Why no one escapes childhood intact

why my childhood was shit and so was yours

As part of the discussion around legalising same-sex marriage in Australia, an American woman named Katy Faust has been playing the ‘rights of the children’ card. She wants us to believe all children need a biological mother and father to have a ‘good’ childhood. Aside from the fact it is an absurd notion, the argument has a fatal flaw: No one escapes childhood intact.

My childhood was terrible

My parents never raised their voices in anger. Instead there was cold quiet seething flowing underneath every difficult discussion.

Maybe your parents shouted at each other?

My mother taught me that anger, fear and sadness were weak emotions that should never be expressed.

Maybe your mother was always having an anxiety attack or a tension headache?

My mother taught me that food was used to show love but she was always too busy to eat with us.

Maybe there wasn’t enough food to go around in your house?

At school I was teased for being the teacher’s pet so I pretended I didn’t know the answers.

Maybe you didn’t know the answers so you were teased for being dumb?

I am adopted so I always felt I had to earn my parents’ love.

Maybe you were an accident so you felt like you didn’t belong.

My parents bought me everything I wanted but never asked how I felt.

Maybe your parents were as poor as church mice and you wore your sister’s clothes?

No-one had a perfect childhood. Not me, not you, and not your best friend.  No matter what the circumstances, no matter how much you were loved, looking back now you can see what your childhood lacked.

My childhood was shit because … I was a child.

When I was a kid … well, I was a kid. I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t understand the world and I didn’t have the choice to say “yes” or “no”.

I was dependent on someone else for everything — food, shelter, affection, entertainment, education, safety, happiness and belonging. I wasn’t able to choose for myself.

It’s tough being made to follow the rules, keep the peace and protect the family’s secrets. It’s a hard road to make it through childhood intact.

And yet here we are … grown up and experienced … and still we blame our troubles on our childhood.

We bring the feelings of powerlessness and inferiority into the present day.

You are no longer a kid.

You get to make choices.

You can say “yes” and you can say “no”.

You are the one in control of how you live your life.

Stop blaming the past. Stop giving away your right to choose.

Choose to be whoever you want. Choose to leave the past behind.

Choose to give that child inside you the love you never got enough of when you were a kid.

Everyone’s childhood was shit. No one has escaped intact. It’s time to get over it and get on with living today in the way you choose.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
~ Philip Larkin

why my childhood was shit and so was yours T

What’s the worst thing you did as a child?

About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

7 thoughts on “Why no one escapes childhood intact

  1. Oh this is such a loaded topic for me. Liked your spin on it. We do have a choice so many people get caught up on being a victim. Yes your childhood may have sucked but don’t let it cast a life long shadow over your adult years. Life is too short.

  2. always have this poem framed somewhere in your house

    They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

    Philip Larkin

  3. While I’ve gone through years of therapy for some of my childhood traumas, I also think that many of my childhood hardships helped to make me a stronger adult with character – not to mention being given great examples of what not to do or how not to behave. It’s silly to just throw our hands up and blame our current flaws on childhood issues when as adults we can conciously work out way past those things, it’s no excuse.

  4. I went through a short spell of “living in the past” and blaming my biological mother for the way I was feeling & my shortcomings and the best thing my counsellor said to be was “maybe she didn’t have the tools in the box”! Boom! There it was right there. The common sense amongst all the emotion. And from then, I was able to move on. Adoption is a minefield good, bad or ugly. But it is what it is and as you say – it’s our past, not our future. Fab post! Thank you for sharing x

  5. For me it’s not easy to give up and move on. Being abandoned physically sexually n emotionally abused by outsiders yet my parents didn’t hear me cry and even blamed me for them(this was from 4 years till about 13) told I was worth nothing and never gonna be worth anything by my father. Told it was a waste spending money on my education and much more. Now I’m married(got married really early coz I was running from home) with kids and I’m trying to get my PhD yet I’m not over all this. I’m considering therapy and I’m 38yrs still I can’t forget.

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