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I’m sending you a short story of my life. Unfinished, however, with God’s help I’m closing the first, long and depressing chapter. “To spread wings”- that is the next chapter of my family’s life.

That’s how old I am, I am 50. I have always been suffering, all my memories are connected with suffering, they all still hurt. But now I know that I am not unbalanced, inferior. I am “just” AcoA, some say DDx as dysfunctions we experience are often mixed. Me and my husband, who was a DDx as well, made another mix and we passed our dysfunctions on our children. Their problems motivated me to find the reason for low self-esteem they have.

I was born as the last of the three children, a late baby of already old, tired and sickly parents, who spent the war on the slavish labour in Germany (I guess it is important). My mother kept on telling me how embarrassed she was that she expected a baby so late in her life (she was about 40 back then). These were the “welcoming” stories. Next, there were the stories of how hard and difficult it was for her to take care of me as she was sick and had a lot of responsibilities. She told me that when I  used to be locked at home alone, I cried so hard that my neighbor, an old man, opened the door with a master key and rocked me in a pram. She told me also that as a baby I was found in a paddle by my neighbor who offered my mum to take care of me and bring me up because she wanted so much to have a baby. (Why didn’t you, mum, give me away?) This story-telling comes back to me throughout my entire life. Somebody wanted me? ME? Somebody held me in the arms?

All my life I have been waiting for someone to notice me. Unfortunately, I haven’t met such a person, however, now I know that I looked past a couple of people like that because I couldn’t recognize them. Good God gave me a lot of chances to meet good people in my life but I felt so worthless that I stayed in the shadow. I, self-reliant, the caretaker of my parents, lifting the burden and duties of anyone who needed help, I married a man, who “bought me” with the stories of how unfortunate he was at his home.

He promised he would love me and would never be like his father: a wife-beater who beat his wife unconscious and the children, frightened of him, hidden whenever they could. For any violation, they were beaten methodically; all of them without exception; in this family there was a collective responsibility! The only criterion for correctness was the tyrant’s caprice. Well, my husband must have really loved me. He didn’t beat me but, mind you, he had to keep discipline and obedience. So, when he didn’t like something (and he didn’t like almost anything)he promised me that when he hit me, the wall would hit me back so much that the ambulance would have to take me to hospital. Or while driving a car, he pointed some house in front of us and told me: I will kill you now, I will crash our car onto that house, I will kill you and I will kill myself as I am unhappy because of you. Then, he drove past another house and the story repeated itself. When I was almost driven insane from fear, I heard that it was not the day yet, that he would give me a chance to improve myself and we got back to our NORMAL LIFE.

And I tried even harder, as I did in my family house, I took on more obligations, I tried so hard and I feared so much. When my husband, furious about my imperfection, sat beside my bed at night and promised me that he would pour hydrochloric acid on me when I fell asleep, I took my oldest daughter with me so that he wouldn’t hurt me.
She remembers that. I didn’t know that he wasn’t right. I didn’t know I had some rights.

I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT. Everyone has a right to make mistakes, a right to relax and a right to be RESPECTED. I left my family home with a conviction that I have no rights, that I am nobody, that I am a worthless and useless person. Nobody told me that, nobody told me bad things, however, nobody told me good things either, nobody patted me on the back, nobody took care of me or my needs. The others had needs and I was at their command. A little bit like a Cinderella but without a Fairy Godmother. I adjusted so much that when I had three small children I discovered the happiness of being mum by singing the songs with my babies- my husband commented on me “a nut, she is singing the songs! All the nuts sing the songs and end up in Lubiąż! What a nut.” I went silent, I stopped singing, I didn’t want to be a nut. I was really scared of that because once I was ulcer, slacker, evil mother, b***ch, skeleton as my entire family. I haven’t been singing  until now, maybe ulteriorly and quietly. I dance only when nobody can see me.

Enough! These are a few words about the atmosphere I let MY CHILDREN grow up in.

The end of December, two months later.

The only child of my sister is dead. She was so AcoA! I have known that for a long time that it wasn’t good, that she was suffering and she was lost. A good kid, sensitive, couldn’t find her place in the world. I have a sin of omission. When we last met, she told me about her great lack of self-respect. It was a tough challenge, she was always very reserved. It was a scream I didn’t hear. I told her about a psychologist, therapeutic groups, I tried to convince her. I didn’t know what to do. What should I have done? What could I do?
Too late.

I’m writing because I know a lot of children and young people like that. I thank God that the Church noticed the problem. I thank the Father that he is sensitive to this suffering.

The end of January.

I ventured to go to the AcoA therapy. Not for myself, I got used to suffering. I did it for my children.
I hope I can help them. It is easier for me when I know why all this went wrong. Perhaps it will be possible to avoid suffering. I begin to understand the limitations of my maternal love- sad, taciturn, challenging love.
I tell my children how much I love them. It IS DIFFICULT, nobody  told me that, NEVER !
I learn to talk about feelings and I start to feel them for real !

We have lost a lot, but not everything.
I hope so.

Translated by Justyna Gałuch