With any luck, some of those self-revelations come early enough in your life that you don't pass their effects on to your children... but, whatever the timing, these Ah-Ha moments tend to change you forever. Because we, as humans, can't un-see what we've seen, un-learn what we've learned nor un-hear what we've heard.
The other thing that happens with a self-revelation is that it will start uncovering other things in it's periphery. Entire chunks of time or similar life experiences will come back to you even if you haven't thought about them in 20 years, but now you'll see the correlation. Things will make sense now that made no sense whatsoever at the time, or you will find out about a different perspective, how it looked to someone else back then that backs up what you have only now come to realize. It can be amazing. It can also be infuriating. And sometimes, it makes life as you know it, and are currently living it, all but intolerable.
As you may have guessed, I'm not just waxing poetic over here. I have had one of those revelations recently. Brought about by a picture of myself when I was seven and a couple of 'remember when' conversations with my sister... the kind that started out talking about Ann Rule books and serial killers and somehow coming around to knock hockey. Actually, I know how that subject shift happened. We had a mass murderer in our neighborhood growing up. I actually played with him as a kid, on the rare occasions that he was allowed out to play.
Anyway... that's so not what I was getting to, even if that's more interesting. Thing is, you never know what someone is going through... and that someone may even be yourself. Because our psyche tends to lock away the toxic waste of our past so that we can't look at it directly, even when it seeps into the soil and alters the rest of our life tree and how it grows and what it finds acceptable and even nurturing in other areas of our lives. I know you want the juicy details, but they're unimportant. This kind of thing happens to everyone with any shred of self-awareness.
The thing is this. Be kinder to yourself. Treat yourself like you matter. Don't be so hard on yourself. Give yourself grace. Do for yourself as if you were one of your best friends. We usually don't. We may put ourselves on the list, but it's so far down behind other people or other priorities that we get overlooked. We need to be in the top three always. Seriously. And I'm not talking about the kids starving so you can go get your mani/pedi. I'm talking about balanced, non-narcissistic self-love. There are several sayings covering this, so I'll throw a few out there for ya.
If you don't love yourself... how can you love anyone else; how can anyone else love you; how can you find or follow your calling? You can also put the word 'respect' in the place of the word 'love'. Do you do both (love and respect)? Do you do either? If your best friend's spouse treated them the way that you treat yourself, would you advise your friend to leave their spouse?
These are the things I've been dealing with lately. For the moment, they kind of suck. Big fat festering wounds don't heal overnight. They stink, literally. They need antibiotics. They require painfully removing all the nasty infected parts. Then they need to be dressed carefully and changed often to ensure proper healing, otherwise they fester again. I suppose it would be easier to simply put the flap back down and not look at the current mess. However that would stunt my growth and my personal value.
Cause once upon a time, I was cool. I got told so. I choose to believe it, and I choose to make it my reality.