Toxicity In Disguise

For the longest time, when someone would say that I had a good life, it would make rage burn inside of me. Why? I wasn’t mad at them. I wasn’t mad at anyone in particular. I was mad that they didn’t see how my life really was.

As a kid, I had what most would call a happy childhood. It’s not that I didn’t have a happy childhood, because overall I did. The big picture shows me and my lifelong best friend, Breana (bre-aw-nuh), picking the mysterious berries of the tree that stood on the side of my sixty to seventy foot driveway every spring, me getting a bicycle for my birthday, going on cross country road trips every year, and many more good memories with two upper-middle class incomes from parents who aren’t divorced.

I was never popular; I was the bullied kid. As a young teen, I was never a risk taker; always a rule follower. However, no matter how many things I did right, there were always times when I would ask to go do something with a friend and that’s all it took to start an argument with my parents that smoldered with fury, rage and impatience. My parents would always find a reason for me to not go out with my friends, and if they couldn’t find a good reason they would say “because I said so”.  This is part of the reason I am who I have become as a 19 year old college student.
gif 1 blog    Let me set the demeanor of my parents with you. My father was raised as a military kid; both of his parents were in the Army.  As a kid he had a little brother and was always going on adventures. He followed in those military footsteps, but chose to enlist in the Air Force instead of the Army. Once he was in the Air Force he chose to go to college and follow that with grad school, earning his masters in English. He got married twice, had three daughters, and then met/married my mother. My father has a heart of gold and is always helping others out. He is currently 71 and  has been happily retired for 8 years.

My Mother was raised in a drastically different environment. Her parents divorced when she was young and she was raised mostly by her mother on an income that barely paid the bills every month. In her childhood, what you had was what you got, so you had to be very cautious about taking care of your things. My mother has 2 sisters and 3 brothers that I know of, but my grandma swears that she has 10 kids.  My mom claims she was the rule follower of her siblings. She never skipped school and was working in her teen years to help her mother put food on the table. She also enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school and proceeded to attend college for a computer science degree (she never used it in her job field). My mother has a heart of gold too. She is currently 57 has also been happily retired for 2 years.

My parents were (and still are) EXTREMELY emotionally toxic for me. There were nights where I cried myself to sleep because my parents had done something to make me feel like i was unimportant and not worthy of their time or energy. They don’t realize it, and it took me 15 years to figure out why I was SO unhappy when everyone else had it SO much worse than me. I wasn’t wondering where dinner was coming from, my parents weren’t divorced or dead, I wasn’t in the foster system. In fact, I was adopted at birth and saved from the system. However, by being saved from the system, I was pulled into an entirely different system that was somehow just as bad as that one. A system that nobody knows anything about until now because I am breaking my silence.

My parents are what they call “helicopter parents”. I like to call them cookie cutter parents. It seems as though they have this idea of me that is very pristine and minorly imperfect. When you don’t do something the way they had it all planned out in their head, they undo it and make you do it again the “right” way. Is there even a right way to do most things? Here’s a very basic example of what I am talking about:

3+1=4 but so does 2+2. So, why would you do 3+1 when 2+2 is easier?

My parents do a lot of things the 3+1 way. I prefer simplicity so when I do 2+2, even though it’s the same result, I have to then redo whatever task the 3+1 way. The hard way. The tedious way. The very perfect way. This is probably one of the more minor things that irritates me when my parents are being cookie cutters.

My absolute favorite thing they do is judge me. I can’t be honest with them about who I’m friends with because I still don’t get to choose my friends. I can’t be honest with them about what I would rather be doing than school, or what I did at school all day when I was in high school. I can’t even be honest with them about my emotions on a day to day basis.
gif 3 blogWhen I started driving, my parents out a tracker in my car and didn’t tell me about it. I always knew it was there, because I learned that there had to be a catch to any privilege they granted me and I saw it on the computer one time. When I asked about it later on, they lied and told me that they didn’t know what I was talking about. It was at this point in my teen years that I knew without a doubt I wanted to get out of my house as fast as I possibly could and cut off my parents.

I have tried multiple times to cut them out of my life. They keep me around by not letting me pay for any of my bills. I know you’re probably thinking “did they really not let you pay your bills or are you just being melodramatic?” The answer is no. I am not being dramatic. My parents have told me to get out of their house multiple times thinking that I wouldn’t actually leave and then when I head for the door they stand in front of me to keep me from leaving. My parents are convinced that I am wrapped around their finger, because the only time I am bold enough to be honest with them about my resentment is when we are in a heated argument over something as little as a hair tie on the floor, so they never take it seriously.

This blog will consist of many varying stories from my childhood and today that prove why helicopter parents may think they’re doing what’s best for their children, but are actually just making things harder on the entire family. There will be happy stories and sad ones, happy stories that end in numb anger and angry stories that end peacefully. It will tell how your actions affect other people; words CAN hurt and more so than sticks and stones.gif 4 blogReferences:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/shrugging-off-the-legacy-of-the-overbearing-parent/

https://thesprightlywriter.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/if-you-had-controlling-parents/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stuck/201605/the-trauma-emotionally-toxic-parenting