Leslie Lotton grew up in a small town in the south. Her dysfunctional family consisted of two younger brothers, a detached mother and alcoholic father. At the age of 12, the oldest child, she had to take on the responsibility of her two brothers, protecting them from their drunken father, making sure her brothers went to and from school, feeding them dinner, breakfast, cleaning the dishes by using a stool to reach the sink, and seeing that they had their school work done. The latter was difficult to impossible to do, for they liked to play with their friends while Leslie tried to keep track of the time and bring them home before dark. She was never allowed to have a childhood. Making friends was difficult for she never knew what condition she would find in the home.
As a teenager she was good at drawing, never having anything to work with except pencils, crayons, and plain line paper. Art was not taught in any of her schools. She asked her mother if she could go to art school, but no, there was no money for such a waste. She liked drawing fashion designs but had no idea of how to work with this other than drawing her own designs and finding a piece of fabric or by tearing up old clothes for the materials. In her small town there was little need for fashion. The majority of people in the town worked in the cotton mill 6 days a week and little culture or entertaiment was to be had. Her only hope was to leave home and find her way on the other side of the small perimeter (city, towns she knew) she knew.
After high school she took on labor jobs to save enough money so she could leave; but when she worked her mother made her pay rent and buy whatever she needed with her own money. This made it impossible to save enough money to move out. She did make enough money to go to a class to learn secretarial skills, only to discover she didn’t possess the aptitude for this work.
The cotton mill owners also donated the schools and funded portions of the academics. They did this in order to have control over the curriculum with the goal of keeping the graduates working in the mill as their parents had. This took minimal skills and the school never counseled the mill workers children about other opportunities.
The only other way to leave home was to marry. Most young ladies only knew how their family was dysfunctional and would find themselves married to a dysfunctional man, in another dysfunctional family.
After reading some of my blog perhaps you will find out how to get out of this dysfunctional circle.