Many parents totally disregard their children’s feelings when they are young and then magically expect them to feel positive emotions when they are adults. All I remember of my childhood after my mother died was a father who never let me relax. Constantly, I had to be on call and high alert.
Burdened With Responsibility
Even when in relatives homes, while my other cousins were enjoying themselves, I was expected to go and help my aunts in the kitchen. Till today I feel resentment when I think of my father standing there at the doorway of the room where we kids would be enjoying ourselves and wait there at first silently. Then through sign language beckoning me.
At first, I’d tried to pretend that I did not see him, but that would only enrage him, then he would call me out angrily in front of all my other cousins and of course, if I did not get up them there was violence. I would not have minded if all the cousins were called to help.
But no I was the chosen one to help make life easier for the adults. At 11 years, not only had I do the things my mother would do for me but also do the work she would have done in the house, like cooking, cleaning. Plus I was supposed to be the helping hand at every family function.
I could never enjoy myself. I had to be responsible. It was one of the reasons that I really began hating my father. What I could forgive was his anger and rage inside the home but his treatment of me in front of company is what destroyed any feelings I had for him. It totally messed up self-esteem and sense of self. The only way I felt I could survive in this world was by being “yes woman.’
My Father Was Not My Protector
The worst was when even after my father came to know that the porn addict cousin was abusing me, he forced me to kiss him on his birthday. At first, I refused, but then I saw his face changing and I knew he would become violent. The feelings of revulsion, resentment, and rage that I felt were so painful that I pushed them so deep within me that I began doubting my reality. Did I imagine that this cousin actually sexually abused me?
To this day, I am confused about many aspects of my life. When I finally escaped the horrible place I had to call home my father went on this lament of how he sacrificed his life for his kids and how ungrateful I turned out to be.
He expected me to love and respect despite showing me none. My only way to survive was to stop turning my other cheek. I had to turn on my heel and run. It saved my sanity and my life.
A wonderful video on raising a child who respects your feelings
If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World by Dan Neuharth
Trapped in T Mirror by Elan Golomb
Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward
I’m really sorry you had to go through this. Nobody deserves to be treated this way.
Tochi thanks for your validating words. However, since I wrote that I have come a long, long way. The pain of the past no longer robs my present joy. Hugs to you.