I’ve been doing shadow work and parts work about parentification trauma recently, and here’s the story. I feel very sad after writing out the story, especially about the insecurity of physical abandonment. How sad is this. No wonder I relate to orphans and adoptees… And I now understand how deeply the enmeshment trauma affected me. I fought so hard not to be enmeshed.
This is how I was parentified/forced to grow up too fast:
So basically, I wasn’t a wanted child, and parentification/growing up too fast is a theme in both of my parents’ family lines. Both my mum and dad were parentified children.
I wasn’t raised by my own parents. My grandmother and aunt took care of me until I was ten when my mother brought me back to live with her.
Ever since infancy, adults around me have seen me as an ‘independent’ child because I rarely cried and developed way faster than most children my age (drinking milk from the bottle, walking etc. All these basic skills).
And now looking back, I know my abnormal development was the result of extreme level of dissociation and fragmentation, starting from birth and gestation.
My birth was totally forced upon me, taken out of the womb without any sign of giving birth because my mother’s pelvis is too small to give birth naturally, so they picked a day to take me out.
In toddlerhood and childhood, I spent a lot of time alone. Doing homework alone. Eating alone. Going to school alone. Going home alone. If I had questions, I looked it up on the internet or from books. My grandmother and aunt provided zero support for my academics because they couldn’t. I was put in childcare and cram school since kindergarten. Yes, the pressure of academic performance started in kindergarten.
So basically, except for physical and financial needs, all of my needs were not taken care of and provided for by my family. Mental and intellectual needs were provided for by mostly internet and books, school is secondary. Emotional needs were almost completely suppressed. By the way, adults in my family don’t talk to each other, let alone talking a child. Super cold and distant family atmosphere.
Emotional neglect (all of the absence I describe above) is one of the main contributors to parentification/growing up too fast trauma, the other one is that I had to make sure the other person (mother & aunt specifically, my grandmother didn’t talk much, very quiet) understood my perspective, and I needed to present perfect argument in a debate/argument to shut them up. To prevent them from interfering my choices in my life.
This dynamic started when I was in primary school. I remember the first huge conflict with this dynamic was my decision to leave the cram school when I was in 3rd grade, around 9 years old. I promised I would still be academically excellent, and I delivered the results.
The ‘know it all’ intelligent personality is completely the byproduct of this dynamic because I need to fucking compete with adults. If I didn’t win, my identity would be engulfed, and I couldn’t have any freedom to choose, especially relative to learning and my own values etc.
This intelligent personality is very good at understanding complex and conflicting perspectives, finding solutions for dichotomy and winning debates, and handling explosive/aggressive emotions and shame deflection while having the debate/argument/conflict.
With all of that happening in my childhood, vulnerability must be hidden from everyone because I was in a fucking war zone. I am very sensitive to zero sum game as a result of this.
I’ve been trained to find solutions for all because if I don’t, I will be in great danger. I never felt secure about not being abandoned PHYSICALLY. Emotional abandonment wasn’t even a concern because there wasn’t inclusion from the get go.
And now, I am recovering from all the mental, intellectual and emotional harshness… by releasing the tension/anxiety of I have to make everybody understand and receive me. I release the responsibility. Understanding/comprehension is 50/50, just like the responsibility of taking care of a relationship. It’s not easy for me. My automatic nervous system response is still anxiety to make sure everyone understand. Taking baby steps ☺️