From the moment I was born, it was obvious that my face resembles my paternal grandmother’s. The problem was that my mom didn’t have a great relationship with her. So as a defenseless child, being criticized endlessly on my features and personality left me confused me in so many ways. Especially when the criticisms came from your own mother, the person who was supposed to protect me. There are many physical traits of myself that still leads me to self loathing. It’s not like I had control over how my face was formed. I guess my appearance was probably the trigger point for being treated like trash compared to my brother. He was like a precious gem to her, firstly because he’s a male, and was treated with such care to boost his self esteem. He was the one expected to achieve great things, not me. Mom saw no benefit in giving me anything more than basic attention. As a result, my brother and I have different views on life and our value systems are vastly different. We also didn’t get to spend much time together since I was prematurely sent away for school 8500 miles away.
I was beaten numerously throughout my childhood. A lot of them stems from the fact that mom’s marriage to dad killed her spirit and drove her into manic depression. She was born into a wealthy business family and had lived a sheltered, materialistic life. However, she chose to marry my dad, whose upbringing was pretty rough. The word “poor” is a little too simplistic to describe his early life. When he got typhus as a boy (lack of vaccination), he was left in the room to die because that was the cost effective way to deal with. A baby left on the field snatched by a wolf? Oh well. Disabled child? Oh well. Lives were cheap. My grandparents was overwhelmed with having too many mouths to feed because strict catholicism doesn’t allow birth control. Regardless of his background, mom fell in love with dad’s intelligence and charisma, and married for love. She believed that love has the power to conquer all. Their marriage was rough for the first decade mainly due to financial struggles, abortions, and cancer scare. I don’t think they were prepared to deal with all of this in their 20’s. On many nights, dad didn’t come home until 2am because he was obligated to attend work related functions. He came home drunk most of the time. Sometimes he would come home bottled up with irritations and hit me with a baseball bat, whatever that’s around, or use his fist, if I didn’t greet him properly or embarrass him in public. I was just being a kid. Granted, he apologized when he sobered up the next day, but I didn’t think I deserved that kind of treatment at all.
I remember my parents fighting a lot. Sometimes mom would disappear for days, even weeks. I had no idea where she went, and my dad didn’t either. I don’t even remember who took care of the household, who fed us, etc. At times, mom would grab a kitchen knife and threatened to kill herself. Being a spectator of all these craziness really messes up your views on marriage. It makes you realize how important financial stability is (the surveys prove this as well), and that love is rather secondary. Love never seemed like a permanent thing. The concept of giving up everything for love seems too naive to me. From what I’ve seen and experienced, love is not immune to outside elements at all. It always seemed rather unreliable to count on. Add that to the crappy relationship choices I made, and I’m left with a pretty broken concept of love.
It seemed that I was my mom’s punching bag to unload her frustration. She got a kick out of abusing me, verbally and physically. The most memorable one is the one that left me passed out with a bloodied face and broken teeth, all because I refused to finish my dinner. She force fed me and I threw it all up in the end because I couldn’t keep it down. This triggered some serious explosion of anger on her side. I was 6. Thanks to her, my teeth grew out totally crooked and keeps on reverting back to its messed up state every two decades, forcing me to get orthodontic treatments again and again. I’m the only one that got braces in my family. Theirs are naturally aligned. What maddens me the most though, is that mom still hasn’t said a word of apology. When I bring up the incident or any others, she tries to reason with me that it’s normal to do this when you’re frustrated with your child. How contradictory this sounds, when she’s now telling me to have children, and that raising them brings so much happiness. My childhood was anything but a happy one. It’s not normal when you lock yourself in your room brainstorming ways for a horrendous death, dream and act on jumping off buildings, and think about shredding your thighs with knives just to make your parents feel remorseful. I lived in fear. All of this is probably the core reason for my lack of confidence to raise children of my own.
When both of my parents were working, a female relative came to babysit for a couple of weeks at a time. We slept in the same room. That’s when the molestation happened, almost every night. I was 5. I was clueless that this was wrong at the time, because I was very attached to this person. After all, she was nice to me, was there to take me to school, and bought me toys, etc. Another family member, a male, did the same damn thing when I was older because he has no boundaries regarding incest. Elaborating on this forces me to think deeper about this and relive it, so I won’t. I haven’t told my mom, because I am sure she can’t handle the truth and it will surely break her. No wonder why I’m messed up in THAT department.
My father is an admirable man. He has come a long way. His achievements are astounding, given the situation. He’s the epitome of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Our life got exponentially better after I turned 11. We lived in big, swanky mansions. I think there’s a correlation between ambition/drive and high testosterone though. He became a serial cheater; an addict, stemming from his overconfidence and gigantic ego. He’s an expert at sweet talking the ladies with his credentials. He’s also good looking and muscular. Riding an elevator? Can’t just let the moment pass without chatting one up. No matter how much I hate the way my mom treated me earlier in my life, I still love her. So when my dad hurt her emotionally to the point of her fainting and foaming in the mouth with his infidelity, I was furious with vengeance. Not many daughters can say that they beat up their dad, but I did. That high school break spent at home was rough. I will never forget his remorseful face as he helplessly took my blows. Nonetheless, he couldn’t help it; kept on doing it again and again afterwards. Kept on getting caught because he was careless, leaving receipts behind. I lost faith in men and the reliance in “happily ever after” in general. Dad’s been battling parkinson’s disease since turning 51, so I have nothing but sympathy for him now. I try to read up as much as I can on the latest neurological advancements and nutrition, hoping that there’s some kind of new treatment that helps his motility issues. Most of all, I try to be there for my mom while she goes through crisis stemming from life’s uncertainties. As she got older, her personality has become a lot less reactive. Now that I’ve built up more knowledge in many areas, she looks up to me for guidance. She depends on me. I go to her when I need to vent, but only on limited, selective things. She will never be someone I can fully open up to. No matter how clueless she is about the real me though, she’s still my rock. This authority issue that forever chained me from childhood is slowly going away with the years.
Regardless of all these things that somehow jumbled up to form my messed up viewpoints in life, I’ve learned to accept that there’s no good in dwelling on the negatives and holding grudges. Victim mentality won’t lead me anywhere but self pity. There’s always someone who’s had it worse than me, so it was up to me to open up my mind and just take it as “whatever you go through, grows you”. It was a relief for me to recognize that I have power over my own mind, at least. So I have developed a way to control and lead my thoughts if they wander to the dark side- my own coping mechanism. I swear I can literally feel the neurons in my brain shifting their direction when I do this. There’s one major thing I still need to work on though, and that is my sense of insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. I wish my mom didn’t put me down so much with mean comments while growing up. I’m judgmental enough on myself. I don’t need more from the outside, but I understand that people’s reactions or thoughts are not my under my control. I’ve become quite good at keeping this side of me hidden. I’ve trained my smile, just like the rest of me. Will I become more comfortable in my own skin and stop hiding as I age? Hopefully. This one is really difficult for me to overcome.