As a child I became a professional actress. It’s true. Not in Hollywood, or on Broadway, but in my life. I guess you could say it was my own little reality show. It was just never on TV, and I was the only person that knew about it. I learned very early on, that my true, authentic self, was not someone worthy of unconditional love. So, I invented a new character. A new me. Only, it wasn’t really me, and pretending got to be exhausting, and lonely. I could be surrounded by friends at a party, and laughing on the outside, but sobbing on the inside about how lonely I was.
I don’t know WHY I felt unworthy of love being myself. I can’t pinpoint a moment in time where it clicked that I wasn’t good enough for my mom. And the more I look back and REALLY try to figure out what happened, the more confused I become about what really caused it. My mom is NOT a bad person. She was not a horrible mother. I just think she didn’t know how to deal with me. How to relate to me. She is one that holds her emotions in, and doesn’t let anyone else in. She is sarcastic and puts others down in an attempt to make herself feel better. She didn’t interact with us much. I really cannot remember a time where my mom played with me as a child. No board games, art projects, etc. But I know a lot of people that were in similar situations, and they didn’t feel unloved, so why did I?
I, on the other hand, have always been a “heart on my sleeve”, highly emotional, sensitive, needy person. I NEED love. I NEED validation. And due to the lack of attention I felt I was getting, I became someone that NEEDED attention. Lots of it. But it seemed the harder I tried for her attention, the less I got. The more I annoyed her. So I became a character. A new me. I became a People Pleaser. A Fixer. I became a Kiss Ass. And I spent the rest of my childhood, teenage years, young adulthood and well, really, until the past year, doing nothing but kissing her ass to get her attention and love. To finally feel GOOD ENOUGH. But even that wasn’t working. I STILL don’t feel like I am good enough for her.
The damage that thinking does is tragic, really. When you don’t feel worthy of love from the one person in the world who is supposed to just naturally love you unconditionally….how on Earth do you ever feel worthy of love from ANYONE???
So, in my reality show that I created for myself, I became this outgoing, silly, happy happy girl that did everything she could to get a laugh. It became my goal to get everyone else to love me, so I could then say, “See mom?? Everyone ELSE loves me! I don’t need YOU to.” It worked to an extent. Only, having others love me didn’t make me feel less needy of my mother’s love, it made me more resentful of her. And then that resentment put a bigger wedge between us. I would kiss her ass to her face, and hate her behind her back. It was very damaging to our relationship. I take some ownership for that now.
In my teen years, I would spend more and more time at friends’ houses. I called my friends’ moms “Mom”. I called my own mother by her first name. I would get angry at my friends for complaining about their moms…I loved their moms. Their moms talked to me. Asked me how my day was. Asked me about the boys I was dating. My mom rolled her eyes. My mom turned every conversation to be about Her. Sending me the message that my day, my life, didn’t matter.
I remember my senior year, the senior class voted for the yearbook awards. “Best Smile”, “Cutest Couple”, etc. I won “Best Personality”. It felt like such a farce to me. I remember thinking it should have been “Best Actress”. No one knew the REAL me. No one would have voted for the REAL me. I felt like such a phony! A fake. But I had become so used to my character, it became method acting. I didn’t know where *I* went…I couldn’t even really remember the REAL me. I am just now finding her again. And you know what??