and has been recovering for 20 years.

My mom, until I was 10, was a broken woman, while she raised me. She was just tired and didn't know where to turn or how to deal with the life she found herself in. After the divorce, she recovered well and moved on, but partially, for me, some damage had already been done.

My sister has no recollection of my mom's anguish and weakness, my dad's disease and anger, and all the pain that resonated in our house during her first few years. Even after the divorce, my parents were able to hide the lingering problem of addiction from her. She was raised by a confident, independent, and above all happy woman and it shows.

My sister and I have very similar lives now. We each are married with 4 kids, 3 girls and a boy. We both stay at home and each have a modest one income family, so we understand making sacrifices. We agree on most everything and are best friends.

There is a glaring difference in us though. She doesn't have the insecurities that I have. I try so hard to please, she couldn't care less what anyone else thinks! She makes friends easily, I'm self-conscious and cynical. I'm hard on myself and am my worst critic, she is happy-go-lucky and doesn't expect perfection in her life.
I'm happy that she is so well- adjusted, and was able to come out unscathed, but sometimes I'm sad and a little jealous that I carry this baggage.

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The Mom said...

Classic nature vs. nurture. You have every right to feel as you do. It isn't fair and it must be tough to carry. I'm glad you can blog about it and possibly get some of it out in the open, a healing process in it's own. The whole situation is both a blessing (now) and a curse.

insane mama said...

I get you!
I am divorced and I only hope that I am not inflicting pain on my children

Sue said...

Wow, Tena- that's pretty amazing. My situation was not quite as bad, my parents didn't split til I was in college, my dad is an alcoholic, and as the oldest, i definately inherited (or developed, rather) the "people-pleaser"/afraid of conflict/attracted to 'broken' men thing. My sisters, not at all. Thankfully, I left all the 'bad boys' behind and have a stable life now, but I easily could be divorced from an alcoholic band singer right now - that was my last relationship before my husband. We just have to work extra hard to fight those ingrained tendencies. Thanks for sharing with us!

Faerie Mom said...

yaknow.... we sound so similar in the way we act and react. It is funny. My mom and dad never divorced. But I remember the insecurity and fear of never knowing what was goingt o happen when he came home.... gosh. I have not thought of that in a while.

I don't blame you one bit for those little bits of jealousy. i would be a little jealous too.