We are always taught that family is everything. This notion is ingrained in us at a young age. Now as an adult, we still carry this very concept of family. But will family still be everything even if they hurt us? Should childhood traumas circulate within the home?
It is no longer surprising if we have this kind of understanding when it comes to our family. Of course, they are the first we interacted with, grew up with, and felt a sense of belongingness. However, it is still no guarantee they can’t cause us harm—with or without knowing—just because families are connected by kinship. This damage inflicted can go on and on as our very own family is the perpetrator. This could lead to developing childhood traumas.
I can attest to how this trauma was perpetrated inside our home. Also shared the same idea of what a family is, same to aforementioned. I’m only taught what a family should be, not what shouldn’t be. So, all along I am not aware that what some of my relatives do shouldn’t be tolerated.
Most of my insecurities that I’m not grateful about are because of my family. I never had fair, flawless skin. Being tan-skinned most of my life, plus being mabalbon. Relatives always tease me just because of my skin. Tagged with certain names such as negrita, bulbulin, puro barya, and such.
I just shrugged these remarks against me like its nothing. Until it slowly gets into me. As soon as I hit the age of 10-12, I began to be eager on lightening my skin. I tried different whitening products, scrubbing calamansi or lime, and even scrubbing my skin twice every bath. I also became conscious of what I wear, making sure not exposing much of my skin.
Other than my skin insecurity, I also become apologetic. Being apologetic is just one of the manifestations of my childhood traumas. I always feel sorry and faulty even for the smallest mistake I made. Now that I think of it, I realized that I apologized for more to others than myself.
I can link this toxic trait of mine because of having a debt of gratitude. A debt of gratitude or utang na loob is not being thankful at all. It is paying the due more than I owe. As my mom or lola puts it, “Hayaan mo na anak, may pinagkaka-utangan ka ng loob e”, or “Magpakumbaba ka na lang.” In return for recognizing my debt of gratitude, I just took everything they want for me even if I don’t.
I never learned to defend and express myself. Instead, I just shied or cower. It’s as if they have full control just because they provided something in my behalf. I doubted and turned down those who wanted to help genuinely. I’m scared of paying another debt of gratitude.
Difficulty in being self-sufficient
My family taught me to be independent and dependent as well. To be independent to the point of not asking for help at all. I’d rather exhaust myself than ask for assistance. Why? Because I don’t want to owe them more and be a burden or nuisance to them.
What is ironic, they wanted me to be dependent as well. They point out that I needed them to achieve what I wanted. Making me feel that I have nowhere else to go without them.
Since I value the idea of debt of gratitude, I’ll please them. Having high hopes, doing well in school, not talking back, and not doing things that will disappoint them. I even mastered the art of compromising and compensating, as to not hear any word from them. Apparently, my defense mechanism is to adjust and burden myself.
There are times that I spite and dread my relatives because of what they put me through. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that it is they who made my childhood miserable. I felt I’m robbed of a priceless possession.
Cannot say that I already combated the childhood traumas I experienced. Yet, I can proudly say that I’m trying to overcome them. Already learned to value myself, as much as how I value the people that sheltered me.
Additionally, slowly regaining my self-confidence, and not relying on whitening products anymore. I can now say “no” when I don’t want to. Learned to also stand and speak up for myself and for those who are dear to me. Realized that even though I’m one of the youngest in the family, I am significant other than being bunso. I am entitled to act based on what should and shouldn’t be.
As someone who has undergone these issues in my life, it’s enough already for me to suffer. I should cut the chain from me for it not to thrive anymore. To those younger than me, relative or not, I don’t want to take their naiveté and childhood away.
On the other hand, I’m still in the process of understanding my family. They too also experienced and have their own childhood traumas before. Traumas that made them who they are. Still, this isn’t an excuse to inflict or divert their resentments to others.
We can’t say that family is everything, especially if toxic traits or habits breed. It should be within our family that we feel secure the most. It is impossible to achieve a perfect family to be with, but possible to a sensitive and nurturing one.
Breaking free from childhood traumas is not easy, yet is possible. Want to read more stories like this? Follow this link.
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