First of all, I’m so grateful to each person who sent your condolences in the past couple of weeks.
Second, I want to say that I was wrong to say things that could be interpreted in a way I did not intend.
Here’s what I mean.
Remember I said these words?
“The kind of family you’ll create is likely to be influenced in many ways by the way he and you were raised. So, when choosing a man, remember that you choose a family too.”
Some you wrote back like Sharon who wondered if it’s “A death sentences if he doesn’t have a family or a good one?”, shared her family story and raised a question “Am I doomed?”
Or like Leigh who challenged me by saying that “Many people who come from dysfunctional family backgrounds get help to learn to heal the effects of a hard childhood and upbringing, and in so doing, can be mindful of the way they want to interact with their family, so as not to repeat the dysfunction.”
Yes, I totally agree that his or your dysfunctional family background don’t have to define your family future.
To be completely honest, I felt ashamed of my family background for most of my life and preferred not to talk about it.
Until now because sharing it and talking about what I’ve experienced can give hope to other women and help complete the past and heal emotionally.
I no longer feel the need to hide or feel ashamed of my family background.
In fact, I feel proud that, despite my past, I was able to create a beautiful, loving family of my own.
A single mother raised me. She had difficulty relating to other people: her parents and four siblings stopped talking to her before I was even born. She had very few friends and preferred to stay away from people (the night-shift janitor jobs were a good match for my hard-Working mother.)
When we went out to a grocery store or doctor’s office, frequently she managed to get into verbal fights with complete strangers.
I was in my early teens when I realized that my mother was mentally ill. That explained a lot of things. Like why she would stand by my room’s door and talk in a monolog for hours at the time (sharing things only a psychotherapist should hear.)
My mom never married and I didn’t meet my biological father until I was 21. And all those years she told me different stories: he died, he was in prison, he left for another woman because I was born but he didn’t want to have a child.
For nearly two decades of my life, I heard from my mother that men were just like my father—liars, cheaters and takers. She taught me that relatives were enemies, that I should not trust anyone and treat the world as the survival zone. And I had no reference points on how to create a relationship or relate to a man on a basic level.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful to my mom giving me with food and shelter and doing the best she could as a parent. But I had to turn elsewhere for guidance, advice and emotional support. And get away from my mom once I turned 18.
People who knew my mother felt sorry for me because they thought I would grow up and become just like her —miserable, angry and a lonely victim who had to struggle.
But, despite all odds, I created a different future for myself.
If I have done it so can you.
You can do the inner work and healing that leaves the past in the past and gives you the power to create the kind of future you want—love, family, happiness, and fulfillment.
Your childhood, dysfunctional family and past issues ARE NOT a death sentence.
You aren’t doomed.
Like me, you can come overcome challenges that you have no control of, like the kind of parents you had, and create the kind of family you always wanted to have—healthy and loving in every way…