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What made you question just how normal your childhood was?

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When I was a 14 I remember sitting my parents down to explain to them how to “parent” my 16 year old sister and what kind of support, understanding and boundaries she actually needed. From that point on I became the go to “parent” in the family. My parents came to me for advice and my siblings came to me to talk with our mom and dad when they overreacted or irrationally grounded/punished them. I also remember my mom coming to me and telling me things about my older sister that I shouldn’t have been privy to and telling me to “keep an eye on her.”

When I went off to college I remember my younger sister sobbing and telling me she didn’t know how she was going to survive without me. Multiple times over the next 4 years my mom would call me at college and ask me what to do when my sister would act out and do something inappropriate (sneak out, etc.).
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I guess I always knew, but people still keep telling me my childhood was far from normal.

Apparently its not normal for your parents to use you as a weapon in their war; or to deliberately set one sibling off against another because hey, they don't want them joining forces against you; or to find out when you're 11 that humans are warm to the touch; or when you voice your unhappiness to be laughed at.

But all of this was my childhood.
When aged 4 or 5 my friend came to celebrate my birthday (for dinner) with me my dad and siblings... and I knew from the look on her face and behavior she didn't feel safe and I realised she'd feel better going home. She was shocked at the dynamics I think.

That and my mum telling me off for her being invited into school to discuss with the teacher why I had written that I wasn't happy at home in my school book and that that could cost us if we have a social worker visit.

My childhood family experiences were mixed. I certainly am not trying to say everything was bad, a lot was quite good. Anyway, in response to this post. My mother could watch my fifteen year old older brother punch me hard in the stomach several times in a row and not be concerned about how I was doing. If she could normalize something, that made it all ok. And what could be more normal than sibling rivalry. (The sibling rivalry continued until he was well into his twenties.)

But while she didn’t care about my being subjected to physical violence, she drew the line at my leaving the house without inspecting my outfits. She has a major anxiety disorder and the thought of me, her sixteen year old daughter ,going outside without making sure I was wearing my clothes properly was unacceptable to her. I guess appearances really really mattered to her. Someone in the neighborhood might question her parenting? I dunno why she was like that.

It wasn’t until I had a daughter of my own that I realized this was not ok. she is an only child. But she is friends with groups of siblings and the parents tolerate bickering and pettiness but they set limits on their children’s behavior as well.

thank you for this opportunity. I needed the rant.
I always thought it was normal not to remember huge parts of my childhood - years, holidays, etc. I thought everyone's mind functioned that way. When I went away to college the girls discussed their families and backgrounds to get acquainted. I realized I didn't possess the same "data base" of information about myself as everyone else did. In time I learned I suffered from repression, among a long list of other emotional issues.
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