I was always told to ignore my emotions, to shove them down, to think about the emotions of others, to make sure other people were happy before me. Partly it was the Soviet rearing of the loyal citizens devoted to the state as the state always came first, partly the grooming of a female to fulfill a servile role in her future patriarchal family, and partly the upbringing of my parents and other parental figures in my life who themselves were either emotionally crippled or immature or both, or lacked the skill to express their emotions for one reason or another, and so were unable to process their own feelings and to teach a child how to process them.
Of course, I couldn't shove down what I felt. It was impossible. My feelings always found a way out. But I learned early on that reaching out to an adult with my pains or joys rarely produced desired outcome. Most of the time it was ignored or shrugged off, and sometimes it resulted in bitter scolding or yelling or disciplining that could escalate to plain old-fashioned violence of child-rearing, the kind when they tell you, "I'm doing it for your own good, it's hurting me more than you," while your ass is on fire from the belt whacking it full-force.Read More