Home is not a good place for me to be hopeful or to feel pain. No one would realize that. My dad and I talked about things that would make someone need inner child work. He has a M.S. in counseling. He doesn't think that lack of an outlet or social opportunities is the same as abusive, dysfunctional family. Why then did I learn so quickly and easily to isolate? Why was it so easy for people who first met me to think that I was older? My dad says every oldest child has those issues. I did not have opportunities to be a child with my peers, and I did not have freedom to hurt about it at home. I was always supposed to change something about myself or just learn to accept it. That was Mom's most recent advice: it is "the adult way" to be alone.
No, my parents do not recognize any of this. In their own way they were trying to help. They thought I wanted them to fix it. They didn't know I just wanted a hug and someone to listen. That was why I refused to go to counseling as a kid. I just wanted parents to listen and care, not somebody who got paid for it. So I learned that it was better to keep it inside, to not feel, because people couldn't or didn't have time to give what I needed. When I was around 13 there was a song popular by Melissa Manchester called "Don't Cry Out Loud." Every time I listened to it I thought about my mom and thought that it was something she might say: "Don't cry out loud. Just keep it inside, and learn how to hide your feelings. Fly high and proud, and if you should fall remember you almost had it all." Well, almost is not good enough. I wanted it all, and it hurt not to have it, and I should have been able to hurt. Not that they were never there. They were sometimes, but at many really important times I was alone.