I really hope you can’t relate to what I’m going to talk about in this post. That would mean you probably had a well adjusted childhood, a decent adolescent stage, and are now a happily functioning adult.
I am blessed to have the latter of the three. It took 11 months of therapy and an ongoing medication regimen, but hey, all that matter is I’m good now.
But I can’t help to look back on what I’ve been through. You have to right? I really don’t want any of repeat the doomed to repeat the past crap. My apologies to whomever copy edits this but “Ain’t nobody got time for dat.”
So yes, back to serious retrospection.
I don’t want to be one of the whiny brats that blame other people for their mistakes. My shortcomings, blunders, and other assorted screw-ups are mine. I put my big girl panties on everyday by learning to accept them.
But Lord have mercy…
Would it have killed someone, anyone… to let me know about a truths (good and bad) about life?
So yes, if you can relate to this post, I apologize. Hopefully you’re standing with me on the other side and realize that you love your parents, but they were dead wrong about some things.
Despite being a child of the 90’s, my parents are stuck in the 50’s black and white manner of parenting. Kids are to be seen, never heard. Hey, I agree with that to a point. If I ever decide to breed, I don’t want my spawn talking back to me every other second. But there are some serious flaws with this idea.
|Kids who never learn how to think and talk for themselves grow into dull-witted adults.
The world already has enough of those already.
First, if you were raised like me, you know that you were never supposed to talk back to your parents. Even if they were wrong, dead wrong, about whatever they were talking about. Verbal abuse to a child’s innocent questions may lead to an obedient child, but it murders the independent thinker that could grow from a fresh new mind.
|Please nurture your child… Or else it will have a small green head like this little guy.|
I am several years into adulthood, yet I still struggle with finding my voice at school or work. It is getting better, but yelling, put-downs, and plain ‘ole meanness was a daily part of home life. When I was younger, the best way to avoid that was just to shut up.
But shutting up isn’t always a good thing. In today’s world, we as women, have to be loud and in charge at times. There is too much competition for jobs, men, whatever you want in life to always sit meekly in the back and accept things how they are.
Debating respectfully is a skill parents should instill, not blind obedience and silence.
|Smart kids grow to be smart adults? My parents didn’t understand this.|
Just kidding! We both know we don’t want to go through that mess. Plus going back there would involve breaking some restraining orders placed against me (kidding again…maybe).
|It is only stalking if you get caught.|
Do you know how to communicate? I know it sounds obvious, but do you know how to read your significant other’s silent quirks? How to know if your boss is passively asking for your opinion? How to politely excuse yourself from a sinking conversation?
Well, I sure didn’t. My parents are intensely anti-social, which in of itself, is not a bad thing at all. The problem arises when no one teaches you how to have a disagreement without name calling, eye rolling, or just running away.
Our family clan is amazingly skilled at the art of deflection. We will not acknowledge the elephant in the room even if we are tied to a chair, eyelids taped open, and the freakin’ elephant is wearing a Michael Jackson wig with lasers coming out of its rear end.
So when my first romances went south, instead of telling my co-pilot boyfriend that we should adjust the course, I would grab the nearest parachute and jump to the nearest available cockpit.
|Cockpit… Get it? Giggity.|
Anywoo, my parents are both in their 50’s and don’t know how to talk. Instead of simply asking that the other pick up something from the store or do the dishes, they begin the battle by insinuating the other’s laziness or general flaw. Then comes the flurry of name calling and below the belt hits:
My dad says my mom never does anything. My mother is disabled. She had a freakin’ brain tumor the size of an orange. So yeah, I actually do believe that is a good excuse for not being able to do some things.
My mom says my dad never does anything. My father works 70 plus hours a week. He gets tired. I can understand that since my 40 hour a week cushy desk job made me want to pass out the second I got home.
The argument reaches a climax without anything getting resolved. Either they yell at each other until the phone rings or their favorite reality TV show comes on, or one of them walks away without saying another word for the rest of the night.
|Add a some tan to this couple, and you have my parents.|
Instead of sitting down to communicate their specific needs and complaints, they use whatever petty moment to verbally slap each other and then run away like cowards.
Neither parent can take 10 seconds to emphasize where the other is coming from. Both of my parents are so wrapped in their own reality. My house feels like a battle zone more often than not, especially when one of my parents just wants the other to pick up some milk from the store. Why is it so hard to get milk? I just want something to drink with my brownies!
Gratuitous food picture… Because you’re not having enough trouble staying on your diet.
So I’ve learned on my own that it isn’t a bad if you disagree with someone or if something is wrong. The danger lies within not addressing the issue. Skirting around the problem with insults or just running away doesn’t help. It makes stuff worse. And you are left with no milk with your brownies. No one wants that.
Something everyone does want? To feel appreciated. Lesson number three not taught by my parents: tell your loved ones you love them!
So after all of this, you may think my parents are fire-breathing, mindless creatures that exist only to suck the warmth from pretty sunsets. Well they’re only like that on Tuesdays.
My parents like anyone have their strengths and weaknesses. Communication obviously is not one of them. But they are overall good people. But do I tell them that? Nope.
I know I should. They are hard workers that have supported me financially throughout my entire life. I don’t really say “Hey, thanks for letting me mooch even though I’m out of college”. Again, I know I should. But my family isn’t exactly the touchy feeling type.
And by touchy feeling, I mean being a decent person enough to say “thanks”.
I’m learning that may be ok for my family. Every family is different. What may unleash total hell in one might be the norm in another. My family abides by an unspoken set of rules and customs.
One of those rules is we don’t really say thank you, because we (or at least I think) already know that the other person is grateful. We reply with other acts. Normally giving money because hey money is a language everyone speaks.
So this isn’t a completely bad lesson. Actions can speak louder than words when it comes to expressing oneself. But I have to impart my own addendum to this lesson.
A little “I love you”, can go a long way.
I’m getting better with saying this to my mother. But to this day, I have no recollection of my father saying these words to me, or anyone else in our family.
I suppose he loves me. He lets me stay here and eat his food. But I wouldn’t mind hearing it every decade or so.
You say it like it is a bad thing.
So with my knowledge on how it feels not to receive those words, I try to add them to my regular vocabulary. And who knew, but people actually like being told nice things like:
“I love you.”
“Hey, thanks for your help.”
“I really appreciate you.”
“You look cute today.”
This isn’t rocket science for normal people, but since I had a mental muzzle on for most of my life, I never learned how to say nice things. Now I try to share these simple expressions with friends, family, and coworkers. Nice words make people feel good. Nice words make me feel good. Everybody wins.
Maybe my parents have taught me some things. Like how not to be like them. What have your parents directly (or inversely) taught? Please comment below. I will be waiting with brownies.