[Me: circa 1978]
If I had a time machine and could go back in time to give myself advice based on what I know now, it would be this:
1. You have an insightful mind, a caring heart, strong personal ethics, and a stubborn streak and the reason your family had it out for you is because you challenged them and they didn’t like losing control. The loss of their love wasn’t personal, because they didn’t see you as a person, but as a blank screen they can project all their disowned junk onto and a scapegoat they can blame.
Learn to love yourself, even though they made it hard for you.
2. Learn to say no when people want to drag you into their drama. I know you want to help, but they need to help themselves. Your wanting to help restore peace for others interferes with you finding peace for yourself. It’s related to a misguided need to feel powerful and in control in a world that has lost its mind. You have your lessons to learn through adversity, and so do they. You can’t deny them their right to learn from their mistakes.
3. Do not be so attached to outcomes. When you are not attached to the outcome, you are much more able to accept “what is”, you can avoid disappointments and you can give up the need to control. When you give up the need to control, more creativity can blossom.
4. Don’t be afraid to seek counseling and Al-anon, because you would have avoided becoming an enabler and you would have support for what you were dealing with and you would have avoided a lot of pain and resentments. Despite what you may think, you can’t fix everything yourself.
5. Don’t deny your truth, for anyone. Be careful of those who try too hard to convince you of theirs, no matter what their status. You know what’s best for you.
6. Trust yourself more. Whether it was in the laboratory, or in relationship, or in mothering you have great instincts and you will find a way through the rough spots.
7. Learn to trust women. Despite your early experiences with women (mother, sisters and girlfriends), there are some very wise and caring women out there who aren’t out to hurt you (like your stepmother). Look harder to find them.
8. Widen your net to find the kind of support you need. While it’s harder for you to trust, and you have many non-mainstream values, there are others who can help you without making you lose yourself.
9. Discover the power of art as a healing tool sooner. You’ll be glad you did.
10. Take care of your needs – eat good food, rest more, learn meditation and yoga, spend more time in Nature, do some inner child work and dress comfy, but don’t be afraid to dress like a girl (you really do feel better when you don’t dress in jeans and sneakers all the time).