MESSAGES RECEIVED FROM PARENTS
Mom: Be a pretty, perfect lady, sit up straight, don’t swear/cuss, don’t do rude things, etc. -might have indirectly encouraged me to rebel and be more tomboyish
Mom: “Do what I say, not what I do.”
I finally realized last night what my psychologist meant when she was asking me about the “message” that my parents gave me as a child.
The message was this: I am unlovable.
It came heavily from my dad, and somewhat from my mom, as well, in their actions and their conversations with me.
It confused me when they said the words, “I love you,” because then I had the conflict of their display of “love” vs. my own gut feeling and human intuition of what love is. Even young children can recognize when a person is showing them love.
WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED vs. WHAT DID HAPPEN
Still, it is hard for me to get past the idea that “parents should love their children, so therefore, my parents loved me.”
My logic is that should = did, and unfortunately, that is not realistic. A green apple that should be red, is still green.
Allowing myself to realize the truth of my childhood is difficult and is still in the process of realization, now.
I don’t know why, but somehow, I ended up being one of the “unloved kids.” It happens to a lot of people, but I just never thought I’d be one of them.
LOOKING FOR LOVE
I’ve been trying to prove that I am lovable. When I was in college, I had sex with any person who showed me the slightest bit of attention, interest, compassion, or hint of love. I wanted so badly to be loved and I missed out on the parental love.
If anyone says that my parents loved me, then they should check their own definition of what they think love is, because that wasn’t it.
QUICK! RUN BEFORE IT SPEAKS!
In high school, my sister and I caught on to a subconscious habit that my dad did…
Let’s say that the three of us were sitting at the kitchen table. Maybe my dad was reading the newspaper and my sister and I were eating something. No one was talking. Before my dad spoke, he had a habit of clearing his throat, in preparation for speaking. Then, in the next 30-60 seconds, he’d begin speaking. He wasn’t even aware he was doing this, at the time.
That means that my sister and I had about half a minute to get the hell out of the kitchen (or wherever it was), because he never said anything—…
—…and that is where I stopped talking, at the psychologist’s last night. It was supposed to be a funny story that I was telling her, but I had to stop, because the truth hurt.
The reality is that my dad never said anything that was good, happy, beneficial, uplifting, or kind, and definitely never loving.
He’d always say a complaint or say how we’re not good enough, or point out a weakness. That is why we ran.
I cried again in the psychologist’s office.
SORTING THROUGH SEXUAL ISSUES
When I said to Matt (ex-husband) that I was sick of having sex, now I realize that what I meant was: I was sick of having sex to get guys to like me. Unfortunately, Matt was in that category, too. He was upset when we didn’t have set.
With my current boyfriend, KL, it’s different. Sex is important because it is a way to show love and to consciously realize that expression of love. Sex has meaning, with KL. It is what I’ve always wanted.
Sex isn’t the only part of the relationship. I see the love in KL’s actions, I hear it in his voice, and I feel it in his touch. THIS is what love should be.
DO CHILDREN DESERVE LOVE FROM PARENTS?
I hope I never have to be around or talk to my dad ever again. But I do hope to fully understand the situation.
As an adult, he was responsible for caring for his children and loving them.
—Wait, is that true? Do children deserve love without doing anything deserving of love? Are parents obligated to love their children?
Maybe the mistake I made was in the assumption that they should have loved me.
Or is this the kind of thinking that results from the message that I am unlovable?
FEELING FORCED INTO FAKE LOVE
In high school and a little bit of college, I remember the feeling of being pressured to love my parents. It was as if they wanted to force love, when there was none.
My mom tried to hold “family game nights” and I hated them. It was fake. We faked the “wonderful, happy family” for a very long time.
I think it convinced non-family members, but it just confused me. In high school, it angered me.
For years, I tried to cut contact with my parents, but wasn’t sure how. Even if I didn’t talk to them, I still felt that they had control over me. I didn’t know how to be my own person because they had always been so controlling over who I was.
But now, I’m learning who I really am and learning how to be myself. I hope my sister is doing the same.
MESSAGES RECEIVED FROM PSYCHOLOGIST
“No, you’re not crazy. You’re acting the way any normal person would, if they’d been through similar experiences.”
“It’s a relief to be with a patient who is trying hard and wants to be helped.”