Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Now Featuring One Forty Something Adolescent

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I clearly recognized something today.  I more clearly discerned the contours of another important piece of my immense grief.  Throughout much of the last eighteen months my therapeutic odyssey has focused on the harm I experienced within the first ten years of my life.  And that harm was quite significant.  I have recounted previously in this blog how I became consciously aware of my thought that I would not live to the age of nine since I began treatment in June, 2013.  And I didn't have that thought in my mind on just one moment of one day.  That thought was a persistent one that contributed to my distress.  Thankfully my thought was not correct.

I feel fairly prepared to move on beyond the wounding I experienced at the age of eight.  As I begin to feel comfortable with moving beyond focusing on this time period in my life (as well as even earlier moments in my development such as when my birthmother was experiencing her schizophrenic breakdown) I feel I can now see more clearly what remains to be done.  What comes after the age of eight?  Nine.  And what comes after nine?  Ten.  And eventually a child enters the developmental phase known as adolescence.  I feel very much like an adolescent now.  And I realize that much as I did not have a healthy emotional life in the final months of my ninth year of life I also did not have a very healthy adolescence.  My physical health was good.  But my emotional health was not so good.  Inside I was smoldering.

The sadness I felt throughout my adolescence became clearer in my conscious awareness than it ever has been.  This clarity came to me during a break in the outpatient treatment program I decided to once again voluntarily take part in.  And perhaps somehow this clarity was made possible by virtue of the fact that I am the only man taking part in this program.  Yes, once again I find myself to be the single male in a room that is otherwise exclusively full of women.  Throughout the day I felt myself aware of the old wounds I carried due to the expectation placed upon me (throughout much of my childhood really) that I tolerate being around sick women.  In essence I was asked to bear a burden that ideally should never be placed upon any child.  I was expected to tolerate illness as if it were normal and healthy for such a child to endure such a thing.

Today I found myself appreciating how this burden impacted my development in my adolescence.  I didn't have a lot of willingness to resist the unreasonable expectations still being placed upon me as I entered this phase of my development.  I was simply too tired of dealing with my dysfunctional father by that point.  I was worn down by years of putting up with my father's dysfunctional behavior.  I would only resist and raise a fuss if I felt deeply violated.  And there were certainly instances in which this happened.  But the consistent and more subtle aspects of the neglect I experienced were something I had learned to look past.  This was an adaptation on my part.  I couldn't raise a fuss each and every time I wasn't treated properly.  To do so would have been exhausting as well as potentially threatening to what attention I was given.

Somehow today I could feel the grief rise up in me that came to be in specific response to what did not happen in my adolescence.  I felt the grief of never receiving a proper initiation into becoming a man.  The lack of proper initiation into manhood is not an uncommon problem in the industrialized West.  I have previously read about this issue.  I have read about the sad consequences that can result when people do not experience a proper acknowledgment of significant rites of passage such as becoming a man.  But I have never really sat with the feelings I carry about how I was never properly initiated by my own family of origin.

It is clear to me that it is now time for me to attend to this additional portion of my grief.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!