I grew up in a family where money appeared to be no object. We rode horses, we went to private school, and we never went without, well financially or of material objects. As I have previously written (Happiness #1) material objects and money only contribute to momentary happiness, they don’t provide you with enduring happiness, so it is little wonder that I grew up in a household that lacked happiness. What we did suffer from, not that anyone else in my family will admit to it or even notice, is emotional poverty.
So what do I mean by emotional poverty? What I do not mean is my own ability to not feel emotions, what I do mean is the inability, the lack of, or the choice to not provide emotions that impact upon the immediate people in your life, so your partner, your children, your family.
I grew up in a family of four, which ended up three most of the time as my Dad worked as a Chef on the oil rigs which meant he was in the middle of Bass Strait one week on and one week off for most of my childhood and teenage years. So parenting was left up to my Mother. My Mother showed little emotion to anyone, even us kids, she didn’t show affection, her philosophy was you didn’t talk about your problems or concerns, and she rarely reacted emotionally to anything that happened in our lives. I can honestly say that I don’t remember a time in my life when I have actually felt love from her. When I was growing up I don’t remember thinking about this or wondering why it was this way, because well I guess I knew no different, but once I became involved in my ex-husbands family life, and my now soul mate’s family I now know that what I grew up to believe was the norm was far from it. It was from this experience that I committed to myself that I would never become my Mother to my own children.
Growing up in this environment has had a profound impact on my life, in particular it has contributed to my severe depression. In particular it has influenced my ability to talk about my problems and feelings, contributed to my lack of confidence, self-esteem, happiness, personality, attitude, and my behavior. Despite this I believe that I am the opposite to my Mother in that emotional poverty is not apart of my lifestyle anymore, and my little boy will never live in a family in the same way I grew up in.