Tag Archives: dad

Hey-O

I’ve been back home for a few days now. My summer class got canceled, which is sad. I’m going to be bored . . . not to mention the loss of income. But I guess I should be doing things like looking at jobs and working on my writing.

I haven’t come back here right away because I’ve been working on my writing. I haven’t gotten around to editing my novel yet, but hopefully I will after I finish revising this short story I’ve been editing. I’ve also got a short story idea I haven’t started working on yet, and another one that I just finished. The latter is rather dark . . . It would make people wonder at the screwed-up things that go on in my head. I’m not sure what I can do with this story. I’m not sure what I can do with the story I’ve been revising, either. I find it amusing, but I don’t think anyone other than me would. I think the idea is clever, though. I just don’t feel like people would get it.

Then there’s the obsession I’ve referred to before . . . Supernatural. I started writing a fanfiction story because I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, though. It’s rather embarrassing; I don’t want to go into detail about the story itself. Well, I guess it’ll all just be for my own entertainment.

I’ve finally reached the eighth season of Supernatural, so I’ll probably be spending most of my free time watching that. Since I’m so obsessed and all. It’s bad. Half the time things remind me of little moments in Supernatural. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, lol.

And now we come to some heavy news.

While I was home, my dad almost had a heart attack.

I’m serious. It’s shocking and scary. One morning, he wasn’t feeling well, so he had my stepmom take him to the ER. No one thought it would be anything too bad; after all, he almost passed a stress test. But then they found that he had 100% blockage in his coronary artery. If my dad didn’t go to the hospital when he did, well . . . not something I want to think about.

My reaction to this event makes me think I’ve been lying to myself. I like to think I’m this sensitive, caring, and empathetic person, but I’m not.

I woke up late that morning, and based on certain cues in the house, I could tell something was up. However, unlike what I’d usually do in such a situation, I didn’t call to find out what it was. I didn’t want to, so I didn’t find out about my dad going to the ER until a couple of hours later. At that point, the doctors still hadn’t discovered how bad the situation was.

Then as the truth slowly came out, I felt emotionless. Complacent, even, like of course things turned out okay, because the alternative doesn’t happen in real life. Logically, that’s stupid.

I continued to feel emotionless. I didn’t even see why I should be otherwise. Everyone was concerned and worried, and there I was, a callous person.

It seems I have only two modes sometimes–being callous or being overly emotional. Perhaps that has something to do with my reaction.

The whole thing even seemed funny to me, and I occasionally had to restrain short laughs.

I’ve noticed, though, that sometimes I laugh when I’d normally cry.

But I don’t think that was one of the situations, because as I said, I felt nothing.

Only a few days later, as my mind sifted through the implications of the event, did I get weepy.

I don’t like what my reaction says about my character.

My dad’s fine now; he’s resting.

8 Comments

Filed under General Musing

A Mind Slice

My mood continues to be erratic.

I just feel like there’s this truth, and it’s that I’m supremely unlovable.

Even when I know people love me, I don’t feel it’s possible, not really.

Do I have attachment issues? Perhaps that’s a topic I need to investigate.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my dad. For some reason, I decided to mention that I might possibly have post-traumatic stress disorder. His response was to ask whether that was from when I was a baby. Because, as a baby, I had an operation. Well, several of them really. First to try to find out what was wrong with me, then to take out a kidney. I have these two huge surgical scars on my stomach from it. It was all very dramatic, as I almost died.

The other day, I asked my therapist whether such an event could’ve traumatized me. She began asking questions about my mom then said that, if it had traumatized me, it was because of my parents’, and especially probably my mom’s, reaction. For some reason, though, I felt like this pwas a fruitless path to go down. Maybe I picked up on my parents’ anxiety about it, but wouldn’t I have had feelings about the event itself? Like being in a hospital and such? Feeling isolated and abandoned because I didn’t know what was happening? Is this why I feel unlovable? Because I felt betrayed as an infant?

**********

I’ve been thinking about focusing on creative writing again, perhaps making it my raison d’etre. But when I read things that others have written around the blogosphere, I wonder if it’s just a pointless ambition. My writing is not that creative. There are so many people whose writing is more evocative than my own. I am not good at bringing an environment to life. I find exploring my characters’ thoughts more interesting. But if I’m showing my characters’ thoughts, am I crossing the show v. tell boundary? Should I be showing my characters behaving in a certain way rather than elaborating on their thought processes?

I just don’t think it’s writing that appeals to a lot of people.

My tone is methodical. It’s not wildly creative at all. My word choices are rather bland. Why should I even try to be a writer? It’s pointless.

Yesterday, I submitted something to this. It’s an NPR thing where you write a story about a President, and the story must be short enough to read aloud in three minutes. (Because they read aloud the winner on All Things Considered. Also, this time the winner may even get published in the Paris Review! Tres exciting!) I don’t have high hopes for it. There’s no action to it. It is something I’d already planned on writing, so I’m glad I had the excuse to write it sooner rather than later. My story is basically about  Chester Arthur and what he was thinking when Garfield died. I knew after reading Destiny of the Republic that I wanted to write something about that moment. I incorporated several documented quotes that relate to the event. I’m a little apprehensive about that decision.

I keep looking at and contemplating where I might submit some writing. I read through previously published stories, and they’re so good. How can I ever expect to compete?

12 Comments

Filed under General Musing

Seven Things About Me Award

I’d like to thank Mm172001 for nominating me for the Seven Things About Me Award! Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Nominate other bloggers you think deserve the award, and post on their blog to let them know they’ve been nominated.

Seven Things:

1) I’m going to have to reduce how often I’m on the computer. I think I frequently spend more time on than off it. My left wrist has been hurting for the past three days, and I think I may have tendinitis (or tendonitis; I’ve seen varying spellings) from being on the computer so much.  I don’t think it’s carpal tunnel because from what I can gather that’s on the fingers and inside/palm of the hand. My pain is mostly on the outside of my wrist, near the nob. From what I read on the oh-so-credible world wide web, tendinitis and carpal tunnel are often confused with each other, so that’s why I think tendinitis might be a more accurate description.

2) I’m going to visit my family next week. If I’m not on here writing or reading, it’s because I’m spending time with my family and just generally unplugging. I don’t get on the computer as much when I’m visiting my family, and that might be good for my wrists. If I spend too much time on the Internet, occasionally they get suspicious. Plus, I’m not comfortable with them knowing about my blogging life. That’s partially because of the information I share, but it’s also because my parents aren’t super Internet-savvy and a lot of what they know about the Internet is what they see on the news about people meeting someone from the Internet and getting killed. I’m afraid they’ll think my Internet friendships could be with liars who might harm me in some way. I like to think I’m smart enough to avoid that sort of thing, but maybe not. 😦

3) My dad has become a little bit of a hypochondriac, both about himself and family members. If I feel somewhat unwell and tell him about it, he wants me to go to a doctor. This contrasts sharply with what life was like when I was a kid. Anytime I felt sick then, my dad would always tell me that it probably wasn’t a big deal and I was fine, especially if I didn’t have a fever. I think my childhood experience explains why I’m often reluctant to go to a doctor unless I feel extremely terribly.

4) You know you’ve been experiencing temperatures that are too hot when you go outside and feel like it’s slightly cooler when it’s 106 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside. Yes, this happened to me this afternoon.

5) I can’t think of much to say. I wonder if I should’ve saved some of my hot guys from the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. (I keep wanting to call it the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blogs Award, ha.) Speaking of that award, I’d like to thank artyelf from Letters to Dom for nominating me for it. That one came a tad too late for me to be able to include it in my acceptance post. I really do appreciate any and all award nominations!

6) Now that my guilty reality-show pleasure Love in the Wild is over, my other guilty reality-show pleasure, Project Runway, has taken its place. It’s not something that’s as much of a “guilty” thing, ha. But it started a couple of weeks ago, and of course I’m keeping up. I get so invested in it, and then of course they always pick stupid winners, which gets me riled!

7) The highs have been 110+ degrees for the past couple of weeks, as you might surmise from #4. On the news yesterday, they talked about how many little league football and baseball teams are still having practice. (Incidentally, that sounds like something my stepsister’s husband might make his son attend.) Wtf?! If I had a kid, I would not allow them to go to sports practice in this heat. It’s too dangerous. Such pursuits would not be worth my kid experiencing heat exhaustion (or perhaps something even worse).

All right, I’m done with those! I nominate the following:

Letters to Dom

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

Nothinginmynoggin

Laments and Lullabies

I don’t think these bloggers already have this award, but I’m not sure.

6 Comments

Filed under General Musing

30 Days of Truth: Day 26–Suicidal Tendencies

Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

As someone with mental health issues, my answer is that of course I’ve thought of giving up on life. I’ve thought of it often. Day 25 covers some aspects of my most suicidal moments. I’ll go into a little more detail here.

The first time I was suicidal, I was thirteen. I didn’t have any friends. There were a couple of people I talked to during lunch, but that was about it. My mom had forced me to take a home economics class, both in 7th and 8th grade, and because I had poor spatial skills (as I well knew), I did pretty poorly. Other students made fun of how horrible I was in home economics. In middle school, I made B’s in only two classes–home economics and P.E. I got B’s in P.E. because I often wouldn’t dress out for it. I hated P.E. because I was always the worst one at everything. I was especially bad at volleyball and volley tennis, and people would groan when they got me on their team. A few times, people intimidated me into not dressing out because they didn’t want such a terrible player on their team. And, oh, God, I remember this really embarrassing and terrible event. After P.E. when I went to the locker room to change, I found a note in my locker. It told me that I stank and should use deodorant. Well, I have always sweated easily; I can’t help it, and of course I used deodorant. I was horrified at the note, and this shy girl acted uncharacteristically. I brandished the note and started shouting and hysterically sobbing. A few of the other nice and not-so-popular people looked stunned at my outburst. This is a weird memory, like something that doesn’t seem real, but I know it happened.

Anyway, the point of all of this is to show that my school life was hell. My parents seemed to always yell at me and hurt my feelings. Then my parents finally separated and got a divorce. Even though my parents constantly fought, I’d always told myself that one day they would start liking each other again and live happily ever after. The crappy school life and stressful home life led to me contemplating suicide.

In high school, I continued to have suicidal urges. I had a few friends, but I was really on the outside of the social circle. They’d known each other longer than they’d known me, and they’d often do things without inviting me. I was probably the best teenager anyone could hope for; I did well in school and didn’t take drugs, smoke, or drink. Despite that, I often fought with my parents. These fights would end with me locking myself in my room, hugging my stuffed animals, and crying. My tumultuous relationship with my parents made me suicidal. That and the fact that no one seemed to like me that much. Sometimes when fighting with my parents, I would threaten to commit suicide. I resented that they didn’t take me seriously. My mom even once told me that I was too cowardly to try, and I knew it was true.

I continued to be depressed in college, but I wasn’t really suicidal. I stopped writing because I couldn’t find the time; I was dedicated to my studies. I also gave up writing because I realized I wasn’t that great and didn’t see a point in writing stories if I wasn’t the best writer out there. This is symptomatic of a broader outlook on life that probably holds me back. I think I learned it from my father. Basically, I believe that if I’m not the best at something, I’m not good enough. If I can’t become the best, then I’m just wasting time. I know that this mindset isn’t necessarily true, but it’s always my first instinct.

During my senior year in college, though, I became suicidal again. I don’t know why. I think it’s because I had suppressed my depression for the past three years. I didn’t want people to be worried about me, so I always pretended like I was fine. I knew that if I showed the extent of my feelings, my dad would say I was depressed because I hadn’t chosen a more practical major or college closer to home. The fact is, it would’ve been worse if I’d gone to a college closer to home. Then I wouldn’t have an excuse for knowing barely anybody because tons of people from high school would be around. Never mind that I’d never talked to those people in high school.

I’ve already covered the rest of this story in my post about the big break (what I call my two-year breakdown). I don’t want to repeat and relive all of those details right now. Besides, I often sound like a broken record on here.

Then of course there was the trip to the ER incident in 2011.

Even now I still have suicidal thoughts, some more imminent than others. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever gone that long without thinking about suicide. Why? My mental health issues. I despair about life in general. I’m afraid I’m always destined to be alone. That deep down I’m unlovable. That everyone who ever likes me will one day realize why I’m unworthy of their regard. Also, I just don’t know what I’m doing here. What’s the point? How am I helping the world? How can I help the world if I want to hide all the time? Would it really matter if I wasn’t in the world? Sometimes I wish that It’s a Wonderful Life could happen to me so I could understand what makes my presence worthwhile.

22 Comments

Filed under 30 Days of Truth

Diagnosis: Official

Well, it’s official, folks! I’m a card-carrying member of the bipolar disorder club!

(I should warn you that this will be one of my longest posts ever.)

This morning, I had the evaluation appointment with the psychiatrist. I was a little skeptical, since all it involved was asking me questions. I thought, well, why can’t I just be given a questionnaire, fill it out, and give it back? But now I see that the interaction between the pdoc and me had elements that a written questionnaire wouldn’t have. It probably helped that I was in a good mood for some reason. I found myself rattling out personal details as casually as you can please, as if they were of no import. I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing, though. She would ask something, and I’d be like, “Well, what do you consider x?” then explain whatever about myself had come to mind.

I questioned her bipolar diagnosis. But mine doesn’t seem like the cases I’ve read about, I mentioned. Even reading the blogs of you people who’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I feel it doesn’t sound quite like me, only sort of. She agreed and said mine wasn’t a typical case. My highs aren’t nearly as high as most people’s.

Great. So from what I can gather, the few times in my life I’ve felt content were due to hypomania. Because, my normal state is a low-grade depression.

And what I thought were just interesting, inspirational moments . . . probably hypomania. Occasionally I’ll have this feeling that everything is more vivid, more real, than usual. I hear and look at things and feel how artistic the world is. I might even start artistic projects. Was all of this because of hypomania? I didn’t talk about this stuff with the pdoc, but upon reflection, after a few hours, it strikes my mind.

Perhaps I’m even in a hypomanic state right now. That could account for my uncharacteristic levity. I had difficulty sleeping last night. I felt like I was about to fall asleep, so I went to bed, but then all of a sudden my thoughts were racing, and I woke up every couple of hours. I wondered if I forgot to take my Seroquel. I distinctly remember taking it, but I could be wrong. Sometimes I find my days bleeding together.

So we’re trying out Lamictal. A mood stabilizer. I can’t even comprehend how that would make me feel. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a stable mood that didn’t even being melancholy.

But there’s more. There’s (probably, I think she said, but I might’ve added that in myself since I was in disbelief), post-traumatic stress disorder due to my childhood.

I was inclined to burst out laughing at this, but of course I didn’t. What?! I exclaimed. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. For some of her questions had involved asking about my childhood, and I’d answered truthfully, somehow, instead of holding back as I instinctively wanted to do.

But maybe it was worse than you think it was, she replied. Yes, I’ve heard that before, and my first therapist told me that I was probably emotionally abused. My immediate reaction then was incredulity. It just sounded ridiculous.

But it’s not like anything that bad happened to me. I wasn’t sexually abused. It wasn’t like I was regularly beaten up. Sure, my mom slapped me once in a while, and there was “the stick,” but those weren’t everyday occurrences. What about the old days when people used switches on their children? The stick probably sounds worse than it was. I gave her more details about the stick than I’ve ever mentioned here, and I’m not going to mention them, either, because it would give a negatively distorted image of my childhood.

This is all that happened in my childhood: I had no friends. My parents would yell at me a lot, hurt my feelings, and say I was too sensitive. They would yell at each other a lot. Maybe they occasionally hit each other, but that wasn’t the overriding theme. I felt like they never took me seriously, but why would an adult take an elementary schooler seriously? They didn’t encourage my interests, but it’s not like they actively discouraged them, either.

And yet, based on some things I said, I can see why the pdoc might think that. Here’s how some of my experience seems to match the criteria:

(2) recurrent distressing dreams of the event. I mentioned that I’m often afraid to go to sleep because I have nightmares. I described a couple of the nightmares, and none of them had to do with my childhood. I don’t even know if I ever dream about that. I just know that I become afraid of my dreams and sometimes wake up frightened without knowing why.

(3) acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated). If I think about my childhood for too long, I start to feel like the abject, scared, hurt little girl I was when I was a kid.

(4) intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event. Based on the evaluation, this is the one that stuck out to me, and I mention some things related to it in the Day of Truth post I linked to above when I mentioned the stick. Any time there’s yelling or intense conflict going on around me, I start quailing. Occasionally it can even make me cry. (I didn’t mention that part.) If two parties want me to mediate between them, I refuse to do so. I just can’t.

And here’s more that occurred to me later: Maybe this is why I’m so afraid to approach people. Not just the social anxiety, but there’s more. I’m always afraid that any time I approach someone, make my presence known, I’m bothering them. I always felt like anytime I brought a concern up to my parents, I was bothering them. It could even be why I’m so afraid of being wrong, of expressing an erroneous view. I feel like when I was wrong, it was always used against me. And that’s what I fear now–if I make a mistake, it will be used against me.

(1) efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma. I avoid places where it seems even mild disagreement is going on.

I avoid thinking about my childhood as often as I can. It’s like I put up a wall and refuse to let my mind go there.

(3) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma. I’m not unable to recall it. I remember much of it vividly. But reading this part makes me realize something. When I think about my childhood, sometimes it just seems so unreal. Like it didn’t really happen, like the person it happened to can’t have been me.

(5) feeling of detachment or estrangement from others. I feel close yet distant with people such as my family members. My therapist once told me it seems I have attachment issues.

(7) sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span). Yes, definitely. And I don’t even ever want children. I’m not good with kids, and I’m afraid besides that I’ll be a crappy parent. Because it’s not as if my parents were the world’s best, and I don’t have another model.

D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by two (or more) of the following:

(1) difficulty falling or staying asleep 
(2) irritability or outbursts of anger 
(3) difficulty concentrating 
(4) hypervigilance 
(5) exaggerated startle response

Hmm. Okay. Sometimes it’s hard for me to fall asleep. I’m often irritable, and I can have violently angry outbursts. I find it hard to concentrate sometimes. I can either focus entirely on something or not at all. I think I’m hypervigilant. And I definitely have an exaggerated startle response.

So could I have PTSD? It just somehow doesn’t compute to me, as if it’s the most impossible thing ever. I mean, compare what I went through to what most people with PTSD went through . . . it’s a trifle.

Why would my childhood induce PTSD? Most of what I remember is yelling and hurt feelings. Is that enough to cause PTSD? Probably not. And I’m sure my memory is selective . . . it can’t have been as bad as the emotions I remember. That’s what I mostly remember, certain emotions.

Still, compared to other possible traumas out there, it seems rather mild. Does it mean I’m a weak person? I remember my parents used to tell me to toughen up, that every little thing shouldn’t make me cry.

If my childhood gave me PTSD, I must be weak. How would I have responded to real trauma if that’s true? I probably wouldn’t be resilient enough to survive. Ergo, I’m weak.

I should probably tell my parents about my diagnoses. And yet. I’m debating whether I should mention the PTSD possibility to them. They’ll probably laugh if I do. And they’d have a right to. They’ve had much worse things happen in their lives than I have.

But if I just mention the bipolar disorder, I know what my dad will say. I told you so. It was in your genes. It has nothing to do with the past. My dad once said, If it was really so bad, why didn’t any of my other kids turn out that way? After the ER episode, he even asked me if anything “bad” had happened to me that he didn’t know about. He thinks my childhood of hurt feelings isn’t enough to affect me the way I say it does.

What I can’t stand is my dad feeling smug, like yes, he was right, and I was wrong. None of it is his fault; it’s all biology. I want him to know that he’s not blameless. I want him to understand my point of view and feel guilty. I’m resentful. That’s rude and spiteful of me, I know.

But at the same time, I don’t want him to think it was all his fault, just some of it. I don’t want him to be incapacitated by guilt.

I know I’ve only mentioned my dad here, but my mom is equally to blame. But she’s different. I don’t think I can tell her that. She just doesn’t seem able to comprehend points of view that aren’t her own. I guess I feel like she needs to be sheltered, but I don’t want her to feel like she’s guiltless, either.

If my parents believed I had PTSD, they would both probably blame it on the other parent. I don’t want that. I want them to understand that neither of them were the world’s most perfect parents.

I don’t know what I’m going to do or what I believe right now. I just want to curl up into a ball. I wish that I could have even one of my blogging friends here right now. But I know I’m doomed to always be alone, and that cuts my heart.

56 Comments

Filed under Mental Health

30 Days of Truth: Day 7–The Nuclear Family

It feels like it’s been forever since my last post in this series. It hasn’t been that long really; lately, there’s just been so much going on in my head. I thought I should move on to Day 7 to perhaps jumpstart my 30 Days of Truth again.

Someone Who Has Made Your Life Living For

Despite my recent frenzied behavior, I didn’t try to kill myself. That must mean that I have a reason to live. But does that reason include someone? I’ve had few friends. I’ve never had a significant other. So who would “someone” be?

By default, it would have to be my nuclear family. Abstractly, I know that they care for me even if it’s occasionally hard to make myself believe it.

My Mother: When I was an infant, I almost died. My mother prayed that I would live. I mention this to show that my mother obviously cares a great deal for me. Though we have our disagreements, we love each other. Even though she argues with me more than she does with my siblings, I would venture to say I know more about her than they do.

My Father: If I feel I need advice from a parent, I turn to my father. Occasionally I even gripe about my mental health with him. Though I don’t think he completely understands, he tries to. He listens. When I had to tell him about the trip to the ER, I was expecting him to be mad at my foolishness. Instead, I could hear how devastated he was even though he tried to put on a good show.

My Brother: Growing up, my brother and I were very close. He’s only two years younger than me. He’s usually pretty good at helping people deal with their emotions. Sometimes I frustrate him because I argue when he’s trying to help me, which makes him think I’m not listening. I argue because I’m listening. When I went to college, we grew apart a little, but now some of that distance has been breached. During the height of my depression in 2009, I planned on killing myself on my birthday. I was afraid I would do it. I’d been sharing pieces of my struggles with my family. For my birthday, my brother sent me some random gifts and a heartfelt note that brought me to tears. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that the note tipped the balance to the stay-alive side.

My Sister: My sister and I have grown a little closer now that she’s older. She’s six years younger than me, which was a huge gap while we were growing up. I’m used to thinking of her as the baby of the family, so my mind occasionally reels when I remember she’s an adult. For someone her age, she’s quite mature. I’ve recently realized that we have more in common than I thought even though we are very different people.

Overall, my family members are good people. One could do worse.

5 Comments

Filed under 30 Days of Truth

30 Days of Truth: Day Four–Childhood Hurt

Most professionals agree–my mental illness comes from a combination of genetics and circumstances. And who is responsible for these circumstances? Why, my parents. I have forgiven my parents to an extent, but I still resent them. I feel guilty for that because I know they did the best they could. How do I distill a lifetime into a few words? Let’s try.

Something You Have to Forgive Someone For

I am the oldest of three children. My sister is six years younger than me, which was a huge gap when I was a child. My brother is two years younger than me, so growing up, we were close.  But there were secrets that I didn’t share with even him. Not regarding occurrences, but regarding my emotions.

My parents divorced when I was thirteen. Before that, living with them together was hell. They’d yell  rather viciously at each other many nights. Frequently, at some point during these arguments, my dad would try to go to bed, but my mom would keep shouting. So the argument went on. I couldn’t sleep, so at some point I’d usually pop into their bedroom and offer to help them resolve their argument. I’d also mention they were keeping me awake. I don’t remember what they were arguing about, just that it seemed minor to me. At this stage, both of my parents would turn on me and yell for me to go away because it wasn’t my business. Looking back now, I know there wasn’t anything I could do to help, but I didn’t know that as an elementary schooler.

To this day, anytime I hear loud, angry arguing, I flinch. Sometimes I even start crying. My first instinct is to flee. I try as much as I can to avoid confrontations with people. After my parents divorced, they would try to use my brother and me as go-betweens. I would refuse to participate, placing all of the burden on my brother.

My parents often made me feel unloved. I would go to my room and cry because no one loved me, sometimes hugging my teddy bears. I still have that habit. I used to have a huge collection of stuffed animals; they were my surrogate friends, since I had none.

I think my mother dealt with mental illness during the time between when my sister was born and the divorce. I didn’t know what it was at the time, and I’m still vague on it now. All I know is that she’d periodically say that it was because of her “manic depression” that she did things that angered my father. Was she dealing with bipolar disorder? Postpartum depression? I don’t know.

My mother used to tell me not to eat candy because I would get fat. (I guess she was right.) She would fly into rages because I was “talking back.” Once she slapped me and made my lip bleed. My only reaction to that was to call her an idiot because I couldn’t go to school with a bleeding lip. She would say things like, “You’ll have a child that’s as terrible as you one day.” She criticized everything about me. My behavior and my appearance. She would use “the stick” to spank my brother and me. It hurt, but that’s not why I hated it. I hated it because it was humiliating. There are specific incidents involving here that I could narrate, but that could take up several blog entries.

What I found most hurtful, though, was my dad’s criticism. It seemed like he was always yelling. I couldn’t do anything right. Sometimes he would say things like “stupid little kid” in a derogatory tone. If I asked him to buy something, he’d always complain about how much money it cost. Eventually I stopped asking for things because I didn’t want to hear him yell about the price.

I think I had social anxiety even back then, but my parents didn’t believe me. They would just tell me that I was “shy” and if I tried to socialize, I’d get over it. I tried and tried. All I felt was mounting panic. I would bring that up, and they’d just repeat their refrain. They didn’t understand; they thought I was being melodramatic.

They never took me seriously.

I understand why you wouldn’t take a kid seriously, but perhaps you can at least pretend to. Any time my parents were dismissive, it made me feel stupid. If I showed them something I was proud of, like a story or a drawing, it seemed like they didn’t care.

Oh, God. I’m not explaining any of this very well. When I write it out, it sounds like nothing at all. A bit of yelling and criticism scarred me? What a wimp!

Most of all, I’d always be told that I was “too sensitive.” Perhaps everything is my fault for being too sensitive.

Whatever. I still found childhood hellish. Sometimes a professional will tell me that I was emotionally abused. That’s such a loaded term. Besides, I think if I told my parents that, they’d just laugh.

I think I’m having such a hard time with this because I do know my parents love me. They’ve always cared for me, even when I didn’t realize it. It’s not like they were being intentionally cruel to their children. To accuse parents who love you, parents with whom you’re now on cordial terms, of emotional abuse seems absurd. I had parents who loved me. I had parents who provided for all of my needs. We lived a comfortable lifestyle. It’s not like I was forgotten or neglected.

I suppose it is easier to forgive when you know your parents do care. But it’s much more difficult to acknowledge that there was a real problem, which creates resentment. Resentment festers. Has one truly forgiven if one still harbors resentment?

12 Comments

Filed under 30 Days of Truth