As I grow older I become more aware that the intrinsic nature of a person doesn’t change much from early childhood.
Of course there is a fine tuning and modification of certain traits, and in cases such as my own there is a level of heavy duty re training and acceptance; but to a great degree we work with the character which we were born with and that reacts in kind to the circumstances which life throws at it.
Although I was a child that was brought up under a heavy duty, old fashioned mantel of Catholicism, I never really bought into the Roman Catholic doctrines of shame and guilt.
My morality has remained relatively consistent and my attitudes and behaviour evolved as a reaction to people’s condemnation, rather than as a reflection of my own inner beliefs of what was right or wrong.
My years of working in brothels and living as an addict never left me feeling guilty or ashamed. Of course I did things that were pretty bloody horrible, destructive and alienating and I have lived with that, and where possible ammended the damage; but I never felt ashamed.
What I have learned is to be circumspect.
In my late teens I discovered that my promiscuity had been loudly condemned, albeit behind my back, by people I thought were friends.
I also found out that my working as a prostitute created the same effect.
Whilst I was mixing in an addicts world this kind of judgement didn’t occur. Of course plenty of backstabbing and gossip abounded in that sphere but generally it was related to other issues (money and drugs comes to mind).
However when I stopped drinking and using drugs I realised that I was expected to feel ashamed, and that it would be necessary to keep quiet about my prior life and habits if I wanted to get on in mainstream society.
About seven years into my recovery I had a puff on a joint at a party and went through the established routine of confessing via sharing at a NA meeting.
Yes, I was worried I would spiral down into addiction again but I didn’t feel guilty or ashamed. I stopped going to meetings as I felt that I was expected to stand in front of my peers with my head hung, and be judged.
Needless to say my interpretations of this incident are subjective and may well be completely paranoid and misrepresentative.
Now I am openly talking about my chequered past with no tinge of shame or remorse. Why?
Well I am not a sociopath, although I do believe I am a tad dissociative, and I believe I have simply reached an age where I don’t give a f*** what people think.
Says she who lives the life of a near hermit!