This one snuck up on me, as the end of the video will give away. This one is primarily about my mother, though certainly applies to both of my parents. The primary lesson in all this is the danger of prioritizing material wealth and well-being over emotional health and well-being, physical health, interpersonal relationship health, and so on. My mom always seemed incredibly fixated on the surface-levels of life, right up the her style of dress (dress to make male eyes pop). Images was all. And I was impelled to help maintain that image to the outside world.
Naturally, I didn’t see all that much of the outside world because I was “sheltered” away from the big, bad world which would “judge us”. And rightfully it should! We were a family full of mental health issues which were not being addressed, poor prioritizing of material goods over physical health. When I was 8 and spent a couple months convincing my parents to take me to a doctor regarding my stomach upsets that were not going away, I was told over and over again how we didn’t have the money, no insurance, etc. My father had a full-time job, they legally must have offered insurance for the entire family, but clearly having a 3 bedroom, 2 living room house with a gigantic backyard was more important than paying whatever was required to get us all insured. Even with the house, my mother frequently made purchases of all sorts, expanding her wardrobe, replacing furniture, plants, jewelry, pillowcases, shams, curtains, diet pills, (on and on the list goes)… So the excuse of not having the money to take me to a doctor, to a dentist, to an optometrist, or to handle their own issues really was baseless. The priorities were simply misplaced.
Yes, it is true, the medical expenses involving my father’s back issues during a period definitely set us back, but that only slowed the spending on frivolous items, it did not stop it. There was ALWAYS a choice, but all these things, however comforting, took priority over the health and well-being of the family itself. This is on top of some intermittent gambling issues my father had. So while my mom spent hundreds, thousands over a year, on all sorts of fluff, I was made to feel spoiled for the video games and movies that amounted to less than $500 in a year, or the computer my dad hacked together from mostly cheap, spare parts from a weekly swap-meet. It was a hobby of his to put computers together from spare parts, so this was not a major purchase by any means for our household. But I was made to feel spoiled, privileged and so forth, while they squandered all the money our family needed to ACTUALLY improve.
But image was all. The substance? Well that’s always going to be shit. I spent many years believing that. But it is not the case. And I will not keep my mouth shut as to our family’s atrocious focus on material wealth. Right up to current day and their quest to become millionaires via a ridiculous story that isn’t even worth going into. It is more of the same. Money solves everything, except it never does, because it is never spent on the right things. Or rather, it is only spent on the right things when all other choices are taken away, because both of them are impulsive spenders in their own way. Wanna talk about ADHD? Between the impulsivity and the black and white thinking, my mom had it. No kidding. She has it. Among some other issues which I have of course grown up to struggle with myself.
Surely you see some of the niceties of my background in the videos I make, and it is true, I have lots of “things” I have acquired during periods I didn’t really have the money to spend on such things. My ex-husband and I shared this impulsive issue, though while he never felt deserving of things, I always felt deserving. My money, I’ll spend it how I want to! But, I should have spent that money on getting some of his health issues looked into. that would have been money well-spent, not spending $500 on anime wall-scrolls to cover the walls. How about instead of that computer I got him one Christmas toward the end, I had put that money toward a get-away for the two of us to try and sort ourselves? Or a counseling program? Or something? No, computer, that will solve it. I did it all over the place, just like my parents.
Never again. I know better now.
And no amount of money they may hang over my head, the magic wand which will magically take all my responsibilities away, will keep me complacent anymore. I spent the first couple years honestly waiting for that relief, hoping for some respite from adulting, and due to that, I actually overspent. I took my job less seriously than I should have at times too, because the whole time I was believed somewhere in the back of my head that my parents would make true on their word, and swoop in and wipe the slate clean. They made so many promises to give me some time to independently pursue my real interests without the need for a job or worrying about bills. Out of guilt for the past and all the issues I had been forced thru, they promised me this, and you know what? I felt like I deserved it. Yes, I thought I deserved a payout for all of the nonsense of my childhood and beyond.
And you know what, I do deserve a payout, but it is not financial. It is emotional. And paying off my responsibilities for me, for whatever reason, is far from helpful. Hanging the “certainty” of this over my head for years while never coming thru is even worse. Asking me for money in the middle with fifty million excuses as to why it will be coming soon, well that’s just a con. They are con artists, and they used me, yet again, for validation and intermittent assistance financially. And I was just duped. That’s all there is to it. Though I think at this point, they have become so enmeshed, they have even conned themselves.
What I always needed was real parenting. What I got was a far-cry shorter than that. And it isn’t out of inability to, it was always out of an inability of either of them to truly self-improve. All the pride in themselves even while surrounded by flames they lit. Humility would have brought our family into the light, but that was not to be for them. But at least I can move forward with this knowledge, with this clarity.
And in my heart, I always felt the wrongness. I didn’t want to be bribed into silence with games. I never wanted to be bribed as an adult to stay silent and on their side. I never could be bought, but they kept trying, and I kept pretending it was okay. It wasn’t. It’s over. I cannot trust people who refuse to help themselves, refuse to see their shortcomings, refuse to seek real help for their issues, and who have throughout my life: lied, cheated, conned, stolen, coveted, envied, over-indulged, distrusted, misguided, maliciously informed, manipulated, pretended, faked, “performed”, and hated their way through the world around them, as if everything they went thru made them better or at least, deserving of separation from the evil world that made them. Well, an evil set of people may have helped make them who they are, but they chose to stay that way, and they carried me along for the ride.
Yes, they loved me. Both of them. And yes, they both had good intentions with me somewhere deep within, but along the way, they both fell prey to their own selfish whims and neuroses. They did not stand up and fight for themselves, they just peacocked their way through life hoping the world wouldn’t ever realize what a scared, pathetic pair they really were. And considering how much goodness and potential they had, it is a tragedy.
And the effects on me: the lack of a childhood, of friends, of connection to community, of familial knowledge/warmth, and the development of my social anxiety, the countless barriers I struggle every day to let go of, the distrust of others, and various of my own shadow tendencies… Every single relationship I’ve had which ended poorly or which struggles is the result of these lessons in combination with the genetic bullshit I could never have escaped from. The ADHD, emotional regulation, and personality skewing issues which are a part of both of them and now my problems to sort out. They only added to the heap of issues and reinforcing antisocial behavior, poor prioritization, and addictive patterns. Seriously, they did me very few favors aside from providing distractions to keep me from going absolutely insane and feeding me to make sure I didn’t starve. The hints of emotional support, while present intermittently, were never, EVER enough. For any child. And especially not one destined to grow up with problems buried in the genetic baggage.
So this was a rough one. A really really hard one. I spent my whole life feeling like an ingrate for feeling unhappy and unsatisfied with the state of things while surrounded by so many toys and privileges and food on the table. But I had a reason to feel unhappy and unsatisfied. Largely, all else aside, because both of them always were. How was I supposed to be anything greater than they were? They are the ingrates. They are the unsatisfied ones. I was just a child who suffered hallucinations out of lack of sleep due to untreated ADHD in stressful circumstances, who hid away because I was terrified of losing another friend I loved out of some flippant/circumstantial need to move somewhere (the first crush at 6), and of the outside world finding out how truly screwed up my family was and rejecting me for it; whose sexuality was repressed because my father clearly didn’t accept homosexuality as even “existing” and hated my lesbian sister enough to try to thwart my affections for her with a fairy tale I never should have been told. So much so that when I was molested by a kid in the neighborhood, I never told a single soul, because I assumed this automatically meant I was something he would never accept.
It is time to put them away. Put those relationships in the past. I am never going to please them or be the person they want me to be. I never had a chance to be that. They don’t even know who they really want to be, how could they know what I should be? They could never find a way to be pleased or satisfied with life, so how could I ever please them? And given everything that’s happened, now as an adult, why in the world would I even try?
No amount of money, fictitious or real, is worth bowing down to that long line of bullshit. I call shenanigans. I’m done. Good-bye mom and dad. Good luck reconnecting with me. After all these realizations, all these horrors, and knowing just how deeply all these things (that could have been avoided, or handled, with an ounce of responsible parenting), I will never trust either of you again. Once, I had no choice, but now I do. Thank you for keeping me alive and for not aborting me as you so often liked to tote. Seriously, thank you so much for letting me exist at all. Worse monsters may not have allowed that much. But fuck you both for having such low standards for yourselves and for my well-being.
I’m done pretending. I’m done hiding. I’m done making excuses for you.
- Featured image from Bloomberg.com