Childhood mysteries
My taboos, your taboos.
Why we don't talk about them, but probably should.
As a project topic, I have chosen the happy childhood which none of us had in his real life.
I have interviewed three persons about it, trying to make an honest conversation about everything that happened – from toxic parents to unrevealed emotions.

All the names have been changed to protect the heroes' privacy

On the second photo: Earings, that her mother gave her as gift.

What was the main emotion you've experienced in your childhood?Distress, anxiety and insecurity

What was the cause?
My whole childhood I felt like on a roller coaster, because we moved from place to place all the time. And because of my mother also had her ups and downs all the time.

Did you get emotional support from your parents?I used to discuss my problem with my mother, like when I had fallen in love with the guy I told her. But she had a really old school and conservative concept of relationships, when the guy tries to be perfect, pays all your bills etc. I wish I hadn't told her so much because of the wrong advices. Only living away from her helped me realize what the healthy relationship were.

Besides, my mother suffered from depression and never kept her promises. For example, we could plan to go to the amusement park together on the weekend but then when the day came we didn't. It was important for me to have some activities together as a normal family, so her behaviour really pissed me off. As I was a tiny child, i didn't understand what the word "depression" means and sometimes was even mad that she didn't get up and just do things.

When did you move from her?
I lived with my mother in Italy and then I went to College in the States, living with my dad and his new family there. This was also not easy because of the cultural and language barriers but gave me a chance to grow a lot as a person.

How do you communicate with you parents now?
Every time I visit my mother, it's kind of hard. She easily gets really dramatic. She still keeps giving me advices about the relationships, asking why I don't call my boyfriend every day. The last time she got jealous that I've spent too much time with my friends (that i didn't see for a long time), so I had to cancel some appointments. I think next visit i will come with my boyfriend and stay at an Airbnb apartment, not her place.

Did you ever tell your mother about your childhood?No, I don't want to be retaliated. Sometimes she brings the topic herself and says that she could have been too strict, but we never go deep into the details.

Do you want children yourself?
No idea, I'm afraid I wouldn't be a good parent.
On the first photo:
His bookshelf with books about self-enhancement which helped him overcome the trauma

What was the main emotion you've experienced in your childhood?

What was the cause?
When I was born, my father was 54 and it felt more like a grandpa.
He was never interested in my life. However, he could only admit me to his activities (like hunting), but never took part in mine. I guess he was just exhausted emotionally by that time to be involved in my childhood enough. He was really strict with the right-and-only point of view.

And what about your mother?
She was 20 years younger and cared about me more, but couldn't express herself in a loving way. She was a woman of temper. We always had lots of shouting at home – either between my parents or me and them. Even if she made a mistake, she started to raise her voice and made a situation look like you were wrong, not her. But I don't blame her as I know she had hard times herself, growing up in Warsaw ghetto and then moving to Germany afterwards, being unemployed and totally dependent on my father.

So, it looks like both of your parents didn't listen to you but in a different way

How did the conflicts look back then?
Well, we never really talked or solved them but could stop talking to each other for a week or two.

Did you ever feel emotional support from your parents?
No, it was more about not being proud with myself. Trying to cope with anger, i started to smoke weed every day, which was not the best decision. I didn't study well, never interested in participating in the family business… so I didn't look like a successful person to my parents.

What was the biggest mistake that your parents have done in relation to you?
They just didn't care.

Did you have to come to therapist? And how long?

How do you communicate with your parents now?
Did you ever talk about how your childhood was in your eyes?

My father died a couple of years ago. As for my mother, well, we talk and I see her quite often but these meetings are rather superficial. I tried to tell her about the problems we had in childhood but she never really listened and accepted the fact that they exist. I think that even back then she really tried hard to make our childhood happy and do lots of inner work, heal my traumas so I love her no matter what she does.
On the second photo:
A map which reminds her of her father – a passionate traveler

What was the main emotion you've experienced in your childhood?
Sense of inferiority

What was the cause?
My mother's attitude. She was a teacher and very successful artist. It was
hard to be a normal child. I was always too slow, too stupid, not talented enough.

What kind of relationships did you have with her?
She could be supportive, but only when she was okay with my choices. For example, I had to go to the ballet school for 12 years, which wasn't my passion at all. My whole life was structured to fit the classes schedule, I had to follow a special diet and felt isolated from other kids, that used to hang out and eat pizza after school. I was quite good at ballet, but not a champion that my mother wanted me to be.

She had a huge ego and was treating me in a worst way possible, behaving aggressively – both verbally and physically.

How did it start?
I was very little, maybe 5 years old and just counting spoons on the table. For some reason, my mother got mad at me (maybe I made a mistake though) and I still clearly remember small red chair, thrown by her, flying across the room. This never stopped, she could even slap me in the face when my friend was at our house in another room. She was really cruel. And the weirdest thing is that i can't now remember any reason, how couldIi as a child provoke her for this aggression. It just came out of nowhere.

Once being a kid, I told her that maybe she should see a doctor but she answered that was impossible. By that time, she was working with disabled children and afraid that they would kick her out if they find out how she treated me.

And what about your father?
I was born when my parents were 24 and 25 and by that time they were already not together.

I think they were not mature enough to have kids. My father had his own problems (being ACOA) and when i was a little child, he could be verbally aggressive. Then he started a course of therapy so our relationships improved.

He was my best friend: smart, nice, with a great sense of humor. He inspired me with a passion for travel. And he always listened to my problems, never depreciating them.

Did you tell him about your problems with your mother?
Never. I felt guilty and it was super important to keep this secret and never tell anyone. I think if anyone would have found out (especially at school), I would have killed myself. But at the same time now as a grown up I don't understand why people around – neighbors, who could hear it or my grandmother, who was always around, didn't notice or do anything about it.

How did your childhood influence your adult life?
When i moved to Berlin, I was depressed for some time, had horrible nightmares and decided to start a course of therapy. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

How are the relationships with your parents now?
I still talk with my mother but not so often. I don't come home for Christmas or her birthdays. The last time I saw her in person was 1.5 years ago.
Video password: hello
Vielen Dank fürs Lesen!

Kseniia Apresian
Made on