For some reason, Darci, it seems that what I have written in response to your posts in the past seems never to be touched in response from you. It's been like standing on stage, playing to an empty house. I don't know why this is, like I have always been speaking a different language. But here I am, ready to offer something in response once more.
For me, it was my father. A short man with a tall ego. I am certain he loved me, his second born problem child, coming after the straight A, athletic, popular older brother. We were sixteen months apart, he born in October, me in February. I was pushed up into the grade behind him, making me the youngest in my class. For some unknown reason, my parents wanted us in consecutive grades. I was always the second to smallest kid in the class, thanks to Russel Smith for saving me from being the smallest. In first grade I started to find out that reading was very hard for me, and I was branded by my teacher, "slow motion." With the way pecking orders arise, I was soon the best bully bait around. Russel could at least read and such, and thereby could stay invisible. I, on the other hand, was the prototype for what would later be called, "hyperactive," later, "hyper-kinetic," later yet, ADHD. But back then, it was "problem child."
The ADHD kids are given speed of some form because it induces a stress level. One thing found out about these kids is, they have a brain chemical that has its levels reversed from the "normal" population. They can't concentrate when in a relaxed surrounding. When everyone else is panicking, they come through and see and do what needs doing, because they can concentrate when in a stressful situation. They obviously don't belong confined to a school desk, ordered to be still. But anyway, I was in that institutionalized setting and judged for my inability to be there.
My brother's report cards were top of the line, and mine, mostly straight Fs. Dad didn't like that. I got whipped for that, and lots of other stuff. He probably didn't know he was whipping me for not being able to concentrate, and I would lose his tools only because I was just this body in motion with opposable thumbs. I was in fights where I would inevitably be beaten up, only to get whipped for having been in a fight. I literally could not win.
My dad was a five foot seven man who thought he was Jack Webb combined with John Wayne. My mom described him as someone who would argue with a signpost. If you ever proved him wrong in an argument, where you actually had him seeing he'd gotten it wrong, you would see him stop and 'get it,' and the next thing he would say would be, "forget I said that." He would forget he said that and resume his life of infallibility. This way he could maintain his authoritarian role, commanding all within his sphere.
I can only remember him beating my brother one time. It was when he had a fight with a classmate, Rodney Scully, Jr. It was a weird situation in the public sphere. My dad was a teevee repairman, and Rodney Scully, Sr. was the other teevee repairman in town. My brother told his story, and Rodney, Jr. told his. Rodney, Sr. told our dad Jr.'s version and my dad punished my brother, in his style. I, on the other hand, was whipped so often I can't even say how often it was. I was always in trouble for something. I was scared shitless of my dad much of the time. The drunker he was (and there was always a little blood in his alcohol) the worse the whippings were. "You don't apply yourself!" WTF does that mean? Whatever it meant, it meant I was getting whipped with his belt.
The truly funny thing is, I stayed true to my dad like any whipped dog might. My brother disowned him after we left him to live with our mom, after a particularly bad bender, brought on by anther bad divorce he went through that left our little one parent family broke. His navy retirement check was most all going to alcohol at that time.
So, through it all, you could say I came out of the schools and navy quite poorly socialized. I thought I was stupid, while I was only learning impaired. I was learning, but not in the standard ways. And, I was doing it mostly on my own. I didn't understand anything about relationship at all. I had never had much in that line. The ADHD thing meant that when I was uneasy with people, I was on my guard and concentrated. If I thought someone liked me, I wasn't quite there and might say or do anything. There was this repeating cycle of quickly making friends and just as quickly losing them. I couldn't see what was happening until I was maybe in my fifties, and reflecting after many psychedelic experiences. Acid and mushrooms really helped me see and reflect. That, and just the weight of additive experience.
I fought with a self image issue of being alone through so many years. I wasn't conditioned to be with someone. I had been conditioned to be alone. I hated being alone only because it seemed adverse to the image I thought we were all to attain of the proper complete person. I was totally taken by feminine beauty, and would fall in love at the drop of a hat. I banged my head and heart against that image of soul mates and fell short of that image for decades on end. It was my idea of something to be that drove me, and so long as that image was not met, I suffered greatly. The scariest image was that I would be like my father. I had anger issues just like his, at his inability to make the world within his sphere conform to his imagined self image, his John Wayne movie.
My issue was that the world had to be perfect, and if it wasn't, it was something that I did, and probably needed to be whipped for it. This made me highly manipulable by almost anyone. So, when I tried relationship, it was never going to be on the level ground of mutual respect. I was standing in a hole created by all that formative experience. Today, I am truly happy for no reason. If I looked for a reason, I don't think I'd have much luck. I see that living up to ideas is not any path to peace. It is serving false masters. It's the con we are all taught to play on ourselves, whether it was taught us innocently or not. We are not what we think, and whatever the history we believe in, this is the truth of it. We are NOT what we think. We are the pure and perfect seeing of What Is, and not what we make of it in our minds.
How many lifetimes it takes to see it doesn't matter, once it's seen and grokked. When this happens, all the water under the bridge that got us here is blessed, for how else could it have been for us?
You surprised me, Darci, when you told me you are only 33 years old. I thought you were much older for some reason. I was still in so much pain of unmet expectations at 33. Would I change anything now? Not at all. I really didn't have my breakthrough until I was 67. I was certainly doing better than my younger years by then, but I was still carrying it all as cause-and-effect, still trying to be something to satisfy the conditioning. Then, something pulled the rug out from under my personal identity and in a perceived crisis, I saw it was my idea of self that was in suffering, yet that seeing was not suffering. The seeing showed that my identity was arbitrary, made up from story, and unreal. From the perspective of impersonal seeing, there was only this life, here and now, that remains untouched. Belief is no more than belief. We are alive now, believe it or not. We can wrap all our reasons and remembered experiences around our life and completely smother it, blind it to this breath, right now. We can quit that any time we can be truthful with ourselves about what is known and what is only believed.
So, you are young, and at any age, the possibilities of life are infinite. It's never what we think. Being stands alone, whatever we make of it in our mind's eye. Being gives me all I could want, and life takes care of life. The details don't matter, and what is born will die. What started will end. What is eternal is what sees it all come and go. That is our seeing. It has no name and no history, or maybe it's all history. That seeing is there before any name is attached to it. The person claims it, but that's the lie we tell ourselves as some little story of a person. We are before it. We are timeless awareness. You have plenty of time to see the timeless. Don't worry about it. You can't miss. All that is false must fall away. What Is, is.