My Childhood (or How I Grew Up Waay Too Fast)

I was born with a bit of a mental disability, originally diagnosed as autistic tendencies and people thought I would never be able to live a normal life (initially, doctors thought I would have to be put into a mental institution). I had to go to a special preschool for mentally handicapped children and during school I was always put into special needs things like speech classes and resource room and was always treated differently than everyone else and picked on for being different (even my younger brother would try and pick fights with me and beat me up).

What made matters worse is my parents separated in 1988 and would eventually divorce and mom remarried to a guy named Tom, who seemed really cool before they married and I was all for them getting married but the moment they exchanged vows, he changed drastically, he became both mentally and physically abusive to both myself and everyone else in the household (he would push/slap me around, call me a dumb s**t who would never amount to anything in my life and then when he and mom got into arguments, he'd get violent with her too, trying to push her down the stairs and stuff like that so I became shy and antisocial and just stayed in my room playing videogames in order to avoid it all. All the while, my grandmother on my dad's side was trying to turn me against my mother by telling me she is trying to use me and stuff like that.

My mom has 2 daughters with Tom (in addition to me, my older brother, and my younger brother she had with my dad) and they are the reason she is still married to him is for their sake. Needless to say, when it came time for me to go to college, the first year I went, I stayed at home but after that first year I jumped at the chance to move to the college dorms to escape the home life (also it did not help that in 2001, I was visiting my only real friend I had from high school the weekend before finals and I receive a call from my mom in tears telling me that the house had burned down so that made things really grim for awhile).

I then joined HBT (a local fine arts fraternity where I met my first true circle of friends including Dan and Dave Rubel and others) and spent as little time home as possible because home represented hurt for me, I only went home when I had to, like for summer/winter breaks. I also was named a "Man of Strength" in 2004 as they said I possess special qualities and values and was a very special person who inspired people, but I honestly never saw myself as such but I was touched they saw me as that. In 2003, my younger brother joined the Marines to try and get some direction in his life but he got injured in boot camp and was sent home and he was never the same after that point, he started abusing prescription painkillers and became bulimic (he also continued the alcohol and steroids habits he had before he left for the Marines).

In 2004, he attempted to kill himself by starting his car and closing the doors in the garage so that he would suffocate on the fumes, my dad came in time and got him out of there. I then graduated college in May 2005 and tried to get him back on track by helping him get into college and I was optimistic that would help him out, but it did not. His leg gave out during a party he was having in his dorm room and he was caught having alcohol which is prohibited on campus. As a result, he went back home and lived with mom and Tom and they did what they could to figure out what was wrong but they could not figure it out.

Meanwhile, I lived with and took care of my grandmother who had been (and continues to) slipping further and further into dementia while looking around my hometown for a job, but as prospects looked progressively more grim, I had no choice but to look elsewhere, which I felt really bad about as I knew everyone else was busy with their own lives, but even she told me that I had to live my own life and not hold myself back.  Besides, the more I lived there with her, the more I felt like I was literally losing my mind in the process.  Luckily my dad lives with her now and is taking care of her so that gave me a little peace of mind.

At around the same time is when I was leaving home to move where I am now to start work at my new job outside of Philadelphia (still there in fact) so things we a bit uneasy at the time as mom did not want me to leave but I was set on doing so.

The last time I remember Matthew (my younger brother's name) alive was him strung out on painkillers and totally out of his mind, not the best last memory you want.  In April 2006, I was made full time at my job, but I had very little time to celebrate because later that same month, I received the call that my younger brother died and I had to return home for the funeral. My mom and older brother were devastated which was hard for me to see (I honestly did not have too much emotion over the death as we were never all that close when he was still alive and plus I wasted too many tears on him while he was still alive).

 Even though I am far away from home now and my life is better, I suffer from major depression/anxiety disorder and I have to take Paxil for it because of all the emotional baggage that is tied to me because of my past.  Luckily, I have found a group of good friends through my job (and managed to get a few of my old college friends in the same job), not to mention my circle of online Filipino friends (due to our first level tech support at my job being located in the Philippines) whom I sincerely believe are angels in disguise because of all the help they have given me in sorting out my life, helping pick up the pieces, and helping me find love (covered in another post). 

Even though my childhood/growing up was not a healthy way of growing up, I am not bitter about it.  In fact, I do not hate Tom, rather I feel pity for him as I have come to realize that he is a very sad person (in fact, he was diagnosed with a combination of narcissism and bipolar disorder as I would later come to find out), as in the end, if you cannot love yourself in any capacity, loving others is nearly impossible.

CFsurvivor CFsurvivor
1 Response May 14, 2008

Wow. That's so much for one person to have to deal with as a young person growing up. I'm really sorry you've been through SO many difficult situations. It is very hard (I know) to be a child who has to shift into survival/self-preservation mode from such a young age. We sometimes end up being the adults in the home, the only ones who can recognize the severity and toxicity of our environments. Kids shouldn't have to do that. I'm happy to hear that you have a strong circle of friends and people you care about. Depression and anxiety are difficult in themselves, but the good news is that as an adult, you have far more control than you did as a kid to opt out of terrible or unhealthy situations. Keep pushing, comrade.