Semi-Abstract Portrait of an Avatar named Bobby

When I Grew Up

When I grew up I thought

I had to fail,

that success





that success led

to beatings and


When I grew up, I was still
an abused child.



© Rob Goldstein All Rights Reserved

60 thoughts on “When I Grew Up

    1. I discussed this poem in today’s therapy session. It is a fact that when I reached the age of 21 I was completely unprepared for life in a complex and rapidly changing culture. I had no real education and to real understanding of how healthy people had relationships. I was very lucky to have found good mentors and other
      people who wanted to see me develop my talents.


    1. This is a common problem for adults who survive severe child abuse. The neighbors were brutal about any display of intelligence. They saw intelligence in a boy as effeminate. And my Mother saw my intelligence as an insult to her narcissism.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I want to shake my countrymen. We have besmirched a great democracy and shat on one of the great ideas of the enlightenment: that those who are born to this World are endowed with inalienable rights which include the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Americans have fallen for cheap propaganda and the worst kind of amorality and as a result we are psychologically and physically abusing America’s children.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You find clear words for the sad developments of the political history of a great nation. We talked about it today that while most try to unite the United States divide…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The evil of militant ignorance lives in every nation. It waits for the public to grow complacent and forgetful. If it isn’t stopped now, it will be stopped later; but not before it destroys as much of our world as it can.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It makes no sense, and yet we do it every day, sometimes without even realizing it. How many people in the U.S. vote for the GOP and never consider the impact of its economic policies on our children and the quality of their lives? Putting a little thought into our political decisions might save lives.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You are so so very right, Robert! We often don’t even notice that we harm them by sticking to our own convenience. It is scary how popular rightists have become in Europe again.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I think the rise of the right is always preceded by periods of progressive complacency. Progressives seem to think that once we get a law passed we’ve won the war. We have to fight to see law enforced, and we have to fight for the oversight to make sure the law isn’t circumvented. We have to fight for the schools that educate people so they can intelligently exercise their rights under the law; and we have to fund the legal assistance poor people need to protect their rights under the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a great example of a toothless law. The ADA is designed to protect the disabled from discrimination and we have laws against elder abuse yet every day I pass elderly disabled people suffering from homelessness in one of the wealthiest cities in America.

        Surely, a hospital that sends a sick and elderly disabled person to the streets is discrimination and elder abuse; but a law that isn’t strictly enforced is meaningless.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. That’s a shame (which is not enough to describe it. of course). There would be a law and no one cares. And those who this law was made for cannot hire a lawyer. So, that law is truly meaningless! Terrible!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I think we’ll always be abused children…and spouses. I still scream when someone comes up behind me and just casually starts speaking. I cover my head and scream. I don’t think that will ever go away.
    My poor children used to stand at the door and call to me so they wouldn’t scare me when they came into the room.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sending children to school in fear of their lives is child abuse. Letting children go hungry is child abuse. Letting children live in poverty is child abuse. Every time we deprive children of resources we are saying they don’t count and we don’t need them. A month ago I heard a little boy on the bus ask his Mother if he could get killed at his school. I was shocked. He was five. How many children are living with that fear; and how awful we are as adults for imposing it on them? Thanks for the comment Josh. It allowed me to elaborate on what I see as institutional child abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob, look at where you are today, and look forward to the future. Abusive treatment thoughts never go away, but don’t let them define who you are today. You’ve survived triumphantly! 🎄🎄🎄 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment. I’m not in that place anymore. The poem is a statement of what was; not what is. I want those people who are entering adulthood the way I did to know that they are not alone; that there is a way they can help themselves to pass the milestones they missed. It all starts by admitting what you don’t know and accepting what you don’t want to know.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I know exactly what you mean, Rob. That kind of thing always got in the way of me advancing… And even when I realized what was happening, and stopped the “self sabotage” (not the best term, but you get what I mean) the envy, jealousy, and resentment of silly people who were threatened by the likes of me, did as much or worse.
    Keep being you, Rob. You are an inspiration. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We are many, who appreciate you and your blog, Robert 🙂
        Just go on, I only wished to secure, that you don’t let your past control your life today.
        We can’t change our past, but we can decide not to let it control us today. Otherwise the abusers will be the winners and they are not winners.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The thing with my DID is this: parts of me still live in dark places. It’s taken me most of my life to get well enough to let myself write and speak my mind. There were times when I didn’t think it was worth it but I never gave up. I had to live through the pain and validate it. I will never forget it and I must work to stop it from ruling my life. Not everyone is as well as I am. I needed permission to see how broken I was so I could begin the process of healing. I needed intensive psychotherapy of the kind that isn’t generally available outside of New York and San Francisco.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It is good, that you found out, what is working for you, which is the most important, no matter what any doctor ever will say.
        There are so many ways to healing and it is different, what is working for each of us 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I live in Spain and have had more than enough of medication for this year. I don’t think, that my doctor will allow me more with risk for me getting back to the hospital again, but thank you for warning me.

        Liked by 1 person

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