What Happens When You Take Away a Child’s Ability to Choose?
I hate this photo.
It reminds me of the few choices I had to say no around my grandfather and my family, who big noted himself as a retired poilceman and performing clown.
No I didn’t want to dress up as a clown.
No I didn’t want to publicly parade in front of thousands of people just so my abusive grandfather could wear some sick badge of honour of his ‘achievements’ to the public whom he pretended he was some stand up guy.
No I didn’t want to learn magic just so he could molest me in private and tell the family he needed me alone to teach me the secrets of magic.
No I did not want to give my grandfather a kiss when I greeted him so he could forcibly grab my face and kiss me on the lips.
No I didn’t want to sit on his knee, so he could molest me and pretend to my family that he was just ‘tickling’ me.
So many times, my choices were taken away from me, further insisted by my grandmother and mother that I oblige because I was a child who had no choice but to ‘do as I was told.’
Over time this sets up a belief that I had no right to choices about me, far extending beyond who had the right to my body.
I couldn’t speak up about my personal choices because I had no right to do so.
I couldn’t air my preferences because they were never allowed to surface.
I stopped listening to my inner voice because it had long been shut down by my family repeatedly over and over again.
Consequently you learn to ignore your own needs, your own choices, infact the very idea or offer of “what you you like to do?’ feel so foreign, so unnatural, you cannot even conceive the importance of self in any situation.
How Does it Turn Out?
Adults who’ve had their choices taken away as children become numb to their own feelings.
It’s why they become people pleasers.
Its why they carry so much anxiety at the thought of having to think or choose for themselves.
It’s why they often don’t put their needs at the forefront of any decision.
It’s why they may seem easy to manipulate, push over, to talk over and demand.
When you have been taught you don’t have choices when it comes down to YOU, YOU learn YOU don’t matter.
It’s not being shy, obliging, sweet, or caring.
You become NUMB to who you are.
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