Apparently it’s not normal to be this sheltered and controlled?!

I grew up just like any other kid… not allowed to watch public TV… put to work for my dad… sheltered and strictly controlled… that’s normal, right? There were a lot of rules in the house: what not to say, how to reject a marketing call on the phone, how to perform our morning routines in sequence with a good attitude (rewarded with money or candy, or punished with paycheck ‘dings’, spankings with a rubber spatula, or pinches… after spanking was deemed abusive)… but above all else, JESUS was always brought up to warn us that we better behave like little angels. “What would Jesus do?” I went through the motions and did as I was told, to the best of my ability, to prevent any parental outbursts of anger.

What was your childhood like?

Here’s a photo of me when I was just 9 years old, around the age of my arranged baptism.

I have learned that this strict, controlling, brainwashing sort of childhood has caused me a lot of issues in my adulthood. I struggle with my self esteem, constantly downplaying my own life’s experiences. I am a serial people pleaser. And I suffer from “freeze mode” when I am in the presence of a man who is expressing anger, even if it is not directed towards me. My fearful freeze-up episodes can last from 20 minutes to several hours.

Photo by Tenball Photography.

I thought it was NORMAL to be raised this strictly, now when I interact with people who tell me their upbringing history, which usually doesn’t include the stringent morning routines, moral fire and brimstone brow-beatings, etc… It makes me feel like I missed out of a fair childhood a little bit…



2 Responses

  1. Sadly your upbringing wasn’t as uncommon as it should be.
    I was lucky to be raised in a caring and stable environment. In my adulthood I’ve learned that mine was the exception and traumatic ones like yours more the norm.

  2. Personally I had a love hate relationship with religion, my folks were religious but also very laid back even hippyish (ironic cause we are native) in some ways. I rebelled against religion in my teen years, and then sort of embraced again in my late 20s-early 30s… now I take with a gain of salt and sympathize with those who really had it strict. I could go drink with friends, listen to gangster rap, talk back to my dad and stepmom even get in trouble at school and I was never punished to badly. I feel that in a way I got the right version of a Christian upbringing, loving all and not judging others and being forgiving while others were made to look down on others and shun the ones messing up. I can only imagine how confused you must have been fighting your instincts in situations you were uncomfortable with while being raised to comply, or trying to forgive yourself for mistakes that were not really thy bad but made out to be. All this really shows through in your thoughts full nature, clearly you do not want to spread this same type of behavior to others.

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