Learning to Become What They Tell Us

abandonment abuse childhood trauma neglect toxic Jan 15, 2022

Dear Girl:

These blog posts are the single reason it took me so long to get started on writing.

I know it's important to introduce myself to my followers, clients, and friends so they can get to know me and develop a sense of where I'm coming from and why I became a coach for women who struggle with abandonment, abuse, and toxic relationships.

After all, who wants a coach who doesn't have some experience and expertise in the coaching area, right?

Yet here I've sat for two years, paralyzed, of sharing my story. I've danced around my account but haven't sat down to type it out.

Why would I be afraid to share, you ask?

It doesn't contain anything that profound.

It's fear, the old standby designed to keep us safe.

Fear so desperately wants to keep us safe that it can wreak havoc when we need it to take a back seat, funny how that works, huh?  

It doesn't matter who you are; it is a part of all of us. It is time to embrace it and learn to use it as the catalyst instead of the break.

My story isn't glorious or gruesome; it's simple.

It's a story of an everyday girl growing up in everyday America.

It brings us through many societal changes from the '60s through the 2020s.

Like almost all of us, a story has some happy parts and tough and challenging ones; mine is no different.

It's a story about feeling abandoned, left out, and never "good enough" and about overcoming, finding something more profound, and winning.

I must share with you first, though; this story is from my perspective.

Like all stories that live inside us, they contain only our emotions, feelings, and perspectives.

Just because my child's brain told me specific facts, they came from within myself and weren't necessarily the absolute "truth."

These "facts," felt deep in the soul, are processed through what you know at the time.

Much of my "story" came from things I processed as a three-year-old! Three!

 Abandonment was the overarching theme of my life, and when I look back to "my story," the way I heard and felt it, it's no surprise.

 There were four things I remember about being three years old.

#1. Throwing my bottle away because my Uncle had told me that big girls don't use bottles. (He was my favorite person, so I took his word as gospel). I tossed that thing out the back seat window, driving over a bridge in Southern MN. I vividly remember feeling panicked as soon as I let go. Much like writing my first blog post.

#2. My favorite human (same Uncle) died weeks after throwing my bottle away. It was devastating, and the first time I had ever seen my dad cry.

I didn't quite comprehend what death meant; I knew I'd never see him again.

#3. On my third birthday, I received what I had been begging for, a shiny pair of white Go-Go Boots that were all the rage (picture above). I just knew that dancing through life would be far prettier with those on my feet.

#4. Last but not least, being told that my mom never wanted me (the story I heard in my three-year-old brain).

It came as I was "helping" my mom fold laundry.

In true three-year-old fashion, as my mom dumped the warm laundry from the laundry basket onto the bed to fold it, I couldn't help myself and dove nose-first into the warmth.

She yelled at me and then words I'll never forget, "I never wanted you anyway." 

She went on to say she loathed children and was angry because she had us to care for us (there were five, I was the youngest).

The message I heard was not from a frustrated mom who was tired from working full time and caring for the house, kids, and bills, while her husband got all the accolades for being a hero policeman. I heard it from the woman who brought me into the world; it hurt, deep down. It felt like an attack on me personally, and I internalized it.  

What I heard was, "I was trouble, messed everything up, and she wished I wasn't there and there was no way she could ever love me." I believed it.

When we are children, we digest things and almost always internalize them. Personally and with feeling, they become a part of us; those five impactful words followed me and shaped my life starting that day.

On that day, I set out to find proof that what she told me was correct; I was looking for evidence everywhere that I didn't belong, that I was unwanted. Year after year, the proof showed up.

I saw it everywhere.

When someone ignored me, I felt it; I just knew I wasn't good enough; I'd never be loved or accepted, and I'd always be searching; at least, that's what I heard.

Not being good enough became something I didn't even have to think about; it became me.

People pleasing and trying to fix others became my favorite hobby. I thought maybe they could see how good I was or how much I cared; someone somewhere could love me.

My parents divorced when I was eight, and my mom left us. If the divorce wasn't nasty enough in 1972, being raised by your dad, the cop was like having a cootie badge pinned on.

Here I was, a young eight-year-old with no mom, no friends, and struggling with feelings that I had no way of knowing how to process.

Stay tuned for next week's blog, where I talk about the next eight years.

Click here if you are interested in taking the Childhood Assessment.

Peace and love,

Coach Kellie