Day 125 - Childhood Imprints of Self Seclusion and Suppression
Tonight I am looking at the specific point of my tendency to isolate myself and seclude myself, and how throughout my life I would put great effort into hiding how I actually feel and how I actually experience myself due to fearing to be vulnerable and fearing that expressing how I actually felt - expressing me within self-honesty - would get me into trouble or would cause conflict/instability in my life - which is a pattern that I picked up very early during my younger years.
As I grew up this point of isolating myself never went away - I simply found other more sophisticated ways of keeping people outside of my bubble and found ways to 'fit in' - but never actually let go of the fear and constant anxiety.
I remember moments in my childhood, when I would be happy and simply expressing myself, and I would say something or do something that was apparently "wrong" - and my mother would react and set about disciplining me through hitting me or making me kneel while she would hit me. It would not be explained to me what it was that I had done wrong, or why it was wrong - it was simply a point wherein she would become possessed within a moment of anger as a reaction to something I did or said, and I would be hit and would cry - and would wonder do myself why I deserved this - why I had to be punished this way - and how unfair it is.
I eventually learned to lie as a way of getting myself out of trouble and thus avoid having to be hit or punished - and learned to be 'on watch' for signs that my mother may go into another of her bouts of anger - but for a long period of time it seemed that no matter what, each day my mother would become very angry about something, and I would be punished for it - even if I wasn't doing anything at all and simply being around her - and the hitting and the verbal abuse would come and I would simply take it, because at that point I was quite young and did not really have a way to defend myself or reason with her when she got that way.
When I got a bit older the physical hitting lessened and eventually stopped but the verbal abuse would continue and in some ways it seemed to get worse - each day there would be some point where I would be yelled at - where her moments of anger would simply take over and she would express her anger to/towards me, and in those moments no matter what I would say or do in defense she would always seem to get worse.
In those moments my mother's points of anger had become physical possessions - meaning at that point she had in a way gone past a point of being able to stop, and her expression was in a kind of momentum where whatever I said or did would only fuel her, would only make the anger worse - and so I eventually learned to remain silent - to not move - to not speak - and to suppress myself so that I would not react or allow myself to lose control - even though within me there would be a storm of my own internal conflicts and feelings - and my own anger and frustration - but I would always keep pushing it down within me, because I feared more her reactions and her anger and knew that if I did express myself or protest, it would only make things worse.
This point of acceptance within myself - this decision within me to simply remain silent through those years and 'endure' my mother's moments of anger - would have lasting consequences for me that I am now beginning to more clearly see and understand.
There was a very specific point in my pre-teen years wherein I had spent a year isolated in my room while I was in Taiwan. I did not go to school because at that point it was decided that I would not be able to learn to read and write chinese at the level of the other children my age, and thus I simply spent my time at home, spending the majority of my time in my bedroom entertaining myself - and would only come out when we would visit other family members at their house, or when we would have dinners with other family that lived across the street from our flat - or when I would come out to eat dinner with my mother, during which times the entire course of the dinner would compose of my mother again venting/expressing her anger and I would again have to literally sit through it and manage to eat my food.
My accepted nature of isolation and suppression has influenced every decision and every relationship in my life - and would always be a point of self-sabotage that I would resort to anytime I felt threatened or anytime I felt that I was getting too close to somebody - and that I would have to protect myself from somebody actually seeing me or knowing how I experience something - because I still associated sharing and expressing myself with being punished - I had hidden that part of me away and would only allow a superficial part of me through to the surface as a way to 'fit in' and interact with people in order to survive and maintain a kind of stability and acceptance among people in my world.
Within me I had so solidified this idea that no matter what, I would have to keep hiding this part of myself - that I would have to keep finding ways to keep all the suppressed pain and anger buried so that I would not get punished, and also so that I would be able to say that I am not like my mother - that I would not allow such expressions of anger to express through me - that I would be "stronger" for keeping it all to myself.
I did not realize through those years that everything that I had suppressed and learned to ignore did not ever dissipate or go away, but instead became more a part of me than I was aware of - in that those points of suppression only compounded more and more, and it became harder to keep playing the personalities and characters that I had created for myself because I knew how fake it all was - and how my actual experience of myself was nowhere near the picture that I was wanting others to see.
I have been avoiding writing and exploring in detail this point in my life - while I have certainly been aware that these points of my life indicate significant moments in which the core foundation of who I would eventually become were first put into place, I did not want to again look at any of this in detail, and did NOT want to apply self-forgiveness or in fact let go of it - fearing that if I did I would no longer be in control - and within this NOT seeing how throughout these years how little control I have actually had when it comes to my self-expression - how so much of my life had been dedicated to keeping these points secret and taking it all personally instead of opening up each point.
In my next post I will be walking the specific memories and events of this time in my life specifically in looking at how I have formed such a relationship of suppression and isolation with myself - so that I can really understand how it all came to be, so that I can FOR REAL change who I am - and ensure that the relationships that I now create are no longer superficial, but are platforms of support and expression and intimacy.
I commit myself to, within writing as a support platform, begin to accumulate and develop the point of sharing and communication starting with myself - to start accumulating self-intimacy instead of self-suppression.
I commit myself to, within writing myself to clarity and opening up the points that are revealed in this way, to LIVE and apply self-forgiveness so that my realizations do not remain mental epiphanies that eventually become only ideas and fantasies - but rather to truly care for myself and STOP living in the diminishing and abusive contexts of the mind, holding on to and defining myself within experiences of the past that have left a 'mark' on me during my developmental years - to rather bring those points out through writing, self-forgiveness, and most importantly self-corrective application as I now begin to redefine my relationship with myself, and my relationship to others in my world.