What’s Good About Your Bad Childhood?

oddballSometimes people find and comment on old posts which remain relevant. This post was born of this: I Want To Pick Your Brain.  I had more to say about it!  A gal left a comment this morning. Ironically, I had plans to drop garden veggies off with this couple, today. I thought it was a sign.

Here’s the original –

There’s a man around here, he’s a bonafide genius.  He’s an engineer but he was only in that for a few days. This is because he came up with his first invention when he was seven years old. He was born to independently advance society via innovation.

He’s done nothing but come up ideas for six decades. His wife has assisted for five decades. He’s in his 70’s now and starting production on his latest invention, having pre-sold millions of units.  These aren’t little widgets.  This latest thing will correct a medical problem that afflicts people all around the world. He’s got all of India, interested! It’s as amazing as a pacemaker was when those was first conceived.

I’m telling you this because of all the people around a man like this, I’m the one he likes to talk to. I’m the one he wants to share things with, to get my reaction. He’s so much smarter than I am, I started to think about why this be the case. I figured it out!

He taps me for my impressions, thoughts or feelings because they are atypical. They’re atypical because my background is so unusual.  It’s got to get old going from person to person and having them all ditto each other. He knows if he comes to me, chances are I will have a different perspective. Even more important, it’s likely to be completely out of left field. Something he could not or would not have thought of on his own.

That’s value!

I starting thinking about others who have atypical childhoods. There’s a family around here, all the kids have been home-schooled. They range from about 8-22 years old.  They’re extremely well educated. They’re polite, they’re polished, and they are nothing like what is average.

When they go out in the world, they are never going to be able to completely merge with the masses. They’re always going to be a quirky.

You can judge this anyway you like. My point is that smart people tend to want to access the outlier. So if you have a rough background and if you managed to not be done in by it, you most likely have a unique view which you can wear like a feather for your cap.

Consequently, brainy people will look out over the herd and choose you when they’re stuck or at some kind of breaking point. “Maybe that weirdo, Elsa, can help.”

Nine times out of ten, she can.

Is there and oddball in your life?

32 thoughts on “What’s Good About Your Bad Childhood?”

  1. Well, I’m the oddball in my world! Recovering step by step from a literally hellacious childhood, has taught me many things. Succeeding in something when prior, different ways of trying it failed, made me aware of how the good results came about, and I pass the information on, when I can and it’s appropriate. I still am working on stuff at age 67, and will be until I pass out of this existence. And I still have some scars and wounds that cause problems, but I am healing them one by one, as they show up.

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    It taught me to trust my gut feeling about people and to realize that motherhood brings out the worst in some women, not the best.

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    And to realize that no matter what else other people might think is best for you and want to impose on you, you’re the one who has to live with the consequences of that decision, not them. Go with your gut. Always.

  4. Abusive mother, emotionally detached father, parents who were detached in general, so, I’ve always been one of those people who weren’t like others — withdrawn, introverted, into spiritual stuff way before others ever considered that kind of thing. People would ask me, why are you the way you are? I never had an answer. However, I had the same experience that Elsa had. In the “old” days, when a good conversation was called a “rap,” I was considered a “good rap.” People would always want to bounce ideas off of me. They still do. They like my unique point of view. I don’t look at things the same way that others do. My conclusions about issues are always a little different. When I studied astrology and realized that I had Mercury trine Uranus, I understood why.

  5. Having lived with five different men I’ve discovered that the men I feel the deepest love for are the ones who had equally horrible childhoods. My first husband came from a stable, loving family. We only lasted three years. The man I’ve loved the longest and deepest thinks his childhood was more horrible than mine. It’s like the pissing contest in “Deadpool” when Deadpool meets his love interest. “You had a dishwasher?!” Lol. No one likes us much as a couple. We pretty much repel people…and we have Libra rising in the composite. We both see ourselves as survivors. He’s Capricorn and his Saturn sextiles my Venus. My Saturn in the tenth trines his Venus in the fourth. If we had a reality show no one would watch us. 😉

  6. And I bet he has no idea that people come to you for your take on things as a way of making a living. There’s something about you Elsa that does encourage people to ask for your opinion. It’s like tempered steel, you gained an edge and became stronger by surviving the fire.

    I grew up with a violent and drunk father. These days, in bars or social gatherings, drunks (most of who I don’t even know) come up to me and ask if they can have another drink. Asking permission. I find it very odd. It’s not a gift like yours is, but somewhere along the way little bits of experience must stick and then stay, making us who we are.

    1. You’re right. He has no idea who I am. I’ve just said publically, that my father wished to marry me, but I did not agree.

      That was enough, combined with how I conduct myself, to pique his interest. Plus I really like his wife.

      It’s been a long time since I wrote about it, but you’ve got your sources and your sinks. I’m a source and this is just the way it is.

      I would like to pick the brains of those kids, truth be told. And their parents. Just please, find me people who have not become homogenized.

  7. My bad childhood has made me more empathetic toward others, I am less judgmental when it comes to peoples faults. Most of us are products of our childhoods.

  8. My childhood was, wacky, weird, impoverished of love and money, and filled with a cornucopia of drunken dysfunctional characters that nobody, unless those living in those circumstances, could ever understand. A lot of my childhood made me quite miserable but it also made me very resourceful, intuitive, and scrappy. So for that reason, I can offer creative solutions and perspectives that most are unable to see because of that strange life I emerged from.

    Thanks for all you do, Elsa!! I appreciate reading your clever insights ?

  9. Yes, you think outside the box and interesting but you’re also to the point which is a lot better than “uhhh ummm well maybe”. And you’re also able to get to the core of a problem more precisely than most people. Plus, you aren’t afraid to talk about anything society deems taboo. All +’s.

  10. What’s most interesting is you really can’t change your roots.

    Witness, my son, in the throes of teenage rebellion. He’s now lecturing his college roommates about the stupidity of paying big buck for education and not learning anything.

    Sheesh. Wonder where he heard that before. 🙂

  11. I frequently receive calls or visits that start out with “I wanted to get your opinion…” My childhood saga, bi-polar mother, emotionally detatch father and emotionally and physically abusive sister. So yeah this fits I just never put it together that way before. Huh…interesting

  12. “Just please, find me people who have not become homogenized.”
    I applaude!
    Thank you Elsa for finding an advantage to being different due to a horrid childhood. I’m like that, and I always communicate better with people who are like that. I’ve noticed that my opinion usually has an impact on others (whether they’ve asked for it or not!).

  13. I continue to think of this. I see if you were raised a snob, you tend to remain a snob.

    I also see people with what I call “good breeding”, an old fashioned term. People like this carry on with good manners even though their life is challenging or in shambles.

    The other day I met our priest’s sister. Their brother is also a priest, so this woman – bother her brothers are priests.

    So, she’s very different than them in that she’s just a regular woman…similar to the women who might read here. But when she started talking…well, certainly that family is bright, funny and they love to tell stories. They’re just hilarious. So she came in with her plain / non-priest clothing and just lit of the room with her humor.

    It makes me worry about all these kids being raised, bitchy and hateful. I don’t know that they’ll ever get rid of that. Or a chip on your shoulder or whatever.

    There are people out there who can’t help but glide across a room. And people like me who lighten and darken a space, simultaneously. Scare and thrill, I think. Just by being there.

    1. That describes the parents around here – certainly not all, but a sizeable amount. Bitchy, petty, small minded, not interested in much outside of their little petty worlds. Their daughters are inevitably the ones who give the Sag give and Baby Scorp a hard time. Thank God we all have sharp tongues to scare them off…

  14. Yes I see what you mean about good manners, I wish more people had them!

    I do wonder about humour – if it’s a learned attitude or not. I and my sister ‘bombarded’ our little sister with tons of surrealistic humour since she was born, and so she also has an unbelievable sense of humour too. No idea if we taught her, or if she already had a humour gene.

    But attitudes apart… when it comes to deeper issues, like having non-mainstream opinions about life etc, this has got to be a product of relentless inner and outer searching and questioning. And I believe you are spot on – people end up ‘there’ out of wanting to conquer bad circumstances.

    1. PS – I and my sister ‘learned’ how to have surrealistic humour by ourselves – it was for sure a type of self-defence, as our parents/childhood were horrible. Strange thing, humour.

      1. Well these people are hilarious.

        She was telling a story about being destitute. “My family didn’t know,” she said. “I never told them.”

        “You ain’t gettin’ nothin’ from them,” her priest brother chimed in. “They aren’t gonna give you, squat!”

        We all roared.

        Later in the story, she said she got a check from her brother.

        “Well THAT is a miracle,” the priest said.

        “It wasn’t from you!” she said.

        “Of course not! You won’t get a dime out of me, sister!” So said the priest. “I’m as cheap as they come!”

        There were fifteen of us, just watching them go back and forth. 🙂

    2. “And I believe you are spot on – people end up ‘there’ out of wanting to conquer bad circumstances.”

      I don’t know about this. It’s one way but there are others. Some people are just have that quirk-factor.

      As an example, the inventor. He’s a small child listening to people bitch about having to sort oranges by size as they come down a conveyer / chute. So he invents something that will weigh the oranges on the way down, and sort them, automatically.

      Now that’s not normal. And I think his life has been pretty good actually.

      He married in his twenties and is partnered in all his endeavors with his wife, still today. He’s had an endless stream of ideas, and found whatever support he’s needed to make the ideas become reality. He’s been able to secure patents, and financing or whatever it is he needs. He’s enjoyed decades of success.

      Not that he doesn’t work! He WORKS. Matter of fact, he had a heart attack recently…I told his wife, “It appeared he hit the floor with a heart attack, bounced up and went to work the next day.”

      That’s pretty accurate. But my point is, you do not have to have bad times to make good. Or to be interesting.

  15. “But my point is, you do not have to have bad times to make good. Or to be interesting.” Totally agree. And vice versa, not everyone who had bad times turns out interesting or deep-thinking.

    What I meant was that I find searching and questioning very healing against a bad childhood. And most of the people I know, in a similar situation, have used that in an effort to overturn nasty circumstances. Maybe a difficult life is a bit more of an incentive to dig deeper, if thus inclined of course.

    Your inventor friend obviously has a great mind. Good for him that he’s also had a nice life!

  16. I think everyone’s quirky. Usually if I can get someone alone and comfortable and if I show them that I accept my own uniqueness all kinds of funny and cool things come out.

    1. Quirky, yes.
      Interesting – not necessarily!

      I’m thinking of someone I know who sidles up next to me and talks out the side of his mouth. I have to concentrate real hard to try to hear / understand him and it’s never worth the trouble! 🙂

      I mean, I’m nice about it, but that’s an example of quirky – no meat! 🙂

      1. Oh ok, yes I’ve found the same. It’s rare to hear a truly original thought or perspective. In most dynamics in the abnormal one but when I do meet an original I get so excited! And I do come from a family of nonconformists.

      2. I wish more people were interesting. But my husband is always saying everybody is good at someething; Everybody has a talent and I agree. Maybe my ‘interesting’ isn’t everones cup of tea and vice versa.

        Sometimes I have to say the person with the most stories can be so obnoxious that nothing about him is interesting in my book. I mean he’s got the attention of everbody in the room he knows how to take command and make people listen…but people get tired of it- people like to talk about themelves. So there’s a balance.. I talk- you talk…ask questions,.be mysterious sometimes, open others..keep them guessing…thats interesting.

        I have met some people with interesting stories out the ass but they themselves were not worth knowing.

  17. Oh my yes! I love an outlier and will always find myself wanting to talk to the people who aren’t in the mix. Kind of like Sesame Street’s one of these things is not like the others. I teach middle school where if you aren’t homogenized it can be brutal, but I meet the parents of the “cool” kids and they are the same as their parents. Petty and boring and locked in their little circles. Thank you for articulating this so well!!

  18. I’m the oddball, but yes I’ve had other oddballs help me out. The guy I’ve been with for the past 8 or so months is one. He’s had a very tough life. Childhood poverty, getting wrapped up in gangs, jail and prison, a life of major losses. He’s taught me to be stronger, to have FAITH and to face my fears. He was there for me when all my family turned their backs. He taught me about loyalty and to never give on those you love, even if they give up on you. He’s taught me to be a little more fluid and to adjust with life around me, without compromising my values. He doesn’t sit and wail when something bad happens, (usually he doesn’t.) He gets out and looks for opportunities and fights to improve his situations. He’s not afraid of anyone or anything. I soooo admire that, because inside of me was a frightened little child, and now after these months, I feel that I’ve hit some sort of important milestone, just by learning from him! I love that man dearly. Just wish the intensity and mistrust can die down some.

  19. My whole family is a collection of oddballs!

    Neither my husband or I came from abusive situations, though. We had “normal”, stable upbringing. Both sets of parents are married for 50+ years.

    Yet we don’t fit in with suburbia circa 2016. None of us, not the kids either, blend in. People remember us. Maybe it’s all the Leo in our family, but we don’t try to stick out. We just do our thing.

  20. ‘ atypical because my background is so unusual.’

    Finally I know what you mean. Maybe people with an atypical background weren’t socialized the same way and have a different perspective.

    I am a milkfed sop raised by a worried family.. but not lacking conflict. I am having issues disciplining myself (Mars in the 12th) and others. But I think I was born weird, but being spoiled fucks up your social skills. When I help someone, they tend to start to depend on me cause I dot a few more of their i’s and cross a few more t’s than needed. But, truth be told, I want to believe theres a way to break the cycle. And my controlling crabby ways feel older and more connected with past lives. How can someone like me be so angry (Mars in the 12th)? I sure would like to break the cycle and empower and motivate myself and others.. but it feels like a slow process.

  21. That’s a good question. Kinda cool to be acknowledged in that way. I like to hear about this kind of thing; so many parents worry that unless their child’s every need is met, they’re going to damage them. I figure if I mess up, it hopefully won’t be too bad, and they’ll be better for it. There’s something in suffering that brings us close to grace if we allow it. (Barring extreme suffering perhaps, but I’m saying that without the experience of it thus far.) Anyway, it’s reassuring to know there are people who look back and see what they got from it that is good, rather than remaining in a negative state.

    I didn’t have the worst childhood, but the parts of it that were bad stuck with me and took me years to move past, even just to the point where I am today. I’m not sure it’s “good” but in overcoming what I overcame, I’ve lost patience for people who refuse to even try to do the same. I’ve no patience for the coddled. I don’t deal well with a victim mentality. I get real “tough love” on people real fast. Can be a good thing!

    But the better part, I suppose, is that I feel capable and driven. I firmly believe I can make my life into something I want to. In fact I’m doing that now. With such faith, let me tell you 🙂

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