Although my childhood now seems pretty horrendous, at the time I didn’t think it was that bad. My mother kept some pretty awful company, and in comparison to their kids, I was leading a charmed life. There was one woman who regularly told her son that he should have been an abortion. Another who was so skint all the time that she fed her children eggs morning, noon and night; and told them it wasn’t actually Christmas on the 25th December, because she hadn’t bought them any presents. Then there was an alcoholic uncle, who once dragged my cousin around the living room by her hair in front of me, so you can only imagine what he was doing behind closed doors. The constant comparison to people in worse situations probably saved me from a lot of heartache when I was younger.
When I used to tell people about how I was raised they were shocked, because I seemed so normal. Surely someone who had gone through everything I had would be too messed up to function? I hid my wounds well for the most part, except of course for the two mental breakdowns I had in the space of four years. The first one leading me to counselling and being woken up to the tragedy of it all, as well as sparking the beginning of the end of my relationship with my mother and family. The second breakdown led to rock bottom, waking up to my self-destructive behaviour, and turning it all around. Comparison during this time was vital to my recovery. I didn’t want to be some fu**ed up loser, I wanted what my friends had. Stability, normality, to love and be loved.
Nowadays all my energy goes into my little family. They say you should never compare kids, especially your own, but how can you not? It was mainly seeing the developmental differences between our two girls that made us realise there was more to P’s story than her just being a challenging child. If we’d not had C to compare her with, who knows whether we would have found out so early on that she has autism? Life is tough right now, but I know it will get easier once we get some help, and (hopefully) start sleeping better. I firmly believe that early diagnosis is a good thing, because the earlier you intervene the sooner you can get them to a better place.
With social media being as big a part of our lives as it is, it can be impossible not to compare ourselves to others, which often leaves us feeling empty, and soul destroyed. On the surface it can appear that everyone else is having a better time than we are, and under these circumstances, comparison really is the thief of joy.
As I’m sure you’ll agree though, this isn’t always the case, quite the opposite in fact!
This post was inspired by The Prompt at Mum Turned Mom