Hi. I grew up with an abusive alcoholic father and an insecure, neglectful mother. They were both school dropouts by age 15. They both had unhappy upbringings.
Despite them, I went to college, married a great person and we are loving parents to wonderful children. Still, I feel like something is missing. Emptiness. Craving love and acceptance. Needing to feel genuinely worthy.
My earliest memory was when I was in diapers and still sleeping in a crib. I was able to stand up but could not climb over the side. I cried for hours as I watched the daylight outside my window darken from probably 2 or 3pm until very late at night. No one came to check on me, there was no food, drink or diaper changes despite consistent painful diaper rashes. There wasn't a sound in the apartment all that time. -- As an adult I have wondered if Mom went off to work as a waitress that night. About that same time (age 2ish) my Dad attempted suicide so he was gone for about a month in a hospital or asylum. Mom likely couldn't afford or find a babysitter.
When I was about 7 or 8 my dad and I started to not get along. We argued a lot. Then he started hitting me or whipping me with his leather belt. He told me for years how he wished I was never born, how he hated me, how I'm such an ungrateful brat and I've ruined his life. I told him how I hated him and how he was an awful, alcoholic, abusive dad, which of course prompted more beatings. Once he tried to choke me. He was like a monster to me back then, out to make my life miserable. Mom usually ignored it, and sometimes chided me for 'upsetting' him (instead of accepting my status as his doormat).
Life at school wasn't much better. I was the new transplant; a city kid in a backwards tiny redneck town. I was the smart kid who dressed slightly differently. The redneck kids picked on me horribly from age 9 until I switched to a different school at age 14. That was worse on me than my home life. Those kids were relentlessly cruel.
I had attempted suicide at age 14 by swallowing an entire bottle of aspirin. About an hour later I walked past my mom and fainted at her feet, so I fessed up about the pills and suicide attempt. She barely took her face out of the romance novel she was reading as she told me to "go get some sleep". (Yeah. WOW, right?)
Once I was beaten up because I wouldn't stop doing my homework to bake him a cake right NOW. Another time dad tried to kill me with a gun and I jumped out my bedroom window and ran away through the woods at night, hiding in the ditch every time I heard a car coming. I heard the gun shoot once or twice and I was absolutely terrified that he had just killed my mom, but I didn't dare go back home to find out. I knocked on doors until a family in the next town over took me in for a couple of weeks. The father went to my house to gather some of my belongings - my dad held the gun to this man's head while my mom packed my clothes. Thankfully he didn't kill her.
A few weeks later I moved back home and dad didn't speak to me for 3 months, he would glare at me and shove me against the wall with his elbow if I tried to pass him in the hallway. A few months later, at age 17, I moved out for good, never to look behind. I lasted 2 years longer than my much-older half-siblings - they all moved out at age 15.
My dad died when I was 20. I went out dancing with friends that weekend. There was no funeral for dad. I've visted his grave twice in 21 years. Wish he could wake up only long enough for me to show him my family, my life, and say "see, I told you I'd do good! You could have done this too if you only tried..."
As an adult I tried for 20 years to have some sort of relationship with my mother. She doesn't seem to care or want to be around me or my children. But she wants the kudos as if she was a good grandmother. Her life is consumed almost entirely around whatever boyfriend she has at the time, all else is secondary. For her, that mothering job was done the second I moved out from under her roof.
Three years ago I finally gave up on her. The final straw? My child had major surgery and my mom was the only person who didn't contact us to see if my child was ok. Even internet friends checked in on us, but not her! Then when we did talk, mom made up a whopper of a lie to exonerate herself from calling. She said that her apartment bldg was spraying for carpenter ants, and had evacuated the entire bldg for a whole month. In January. Yep, carpenter ants in January. After confirming with her bldg super that there was no such spraying, I documented the details of the conversation and sent it to her in a two-page "We're through" letter. She has never called since, (not that she ever called before) and neither have I. It hurts but sometimes getting nothing is less torturous than getting very little when you need so much more.