Having written about attachments these past few weeks, I got to thinking about my tendency to get attached to women. This is an emotional and deeply personal post which I’m a little nervous to write.
My parents got divorced when I was between the ages of 3/4.
I have no memory of anything that happened between them before they got divorced. But I remember the moment my dad took me from my mom. I was screaming and crying, but my mother was a shell. She was emotionless. She wouldn’t help me, and just stood there. My dad wasn’t exactly gentle with me during that moment. He didn’t care that he was hurting me physically and emotionally, as long as he got what he wanted. I blocked this memory, or to be more exact, I suppressed it. It would surface every few years, then the process would begin again. After that moment, everything goes blank.
The next thing I remember is being in a new house, with a new “mother” and baby sister (my now ex-stepsister). We were in a new city, far from my hometown. My biological mother was then also living in the area, just across the street, with her new boyfriend. My first memory of him is also during this time. I remember running to my mom’s place one day, and her telling me that I couldn’t stay there. I had to go back to my dad’s house. I didn’t want to. But she took me back anyway.
I don’t know how long we stayed in that area. We moved a lot throughout my childhood and early teen years, with every move taking me further and further away from my mother. I don’t remember much from my childhood. Just scattered pieces here and there. I know I went to my mom every second weekend, and I remember instances of my dad and stepmom telling me that my mother gave me up, that she didn’t want me, and them using that as justification to get me to not go to her for the weekend. But even with all of that, I wanted to see her. So growing up, I believed my mother didn’t want me. That she gave up on me. That she didn’t really love me. That’s what they wanted me to believe. But when I was with her, she wasn’t like the woman they painted as a monster. She wasn’t the most attentive mother. It was almost like she was afraid to bond with me, but I have a few memories of her playing with me. Then, when I was 8 years old, my first little sister was born (half-sister). I’d see her with my sister and she was so gentle and loving toward her. I instantly loved my baby sister, and loved taking care of her when I was at my mom on her weekends. But it still felt like I wasn’t connected to my mother. She still felt like a stranger in a way, and even more so when my sisters were born.
I didn’t want to be at home with my dad and stepmom. There was shit happening there that I’m not going to get into. But I also didn’t want to be at my mother’s place with my stepdad. He was abusive towards my mother, and even (very rarely though) my sisters. I think he was too afraid of my dad to hurt me. He did hurt me emotionally of course, with how he treated my mom. He’d even hit her when we were in the car, driving somewhere. When he was angry, he’d put his foot down on the accelerator, and speed past all the other cars, taking corners at a frightening speed. Threatening to kill us all. My dad did the same thing (my mom sure knows how to pick them). So I didn’t feel safe anywhere. I didn’t feel like I belonged. Like I didn’t have a home.
It would only be much later (in my late teen years) that I would learn the truth about what my dad did (and threatened to do) if my mother didn’t let me go with him. And when I found this out, through my mother, and two other family members (not just from her side of the family), my mother’s reaction the day I was taken from her, made sense. My connection to my biological mom is one of friendship. I do love her though. I just don’t feel that mother-daughter bond with her.
My stepmom was a cruel woman. She didn’t care about anyone but herself and her daughter. But then again my dad preferred my stepsister too, which was made evident time and time again. I was always the odd one out. They would go to her sports matches, but were always “too busy” to come to any of mine. I was good at most sports, but I gave them up quickly, because I didn’t see the point when I didn’t have anyone cheering me on. I guess I shot myself in the foot with that one. I should have carried on without needing their support. I should have been able to be my own cheerleader.
I used to pretend that I was switched at birth, and daydream for hours on end about getting found and rescued by my birth mother. I would always use actresses that I saw on TV, to take on that role in my imaginary world. It seemed safer that way. They would never leave me. I searched for a mother figure in everyone who showed me the least bit of attention. But I’m not looking for a mother figure anymore. I know, and have accepted, that I’m never going to have that. I have a mother, and even though it’s in a different capacity, she’s still my mother. All I want now are stable, healthy relationships. Relationships that will help heal the trauma and abandonment, and the patterns that have resulted from it.
So my experiences with men, starting with my dad, have limited my need for them. I don’t need a father figure, I don’t even want one. In this situation, some people would also look for a father figure in the men they date, but it didn’t happen that way for me. I don’t want a replacement. I have what I have, and life carries on.
In light of all of this, I now understand myself, and my patterns, better. I can see why it’s so easy for me to get attached to women. Even though it’s not with everyone, and it’s rare that I do get attached, it still happens. Now I’m left with a few questions. Will it always be this way, or is there a way to release myself from all of this? And most important of all… should I do away with all attachment? What’s healthy, and what’s not? I don’t know how to navigate this.