I thought I better add something. When I was writing this out I relaised this sounds unnerringly negative. The reality is that whilst some pretty crappy things have happened, there were long periods that were actually quite boring, mundane and dare I say normal. For the past ten years I have been married to a wonderful woman - yes we have our ups and downs but on the whole far more ups. I have two beautiful children who can be little bastards in their own special way but you love them more for it. Unlike many on this board, I got out early enough to go to university and be in a position where I am financial secure at a relatively young age. The damage the WT did to me was at least not there. I miss having brothers and I miss having parents - that is not neccesarily the same thing as missing my own brothers and parents. I suppose the thing I could have from it all is something I find quite hard to describe. I do a lot of social research and we talk about resilience quite a lot. You cannot really measure it but I know it is like a steel core inside you that stops you getting too low and will not let you be beaten.
I worked out when I was a child that you often don't have a choice about what happens but you always have a choice in how you react to things. Since leaving psycho teacher woman I have also always had the attitude that if I have an idea to do something just do it and never be a person who just talks about doing things. Hence why I live in Scotland now amongst other things. People ask why I choose to live in the middle of nowhere and I just tell them, in all honesty, that it was something to do and once I (and my wife) had the idea we had to move. If we hadn't we would have just stayed where we were. I don't know if anyone reads Terry Pratchet (I find his books get samey but on the whole are quite thought provoking) but he says of one his characters that whilst some people wanted to collect money she had preferred to collect memories. Whilst a lot of my memories are bad I feel 'richer' because of them. The downside of not having anyone to talk with who was there as well is that memories get forgotten when not discussed and so you become poorer because of it. I think the sharing of common memories is one of the real benefits of family and perhaps the thing I really miss.
I don't think I developed that resilient core that enables you to think like this - I think it is something you are born with. But there are two downsides to this. Whilst I never really get depressed I never get really excited. But I think these are any case just transient emotions and what I have is real contentment. The other thing is I can come across as being a bit (well, ok very) unsympathetic with people. Moaning is great and I will listen to moans but then either do something about it or stop moaning. Maybe it is a failing but I have never seen the point in wallowing.
Anyway, don't think I had implied it but didn't want people to think that I was really psychologically damaged by all this. I may be of course, but aren't we all: as the Larkin poem goes "They fuck you up, your mum and dad" see http://www.artofeurope.com/larkin/lar2.htm if you have never read it. Don't agree with his conclusion (he never had children himself) but I think the gist of it is right.