Part II: Seeing Childhood Trauma from a New Perspective

Read Part I Here

One traumatic childhood moment instigated my lack of self-esteem and I allowed it to define a large portion of my life.  I believed with every fiber of my being that I was stupid simply because my father said so.

After a full decade of working crap jobs, something had to change.

I found a web design certificate opportunity at the local community college and I went back to school, taking classes at night.  Art school was so expensive I wasn’t making the mistake of an expensive education again, but the pendulum may have swung too far in the opposite direction.  Web design is a competitive field.  I had this dinky certificate that taught me the bare minimum and still I could not get a better job.  For several additional years, I continued on with my crap job.

I have to say though; I was determined to succeed in other areas of my life.  I’m a very frugal person.  I always have been.  While I wasn’t making much money, I saved every penny I had with the intention of buying a house.  If I found pennies on the sidewalk I literally picked them up and put them into my house piggy bank.  I saved birthday money and Christmas money.  I made grocery lists and if it wasn’t on the list it wasn’t in the cart.  And at the age of 33 and still with that crap job and a huge student loan I bought my house.

I worked in an expensive county of the state in terms of real estate.  This meant I had to buy my home a fair distance from my crap job and commute to work.  Before buying my home I crafted a budget to make sure I could comfortably afford the home I purchased and I wasn’t house poor in addition to student loan poor.

What’s that saying? “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

I bought my house in July of 2005.  In August, just one month later, Hurricane Katrina hit.  Now I don’t live anywhere near Louisiana but that hurricane was the start of my next hurtle.  Hurricane Katrina caused a fuel shortage.  The price of gas literally doubled.  I was driving 100 miles a day to get to my crap job and back which required a minimum of three tanks of gas per week.  There is no mass transit in this area of the state.  In addition, the market crashed somewhere between 2002 and 2007 and prices of everything started rising.  I had a small car with a ten gallon tank and at $4.00 per gallon it was almost 25% of my income at that time.  And that carefully planned budget went into the red.

That same market crash caused the company I worked for to have financial difficulties and they had to restructure the company.  Many people lost their job, but by the grace of my Higher Power I got transferred and became eCommerce Coordinator because of that dinky certificate.  Thank You God!

I LOVED my new job.  Unfortunately, people who are hurting hurt people.  And my co-workers didn’t approve of the transfer.  People would come up to me and say, “How did you get this job?”  Of course, they didn’t know about the certificate until I told them.

I was so fearful of losing my new job I was in the bathroom every single day.  Sometimes multiple times a day and this lasted for months.  I did not want to go back to doing a job I hated and the thought of it literally made me sick.  If you recall it had been several years since I earned the certificate and technology changes fast.  I basically had to start from scratch and relearn everything I had been taught.   This appears to be a reoccurring theme of my life; don’t learn, learn, feel like a complete idiot, re-learn.

The entire time I had that job and no matter how much I accomplished all I kept hearing was my co-workers think I’m stupid.  Looking back, what they were saying is they were unhappy with their own job and they wanted to know how I achieved the career change.

But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  The department I worked in had issues.  Not only didn’t they accept me but even more than that, they did not accept our boss – also a transfer from a different department whom they deemed stupid and unworthy of a promotion.   It occurs to me now that several of them may have applied for her position and been denied.  Three years later the entire department was outsourced and we were all dismissed.  Not just the web team but almost all of IT.  They went from twenty-some people down to five.

Back to the drawing board.

By this time, I had a year of Al-Anon under my belt.  I choose to believe that when one door closes my Higher Power will open a window.

I won’t keep you in suspense.  I had a new job within weeks and I was hired once again in the web field.  There is a Part III to this story, but that chapter of my life is still in progress so I shall have to save that for another time.

However, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the definition of idiot versus ignorant.

– an utterly foolish or senseless person
-person of the lowest order
-a former and discarded classification of mental retardation


-lacking in knowledge or training
-lacking information as to a particular subject or fact
-uninformed; unaware

I simply didn’t have the learning opportunities growing up to be the genius I wish I was.  There will always be things I am ignorant about, but I am not an idiot.  I am capable to learning.  I am capable of accomplishment.  I am capable of making something of myself.

My Dad had an extremely high IQ.  But he was never able to accomplish any of his dreams.  My Dad died alone; no friends, no family, with bulk boxes of rice and ramen noodles, in a house without electricity or heat, on the floor with a flashlight in his hand.

My IQ may be lower than his, but I have so much to be grateful for; I have friends and family who love me.  I have food on my table and clothes on my back.  And I live in a nice home with both electricity and heat.  Best of all, I have Al-Anon which is helping me to create, what I call, everyday miracles in my life.

Pay no attention to toxic words.  What people say is often a reflection of themselves, not you.

My Dad had expectations of the kind of job he would have, the kind of money he would be making, the kind of marriage he would have and when those expectations did not come to fruition, my Dad took the anger about his own life and directed it at a six year old child.

There are two ways I can choose to look at my life; I can see what I was taught to believe [that I am an idiot] or I can believe what I see [that everyone is ignorant about something and a better life is possible].

I choose to see my childhood trauma from a new perspective.  I choose to believe my Dad’s beliefs were more a reflection of him and less about the intelligence of a six year old girl.

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About Angela orAng4Short