Part 2: The History of My Insecurities
As we talked about in Part 1, insecurities are the underlying cause of jealousy and envy. So, after you do the first step of acknowledging that you’re feeling jealous/envious, the second step is to figure out where those feelings are stemming from. What is making you insecure? What are you afraid of? Do these fears/insecurities stem from past experiences? This blog post will detail my insecurities and what experiences I think caused them.
Where My Insecurities Come From
Anyone who knows me and anything about the innerworkings of my friendships growing up and relationships now, know that I have insecurities surrounding not being good enough, others being more fun or cooler than me, and of being abandoned. Those close to me also know that I have diagnosed Major Depressive Disorder. Whether the depression causes the insecurities, or the insecurities play a part in the depression (or both), I don’t know. Either way, it is easy for me to pick out the specific instances in my life that led to these insecurities, though it is not so easy to work through them and get rid of these feelings (though I have recently found a local poly-friendly therapist to help me work through these things).
I grew up on a back country road in an old 1800s farmhouse surrounded by cornfields. The closest kids my age lived 5 miles down the road. There were actually two sets of kids, who coincidentally lived across the road from each other. Because of location, I tended to get left out A LOT. Since they lived across the road from each other, they played every day, multiple times a day, and went places together. My mom would drive me down there from time to time to play but I never felt like they really wanted to include me. It seemed forced most of the time, and that hurt. I specifically remember realizing that they didn’t really want to hang out with me, when me and my mom road our bikes down the road and the kids went to hide to avoid me. Thinking back on it, I wonder if this is where my insecurities of not feeling good enough/fun enough come from.
My Mother’s Best Friend
My childhood growing up was not emotionally stable. I remember from a young age being taught that we (my mom and I) had to lie to my dad about certain things so that we ‘wouldn’t get in trouble.’ Sometimes it seemed like dumb things, like that we had taken the car to the mall or that I was eating a bowl of ice cream. Other times it was bigger things, like that my mom had bought me the puppy I had begged for but that my dad did not want, or that we had hid baby monitors up in my dad’s studio so that my mom could listen to his phone calls. My mother made me her best friend, and my father was the enemy.
I’m not sure if my mom was more afraid of getting in trouble because she thought he’d get mad and leave her or if she thought he’d yell at her. Either way, whenever my parents would get into a bad fight (I never knew what it was about), my mom would pack me up and we would go stay at my brother’s house for the night. I remember doing this from a young age (4/5 years old). Her defense mechanism was always to leave before she could get left, which I now can feel myself emulate in my mind when situations get tough.
I don’t know whether my dad kept busy so he didn’t have to deal with my mom as much or if he genuinely was just the type of guy who loved doing projects, but he spent a large amount of his time working outside or up in his music studio in our house. I was not allowed to bother him when he was upstairs. He seemed inaccessible. I grew up feeling like he never had time for me and that that must mean I wasn’t worth it or special enough to grab his attention.
At the age of 10, my mom was showing me emails that my dad had sent to another woman. She was venting to me about her and my dad’s relationship (or lack thereof). And that year, she asked me if it was alright if she divorced him. I bawled and said no. So, she stayed another 2 years. She put a baby monitor up in his studio, and she would lay in bed at night and listen to his phone conversations. One night, she came into my room and had me listen too, I think so that she could have someone confirm that he was in fact telling another woman that he loved her. But I was 12. I shouldn’t have been involved.
(Side note: I want to add that my mom’s childhood was much much more unstable than mine and actually just downright terrible – so the way she coped and acted all makes sense from a psychological standpoint.)
My Parent’s Sudden Divorce
One night, while listening to the baby monitor, my mom heard a huge thunk and believed that the baby monitor had been found. She went running out of the house in her pajamas without any possessions and drove over to my brother’s house to hide. She was afraid he was going to be mad about her spying on him. In reality, he had no idea it was there, and the door had accidentally knocked into it. He WAS mad when he went downstairs, and my mom was gone though.
I was at my sister’s house for the weekend. I often had sleepovers over there and played with my nieces. We were on our way home from dinner when my sister got a few phone calls. The first was from my dad asking where my mom was. My sister had no idea; of course, we thought mom was at home. The second phone call was from my brother saying that he knew where mom was, but he couldn’t tell us because he didn’t want dad to know, but that she was safe. I looked out the car window into the night and cried silently. I was scared, I felt alone, I felt abandoned, I was terrified.
The next day, my brother picked me up from my sister’s house and told me I was coming to live with him now. When we entered his house, he told me to go look in the back bedroom, and there was my mom! Her face was all red and puffy from crying so much. But I was ecstatic to see her. I wasn’t as scared anymore. I was told that we weren’t allowed to see or talk to my dad. I had nothing but the clothes on my back and whatever I had brought to my sister’s that weekend for the sleepover. My sister and brother bought us some new stuff, and at some point, my sister went over to my dad’s and collected a few of our things. I don’t think I set foot in that house for years.
I’m not sure whether this was an overreaction or not, but for some reason, my brother was convinced that my dad would try to kidnap me to get my mom to come back. My mom got a restraining order for herself and me against my dad. She notified the school that he wasn’t allowed to pick me up. My brother and his girlfriend would drive me to school and walk me in. They brought a picture of my dad to the office so that he wasn’t allowed in the building. My sister wasn’t allowed to take me to the mall for Easter pictures because they thought he’s find out and try to take me. Looking back now, it all seems a little extreme.
Middle School ‘Friends’
I went to private school for all of elementary. When I was 11 years old and transitioning to middle school, I convinced my parents to switch me to public school. As luck would have it, one of my classmates was doing the same, and we actually ended up in the same classes. It was nice having someone I knew, though I probably overly clung to her. At this point in my life, I was still a bubbly, outgoing, talkative kid. Life hadn’t beat me down yet, or told me I was annoying or too this or too that.
I immediately started trying to connect with other kids at the new school. I made friends with another new girl and introduced her to my group of friends. I was nice…and it bit me in the butt. Over the course of a few weeks, this new girl took over my friend group and turned everyone against me. She convinced them that I was weird for wanting to share lunch items (like eating the pepperoni off of someone’s pizza if they were just going to throw it out anyway). She would give me dirty looks in the hallway, and actually brushed passed me once in the hallway surrounded by her group and called me a ‘bitch.’
This is when I started to lose my sparkle. I started becoming withdrawn, careful, quiet. Why put yourself out there, why talk to other people, if they’re just going to turn on you. This is the first memory I have of self-harming; I would scratch designs into the back of my hand with a leadless #2 pencil.
This, of course, happened to be the same year that my mom suddenly left my dad. And when we moved in with my brother, it was a different school district. So, not only did I get bullied, not only did I have to move houses without warning and without any of my possessions, but I also got to start at another new school at the end of March (3/4 of the way through that school year). It was a lot of transition all at once, and honestly something that I probably need to unpack with a therapist.
These are just different experiences in my young life that I feel shaped who I am today. I am never here to say that I had it better/worse than anyone else. They just serve as an example to you when you try to look back and figure out what made you the way you are. It could have been small experiences that might seem insignificant to others but that affected you profoundly. It isn’t anyone else’s place to tell you whether an experience affected you or not.
Stay Tuned for Part 3: How My Insecurities Affect My Friendships/Relationships where we explore the way I often express my insecurities through my thoughts and behaviors.