The Post I Secretly Hope No One Notices

Fix It

In the five months this blog has been alive, I’ve had two goals. Inspire others to overcome everything that holds them back from living out who they are. And don’t make anyone mad.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way human nature works. We stay stagnant until someone is brave enough to slap us in the face and wake us up from our stupor.

So, here’s to making people mad. If it inspires even just one person, I’m ok with the rotten tomato brigade.

Today, I will stop trying to live by the popular Pinterest saying: “Be brave enough to tell your story, but polite enough not to tell the story of others.” Our lives as humans are so tightly twisted and mangled together, that that’s just simply impossible. You can’t tell a story of triumph without speaking of the darkness. But you can’t tell of the darkness without speaking of the person who caused it.

I’m on a journey to break through the darkness of a hostage identity. The one holding it hostage was my mother. She really messed me up.

“Yeah, well none of us had perfect parents,” you say. “At least you had a mom. At least she wasn’t a druggie prostitute living on the streets.”

Both of these statements are true, but there’s fallacy in the thinking.

If we’re honest, we don’t shrug our shoulders at our parents’ mistakes out of kindness, but out of fear. Fear of confrontation. Fear of drama. Fear of rejection. But mostly, fear of responsibility.

If we acknowledge their parenting failures, we’re forced to act upon that acknowledgement. We’re forced to confront the “messed up” parts of our life and fix them. We’re forced to take action to prevent making the same mistakes they made.

But here’s the rock solid truth: If you don’t stand up and acknowledge how your parents messed you up, no one else will. If you don’t fix what’s messed up, no one else will. Your parents cannot do that for you, no matter how many times they anguish, “I’m so sorry. Forgive me. I only did the best I could.”

So today, I’m taking my stand. I’m standing up on the wooden soap box in the park to say…

My mother made mistakes. These mistakes messed me up. It doesn’t matter if the mistakes were huge or small. What matters is I’ve spent the last 9 1/2 years trying to fix what’s messed up, and I’m not done yet. That’s huge.

I’m messed up because I spent every waking hour of my first 25 years of life doing exactly what she wanted, when she wanted, and how she wanted because it was my job to make her happy. It took me 9 years to even realize that this emotional control had polluted my thinking.

I’m messed up because my mom taught me that every.single.man had only one thing in mind: sex. And that they will take every opportunity to get it from any female body. She would stop our homeschool afternoon and drag us with her to my dad’s job site to make sure he wasn’t messing around. I struggle with trusting my husband a lot… I mean like beyond the normal trust things that come up in a marriage.

I’m messed up because my mom decided our family should join ATI. My dad went along with it to make her happy. She gave herself to following Bill Gothard and conservative family Christianity. She set up “standards” we had to follow so we could be Gothardy. I resisted, then fell for it, then resisted, then fell for it. Funny thing was, the only time I resisted was when I was away from my mother. The only time I began to fall for the legalism and strict authority focus was when I was home with my mom. Even in my 20’s, I submitted like a child to her rules and wishes, because Mr. G said that’s what a godly daughter does.

I’m messed up because my mom abused me physically and psychologically. She became the dictator, in the name of parenting. It’s made me so confused in my own parenting. I hate the concept of authority because of it. The recent realization that I am a teacher, and have no reason to even try to be a dictator, has been the most freeing thing to me as a parent. I’m so relieved. ‘Cause if being a mom means being a dictator, I can’t do it.

There’s many more ways I’m messed up, but that’s enough to get the point across.

woodcrates

I can’t just shrug my shoulders and excuse her with “she did the best she knew how” and “she was probably messed up by her parents too”. Excusing it doesn’t address the problem; it simply shrugs off responsibility.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not a blame game. I’m not throwing mud. I’m not lashing out. I’m just being honest and shouldering the responsibility to do something about it.

Now that I’ve realized it, stated it, and believe it, I have the power to change it. I see where I’m messed up. I realize why. Now, I can take the action to fix what’s broken and do my darnedest to mess up my kids a little less than the previous generation.

So stand up on your soap box. Admit how your parents messed you up, so you can fix it.

 

*photo credit

Comments

  1. I am glad that you were brave enough to write this post! I am happy for you that you decided to make a change and not play a victim like so many other people do. (for example “Well I can’t help it, that’s how I was raised”) I hope you achieve your goals in parenting your own children and find the support you need in doing so :)

  2. Shelly Smith says:

    So true and so important… thank you for your honesty in sharing!!

  3. Erica Matthiesen says:

    I love your blog!

  4. Susan Williams-Göbber says:

    Thank you for sharing. I needed this post this week. You came just in time to help me think and see that it’s not only me going through this. I’m on my way to start cleaning out my parent from my mind/life/ control. I am me because of them, but I want to change me and not be them. If they are not happy with their life does not mean I can’t be. I have the right to be happy. (It’s easier to see it written down to believe that it’s true)

    • You’re right. Our past and our parents are part of who we are, but we have the power to decide whether that part is going to have a negative or a positive effect on us. If it’s gotta be part of us, we might as well use it to spur us on to change… to drive us forward to being all that we can be… true to who we truly are deep down inside… the pure us without any pollutants.

      I know you can find that place where you are “all you”, and it will take you to places you never dreamed of going. I am loving this new freedom that comes from not letting all the old thought patterns control my decisions. Go for it, Susan! I’m rooting for you.

  5. Growing up, my Dad was physically and mentally abusive. It’s hard to tell your story, when you know so many people have gone through worse, but In the end, your story still matters, your heart is still hurting, it still affects everything you do in life, your thinking, rationalizing, your dreams. You can forgive them, and “get over it”, and be done talking about it, but … It’s always going to be there.
    Atleast what my mom and dad put me through affects me every single day of my life. My dad had the hugest temper, and the patience of a toddler. He always had to prove his point, and it was always his way. He would always say “Don’t contradict me!” and he would hit us with anything that was close by. He took discipline to the extreme. and just like you Brenda, my mom just stood aside, locked herself up in her room, and let it happen. I know girls have been raped and molested by their fathers, so to say that I had suffered the most could be an understatment, but going to school with bruises or marks on my arms wasn’t my type of fun. To this day I have a fear of men, I have a fear of people yelling at me, I always feel the necessity to yell to get my point across, and not having a father or mother around has damaged me farther than anyone realizes. The point of this, just like your story, is to NOT let it affect you. To find out who you are, to find out what you like and to tell your self that, no it wasn’t okay, but I’m not gonna let it define me. Sometimes I feel like where some people had instructors(parents) to help them direct their life, I have none. Life feels like a blank piece of paper to me, I know I have to put something on it..but there’s no right thing to write, there’s no right way to live. I know what not to do, but where to go, and what to be, or how to be an adult is all completely blank to me.
    Your mom put so much in your head, it was completely impossible for you to be anything else than who she wanted you to be. Our parents are supposed to guide us, transition us, and prepare us for the life that’s in front of us, and when they fail to do that, it’s like..what do I do now?
    I guess in retrospect we all know what not to do, and some of us grow up to be some really great parents because we were all shown how “not” to parent,and would do anything in our power to not parent like our mother’s and father’s had. Raising your children to love, respect and be successful, is something we are ready to do, because it was something that wasn’t done for us.
    I as well can say my parent’s mess me up, and everyday my mom pretends that she was the best mom in the world, as well as my dad trying to accuse me of lying. I don’t need their reassurances because I and my brother’s and sister’s lived it, and we are dealing with the repercussions of it everday now. I choose to be better though, because I know my daughter deserves it, and I will do everything in my power as her mother to make sure she grows up the way she needs to be.

    • You’re right, Amanda, even though others may have gone through worse, and perhaps our parents only did what they knew from their parents, it can’t be shrugged off. You have to process it, figure out how it affects you so you can fix what’s broken. You’re doing a great job giving your daughter a loving childhood.

  6. Nicky Ruggia says:

    I have to say this sounds like a lot of complaining and masking it behind a good cause, responsibility. It’s what every politician does and half the business men out there. They pour out negative counter productive recommendations, and then cap off their statement with an en-mode catch phrase.
    I don’t doubt your parents messed you up. But how does acknowledging that they did the best they could give you an excuse to not strive to be better, to shirk responsibility?
    I was recently told that by a former teacher of mine that as a child I exhibited clear signs of PTSD. But in no way do I believe that my parents are responsible for that. They did what they did, but I also don’t believe it was one sided, my personality allowed the trauma and I can still see where I allow it today. It doesn’t mean I take it lying down, I fight everyday because ultimately it doesn’t matter if you got a bum card or a great card, it’s yours and no one else’s. I try everyday not to mess up my daughter like me, but I’m sure I’m messing her up badly in the opposit way.

  7. My mother had sex with all of my boyfriend’s from the time i was 15 till about 26. Im 31years old and found out 7 months ago apparently we have always been in composition. Dont really know how to deal with it.

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