Was just reading a different thread and a long lasting memory came to mind... something that seems so petty and insignificant, but has been with me forever.
when I was 8 a close friend of the family, my Godfather actually, gave me a bic 4-color changing pen, the kind where you pull down a button and the selected color tip came out - and I loved it, was proud of it and liked to show it off. Bear in mind you couldn't get these in Canada at the time, he brought it back from a trip to the USA.
One evening my parents hired a babysitter for my brother and I, it was a girl who had babysat a couple times previously, I thought she was pretty and nice. After tucking us in she had homework to do and asked if she could use my pen, I was eager to let her and asked her to put it on the desk in my room when she was finished. Come morning time of course the first thing I did was to look on my desk to see if my pen was there and it wasn't. I looked all over my room with no luck... looked all over the house, asked my mom... I obsessed for weeks over this, asked her to call the babysitter... even though I was livid waited until the next time we needed a babysitter and hoped it was the same one so I could question her myself - of course she denied denied denied.
The b!tch! the pen never showed up again, the only explanation is she kept it then lied about it because she played dumb, even said she didn't remember asking me.
This memory has stuck with me throughout my life, and really affected my ability to be trusting with people when I let my guard down. At the time it was about the pen itself but a year or so later I was able to find one like it in the store, but it wasn't the same - it wasn't the one that had any special meaning like the first one. It really was about the damage when someone you place trust in betrays that trust...that a young "adult" who was supposed to responsible can lie right to your face and expect to get away with it... And of course after that the next time mom hired a sitter I was very adamant that it was not that same girl again, mom atleast reluctantly complied with my request so I never had to see that liar again.
Looking back the feelings were almost akin to the feeling when I found about my ex W's affair (though obviously the intensity level was slightly more manageable). I don't know if I ever really healed from the pen incident, if I did it left a scar.
I remember those pens, too! It is hard when we lose our innocence, and learn how cruel and selfish people can be. My bad memories come from the pettiness and cliquish nature of 13 year old girls, and how they tried to put others down to make themselves feel superior and powerful.
Looking back on it now, I can see that they were only trying to probe for who was weak enough to be affected by their cruelty, and they got an ego boost from making a social pecking order.
I'm reading a book about how interpretation of past, present and future can affect your positive adaptability. One thing to do is to go back and reframe negative events in the past, so that they have positive take-away. For instance, rather than focusing on the hurt and betrayal that came from having the pen stolen and your sitter getting away with lying about taking it, look instead at the valuable lessons learned at such a young age. Namely, be careful who you let into your inner space. You talked to your Mom about it, and were able to successfully advocate for a different sitter. Also, don't lend things out that you don't want to have damaged or lost, or stolen. Imagine some other instances, say, where someone wanted to borrow your car or computer or a book you treasured, etc. And of course, learning that people can and do lie, and are able to get away with it. How did that serve you well in the future?
Reframing and re-thinking doesn't change the past, but it does have a way of re-balancing negative vs. positive.
Just about every self help book I've ever read, ranging in subject matter from manliness to marriage to career emphasizes the impact that our childhood and upbringing has on our personality. It shapes how you view the world and how you act and react in it.
And oftentimes the key to moving past a lot (but not all) of our current hangups is dealing with those hurts we received as children.
I love quotes and aphorisms, and this one came to mind:
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
― Kent M. Keith