Saturday, May 14, 2011


As is the case with most of us, I came from a dysfunctional family. It's just that my family didn't happen to be a horror story. True, my mother had challenges with mental illness. Her anxiety and depression became a part of my own later life experience. For me, it was probably a case of both nature and nurture. Who truly knows?

The larger problem is that my family didn't know how to appropriately express or deal with feelings. When Mom was in a difficult place within herself, she would act out by crying or getting angry. On the other hand, my dad was very reserved. If he was angry, he would do something like go out to the woodpile and chop wood. The only time I experienced his anger was once in a blue moon when I would receive a spanking. That stopped when I was thirteen and fought him back.

I was often told that I shouldn't feel certain ways. That led me to believe that certain feelings were bad. As time went on, I became more and more disconnected from my feelings. That was certainly not the case after my favorite grandmother died when I was nine. I was grief-stricken. That only led me to medicate through my first addiction – my secret shame.

The problem was that I basically had to deal with my grief alone. Perhaps it was too overwhelming for my mother. My father just didn't seem to know how to handle sadness at all. In fact, I don't remember him ever appearing sad. I also never witnessed him crying until he came to visit me in alcohol rehab when I was then thirty-three.

My childhood story involved trauma, bullying, and internalized homophobia. I also thought that I needed to earn love through my accomplishments. The bottom line was that I was very insecure and I had low self-esteem. My entire childhood experience had become a breeding ground for what would become multiple addictions for me as an adult.

Author Davis Aujourd'hui

No comments: