Sometimes when I reflect upon my life; it’s like riding on a carousel. Until a few years ago when I was 24 and had a wake up call, I had a habit of running over the same old ground and making the same mistakes over and over again. Going round and round in circles, aware of my own destruction but seemingly unable to stop it.
Carousel Example One:
Growing up the daughter of two alcoholics, there was really no parental figure to meet my needs. Alcohol was first the priority for both of my parents, their children’s needs was low down on the list of importance.
As a child, teenager and young adult I craved unconditional love, clear and consistent boundaries and nurture. I began to seek this out in people I thought could provide this; teachers, family friends, other authority figures etc. These people were unable to provide these things, I was not their daughter and they were not in an appropriate role to meet my needs in this way.
I rode the carousel maybe 25 times with this pattern. I would seek out a person who I thought could meet my needs, become close with them, attempt to cross boundaries, have them enforce appropriate boundaries and then become angry, resentful and upset they were not able to meet my needs.
Eventually I recognised the pattern and got painfully sick of this specific carousel, it was time to get off this joke of a ride and turn to the one person who could meet my needs: ME! Ain’t no one else’s job to save ya honey!
Carousel Example Two:
Similar to Example One, I really craved a loving functional family, my family did not meet this criteria.
When I met my partner, I developed a good relationship with his family, in my head I glorified them. I decided they were perfect and they were never going to hurt me, ever. Of course, no one is perfect and about once a year, a member of his family would make a minor mistake and I would dwell on it for months, becoming irrationally angry and resentful at a normal family dynamic of sometimes disagreeing with one another.
After about four times around this carousel, I got bored. I wanted to get off, this pattern was not fair on my well-meaning in-laws and it certainly was not fair on me either. I decided to walk away from the carousel viewing my in-laws as they were, humans, prone to the odd mistake.
Looking back on these two carousel rides, I cringe at not getting off after the first time around, but to continue for a long time engaging in hurtful and unhealthy patterns!
I hope I’m quicker to realise unhelpful carousel rides in the future; because I want to break the cycle and it starts with me.