If I had just a nickel for every time I was told in some way that I was stupid, I would fail, did not deserve something, would never be able to accomplish something, had no chance of being a worthy human being, etc, I’d be rich enough to live a good life and be quite the philanthropist. Recently I found an article about “Abandoned Child Syndrome” and read it. Low and behold, it described so much of my life that I was surprised by it. There was my childhood, my teen years, my many decades of adult life as a spouse and a father. In many ways, I had already figured out a lot of this. I just never felt “validated” in my experiences by ever having read or talked about this with anyone. After all, I’d been the worthless piece of human crap, unworthy and undeserving of so many things that normal beings have just be default. Hoping, expecting, that someone would actually “see me”, care enough to just let me be myself, not shut me out, not slam a door in my face, etc. Hoping, expecting, that in some way, my value would get recognized and thereby validated by someone. Hoping, expecting, that somehow in some way, someone might see the loneliness, the pain and despair, of living a life without bond and connection that is supposed to be there. You’re stupid, and so are all of your dreams and hopes. You’re never right and you’ll never be right. Nothing you’ve ever done or will do right, nothing good you do or you’ve ever done or will do, will ever count because you don’t deserve credit for any of it. You can never be a person that has self-worth, dignity, and value, because you’re shit and you always will be.
This article really gave me some validation, and helped me further along my path:
It took many years for me to understand what had been going on and why. I can say now that I lived through the years of anger and pain as a child, teenager, adult, parent, and now elder adult, always hoping and wishing that things would be different. I’m not here to tarnish the character of my biological and adoptive parents, nor anyone else involved. I believe that none my parents did anything, or didn’t do anything, out of or with any malice. That is, I believe none of them intended to do or not do things that would steer my life in the direction it has taken. Other people, relatives, well yeah… I know that some of them acted with the intention of continuing to do anything they could to keep me down, hold me back, encourage the feelings of worthlessness, by abandoning me when ever it was convenient for them to do so. To keep me in line, under control, so to speak. So much was done with intent, with the purpose of cutting and making me bleed emotionally, and not so much as a way of venting their own anger and issues. They wanted to do what they could to make me feel alone, abandoned, worthless, and undeserving. Just like when I was kid, nothing good or positive I did seemed to matter. But, every mistake, misdeed, failure, etc, was always well logged, tallied, and recorded for eternity. You’re doomed to always fail when any kind of success will always be unrecognized, and held to be without value. Too often, doors were slammed shut. To often, I was shout out, and held isolated. I couldn’t make myself invisible, still can’t. But, too often the people closest to you have that power, to make you invisible. It’s not a good feeling when it’s sometimes done just through ignorance or disregard. When it’s done intentionally though, it cuts sharper, deeper, and makes you bleed emotionally more than anything else I’ve ever known or experienced. You get cut open, you bleed, and they just walk away like you are not now nor were never even there. It’s a cold hearted act.
I’m not sure if any of the wounds from abandonment ever do really heal? If they do, they heal slowly. I know that given enough time, they will “scab over”. Then, as long as you don’t pick at them, they at least stop bleeding for some time. Over time, the wound may grow smaller. The way you notice this is when the scab covering it either falls off, gets knocked off, or you scratch it off. The wound is smaller, it bleeds less, hurts less, and you notice that it’s gotten smaller, diminished but not gone. If you can’t heal completely, then maybe just healing as much as you can is the best you can hope for? After all, some degree of healing is better than none at all, isn’t it? At least you’re moving in a good direction. If you never heal completely, you’ve healed somewhat. Maybe enough to learn, to understand, to forgive? When you have some healing, and find yourself able to do all of the fore-mentioned, you gain some self-worth and recognition. You won’t gain anything by placing blame and responsibility on anyone. You can only heal yourself, alone. While being “alone” and being “abandoned” do seem to share a lot of common ground emotionally and psychologically, they are two distinct and different places in reality. When you choose to be alone for some time, you find that you’re now in a place where you are able to function. You are unimpeded and unencumbered by outside forces that had been imprisoning you in so many ways.
I wrote another article on here about Forgiveness. It primarily focused on the idea that once you’ve forgiven someone, they should stay forgiven. If you use a past forgiveness as a weapon to beat someone with today, then it’s no longer “forgiveness”, is it? Now, it’s an emotional weapon, because of how you’ve just misused it.. What ever shame there was behind the forgiveness, now becomes your shame by using it as a weapon! Now, you’re the one that needs the forgiveness. When you forgive someone, they should stay forgiven. Maybe you don’t ever forget why you forgave them, and maybe you shouldn’t? If that’s true, it’s also true that remembering is your issue, and not theirs. They have been forgiven. Since forgiving is such a big part of healing, whether the person being forgiven knows they’ve been forgiven or not, I thought this topic was relevant. “Keeping score” seems so very important to some people. Forgiving someone is good for you, and may or may not have any affect on them at all, good or bad. If you concern yourself with that at all, then you corrupt your forgiving and only injure yourself further. My advice to anyone is to forgive what you need to, when you can, then just let it be. Life will go on.
My dad had a TV & Radio repair shop when I was growing up. This was during the 1960’s and 70’s, when most TVs and radios had “parts”. Parts being, circuits of real wires, a “chassis” or board, “sockets” and “terminal strips”, capacitors, resistors, coils, chokes, transformers, vacuum tubes, etc. Not “solid state”, with printed circuit boards that are only replaceable in whole and not serviceable. To service anything back then, you first had to “diagnose it”, see what it was doing, or not doing, which would offer some clues as to which circuits and which parts to investigate. You did what you had to do to make the parts and the wires accessible, Which usually meant “pulling” a “chassis” out of a case or a cabinet. The cabinets of old TVs were of every form. Some were just metal or plastic boxes. Others were made more like furniture, some even fine furniture and rich woods, because they were often a center piece of living rooms of the time. The better they were, the bigger they were, the more that they weighed because they were made of solid real wood.
Repairing TVs meant taking them to the shop. It was rare that any set could be repaired right in the home where it was. That meant carrying a heavy, bulky, TV set out to the car (a station wagon), then carrying it in to the repair shop. The last thing you wanted to do was drop one, or put a scratch on it, while moving it! Most of the homes in that area of Chicago meant doing this moving which involved lots of narrow doorways, twisting and turning stairways, and almost always the cement front stairs. Being on “the other end” of a large TV set, or a Radio & Record player console, that weighed 100 pounds or often more, when you’re just a wiry 8, 10, or 12 year old, is an experience. Smashed fingers, cuts, nothing to really hold on to, it didn’t matter. You moved the set, you kept up with dad, while not dropping or scratching anything.
Days at the shop, I’d mostly sweep floors, wash windows, maybe test a vacuum tube or sell a battery. We also had a key machine, so I learned to make keys too. Sometimes, my dad would go out for parts, or just take a nap in the back. I’d read and experiment, learning how to use a “multimeter” (Volt Ohm Meter), and learning the symbols so I could read a “schematic”. A schematic is a complete layout of all the parts and circuits in anything. You needed to know how to find bad parts, shorted or open parts and circuits, etc, in order to service sets. Then, there are different circuits and groups of parts that do different things, perform different functions. Some circuits handled sound. Some circuits handled the signals that would make the picture on a TV screen. Some circuits handled the broadcast signals it received from the antenna, then converted them to the electrical forms that would separately become the sound and the picture. And so on, and so on. You had to know what each kind of circuit did, because that’s how you would know which circuits to check because of the “symptoms”. It was a lot to learn.
Once in a while, I’d ask a question about something. Once in a while, my dad would take the time to at least start to answer it and explain a little. Granted, I’d offer hear things that were over my head. Those were things I’d have to learn somehow. Usually, my questions were answered with a “brush off”. Dad would say, “I went to school for this! It took me years to learn what I know! You’re stupid and I don’t have time to teach you anything…”. Then, he would go back to doing what ever he was doing. Thanks Dad. I forgive you for not having time for me.
My dad had a brother, “Uncle Andy”. Andy would always spend some time talking with me. He’d tease me and give me a lot of shit too, but it was all with good intentions and I saw that. It meant a lot to me. When I was younger, it seemed that I used the words “you know…” excessively in conversations. Uncle Andy started catching me every time, with an immediate reply of, “No. I Don’t know”, while I’d be in mid sentence. He’d do this every time I started using “you know…” when ever, and where ever, we’d be talking. I’d get a little frustrated, but he always kept it up and we always ended up laughing about it. Eventually, I broke the “you know…” habit. I still sometimes notice myself using those words more than I should, but quickly put them in check as I recall laughing over them with my Uncle Andy so many times.
One day, probably in my early teens, I had self-taught myself enough that I was allowed to work on some sets because I had “proven” myself by just doing it with good results. Color TVs were more complex, and I was trying to get a handle on understanding more about them. My Uncle Andy was visiting my dad at the shop, and they were having a conversation while I was working on a color set. I had found a couple of bad parts already, but there was more to the problem and I was stumped. I asked my dad a question. He went in to one of his minor tirades about how he didn’t have time to teach me, how I was stupid, would never learn or become anything, etc. I can sometimes still hear my Uncle Andy speaking to him, “Harvey! The kid is just asking a question and he’s trying to learn, so why don’t you give him a chance?” My dad just grumbled and walked away from both of us, went back to working on another set not saying anything. Pretty sure I had the biggest grin that I dared to have as I looked over at my Uncle Andy, as he grinned back and shrugged. I may not have been all that special to my Uncle Andy, and maybe we didn’t spend that much time together, but I knew I was just some worthless piece of shit human being to him. I was a person. I had some value. Thank you Uncle Andy, for everything. It was a small spark of hope in what was a wasteland to me. In his later years, while I was selling furniture, my Uncle Andy would often stop in where I worked. We’d spend some time talking almost every week for a while. I’m glad that I got the chance to thank him.
When you’re alone, when on one has your back, when you know there in no cavalry, no one coming to rescue you if need rescuing, you grow up fast. When you’re expected to never make normal mistakes, never cause problems, never speak about your sadness and fears, never cry at all or so loud that it could be heard, never try so you never fail, never want anything beyond what you are already given, you learn to build walls around yourself creating your own “safe place”.
It started as a child, I can’t remember feeling or living any other way, until just in the most recent years. I was beginning to climb out of that hole of abandonment just as my whole world came crashing down, on me and around me. I found myself being abandoned again. How can it not hurt when the people who’ve meant the most you, the majority of your life, do that to you? It would have been so easy to be just like anyone else right then. To become bitter, angry, hateful, vengeful, only wanting to cause others to experience like pain if possible. That would have been easy to do, an easy path to follow. Being alone “in dark places” was nothing new to me, and now it would become my strength. Once you’ve hit your rock-bottom, you’ve found a place to begin from.
If anyone thinks that any apparent success or failure on my part, in my life, in any way, does anything to influence their lives in a positive or negative way, they are mistaken. Your karma is your karma, and my karma is mine. That is truth, and maybe you need to learn more before you relish in my experiences? I have no time for people who need to feel anger, hate, and vengeance, toward others in order for them to feel or be whole. While it may be a sad existence for them, only they can change that, choose to be otherwise. In my existence, likewise I can only do the same for myself, make my own choices.
I have learned very important lessons in life, and would like to share this one. Whether you are abandoned or not, have an easy life or not, have a happy life or not, it doesn’t matter. There is no winning, no losing. Only success or failure. I have not failed.
Thank You to SouhCarolinaPicker on YouTube for making this video. Also, Thank You to Steppenwolf and John Kay for all of the awesome tunes over the years.
Once a badass, always a badass. Tough isn’t defined by what or whom you can defeat. Tough is defined by whom or what cannot defeat you. I may be an old dog now, but until the fire in my eye goes out, I will not fail.