ake describes the risk of these kids growing up to be people pleasers. I’d go one further. Not only did I grow up as a people pleaser, but I also had zero sense of self. Without someone to react to and to become the person they wanted me to be, I was no one. I tell people this often but I spent more time in therapy figuring out who I am than I spent trying to process childhood trauma and that was a direct result of growing up as this chameleon kid. My entire personality was based on fitting what was needed by other people, starting with my alcoholic father and the person who sexually abused me, right through to friends and my first wife. I was what I thought they wanted me to be. When my therapist started asking about what I wanted to be, I was blank. There was nothing there.
If you’re not familiar with what it can be like to try and get the proper mental health care in the US you should read this story. However, as you do read it, I need you to understand that this story, as hard as it is, actually represents the better side of the Mental Healthcare system. Ash’s parents have some financial means and expertise to help them navigate the system, even if her Mom had to leave her job. Now imagine what this looks like for someone without those things.