Wow. Fantastic piece. THANK you for sharing. I too went through something very similar in my own mindset of being in “survival mode” most of my young life. My father was very negligent (eventually leaving entirely) and my mother was the worst kind of covert passive-aggressive narcissist. On the outside, she was a delight. Behind closed doors, it was a completely different story. So, he was angry and explosive, she was manipulative and liked to push any buttons she could. Layer it over with abject poverty and you have a recipe for childhood disaster.
Many of the emotional aspects you mentioned here, I too mirrored. The agreeableness, the lack of a voice, staying in relationships or situations where I wasn’t treated as well as I should have been, etc…I really appreciate you taking the time to write this. It is frighteningly familiar and accurate (in what people who have suffered from prolonged trauma may experience as a result). More people should speak out as you have so that others may understand where we are coming from.
Not everyone is raised the same and often people will passively or outright victim shame if say, you tell them you have nothing to do with the abusive relatives in your life. I’m part of a support group of women who all suffered at the hands of their abusive mothers. Many of us will get sassed with things like, “Well, she’s your mom. You should just let it go and forgive.” Um, yeah, she is my mother. Which makes what she did to me (for decades) worse than had she been a stranger off the street. But many people don’t get it. They project their more ideal childhoods — with emotionally healthy parents — onto mine and get offended as though I were rejecting their version of a parent. Not the physically, emotionally, or financially abusive one I had…
I finally learned it was ok to say “no” (punctuated without further explanation).
I finally learned it was ok to worry and focus on for myself first, and everyone else second.
I finally learned it was not ok to be treated the way I had been by supposed loved ones and partners.
I am most certainly fierce.