They say who your parents are, how they behave, how they treat you and others becomes what you unknowingly seek in a mate. So kids of alcoholic parents often end up marrying an alcoholic, kids of mental ill parents end up with mentally ill partners. You would think when one has struggled their whole life to take care of a parent when they grow up they’d want to be free of the burden, that they would have an awareness to avoid those people, that those people would turn them off but it’s the opposite. You get those people. You know how to help those people, how to take care of them. You subconsciously buy into this relationship because it feels almost comfortable. It feels like home, your shitty, dysfunctional, abusive home.
It’s gotten to the point in my life now that when I meet someone new and really click with them and really enjoy being around them I walk away thinking, “What happened to them?” “What’s their issue?” I had an eye opening realization in college that most of my best friends that I have made over the years have had horrific childhoods that mirror my own in some way. And it wasn’t a conscious thing. Literally I’d meet someone, get along and really enjoy being around them and then as years go by we’d get closer and it would come out that their dad was an abusive alcoholic, or they had a parent that was mentally ill, or they had been molested. It feels like a game. In this room of people find the damaged one. And I have the gift of knowing simply by getting along with them. This is no surprise to anyone that studies human psychology. When I was a teenager and confused about my mom and her issues I would go into bookstores and find a book about mental illness and read chapters in the back while standing in the isle. Almost every book I’ve ever read has grouped together kids of alcoholic parents and mentally ill parents. Children with these parents were often put in situations that made them grow up faster and deal with real issues beyond their maturity. This upbringing shapes you as a person. It’s weird to know that my personality, my reliability, my eagerness to please, my ability to take mental abuse well, all stems from having a mentally ill parent, that parts of me that I once thought were unique and special are simply collateral damage.