But they did repeat their parent’s abusive behavior and more than likely, increased the level of abuse and the types of abuses. Granted, this was in the 50s and 60s and at a time before Dr. Benjamin Spock’s theories on baby and child care was well known or practiced. Now, his books are in their eighth and ninth editions and have led many parents towards much more enlightened parenting habits.

However, I grow up with many idiosyncracies. I stuttered from the time I was seven until my teacher, Mrs. Lemos kept me after school every day and had me read from Shakespeare while holding my tongue when I was 15. By the end of my sophomore year, I no longer stuttered unless I was tired.

It was an amazing to learn it was possible to change absolutely anything I focused on at that age. I realized how difficult it was to continue to walk pigeon toed, so I spent the next year walking like a duck with my toes pointed outward. Before the end of my junior year, I was able to walk straight without having to consciously think about walking straight.

From that point on, I choose a different trait or behavior I wanted to change. Every single year I focus on something new that I want to change. The year I choose to learn to say no was the most difficult.

I was technically born a middle child, the one who is always obligated to keep the peace in the family. Even though my parents adopted my brother Tony when I was 13, I already had developed the habits of someone who had to overcompensate for being less than the oldest or the youngest. I was the “pleaser”. I was the child who would look for additional ways to make my parents, teachers, and friends happier or more comfortable. I was constantly trying to fix everyone.