How I Learned To Stop Hating My Family And Hate MyselfThe title of this post says it all. My family taught me to hate everything about myself and has made my life a living hell as far back as I can remember. In fact, I can't even remember a time when I enjoyed being around them at all. I realize that my past thirty years have been nothing but trying to forget or ignore the pain and suffering that my family has dished out to me.
The main reason had to do with my parents divorcing and my mom's childhood. My mom grew up in a very dysfunctional family although she will never admit it to my grandma (who is dead) or my grandpa (who is still alive). From what little my mom disclosed, the relationship was extremely tremultuous with screaming matches being the order of the day. Nothing physical that I could tell, but after witnessing how my grandma and grandpa fought, I can only imagine the confusion and fear that my mom and her sister had to deal with on a regular basis.
Unfortunately for my mom, I think that my grandma had some mental or health problem that made her behave the way she did. While my grandpa was working all the time partly because of his job and partly I think to get away from his wife, my mom was left with her controlling and tyrannical mom (grandma). If she was as bad as I remember her growing up, I imagine she was a holy terror at a younger age. Constantly critical of everything, always controlling everyone, undermining and back talking anyone she didn't like, arrogant and at times rascist. The list goes on and on.
When I look back on it, I can see that my mom had to go through a hellacious time growing up with a dictator for a parent. I can understand why she did everything possible to rebel against her mother and try to escape from the insanity. Hence why my mom did so many crazy things in high school and college, I think that it was because she was so unhappy and upset with her family. In a way, she just wanted to do something, anything, just to forget the pain and misery.
One of my mom's rebellious decisions was to get married to my dad. They feel madly in love in college and then just as quickly fell out of love. My dad was not the sharpest tool in the shed with relationships and I suspect my mom began to become my grandma (controlling, narrow minded, tyrannical). Although neither one will admit to this day, they did anything wrong. It is always the other person's fault. Some things never change.....
Out of this relationship, I was born in this mess. My first strike was that I was the spitting image of my father. It only took a few years before I was looked exactly like him, talked like him, and even acted like him at times. I realize only now why my mom was so angry at me all the time. It just seemed like she was never happy with anything I did or was always looking for some reason to scream and threaten me. In fact, I couldn't understand why she always pointed out when I was behaving like my dad as if there was something wrong with it.
Pretty soon, my nickname was my dad's name. I was no longer myself; instead, I had become the enemy. As the divorce became more hostile and bitter, my mom turned her rage and frustration on me. Soon, it became a loyalty test for my mom. Either I was with her or against her. I wasn't allowed to love both my dad and mom. My sister who was much smarter than me caught on fast and knew how to say just the right things to please my mom's ego, but I just never felt comfortable jumping on the death to my dad bandwagon. As a result, I was punished repeatedly and my sister was allowed to get away with teasing and tormenting me.
Because of this treatment, my self-confidence took a nose dive. I was afraid to say or do anything because I would be accused of being my dad. Soon, it began to be a sick little game my family enjoyed playing. Blaming me or tormenting me because I wasn't like them. I hide in my room and hated being around any of them. I found comfort and happiness in a world of make believe and fantasy where I wasn't hated and despised for being myself. Where I could actually do something good for a change.
Then the second strike came when my mom decided to remarry. My stepdad was to put it bluntly a neandrethal. No interest in anything except sports, beer, and work. It didn't take long before he began to hate and despise me because I was a constant reminder of the ex-husband and because I was nothing like him. Like my mom, he believed that screaming, cursing, threatening, and abuse were the keys to being a good parent. In fact, he always loved to remind me, "That we were are so different that is why we don't get along." If only I was just like him, then everything would be fine.
His favorite game was to sit there screaming at me and then accuse me of laughing at him when the truth was I was trying not to cry my eyes out. I didn't want to give that SOB the pleasure of seeing me cry. Plus, I knew he would humiliate me even more if I did. That gave him just another reason to verbally and physically abuse me everytime. In fact, I understand now that the real reason my stepdad hated and continues to hate me to this day is because I make him feel stupid or dumb.
Yes, I am very well read and have a lot of knowledge on a variety of different topics, but I don't pretend that I am better than anyone else. In fact, I think that we all have different areas that we are good at. My stepdad was very good with cars, mechanical devices, and sports, but I didn't hate him for being better at it than me. For some reason that to this day baffles me, my stepdad didn't see it that way and saw me constantly challenging him. It was always a sick game to make me look stupid or demonstrate that he was better than me.
He would scream and rage at me for asking questions about doing something. "Just do what the F*** I tell you to do" Then when I would make mistakes or screw things up, he would scream at me and abuse me because I didn't ask him for help or any questions. I was damned no matter what I did. It didn't take long before I didn't want to do anything with him. Why would a child want to be around a person who is so irrational and illogical? My stepdad instead accused me of being lazy or not wanting help at all.
Where was my mom during all of this stuff? Well, I think the truth is that she didn't want to admit that she had screwed up yet again. I can only imagine the hell my grandma put her through after she divorced my dad. I would bet $100,000 she would have tormented my mom for making a mistake again. There was no way in hell she was going to let this marriage go to pieces this time, so I was conveniently thrown under the bus. At first, she stood up for me, but then it started becoming my fault and soon her excuse was always that I brought it on myself.
Plus, when my sister and I would go visit my dad, he enjoyed hanging around me more. In fact, it was the reverse of what I was receiving from my mom. I think my dad couldn't stand being around my sister and enjoyed being around me more. I doubt that it helped that my sister didn't trust him and mouthed everything my mom said either. Pretty soon, my sister was coming home every visit complaining about how my dad was treating me like a king and she was being treated like dirt.
Well, my mom never allowed a wrong to go unpunished or unavenged, so she decided that if my sister had to endure two days of torment, then I would endure weeks of torment. Soon, it became a custom to bash on me and everyone in my family joined in on the fun. It was a daily ritual to find something that I was doing wrong or accuse me of doing something so I could be punished. I was the circus act and the freak of my family. My sister got whatever her heart desired while I had to sit be reminded constantly that I had brought this on myself because I wouldn't stick up for my sister or I "let" my dad be mean to her.
My third strike was that I was not successful like my other siblings. They were pageant queens, stars of the high school plays and musicals, drum majors, etc. I was the geeky loser that did nothing noteworthy. In fact, the few things I did scholar bowl, band, and drama club were never good enough. My parents could never be spared from their busy lives to see anything I was doing, but they sure as hell would go above and beyond to be at one of my sister's events. While I was very smart and probably could have done better at school, I did not want the increased attention from my parents. As long as I made A's and B's, they would leave me alone and stop hounding me to do better. Once my sister became the star student, they just ignored me the rest of the time.
When your parents just don't seem to care about anything you do, you just have no motivation to do anything. I remember working on my first board game and coming up with all kinds of rules and ideas for it. When I asked my stepdad to play with me, it only took five minutes before he told me it was the stupidest thing ever created and that I was cheating. I never did anything like that again. The time I came up with a couple of brilliant collages of pictures and photos. I showed them to my mom and explained them to her. Her only response was "god, another stupid thing about war"
Even when I did something remarkable like becoming the student representative for the Board of Trustees for my college, it wasn't good enough. The allure only lasted for a day. My mom and dad could never seem to remember anything about my job, but if you quizzed them on something my sisters were doing, oh god they could talk for a whole hour about it. The best part was my mom in one of her more candid moments told me that I didn't do anything in student government. That I was just a useful bum that sat around and talked a lot.
Somehow throughout all these years, I survived this torment and hell, but there was a price to survival. The old saying is that if you dance with the devil, the devil doesn't change; he changes you. I grew to hate and distrust all people in general. I learned to bottle up my emotions and never let anyone know what I was thinking. I learned to keep my distance, so other people couldn't hurt me. I learned to punish myself for the slightest mistake whether it was my fault or not. Only until recently have I finally come to gripes with how much I loathe and hate myself.
Because of this family life, my social life was a unmitigated disaster. I was the target of bullies and abuse all throughout school. How can you learn to stand up for yourself when your parents are behaving the exact same way? Yes, I could have stuck up for myself, but it would have just given my parents and sisters the excuse to do even worse to me. I think the lowest point was literally my sisters could physically attack me for the slightest reason and I could do nothing about it. If I said something they didn't like, they could punch, slap, or kick me and I was supposed to just take it.
I think the worst part of that time was the incredible loneliness. You see when my family wasn't screaming, tormenting, or abusing me; they just ignored me and pretended like I didn't exist. They would all be hanging out: watching movies, listening to music, etc and I wasn't allowed to be a part of it. To be honest, I didn't want to be part of it either. I knew that sooner or later I would do something wrong or they would start tormenting me again. I had to handle so much already; having to be around them for a short time was like wandering through a mine field.
Everyone always wonders what it is like to live a police state or a totalitarian society. Well, I lived it for most of my life. Having every ounce of your humanity and dignity crushed out of you to satisfy the dictator's wants and desires. Watching everything you say and do because it could be misconstrued or cause your doom. Worse, the iron hand of violence and rage striking out for no reason or justification; merely because you did something someone did not like. Always being spied upon and monitored because they have to know everything you are doing. Not because they care, but because they fear your revealing their true identities or embarrassing them.
Worse, you can't trust anyone in this type of situation. I learned that lesson all too well when I made the mistake of telling my grandma that I enjoyed being around my dad more than my stepdad because he yelled at me, humiliated me, and threatened to hurt me. Of course, what did my wonderful grandma do? She went and told everything to my mom and stepdad. Oh yeah, they were so happy to do that. After that day, my stepdad always referred to me as his "stepson," but I was supposed to call him my dad. My biological dad didn't exist in my family.
Looking back on the whole time growing up, the most sickening thing to me was the outright lies and hypocrisy that my parents and family practiced. They could sit there and criticize my dad and his family for everything under the sun and then without bating an eye, they could justify doing the exact same thing. My dad wasn't allowed to lay a finger on me if he got angry, but my stepdad could do so. This was just one of many examples of this lying and hypocrisy that I encountered.
I think the most humiliating thing was how I never fought back against them. Oh yes, I gritted my teeth, cursed and swore like a sailor, and hid for a little while just to get away from them. In the end, I did whatever they commanded and kept my head down. I never got into a screaming match with them like my sisters nor did I physically attack my parents like they did. Now that I think about it, my sisters never had to worry about being physically attacked. My parents would never lay a finger on them and it would usually turn into a screaming match, but the same was not true for me. My parents could say and do whatever they wanted, because deep down, they absolutely hated and despised me. They still do to this day although they will never say it. Their actions speak it loudly and clearly.
Mostly, I feel ashamed for not fighting back or just running away sooner, but in hindsight, I knew nothing else to do. When you grow up in a totalitarian society, you have no idea of the freedom and possibilities that exist outside this state. Ironically enough, my parents sending me to college was the hammer that destroyed their imaginery little world. At college, I noticed people didn't scream at each other, lie constantly, say one thing and do another, etc. The longer I was away from home, the more I began to see that there was nothing wrong with me. In fact, there was something extremely wrong with my family. That maybe, they were the ones that were crazy and I was the sane one.
My first act of rebellion was refusing to go to graduate or law school. You see my parents had already planned my life out to the last detail. I was going to be a lawyer or professor and do what they were never able to do. It didn't matter to them if the cost was astronomical or the job prospects were bleak; I was accomplishing their dream after all. Plus, it would give them something to brag about to their non-existent friends and family members who they talked about behind their backs.
When I refused to do what they commanded, they cut me off completely. Threw me on the street and told me I was on my own. In their words, "I better learn to live in a cardboard box or sleep in my car before I ever ask them for help.....you're on your own!" The only thing they would do to help me was if I decided to sell myself into student loan slavery.
I did the best I could in a crappy economy. I worked my tail off at different jobs just trying to make ends meet, but it was never enough. In fact after six years of being out of school, I am not even close to paying off my student loans. I think the most I have ever made in a single year was $16,000. While I struggled and did everything possible to survive, my parents were always on my back. My mom constantly nagging me why I was working at this job or why I couldn't find a better job. I must be sabotaging my job interviews or this was all a part of my dastardly plan to come back home to live with them. Oh yeah, I couldn't wait to move back to their magic kingdom of misery.
After three years of living paycheck to paycheck, I finally decided to go back to school. One of my aunt and uncles offers to let me stay at their place to save money. I was working a part time job and taking full time classes. What do my parents do? They go nuts. They call my aunt and uncle demanding to know how I had weaseled my way into living with them. When my aunt said she offered to let me stay, they refused to believe it. Then, they tell my aunt and uncle that I am parasite and have no intention of every leaving. They instructed them to charge me the highest rent possible and to make my life as uncomfortable as possible.
Then for the next two years while I am in school, my family is constantly spying on me and my aunt and uncle. Behind the scenes, they are spreading all kinds of lies and stories about my aunt and uncle as well. Pretty soon, my aunt and uncle are no longer welcome at any family events. I can't blame them for asking me to leave once my college degree was done. They had become outcasts because of my living with them. I don't blame them for their decision considering all the pressure they were getting. All that time too, my parents were telling everyone that I was spreading all kinds of lies about them and that I was trying to turn people against them. The sad truth was that nobody really cared or they sure as hell weren't interested in my side of the story.
The funny part about my staying with aunt and uncle was I got to see my parents hypocrisy and lying in full view. They could talk for hours about how much they loved and cared about me. Then, I see that for last three years they have been sending christmas cards with a family portrait to everyone in the family. Guess who was never in the picture? Yep, their failure of a son. Never once did my family ever mention taking a family photo or card. My aunt told me that she had always found it strange why at my house, there were always pictures of my sisters everywhere but none of me.
Still to this day, they refuse to admit that anything is wrong. I can't tell you how many times I have tried to explain and tell them what has happened and what they have done. It is like talking to statues at best and worse it is like dealing with the mafia. Case in point, I meet up with my stepdad to have a candid conversation about what has been wrong. I explain what he did in the past and what he can avoid doing to upset me. His only response was well you did bad things in the past too, so who are you to judge me? After our conversation, I hear from my sister that he was telling everyone that our entire conversation was about me blaming him for ruining my life and how I forced him to pay for my meal. EXCUSE ME!? That SOB offered to pay for my meal even though I told him three times that I could pay for it. Since then, I refuse to do anything with that motherf***er.
That is the sad final conclusion to this long twisting story. I can't trust anything my parents say and do. Over the past six years, I have learned only one constant thing about my parents that they will lie, manipulate, and do anything to get what they want. There is nothing too despicable or under-handed to accomplish their goals or desires. Like any hypocrite, if someone did the same thing to them, they would lament and cry about how cruel and mean these evil people were!
Even more sickening is how their behavior has affected my relationship with the rest of my family. The rest of my aunts, uncles, and grandparents literally want nothing to do with me. At family gatherings, I see the confused and scared looks when I show up. "We've heard what bad things you had done to your parents, but we'll just play pretend nice for right now." Not once has anyone asked to hear my side of the story. It makes me even more enraged at the spinelessness and cowardice of these people. Oh yes, they would demand for someone to stick up for them, but don't expect them to stick their necks for anyone else.
My sisters have basically emulated my parents. They see me as a monster who has done nothing but make things so hard and difficult for my mom and dad. Of course, they don't want to hear my side of the story "It's all in the past; you just have to move on." No, it's not in the past when they keep doing the same things over and over again reminding me of it. You don't welcome someone back into your home by stabbing them in the same wound or asking why they lost their eye or arm everytime.
I don't hold out much hope for my family. They refuse to change and have only one stance, "Sometimes you have to eat with people you don't like." I've decided now that I'll be eating someplace where the people are nicer. It isn't easy because without family support in this difficult time, you are pretty much SOL. I can't tell you how many people my own age I have encountered who have normal parents. These parents don't set conditions for their love and do everything they can to help their kids succeed and be happy. No, they don't expect their kids to live in a cardboard box or in their car.
Yet despite all the realizations and understandings I have achieved over the past few years, it has only increased my loathing and intolerance of my weaknesses. While I can understand the reasons why I am poor and alone, deep down it just only confirms what my parents have always believed about me. That I am a useless and ungodly failure. It would have been better if they had just not even wasted their time with me. That they were right to treat me this way and ignore me because I can't do anything right. Hell, I can't even make enough money just to survive or to keep a stable relationship with a girl.
Yeah, this thought is my endless stalker. What if my parents are right? Am I really an ungodly failure? I've asked this question to my parents and to this day have never gotten a response. Of course, my sisters and everyone else tells me that I am not, but my parents refuse to answer and that pretty much says it all right there. To think after all the oceans of horsesh!t they have dropped on me, my happiness and self-worth are still dependent on them. I think that is why I hate them the most. How they have made me so dependent on their approval.
The worse part is that even if they told me NO, I don't think that I could ever believe them. They have lied so often that I can't believe anything they say. Plus, their actions and behavior just scream shame and humiliation at having me for a son. The only time they want me around is just to show the world we are a happy family. Then, they go back to ignoring and not wanting to have anything to do with me. I'm like an fashionable ornament that they bring out for special occasions just to impress people. Once everyone leaves, they conveniently throw me back into the attic.
I think the only solution is leaving them all for good and starting over with a new family. In last four years, I have re-established contact with my dad's family and surprisingly enough they have been open and receptive to me. They don't look at me as a monster or criminal. The younger cousins love to have me around and the grandparents love talking with me. Maybe I have a second chance to find a family that isn't ashamed of me. While I don't want to get my hopes up too highly, I am praying that it will happen. I've been so lonely for a very long time and I would just like to have some people around that don't set any conditions. The fact I showed up and enjoy being around them seems to be good enough.
We'll see what happens. In the meantime, I struggle to survive and save up the little money I have to get ready for my date of departure. It can't come soon enough though because I have been waiting so long to get out of this hell hole for good. I just want the sadness and the torment to end. I would give anything just to forget my past years, but I can see the value of suffering and misery as well. You can't truly understand how low someone can feel until you have lost everything and had everyone turn their back on you. That is how you develop compassion and kindness. It is probably the only benefit I have gained from my life so far, but at least it is something.