Who Am I?

Carol Roach By Carol Roach, 21st Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Biography & Autobiography

My childhood was traumatic. Up until my adult years I cannot truly
remember many happy moments. I can tell you that I have spent many of my years on this earth very depressed and not really knowing who I was and what was expected of me.

My grandmother

My grandmother, "God rest her soul", was both the most life-sustaining
person in my life and the most ego-destroying person in my life as well. These qualities within her created a paradox. Yet this woman loved me as no other could.

My grandmother was a very depressed individual and all her problems
were placed on my shoulders. I was blamed for everything. Most of it was
unconscious on her part, nevertheless was expressed or inferred back to me.

Consequently I spent all of my life trying to be a "good girl." I wanted her approval and subsequently everyone else's approval.

Rejected by my parents

I knew from an early age that I was rejected by both my parents and
practically orphaned at my grandmother's doorstep. My father brought me
home to his mother to live with him but when he married another woman he abandoned me rather quickly. My mother never inquired about me for the first six months of my life. I am told she threatened that she would put me up for adoption if my grandmother would not take me in.

Rejected by everyone else

Since there were no children in my earlier live, I did not have the social skills needed to relate to children. As a result, the elementary school children at my school shunned me even way back then. Renate was my only friend from home. It wasn't until the fourth grade when I met Maxine that I finally realized a true friendship with a classmate. My early inability to make or sustain friendships added to my feelings of rejection.

In high school when most teenagers started dating, I was again rejected by the boys because I was a fat girl. No boy wanted to date a fat girl. I was 16 years old when I experienced my first love and again the pain of rejection when my love left me for an older woman. I mean that literally, I was 16 and the woman was 30 years old.

Everyone knows how painful teenage break-ups can be but added to my history of rejection it was far worse. It took four years to heal from this love affair gone sour. I met my husband at 20, was married at 21, and divorced at 25 years old. Again I was rejected!


I met another man after the divorce that I knew from my college days and
we began to date. However even while we were dating, John said I was not the person for him. Ours was a relationship that made me miserable for the most part and it lingered on for 12 years.

John continuously put me down, and further damaged the little ego that I
had. I tried to be the "good girl" with him too, just as I did with anyone else
who I ever encountered in my life. All my efforts were thwarted. I was never good enough, I could not keep house like his ex-wife, cook like his mother, and raise my son as well as his friends did with their children, nor was I as pretty, sexy, and intelligent as his previous girlfriends. Rejection! Rejection! Rejection!

Catholic Community Center

One good thing that came out of that relationship was that John was a
theology doctoral candidate who worked at the local Catholic Community
Center. He once showed me a pamphlet advertising a class that he was
teaching in theology. While looking at that pamphlet I noticed some self-awareness courses being held in the Catholic Center. The courses looked interesting and I signed up.

The first course I took was called "Who Am I," and this course literally
changed my life. Through the progression of the course I learned that I really did not know who I was. All my life I was never allowed to have an identity. I was competing with an unrealistic ideal of being a "good girl" first imposed by my grandmother and then ratified by various other individuals in my life.

For me the consequence of not being a "good girl" was rejection. At least that was how I rationalized what had happened to me. Despite my efforts to be a "good girl," I was virtually invisible to most of the important people in my life

Generally speaking, my grandmother admitted I was a "good girl" but there were times that I was compared to different people in a bad light. Whenever I was doing something I was not supposed to do, I was compared to my mother.

For example, the first time that I put on makeup at 12 years old, my
grandmother was appalled. My grandmother had the tendency to say hateful things whether she meant them or not. She said, "You are a slut just like your mother."

My mother

My mother, coming from an entirely different generation, was very sympathetic with my needs. She understood that I was becoming a teenager and trying to express myself, while my grandmother never did understand.

Damage to my ego

Yet my mother also caused damage to my ego though she never meant to.
My mother took every opportunity that she could to compare me with my
sister, Linda. My mother would say things like "Linda goes to school and still does chores around the house. Why aren't you doing the same?" or "Linda got her hair cut. Why don't you cut yours, too?" Although these statements were not necessarily bad ones, yet being fed this line of thinking day in and day out created a negative effect on me. I began to think that Linda could do no wrong and I could do no right. Again by being a "good girl" maybe she would see me and see the good in me like she saw in Linda!

Carol didn’t exist

The truth of the matter was nobody saw me. Carol was not a person in her
own right. Even at school most people, including some of the teachers,
referred to me as the "fat girl" and not Carol. Carol simply didn't exist!

Who Am I?

These revelations from the course "Who Am I" were a turning point in my
life. I gained an understanding of what caused me to continue to be the "good girl" even in relationships that were not worth keeping. It also showed me how I overreacted in some present-day situations due to the wrongs of the past.

I began to build an ego through self-awareness. I began to build up the
person Carol, who was dormant for all those years. I began to learn who I was and what I wanted out of life.

My new sense of identity did not work well for John, who found that he
could not control me as he had been doing in the relationship. Consequently we parted ways.


I lost him but more importantly I found me; and I have no regrets. Those
self-awareness courses that I had taken in the 70s were the beginning of a
lifelong quest for self-actualization. I encourage everyone to take some courses if they have not already done so. These courses can be religiously or psychologically oriented. They can be about anything that is informative and life sustaining. The main thing is that you become the individual that you were always meant to be.


Identity, Rejection, Self Awareness

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar ladybird
21st Jan 2015 (#)

great and interesting post

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
21st Jan 2015 (#)

My dear one way or another some of us have a tough childhood as yours very truly with a neurotic Mother and still married till this day and age, lets forget about the past and focus on our future and don't repeat the errors our loved ones did to us!

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author avatar Carol Roach
21st Jan 2015 (#)

I write about the past, present and future of my life this is what I do as a writer. Who am I is one the stories in my book Fern.

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author avatar viewgreen
21st Jan 2015 (#)

The stories and a personal experiences are very emotional. I'm sure, you are the best and a great person who is able to survive and be able to face problems in your family when you were young. This is a very touchable story because of your parents do that to you.
Thank you for sharing Madam!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
21st Jan 2015 (#)

When the going gets tough, the tough get going seems to fit your life with a bit of luck thrown in too. Happy that you are now living life on your terms having learnt harsh lessons along the way. That shows inner strength - siva

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author avatar GenkiWorld
21st Jan 2015 (#)

it is interesting how the influences nd teachings of our young life nd the actions of those round us affect and in a way shape us. I can relate in many ways to your story and i know it is not easy, but in th end, by finding our true self we will have no regrets on what happened in our past.

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author avatar jjmyles
21st Jan 2015 (#)

Isn't it interesting how the things we experience, both god and bad, shape us into the person we eventually come to be. A very good read. Thank you for sharing it.

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author avatar Utah Jay
21st Jan 2015 (#)

I also had a hard time growing up so I buried it in booze and junk for 47 years. Now I go to a clinic 6 times a month. My oh my there are a lot of us. Another top notch write Carol.

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author avatar spirited
21st Jan 2015 (#)

"I learned that I really did not know who I was"

I wonder if this is exactly the full story though for all of us.

Some of us like me know who we are, but we are just too afraid to own and to be this person. We be the someone else who others expect us to be instead.

Thanks for sharing Carol

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author avatar Eve Sherrill York
21st Jan 2015 (#)

Who, what a life! Your grandmother seems a lot like mine. But mine was very loving too. She should said what was on her mind and she was a strict task master..

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