How I Learned I Am Not Neurotic

My father left my mother when I was 2, and I had major rejection issues. As I child I was extremely shy (though I eventually grew out of that), and as a teen I got into plenty of silly relationships because I was so desperate to have someone love me.

Then, when I married, all kinds of issues from my past surfaced again (as they often do when we marry or have a child), and I was sure I had some deep dark secret that I had never consciously remembered.

At the same time, I was taking plenty of sociology courses focusing on abuse, and I figured sometime, somewhere, someone must have done something to me.

And I had proof, too! I’ve never liked anyone taking my pulse or hearing my heartbeat. It scares me, makes me want to run, and brings on major panic. In fact, I don’t like anything about the heart. In grade 7 we were studying the different chambers of the heart, and I almost passed out. Just thinking about it turns me white.

And I hated those gym classes where they made you take your pulse. I always faked it.

I even hated blood tests. Needles were fine; it was the taking blood out that bothered me. And so I built all these scenarios in my head of weird things that might have happened to me, when I heard my heartbeat echoing in my ears at a particularly scary time, and I had freaked out.

At times, when I spoke with a counselor when I was younger, I would mention this, and frequently they thought it was quite interesting. I would be asked to make a list of all the things that made me feel that way, and there were quite a lot. But the counseling never really went on very long, and soon it would be dropped, leaving me with a vague feeling that SOMETHING had happened, but I could never put my finger on it.

Flash forward to yesterday’s homeschooling. In science, with my 11-year-old, we’re studying the heart. And guess what she did? That’s right. She panicked. She refused to listen to her pulse. She turned white and started bouncing whenever we talked about the chambers of the heart. She freaked even watching her sister take her own pulse.

And I realized that I am simply a victim of genetics! I feel so much better.

It is amazing how many things, including our fears, actually can be genetic. Rebecca looks like me, but Katie is like me in many ways.

So often we’re trying to find environmental reasons for different issues in our lives, and maybe we’re barking up the wrong tree. Maybe that’s just the way we are. Doesn’t mean it can’t be changed, but maybe that’s our predisposition. And maybe I should just calm down!

Made me feel much better! And rather silly, too!


  1. Miss Charlene says:

    >How wonderful that our kids can prove what is genetic, and wasn’t from something else! For me, I was born with one pointy ear and one normal ear. My mom always said she must have let me sleep on that ear, or held me the wrong way as a baby. I believed that until my youngest son came out with what we affectionately call, “the Spock ear” lol.

  2. elaine @ peace for the journey says:

    >Hey Shelia:
    Just wanted to take a moment to say “thanks” for your time at the conference this afternoon. I greatly enjoyed hearing you speak, and although I was having “great fun” with the chat, I was hearing you sister. I’ve go so many issues; not enough room to go into them here, but with divorce in my background, you can imagine some of the things I’ve face in remarriage, etc.

    Nuff said.

    I appreciate your tenacious resolve to keep the marriage bed both pure and exciting! Thanks for lending your thoughts in the matter.

    peace to you this Easter week~elaine

  3. >I often wondered if, let’s call them, “control issues” and a tendency toward depression ran in my family. It seemed like a lot of people on my dad’s side have to deal with strong negative feelings. When my hitherto-unknown half-sister discovered us a few years ago, it was soon clear that this was in fact in our genetics. Along with many mannerisms, this is something my sister and I share. I don’t know why, but it is a relief to know it’s not my fault, and makes it easier to deal with!

  4. >I have many strange neurotic behaviors. :-) I can often see them in my oldest!

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge