When Your “Superhero” Needs Help

President Trump released an interesting video showing himself as a “superhero.” It made me think that he needs our help and that he deserves it.

I can never admit it when I need help. I have been experiencing some difficulty with my sight lately. It’s not terrible but there is a little fuzziness where it used to be clear and sharp, and I’m not used to it. The problem got to the point where I whipped out my trusty CVS 1.15 lens correctors—a cheap drugstore solution I turned to years ago when this issue first cropped up.

(Notably I have been to the eye doctor and a prescription does exist, but I somehow have always found the prescription glasses too harsh for my liking and never really use them.)

So at least I can admit that there is a problem seeing, which is more than I’ve been willing to do in the past. I guess for all my willingness to admit that I have problems, I’m never actually willing to admit that I need help with them.

It’s not a mystery why. My parents love me dearly, I know that, but when I was growing up they were both mysteriously absent emotionally. I know that my father was consumed with parenting his own parents, one a survivor of Auschwitz and the other a survivor of a labor camp who spent most of his time rebuilding the family and the Jewish community where they lived. Meanwhile, my mom was one of many children, and her parents were economically very disadvantaged. They were working all the time, and it was up to the children to raise one another, and then move out and fend for themselves from an early age.

My parents, both hard workers, had me but I don’t think they knew exactly what to do with me, and so I was left to raise myself and care for my sister. It was the age of Dr. Spock, and according to my mother he advocated that kids should “cry it out” in the crib. Once, when I was in my thirties, I had a terrible dream that I was a baby, standing up in my crib, crying for hours on end and nobody showed up to get me. I told my mom and she said, “No, that wasn’t a dream, it was a memory.”

It’s hard to talk about this, and painful to remember the conversation, and it feels very personal to share, but getting the pain on paper is how I work through my problems. It took me half a century to write this down, but now I am going to talk about it.

Compounding my emotional screwed-up-ness is the fact that I am gifted intellectually and emotionally, which means I perceive things more than other people and I process them faster as well. As a child this was called “maturity.” I was a hyper-mature, very serious little girl and I parented my own parents, who seemed to be in perpetual emotional pain. It felt good to be of help to them, but part of me was always drained and dragging. As an adult I am so responsible that it sucks the joy out of life completely at times. I forget to simply relax and be happy.

No, I do not blame my parents, at least not anymore. I am glad for any time I have left with them in my life.

The entirety of my emotional situation has left me in the role of “fixer,” if not outright enabler of the emotional problems of other people in my life. I was raised to be so supportive that I became forgiving of behaviors that were not at all appropriate and at times even outrageous. And yet my own attitude toward myself was at the other extreme, very cold and uncompromising altogether. I required myself to be above and outside all human need, because I could not afford to be abandoned yet again, rejected in my hour of crying out, pushed away when I needed above all things to be held close without any transactional requirement to respond with repayment in kind.

It is tough to write these words, but that must mean the wounds are still fresh in the heart of the tiny little child that I was and still am inside.

Maybe you went through something similar.

If you did, I hope that as I process this pain it brings you some measure of comfort, in knowing that you are not alone.

I admire the protectiveness that true Trump supporters show the President, their commitment to helping him when he cannot help himself, and as we know, he cannot admit that.

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal (Dossy). All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.