Listening to Motherless Child again caused some things to come up for me. I know the song is more relevant for people who went through slavery but when I first heard – by Hootie and the Blowfish – it I was young(er) and could relate in a strong way.
So, without further fuss, here’s what I got:
“I am considering the psychological, social, and developmental consequences of growing up a motherless son. This is the first blow to what might have been a normal childhood. Or perhaps it was the second blow: being born prematurely was the first blow. Did I grow up in a womb filled with narcotics and amphetamines – and if I did how would it afflict my birth?
“A theme I often think on is the sins of my father. But the first sins against me were committed by my mother. I was born prematurely due to her drug abuse and I grew up without her.
“Growing up with my father was hard enough with his sardonic, cynical, and often abusive parenting style – followed up with his spectacularly heart-rending suicide and his family’s reaction to it. If I had my mother’s dementia and alcoholism to cope with as well – I would likely be in a much darker place.
“So – what am I trying to say with all this? Is it unfair? Is it sad? Does it enrage me? To all of these I say ‘Yes! Absolutely!’
“Since memory starts I can recall this disquiet, hurt, anger, and finally rage at my parents. They both are dead – he at the end of a tow cable, she with myriad bottles of cheap beer – I have no examples to look to for how to live my life, for how to have long term relationships with people who are functioning members of society, for how I might raise a child if ever I should become a father, for how I might be a good husband if ever I should have a wife.
“All that I do have are examples of what not to do:
“- Don’t get addicted to anything.
“- Don’t pass your emotional baggage on to your kids.
“- Don’t bury anger or pain.
“- Don’t let suicide be the answer.
“- Don’t have others depend on you if you are toxic.
“I can feel this hurt and rage in my head: by my seventeenth year I was an orphan. The only reason my being the horrible choices my parents made. How do I not make the same mistakes? Looking at my life I can see that I bury my anger and my pain, I have sometimes thought of suicide as an answer, and I am addicted to certain ritualistic behaviors – ignoring certain social norms on purpose.
“What it comes down to are these inversions of those five don’ts:
“- Resist addiction.
“- Be emotionally responsible.
“- Deal with painful emotions.
“- Live life even in despair.
“- Be healthy with others.”
Well… that’s all I can say for now. The struggle continues – but at least I have it out here instead of in my head.
I’m sorry to hear it brother. I wish people didn’t have to go through this kind but unfortunately it happens more often than not these days. I can’t t say I’ve gone through exactly what you have gone through but I’ve been in that pit. One realization that helped me with my depression and negative thoughts was that I wasn’t alone in this and that my parents didn’t do the stuff they did on purpose. They were just hurting as much in there own way like the rest of us. It helped me have more compassion for people and less alienated. What makes me sad and depressed now is the fact that almost everyone is hurting and its really frustrating because it doesn’t have to be and the circle just needs to be broken. The best thing you can do is exactly what you’re doing, learning and growing from the experience instead of repressing it till you pass it on. It’s a long hard journey though but people are there for you, you only have to seek and ask. Most may not act like it but we’re all family here on this planet and I’ll do my best to be there for ya. Love ya bro.