Advice I’d Give My Younger Self

In today’s Sunday Poser, Sadje asks what advice you’d give your younger self. Like in her case, for me it would be different depending on my age.

For example, I could have advised my twelve-year-old self not to be so loyal to her parents’wish to have her go to mainstream grammar school. However, rebellion in a young adolescent is rarely seen as a positive thing and even much less taken seriously. Preteens are expected to be loyal to their parents.

Besides, as someone who had hardly any social contact outside of the home, I didn’t know what was “normal” other than what I saw in the house – which in hindsight was far from normal.

For this reason, I am not really sure what advice to give my childhood self other than to savor the few friendships she did have.

To my teenage self, I would give the advice of standing up for herself more but in a kind way. Then again, this is basically the advice I’d give any younger version of myself and even present-day me, but I have little idea of how to go about actually doing it. I mean, I feel like I’m a doormat that can be walked over and a bed of nails at the same time.

I wish I could give myself the advice not to let others make decisions for me, but the two times I sort of made the decision to move somewhere on my own initiative, both went horribly wrong: my move to the psych hospital in Wolfheze in 2013 and my move to my current care home. For this reason, I’m still unsure I can trust my own decision-making. In truth, of course, I was misinformed in the latter case and not given enough time to process the decision in the former, so it’s not entirely my fault.

I guess, after all, there’s one piece of advice I’d give my younger self. It’d be for my nineteen-year-old self in April of 2006, when my parents threatened to abandon me because I was delaying going to university for another year in order to prolong my training home stay. The advice I’d give her is to let them have their way and not allow the training home coordinator to mediate. This, after all, led to the training home being pressured to require me to live completely independently and go to university after completing the program, something I never even wanted.

I know it’d take immense courage for me at that age to be disloyal to my parents, but had I been completely honest about my needs back in 2006, I would most likely not have ended up in my current care home now and wouldn’t even have needed as much care as I do now.

Do I Have to Be Loyal to My Parents?

Last week, I had a meeting with my nurse practitioner. We discussed my experience of being multiple, of having roughly 25 different selves. We also went into part of the reason I’m like this: childhood trauma.

There are selves who are pretty loyal to my parents. They keep wanting to call them, visit them. They keep worrying about what happens to them shoudl they fall ill. My parents are in their sixties, so it is pretty well possible that their health will fail anytime within the foreseeable future. Of course, I don’t hope so and they’re still pretty active, but well, religion aside, no-one has eternal life.

Then there are parts who have stopped caring about loyalty and who are focusing on me. One of these selves emerged shortly after my grandma’s death last May. This event seemed to be cathartic, having caused me, or at least that part of me, to let go of the idea that my parents will ever be what I wish them to be. Just like I won’t be what my parents wished me to be, they won’t be what I wished them to be.

This split between wanting to be loyal to my parents and wanting to move on with life and my own process, also comes to light on this blog. I usually write pretty openly about my experiences, but each time I keep wondering what my parents will think if they ever read this. Part of me doesn’t care, as I’m not lying about my experiences or feelings. Part of me feels I’ve been scapegoated enough that I have a right to tell the truth even if it hurts. Yet part of me still feels I have to be loyal, show respect, honor the people who brought me into this world.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday. The word for this week is “loyal”.