Some people want it, some crave it, and other’s think they need it. How about you?

Growing up in my family, there was always some crisis going on. My youngest brother, Stephen, had epilepsy and was in and out of the hospital a lot from a very young age. When Stephen was in the hospital, of course, my parents would be at his side ,which meant my other brothers, Tommy and Danny, and I were left with my father’s family, his sisters, Dee Dee and Vonnie, his brother, Grant, and our grandma Vezie. I don’t know what was worse, living at home with all the dysfunctionality and chaos, or staying with my father’s family.

My father’s sister, Dee Dee, was the meanest woman I ever knew. She took care of grandma after her stroke, and ran the house while her sister, Vonnine and her brother, Grant, worked. Dee Dee favored my brother Tommy and would have prefered to have him at her house without Danny, Stephen or I, but she knew if she wanted to see Tommy, she had to take the rest of us as well. She would make Danny, Stephen (when he wasn’t in the hospital) and I stay outside in her backyard in the hot summers, and if we needed a drink  we were told to get it out of the swamp cooler hose while Tommy sat in the house reading comic books she bought for him, drank cokes, and had all the comforts of home.

My father’s older brother, Red, and his wife, Jess lived across the street from Dee Dee. They were very nice but they favored Danny, and he would get to go over to their house to enjoy snacks and cold drinks too. But I wasn’t anyone’s favorite, and I stayed in the back yard all day long by myself when Stephen was in the hospital. Then, when Stephen got well enough to function at home, he would have to go to Dee Dee’s house with the rest of us while my parents worked. Stephen wasn’t anyone’s favorite either, so he and I spent the days in the backyard together. Once in a while Dee Dee would bring us out a piece of bread with butter and sugar on it but she only did that so she could tell my parents she gave us a snack too. We weren’t allowed to go into the house for any reason. One day I had to go to the bathroom so badly I wet my pants. I was about nine or ten and I was terrified Dee Dee would find out before my pants dried. She did, and made me stand out in the back yard in my underwear until my jeans dried. I was mortified and felt like I had no control over what she made me do. This type of treatment went on for years and Stephen and I were afraid to tell our parents because we didn’t think they would believe us, and we knew if Dee Dee ever found out we told it would make things much worse on us. We felt like we were helpless, and had no control over the situation we found ourselves in everyday.

As I grew up, I no longer had to stay with Dee Dee, but the dysfunctionlity of our home move to higher levels as the boys became teenagers and fights would break out between them. I mean all out fist fights with breaking of furniture, bloody noses etc. I would be so scared, I would just go in my room and start cleaning. I would clean everything from top to bottom, rearrange furniture, pictures on the wall etc. I cleaned because it was the one thing I could control in my environment. Even if the room had just been cleaned because I had to clean the whole house every week, I would clean it again just because it made me feel in control. This cleaning activity became my escape and I carried it through into my adult life. When I would get upset, stressed, nervous etc. and feel like things around me are “out of control” I’d start cleaning because it makes me feel like I’m in control of something, anything.

It took years,  and lots and lots of self-help and self talks, but I finally realized all the excessive cleaning wasn’t giving me control over any given situation, it just gave me the illusion that I was in control of something, that and it gave me a really clean house, but that’s beside the point. What I came to understand is that we really don’t have real control over anything or anyone. The only thing we can really control is ourselves. I read a sign once in a little shop that said ” WE PLAN, GOD LAUGHS!” That really hit home with me and was a turning point for me to begin “letting go” of my need to have control. Now, I still clean, but I do it when needed, not as a means to make me feel in control.

What coping methods do you use?

Next: Accepting Change

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Megs
    Apr 28, 2012 @ 13:39:53

    WOW! The more I learn about your childhood the more I realize how much we have in common. I have become much better about accepting change in a helathyway. I take it as a learning lesson and try to grow from my experience. In the past, I would put up big walls to protect myself. That was how I controled my situation. Never be seen and never rock the boat. My job was to make everyone happy and feel comfortable. When my mom died and I felt like my world came to an end, I had someone tell me after two weeks to snap out of it. So I did. I buired my feelings and ended up falling a part anyways. I love your posts and I love you!!


    • beyondcinderella
      Apr 28, 2012 @ 14:17:15

      I love you too Megs, and am so glad you are following my joueney in my blog. If I can help one person find what they need from my life’s experience then I have more than met my goal. Love you so much. Va


  2. gotham girl
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 17:20:57

    So incredible. You continue to amaze me day after day reading your blog. When I was working my coping mechanism was to work and work and work. Hours and hours and hours. Now that I’m not, well you know it’s been my photography! It is truly my salvation! xoxo more!


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