What is your childhood memory that you thought was normal but realized it was traumatic later in your life?

I lived in Northern Ireland during ‘the troubles’ because my dad was in the British Army. As a 10 year old, I didn’t understand how dangerous it was for us to be English, Protestant and part of the Army, nor did I understand the IRA and their actions.

As a 10 year old, I didn’t question why we had to have the underside of our car checked every time we returned to camp, or why we had to have an escort on our school bus at all times, or why my new teacher on my first day at school told me “if anyone asks what your daddy does, you tell them he builds houses, and never EVER tell them he is in the army”, or why we couldn’t mention dates, times or locations on the phone to family, or why the news was full of reports on nail bombs, pipe bombs and petrol bombs.

Only when I became an adult did I understand why we played the game “let’s see how far away from the car we can get before we talk” so that people didn’t hear we were English (and likely to be Army), or why my dad taught me how to look for “flashing boxes with wires” under the car before we got in, or why Catholic high school kids threw rocks at us one day after school as we got off the bus.

In hindsight, our life at that time was similar to being in witness protection, and it was the defining point that turned our happy normal family into a wreck of negative emotions and mental health problems.

/r/AskReddit Thread