If you are reading this, either you are intrigued or we have something in common; we both have a parent with an addiction. From one teen to another – ‘the hidden truths’ is an insight into my 13 year old self and my life experiences growing up.
I am now 30 years of age and it’s only now that I am starting to understand my behaviours as a young person growing up and craving the attention of my mother.
It has taken me a long time to pluck up the courage and confidence to share my story; I am today doing so with the intention of helping others on their journey.
I was brought up by the most incredible man and my beautiful grand-parents and I love them with all I have, but it did not stop me from wanting the love of my mother. I wanted so much to lie in her arms, for her to stroke my hair and tell me she loved me and that she was proud of me, but that never came. I blamed the world including myself for her leaving.
My father was always honest with me; he explained from a young age that my mum was a drug addict. On reflection, it was important for my father to educate me from a young age, but that didn’t stop me from thinking “she chose drugs over me’.
I have always had a very strong mind about drugs and the damage they cause, ensuring history didn’t repeat itself.
My father won custody of my sister and me. Due to my mum’s addition and lifestyle; it would be deemed that she could only see us in contact centres. I recall so many times the excitement of seeing her, getting into the car, arriving at the centre, only for her not to turn up. My father tells me that at first I was heartbroken but after a while it became an expectation. This ‘expectation’ of people not turning up has stuck with me and often causes anxieties that I will be left waiting.
This inconsistency caused me to be inconsistent in some areas of my life, causing sadness and the feeling of being insecure. On reflection, had I understood that leaving people waiting and letting them down was wrong as opposed to accepting it, maybe I would have done things differently.
We saw my mum on several occasions; we took trips to the Isle of Man and stayed with her in the UK when she was living here. I recall these days to be exciting, nerve wracking and at times scary; on reflection these feelings were there because deep down she didn’t know how to be a mum and therefore behaved erratically. We wouldn’t see her for months and even years later.
As I went through my teens I became more and more angry and confused and not because I didn’t understand what my mum was, but why she continued to stay away. I now appreciate her staying away, was the best thing for me and my sister.
As a child (6 years of age) I would go around with my little diary and collect the names, addresses and contact numbers for those who were in contact with my mum, knowing full well it would be me who would have to find her.
I recall calling the landline number I had for her boyfriend and she answered, I spoke to her all the way to school. I knew she was high but I didn’t care, I just wanted to talk to her. We sang ‘skinny mallinky longlegs’ together and laughed all the way to school. She promised me she would call me after school, I didn’t hear from her until years later.
Once again feeling abandoned and let down.
Because of the inconsistency with my mum, my behaviours changed; I started being naughty at home and at school. I continued blaming everyone else as opposed to blaming her illness and addiction.
I believe one of the things that saved me from history repeating itself was my dream of joining the army, I knew that if I ended up like my mum my dreams would be shattered.
Life is not easy and you are always going to be presented with challenges, so long as you know right from wrong and you remain focused on your dreams, you can’t go wrong.
My advice to you reading this is to get focused on you, your future and your life. A big part of that is your education, as a teenage you don’t realise the doors that can be opened for you in later years. I can assure you, there is no better feeling than proving to all who wrote you off, that you are better and capable of achieving your goals and dreams.
Equally, never forget your journey and life struggles; this is what will keep you driven and humble for your achievements.
From one teenage to another, if I could do, and think about things differently as a teenager, this is what I would think and do:
* She loves you
* You are beautiful inside and out
* Because of your life experiences, you are open minded and non-judgemental
* She is poorly
* It’s not your fault
* She gave you a life to live, remain focused on you and your dreams and not her mistakes and illness
* You have overcome so many challenges, meaning anything and everything is possible – Go for it and don’t allow anyone to tell you, you aren’t good enough
My journey so far has allowed me to move forward without being judgemental, to stay a loving, honest, and a straight-forward talking person. I think it is safe to say
I am happy with the person I am today, but make no mistake, it hasn’t been easy and I appreciate I have a long way to go.
After being judged as a child, written off by many people and told I wasn’t good enough; I am now the owner of a successful business that helps and supports people every day, I have travelled to many countries all over the world and continue to work on finding myself.
I truly hope after reading this, you feel inspired not to focus and concentrate on others mistakes, but on you and your dreams. The only person that can stop you from going to class, learning, or achieving your dreams is you and only you.
Go out there and get what you deserve.