I’ve begun to identify some issues from my past that is wreaking havoc on my life today. It has given me a skewed view of the world and placed me in a paradigm I need to break free from. I don’t believe any of it was intentional but none the less it caused a series of beliefs that effects my life today. Toss in a neurodiverse brain and it is no wonder I am feeling so out of control mid-life.
Growing up I always thought I lived a normal lower middle-class life. We didn’t have abundance, but my father always made sure our needs were met with some “extras” thrown in. My early childhood was spent playing with the neighborhood kids and I even held a long-standing crush on a girl down the street into early high school. It never panned out.
There was never a lot of affection. I remember receiving some from my mother when I was around 5 or 6 when I would lay my head on her lap and she would pet my head, but honestly that was the extent of it. I learned as I got older that my mother was emotionally unavailable but that it a conversation for another time. I believe my father tried the best he could, but he honestly did not know how to connect with a son and/or teach him how to be a man because he never received it himself. I could be wrong, but that is my current truth.
As a child I didn’t know any different. I craved attention and affection, but they were either unavailable or dealing with a new set of challenges from my sibling. I don’t blame her by any means as she was dealing with her own set of turmoil, issues, and a child as a teenager. Again, a story for another day.
I thought if I was a good boy, worked hard, and played by the rules then I would get the love and attention I craved. I got good grades, I played sports, I stayed out of trouble. I thought all of that would be enough. Unfortunately, it made me more invisible. You see, if there is no “problem” there is nothing to pay attention to and must fix. What I thought would bring me love brought me less of what I truly needed.
Sadly, to this day I operate under the assumption that if I am a good boy, work hard, and play by the rules I will get my needs met. I am finding that further from the truth as I experience breakdown after breakdown and try to figure out why I am the way I am.
In work, the mindset allows me to be taken advantage of because I will work hard, keep my head down, and play by the rules subconsciously craving recognition and approval while outwardly all of that making me feel uncomfortable. This allows said employer to pile on the work knowing I will get it complete without push-back other than the occasional mention of fairness in which I would then believe whatever empty promise that was thrown at me to appease me.
In my relationships I have the irrational belief that sex is the ultimate form of love and affection. I’ve had relationships where sex was the foundation and others where it was essentially non-existent. And while clearly the physical act is highly pleasurable and important for maintaining intimacy in a relationship, sex does not equal love.
So, this leaves me at a point where I need to figure out what I do next. How do I change my flawed belief systems and meet my own individual needs without becoming a selfish prick?
More importantly how do I raise my daughter to not feel the same way I do years later?