Monday, 6 May 2013

From the cradle to adulthood

In replying to comments on my previous posts and after reflecting on the post in general after discussing it, mostly after discussing it, it made me think about how our upbringing plays such a huge impact on who we are as adults, and sometimes we have to re-learn or re-think what we have been brought up to believe or to see as 'normal'.

I remember when my parents sat my brother and i down to tell us they were getting divorced (my mum was having an affair) i started to cry, i was 8/9, my mother berated me for crying, tears should be shed in private, it was all very stoic, formal, displays of emotions were not tolerated.

My mother was/is very big on being 'responsible' and behaving with dignity, i find this quite amusing now as an adult looking back considering why they were getting divorced.  Image was/is very important, i recall a family wedding we attended and at the reception there was a playpark, my brother and i were not allowed to go and play because we were wearing nice clothes and it wasnt 'appropriate'..i can hear her now "its a wedding, not a childrens play party"

The family dog dying, i wanted to cry but i knew that this wasnt acceptable, its natural my mother would say, she would have no patience for emotional displays and we learnt my brother and i to not aggravate her by crying or getting upset..she couldnt deal with it.....stiff british upper lip mentality! 

Her common tirade even now is people these days are weak, needing therapy for everything, they should pull themselves together, have some fight in them, ambition is key, failure is not acceptable and god help me and my brother if we strayed from her mapped out plan for us.

But we both did, i got pregnant at a young age, the same year i was meant to be starting university, and unmarried as well, that was not in the plan, my brother ended up in hospital whilst at university with a drug our own ways we rebelled.

The consequences for us both have been similiar, we both (my brother and i) do not have good relationships with our mother, we are not very good with displays of emotions, having my son helped me, i remember that overwhelming feeling of love and protectiveness from the moment i held him, but i also remember being scared of it..confused.

I very rarely utter the words "i love you" to the bossman, although he knows i do, but i dont 'show' it very often either, im uncomfortable with being overly expressive with how i feel, there is sometimes still a sense of being uneasy with how to deal with emotions.

I have had to slowly, with help, learn to undo what has been indoctrinated into me through my childhood and re-learn and re-think as an adult, its not been easy, i come accross as stoic and i know i can be when im uncomfortable and unsure of how im meant to react....when my gran died whom i was very close to, i was ashamed because i cried, embarrassed that i was being emotional...and i know thats not normal to feel like that...its ok to cry when upset...but i rarely do.

Im better than i was, i have to be, for my children.


  1. tori,

    Thank you for sharing. You are an amazing human being. It is so hard to shed some of the things we learned as children.

    When I was thirteen, I was determined to be the exact opposite of my father. Fortunately, I have done so for the most part, but I still suffer from his influence.

    You are very brave. Be who you want to be!


  2. Ah yes, motherhood really changes us in such a profound way.

    We are all affected by our childhood in probably more ways than we know but it seems recognizing how it has affected you and working with it from there is the key.

    As children of teenage parents that partied really hard in front of us until we ourselves were in our teens it just seemed normal at the time. If we came home school and mom was on the floor we stepped over her and got something to eat. When she was up though she was awesome and fun. As we got older and moved the parents straightened up and started trying to do things like give us curfews and expecting to know where we were. It did not go over well and they never really won that battle. It surely effected us kids in some way but to this day its hard to figure out exactly what part of ones personality was affected by this.

    Its good that your know where your feelings stem from and that you can use that information to be who you want to be.

  3. You awareness of your mother's influence is what ensures you are moving past it. This is a beautiful, thoughtful post.


  4. That must have been hard having to hide your emotions and pretend that everything is just fine when it's not. Good for you for doing what you can to break that cycle for yourself and your kids.

  5. It's amazing the influence our parents had in us as children - bad and good. Its a sobering thought how we in turn will influence our own kids. Thank you for baring a kitten part of your soul to us - we can undo the damage our parents have done. Believe I'm yourself and be who you are meant to be