I can’t say that I had a hard life. In fact, I got mostly anything I wanted. I knew had to play the game especially with my father. In fact, he’s the one who taught me! My dad was a tall handsome man that was very popular and very well liked. He definitely was “the man” of the household. He was very strong willed and at times raised his voice to my dear mother. I would characterize him as verbally abusive to her, but at the same time very loving to her. My mom was a beautiful woman inside and out but she took the verbal abuse from him. I think she felt the apologies overrode the abuse.
My dad came from a very poor Jewish family while my mom came from a very wealthy Jewish family. But Dad in his Coast Guard uniform swept my mom off her feet. She was a volunteer at the USO where he frequented. They met, fell in love and got married. They had 4 children, 3 boys and a girl, me! My oldest brother was Autistic so much of my moms life was consumed by him. My middle brother got the short end of the stick, being blamed for everything. Then came me, the princess who could do no wrong in my dad’s eyes. That was our family until 7 years later when the third son was born. You never could blame anything on my baby. I say “my baby” because I took care of him most of the time. He was like my little human doll.
So getting back to me. My father treated me as his princess but a price came with it. I might go into that another time. I will tell you that he said I was perfect in his eyes and I had to maintain that quality to keep him and my mom happy. What a demand for a little girl. I had to look, act, and be perfect at all times. Then, I could have anything I wanted. I was afraid to screw up, do the wrong thing, or look the wrong way. I lost confidence, felt unworthy, and my anxiety level was well beyond what I could take. I had nightmares and fears of not pleasing my parents. So, for example, if I got a B in a class, I was afraid to come home. There was a lot of pressure on me growing up.
At 18 , I started seeing a therapist for anxiety. I was getting headaches and cried a lot. I think the stress of trying to be perfect compromised my health. I was diagnosed with many catch all illnesses like Chronic Fatigue Syndome, Epstein Barr, Anxiety Disorder, Agorophobia and whatever the doctor could think of.
Catching up to 2004. I was turning the big 50. I woke up with numbness front the top of my thighs to my neck. By the way, throughout my marriage(24 years at that time), I had long spells of tiredness and pain throughout my legs. So, after numerous tests given to me by a neurologist, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This can’t be happening to me! Not happy!
I was devastated! It can’t be! The doctor has to be wrong!