abuse, anxiety, bullying, depression, family, favoritism, kids, marriage, mental health, parenting, rants, relationships
Let me say I am first off not writing this to tear people down, but to make people think about their actions, and the effects they can have now, and even years and decades later on their children. Some people, and even relatives will not agree with what I am writing. You have your point of view about how the situation was in the past, but I also have mine. All I know is how what happened then, and continues to happen to this day looks and feels to me. When I am still laying in bed at night at 42 years old crying over what might have been, something is wrong, something needs to be said because bottling everything all these years has never worked and still isn’t working.
The last time in my life I can really remember being truly blissfully happy I was only four or five years old. I remember the day my little sister came home clearly, she was sleeping in that white cradle in the front room. I don’t remember feeling jealous even at four years old, I just remember wanting to help, and not being allowed to. Suddenly I was too noisy, in the way, and no one had time for me. I remember as a kid spending most evenings with babysitters, while my mom, bowled, played sports and went out with friends. She wasn’t always the most picky about who she left us with, some of them were really not very good people.
I can remember many times over the years growing up wondering what was wrong with me, and why my parents kept me at arms length, and yet seemed to love my younger sister the way they did. I probably wasn’t the easiest child to deal with, but there were so many times they should have seen just what was going on with me and either overlooked it, or just didn’t want to see it. I wanted so many times to tell someone what was happening to me at that age, but a six year old doesn’t have those words on their own. Nobody, not one single person, be it a teacher, a counselor, or a relative ever once asked me the right questions. Why couldn’t I sit still? Why was I always staring off into space? Why wasn’t I listening? Those were the only questions I ever heard.
Why did my parents never look further to figure out what was going on with me? I don’t get it. Everyone was so quick to label me hyperactive (the label they used before ADHD became the new term) and shove me onto ritalin, and into what other kids called the “dummy class” even though my IQ was high enough that I could actually do work several grades ahead of my level. I remember by only the second or third grade not even wanting to go to school. Bullying was already bad then, and by middle school it was downright intolerable.
It’s hard to understand unless you have been there I think. School wasn’t about education for me, but only about making it through the day and hoping nothing bad would happen to me. In the course of my “education” I’ve been not only verbally bullied, but beaten up, and once was almost sexually assaulted at school by a group of guys who thought it would be fun to try dragging me into an empty science lab after school let out. (Thankfully someone helped me but wound up in the ER because of it) The school did nothing…didn’t even call the police.
Almost everything I have ever learned worth knowing I have taught myself, mostly by reading. I spent most of high school drawing or writing poetry. I had one or two friends, but no really close ones. For the most part I lived in a world of my own. Eventually after my grandfather died, and the few things keeping me stable enough to function started to come apart, I dropped out halfway through my senior year. I just couldn’t take the pressure and the daily abuse there anymore.
I went through a stage where I didn’t want to do anything, fell in with the partyers just to think I belonged somewhere, even though now with older eyes I know almost all of them were just using me. It didn’t seem there was much point to life right then, I was just not dealing with things, and like a lot of my so called “friends” I was just trying to have what we thought was fun.
Everything changed when I found out I was having my son. Even being on my own with his dad not wanting to be anywhere near in the picture, I still felt I finally had something to care about. I went back to school in an alternative program, and finally finished up getting my diploma. I graduated high school, and gave birth to my second baby two days later.
My twenties and even thirties were a string of one bad relationship after another, during which time I had a third child during another short lived relationship. Sometimes you want so badly to be loved that you don’t often realize why you keep making the same bad choices over and over. Looking back now I realize most of those men had a lot of qualities in common with my mother. They were all very demanding, emotionally and verbally abusive, and all very very much all about themselves, and their own wants and needs.
It took me a long time to finally realize why I kept falling into that pattern, and seven years of being alone, before I was finally ready to take a chance on any new relationship. That time I took a chance with a friend who was very different from my usual “type”, and very much more similar to me in personality. I’d finally found someone who could hold a good conversation with me, and not look down at me, or tell me I was crazy or stupid for thinking the things I think, or believe. I’m not all that silly, he was a keeper, so I married him.
I got upset last night and was crying when I thought about what he had said to me earlier in the evening. He asked me why when I’m upset, or stressed out, I curl up inside my shell and won’t talk to him. I don’t mean to push him away, but old habits are hard to break, when living inside yourself was the only way you knew how to survive for so long. Again it’s hard to explain to people who have never been there.
Sometimes I wonder why I’ve been through all of this….
All I’ve ever wanted was to be loved…
Now that I have what I’ve always wanted, it’s hard to change. The more stressed I get the more I fall back into old habits and defenses. These are things I need to work on. Optimism doesn’t come naturally to me. I make one hell of a conspiracy theorist when I am looking for reasons to worry. My nickname isn’t Eeyore for nothing…
The only way I can think to end this post is with a few words of advice. Take them for what they are worth. They are just things I have really wanted to say lately, and really just didn’t know how.
Even if you love your children for different reasons, and feel closer to one child than another, please make sure they all know they are loved and valued. Favoritism hurts more than most parents will ever realize.
Kids, and especially girls who do not believe they are loved and valued at home will turn elsewhere to find the affection they are longing for. Abusers are drawn to these kids like a magnet Love from their family can make all the difference in a child’s future and their relationships with others. Any sense of belonging has to begin at home, without it, some of us float for a lifetime feeling like we don’t belong anywhere.
We want so badly to know that we matter, and our lives, however hard have purpose…
Is this all just a pointless ramble?
Can you really understand?