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The Rest Of The Story July 27, 2013

27 Jul

“She’s tough, she can take it”. If I hear myself being referred in that term one more time I will dissolve into a puddle of self pity just to prove that under that tough exterior lives a very sencative, soft hearted little girl in desperate need of love demonstrated by a supportive strong person – maybe a father I never had.
So here is my explanation of how self confidence comes into existence – no, I am not a psychiatrist or even a psychologist or therapist but I have spent all of my years of walking this earth trying to figure things out. Why does one child in and abusive environment grow up to be strong and tough and another breaks under the strain?.
For one thing, I think there are three phases in this process of developing a healthy self esteem.
Early childhood, middle age and mature adult (this can be at any chronological age).
Let’s look at a small child – I will, once again, use me as an example. When I was at a crawling stage in my first year of life – no, I don’t claim to remember this. I heard my mother telling this story repeatedly during social evenings with neighbors since that is the only entertainment they had. My parents lived as despised Germans under Stalin’s bolchivic regime. Life was almost unbearable. Those who had not been massacred under Lenin during the 1919/1920 revolution or later banned to The dreaded Siberia lived in small huts since their grand three story brick houses had been confiscated under total control of the government. The threat of Siberia was always present – even for the smallest offense such as returning to the collective for work after a short lunch break late.
So, under these conditions it may be a little easier to forgive my mother for some of the things you will read in “The Chocolate Bar”. Now to this story that would make every one crack up in laughter when told by my mother. It was always a race to get lunch on the table at precisely the time my father would come home so he could return in time not to be late and wind up a Siberian prisoner never to return. The summers were hot and the cooking took place outside. Just beyond the makeshift stove stretched a large tomato field. Muttie (German for mother) would carry me to the farthest end of the field. Run back to the stove to get lunch on the table undisturbed by a toddler crawling around underfoot. She could keep an eye on me crawling through the tangles of tomato vines and listen to me howl all the way back to her. Her story always ended with praise from her audience about how she was able to time it perfectly and keep papa out of prison, as well as admiration for me having the tenacity to never give up, fighting the vines until I was in the safety of her presence again.
Very good, Muttie – but what about little Gatel ? Incidences like this one were plentyful – it got us all through a very critical time in our lives but how much damage did it really do in shaping my personality. I watched how my fragile little cousin with an older brother was protected by her whole family – she is still considered needy and therefore to be treated with tenderness by the whole family. I, on the other hand am considered tough – to be ignored to fight my own battles. I do, only to be criticized for being harsh among other descriptive words.
So I went through my middle years being strong, raising my two daughters mostly on my own, learning how to survive in an increasingly demanding environment of jobs without benefit of an education – but I did survive – is that because of the lack of support during my growing up years? would I have become a different person had life been more kind during my early years? Who knows.
Here is the conclusion I have come to in the end of my life’s journey: We are what we make of ourselves in the process – right or wrong, good or bad. There are children who survive unspeakable abuse and grow up to be the most caring social workers, care givers or other nurturing professions, not to mention the most loving, caring parents. Then there are those who are found in the prisons and mental institutions – same conditions, different results.
I wish I was a psychiatrist. Then, maybe I would have the answers. But since I don’t have the answers to the “Why’s” I will just have to be true to myself and accept my strengths – but,oh how I wish to just be taken care of once in a while instead of being the one to be counted on to provide for others.
So now you all know my secret longings – talk to you next week.

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4 responses to “The Rest Of The Story July 27, 2013

  1. Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon

    July 28, 2013 at 4:21 am

    OK….Now I’m starting YOUR book before Kail’s!! WOW….I can SO relate to your words Agathe…..I’ll never forget the time when I 1st got therapy for my Childhood abuse, both verbal and sexual resurfaced in my late 30’s, I finally was brave enough to tell my parents….My mom not didn’t believe me, but about the abusive way we were disciplined, she said…*I was the only one out of her 4 children that it is bothering Mentally??? WHAT??? She also said, “Well….we had No rule book on how to raise you kids”……WHAT???….I do believe what my therapist said, he said most times if YOUR parents were raised in that environment, they most likely raise their children the only way they know how???….It still bothers me a bit today. Even after hiding and using Gambling as a Escape! It’s what my book is about, Addicted To Dimes,(Confessions of a liar and a Cheat)…..about my life, Addiction, mental illness, childhood trauma, life challenges, and Recovery 🙂 Thanks for sharing some of your Story to world as well!! We can’t CHANGE things if we don’t Speak UP & speak OUT…..Bravo! *Hugs & Blessings* Catherine

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    • Tina Merten

      July 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Yes Catherine, the more people that hear our voices the more people can be free. You go girl. Tina

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    • AGATHE

      July 31, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Catherine,
      Thanks for being my first blogger friend. So many women in audiences I spoke at confided to me stories very similar to yours and mine. It is sad that so much of the female population suffers in silence. Especially since we are the ones with the biggest influence over the next generation. And, if the psychiatric community is right about parents continuing in the same abusive behavior, we as a country are in deep trouble. It is my belief that the only way to break the chain of abuse is to recognize it and become brave enough early enough to confront the abuser and expose the situation and then change the pattern in our own parenting. I realize that this is easier said then done but who ever said that life was easy ? Agathe

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      • Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon

        June 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm

        Yes!….We were not given any guarantee’s that life would be easy. And your spot on about OUR generation needing to interrupt & break this cycle of abuse! I got much flak from my mom when she was still living about that.

        She was the one who started, and carried HER parents abusive behaviors onto us kids, and when I finally moved away from home, then come for a visit, it was like I was standing outside this dysfunctional family bubble looking in, and KNEW that’s NOT HEALTHY Behavior!

        But my mom would just say to me when I would say it’s wrong…..” you just think YOUR better than us”! Man that used to piss me off! Very hurtful thing to say. Yes, we are the one’s who need to Raise Awareness to others that it’s so destructive. We now have a voice and a platform to do it!
        Catherine 🙂

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