I have struggled constantly since I was a toddler to please my parents, doing anything that could possibly get their love and affection. I do believe that that is a common thing children strive for; parental love. Children observe other families and the wonderful relationships throughout and do crave that for themselves. Children want to be the apple and love of their parents eye, and being neglected or mistreated can bring them to state of mental health problems.
I lived with 3 older brothers; one who had a physical handicap (S), one who was my father’s favourite (F), and a brother in his teens who wasn’t really looking for that anymore. I’d be left on the side lines in kindergarten as my mom sat with S, helping him do his homework. I would stand there, wondering when I would get my turn. At my grandmother’s, it was evident S got things I didn’t and I was reprimanded by her and my aunt for wanting things I didn’t need, despite candy not being a need for S either. He got special appointments, leaving school to spend time with my mother and went out to eat, while I felt ignored and outcasted, not quite understanding why I couldn’t come either. My mom was so proud of him and his accomplishments because of the challenges he faced. I didn’t understand it then, and I wanted to be just like him (though I would never wish his condition on anybody in this world). She loved me too, but why did he get the special treatment?
Then we have F who, no matter what he did, he was my father’s treasure. Before I attended elementary school, my dad was my best friend, you could say. We spent all day together watching movies and I acquired my love of cooking. But once school started, everything changed.
I was in a great ordeal. My mother repeatedly voiced to me how she was an overachiever in school, and so, I thought I could attain her affection this way. I wanted to be in first grade so bad to be assigned homework to ask her to spend time with me, and despite my homework just being colouring, I would beg her to help me. I particularly remember asking her to help me and, unlike how she would sit down with S and guide him through his work, she was just kind’ve there, doing laundry. I was intelligently advanced, and so, I would make up math problems and dictations to complete to give myself more homework, and was always getting As, but it still wasn’t good enough, it seemed.
As I got older, and my parents broke up when I was 9, my mother did demonstrate more pride but my father was oblivious to my cries for affection. He wouldn’t acknowledge me when I spoke and would reply with “hmm” or “yeah?” when I was awaiting an actual answer. He made promises he would never keep, and I was left aside.
At 12, the tension in the home between my father and I grew. I wanted him to love me so much, like he did F and my step siblings, but no matter what I did, it’s like he was entirely disconnected. He just didn’t care. We began to have large verbal and physical fights, and despite me begging for someone to help me, my own siblings and step family observed as my father would fill his lung capacity, cornering me and threatening to beat me with his black belt karate fists, pick me up upside down and throw my in a room, leaving me there for the night, sometimes without dinner. There were times he would laugh as he did this and encouraged F and S to laugh, too. He would threat to call the police and send me to the mental hospital, and once, he opened the front door, had me in his arms, and swung me, making believe to throw me down a large flight of stairs composed of cement and wood. And, I wondered, what made me so unlovable?
I became very isolative and hateful. I shut my mother out and no longer wanted her around me, yet still craved my father’s love. My mom loved me and was proud of me, but my father was the missing link. And around 13-14, I developed Borderline Personality Disorder (diagnosed at 14). The self harm had began, and any thought I had about my body spiraled into disordered eating behaviour, and I was taking pills to relieve myself, in the ultimate goal to eventually destroy my liver. Tension had grown in my mother’s home, and she began to go through my things, follow me in town and sent me to hospitals, and I retaliated with physical and verbal abuse. I wanted to leave.
High school started and I finally “freed” myself from her. Things were going lovely now that I lived in my father’s home, for everyone but me, as I worsened my condition practically on purpose. The self harm was almost nightly and sometimes reaching several times a day, and my eating habits had spiraled. It felt as though he couldn’t care to notice me. I was still overachieving in school, yet the grades did nothing to provoke his pride. I gave every sign that I was suicidal and yet, it’s as if he was blindfolded looking for a pinata, and headed the wrong way entirely.
In short, I became very sick, had attempted suicide, and I was covered in marks. Once I was hospitalized for the attempt, he basically disowned me and I moved out within a month as he made living there unbearable, the verbal fights returning. And the love from my mother returned.
It was constantly love, then hate, from both parents. I occasionally visited my father, but other than that, he was no longer a part of my life and I haven’t spoken to him approaching 2 years.
I then began to make the choice to bring my mom in and out of my life. I couldn’t handle how possessive and aggressive she was, but all I wanted was her love. It was always on and off with her, and having stability was rare. After my 16th birthday, I left home to be in a homeless shelter. Then, I was in a treatment facility, and living with my boyfriend at the time, and I tried to keep her in but couldn’t handle it. I was so scared of her and I felt as though I just could never please her.
Now, since being homeless twice, being in and out of her life, but serious about recovery, she won’t give me a chance. Sure, my grades are “just passing” in high school, my attendance wasn’t the greatest and I didn’t really have high school friends for most of it, but I made it through high school alive. I am paying for my prom with the money I worked my ass off for when I was recently homeless (it’s in less than a week and I don’t even have half of what I need for it) and she isn’t demonstrating that joy the other parents are. The other parents are so excited, they want to shop with their child and can’t wait to see them on their prom night, looking like princes and princesses. It seems like it’s just another night to my mother.
I’m graduating high school and yet, nothing. No pride in me. And when I mention I survived high school, I’m apparently “threatening suicide”. She makes statements about me not going to post secondary, and insinuating that I am not doing anything with my life, though I haven’t even had my graduation ceremony, nor has she shown much interest in knowing my plans.
My mother seems so senseless and loveless lately. Anything that made her my support system or the person who would always love me is completely gone, and she blames many issues on me. I have worked so hard on my recovery, being clean from many forms of self harm and having controlled my mood swings immensely, and yet, apparently she’s still “walking on eggshells”. I am a lot more fun to be around and I don’t get triggered as easily. She is holding onto how I used to be and won’t let me prove myself to her. She blames it on me having pushed her in and out of my life, saying that she needs to learn to trust again, but refuses to try. She isn’t recovering herself and her issues appear worse then ever. She’s verbally abusive, despite me no longer demonstrating that behaviour and she truly does accuse me of being the cause of many of her insecurities.
She won’t let me grow up from the angsty 14-16 year old I was and doesn’t believe in my recovery. I have demonstrated myself and many who had distanced themselves from me because of how I was being have returned and recognize my development. I am able to maintain a rather healthy relationship with a partner, myself and friends.
I struggled so hard through high school. I was a wreck and I thought every new day was the day I would leave, and I had everything to be ready for it. There was a point where I had 6 mental health workers that I was seeing and where my school counselor didn’t know to trust me. I did things other teenagers couldn’t imagine. I made it through all of my hurdles and boundaries and I rocked it! But my own mother doesn’t see that?
I need to come to the realization that I should be proud of myself for making it through and to stop looking for some glorious form of power to congratulate me. I should be the only person who needs to be proud of myself and that should be enough. And I am proud. This once lost and self destructive girl is now mature and is self aware. I got myself out of situations that could’ve costed my life or in which I could’ve harmed someone else, and I’m finally conquering my disorders. I am becoming functioning and will be chasing what I once believed unattainable.
At my graduation, the one who will have tears in their eyes and whom will hold me tight as I receive my diploma will be no one other than me. I will be the one to dress myself for prom and tell myself how beautiful I look. The one who will believe I can do anything in this vast world will be me and I will do anything and everything I feel I need to to be happy. I am deserving of pride and love, though it doesn’t need to come from anyone but myself.