Hey dolls! It’s been some time that I’ve shared with you. So, as I try to get back on track, I would like to talk about relationships and the ugly truth behind the way our relationships with our parents affect the way we ‘relate’ in our adult ‘ships.’
A story of me. I am the baby of 4 siblings. My parents raised us in a modest home on the south side of Chicago. I suppose we were considered middle class. Our house was built from the ground, so we didn’t move in after someone else. Our neighborhood was fresh and green and everyone knew everyone else. We lived on the block where the playground was and there was always a bunch of kids there just being kids. We all played together, we didn’t separate, boys and girls played together. We chased one another for no apparent reason. We played games like “IT, Red light-Green light, Captain May I, Duck, Duck Goose and many others that, little did we know, taught us amazing social skills. At the end of the day when the street lights came on, we’d usually convene to someone’s porch where we’d talk about the days events or play more games. It was indeed a good time. Not only were we friends we were one another’s protector. We fought for one another, we stood up for one another. Ah, the good old days.
Both of my parents were in the home. And that’s it, they were in the house. Co-existing. Every Saturday morning you could count on being awakened by an argument between my parents. It was usually about bills and them not being paid or being too high, but always about bills. There was yelling, name calling and door slamming. It made me feel uncomfortable, like it made my stomach hurt. I used to secretly pray that they would get a divorce. I can remember asking my mother once to just divorce him and leave. Her reply was, “It doesn’t work like that. I can’t leave him, he needs me.” I thought “for what, to keep making you feel like shit?” But of course I couldn’t verbalize that, I was a child. I have more memories than not of the ugliness that went on in that house between my parents which would eventually trickle down to us kids. My father would fight with all of us. We would be called everything but beautiful, or smart or anything positive. He would find out your weakness and use it against you, then wake up early Sunday morning and go to Sunday School as if nothing happened. That ALWAYS baffled me. Like how do you cuss your entire family out then go the “praise the lord?”
My relationship with my dad was a bit non-existent. A daughter is supposed to learn how to be treated by a man from her dad, he’s supposed to be her first date and first super hero. Yeah, well that was so not the case with the man who raised us. Being as young as 5 years old, I was called a little bitch, I had a last-minute birthday party and he ruined it by putting everyone out of the house. As a teenager, when I would try to have boy company, that was a flop too. It was bad enough that they could only visit me on the porch and if it got late or just dark even, my father would come to the door in his underwear, shining a big flash light like he was the FBI or somebody, cuss me and the boy out and I’d go running in the house humiliated and in disbelief. I swore that he hated me. With that type of craziness going on, I just stopped having porch company and would sneak to visit them at their homes. When I was sixteen, I asked my father, why did he hate me and if he did love me why did he treat me the way he did. His reply was loud and clear, “BITCH GET OUT OF MY ROOM!!!” Words leave me as I try to find one that would equate to how that made me feel. At sixteen, I should have been used to it by then. Well as time went on, I finally had a boyfriend who I could bring around and he could come in the house as well. Exciting, right? NO! In fact, HELL NO! He would always find a way to humiliate me in front of people for his entertainment. It was funny to him and I began to hate him. In the name of and in search of love, I became a very promiscuous young lady. Somewhere along the way, I missed the lesson, because I honestly thought that if I had sex with a boy, that meant that I was important to him. I thought it meant that he would love me and he’d protect me and that he would never make me feel as my father did. Over and over and over again, I gave myself away to some boy and a few men who said that they felt some type of way about me and I gave them me. I allowed myself to be used just to say that someone loved me, even when I knew it was a lie. I needed to believe the lie. I needed to believe that someone loved me, that I was worthy of being loved. Even when I wasn’t sure of how that was supposed to feel, or how it looked, I needed to believe that I was in love. I needed so badly to have a man love me. I watched friends who had wonderful relationships with their fathers and I wanted that…BAD! So, I freely gave of my body, became a frequent member at the gynecologist for some type of antibiotic. Not only did I allow myself to be used, I never made them respect me enough to use a condom nor did I make them respect me when I’d say no. They would take my no and use it to my weakness. They’d say the things that I wanted and needed to hear, and I’d allow it every time.
You see, I never had those moments with my dad where he would sit me on his knee and tell me what my expectations should be from a man who showed interest in me. We never sat at the kitchen table and talked about the birds and the bees or how and why to protect myself both physically and emotionally. He never taught me about being worthy or knowing my worth. Now, I wouldn’t DARE place all of the blame on him, my mother is just as guilty as he. Her talking to me about sex was simply, DON’T DO IT, and without explanation. The first time I got my period, her reply was “Well, now you can get pregnant.” What? That’s what this is all about, getting pregnant? How fucked up is that? I still had no clue what it was all about. I did not have a clear understanding of what was happening to my body. I didn’t understand cramps, or my breasts swelling and becoming sore. I didn’t even know how to properly use or dispose of a sanitary napkin, As far as a tampon was concerned, I was good and grown before I’d ever used one and a girl from church showed me how. I missed a lot of lessons about growing up to become a young lady then a woman and it definitely shows up in my life and relationships to this day. I find myself (subconsciously) pushing people away when they start to get too close. In romantic relationships, falling in love with someone scares the shit out of me! I have managed to sabotage every single romantic relationship that I have ever been in. Every. Single. One.
I show up, ready. Saying that it’ll be different this time. I promise myself to be gentler, to not talk so much, to try trusting someone, but that gets thrown out of the window about 2 months in. There is oftentimes a trigger, like, I don’t just wake up on a Tuesday and think, Hmmm, today seems like a good day to fuck up my happiness. Let me do something strange and ruin it. That’s not how it goes. In every relationship I’ve been in, I have been cheated on, even to the point of a child being made with said cheater. It was devastating! And what did I do? I blamed myself. I should have dressed better, I should have worn my hair differently, I should have not said anything, I should only be seen and not heard. These are the things that would be in my thoughts as I was being emotionally destroyed and verbally abused. After the child was born, I was so desperate to save my situationship, that I offered to make one of the extra rooms a nursery, so that when he cared for the baby, he’d have a nice room for himself. I was willing to do anything to have him love me like he loved her and the child. We were supposed to be happily ever after, we were supposed to grow old together. Those were MY dreams, not his, obviously. I was so broken by the time that finally ended that I wasn’t sure that I’d survive it. I thought I was going to parish, like, for real. Yet, I still wanted to be loved. I still wanted to have a man to love me for me, flaws and all. I went back to the behavior which had always let me down hoping to go numb and not care anymore. I grew weary of that very quickly. I would have conversations with myself saying that I was entirely too old to be doing the same dumb shit that I did in my 20’s. That I was tired and didn’t want the emptiness that accompanied such practices. So, I stopped. I stopped dating, ended the sex only situationships and become somewhat of a loaner. I stayed in the house all of the time and was not interested in being in any environment where human contact would be probable. I began to loathe the idea of having a healthy happy relationship and found myself hating ME. I began to see what I thought every other man saw. An ugly, angry, weak, easy, worthless shell of a woman. I was ready to snap anyone into little pieces who thought they were going to one up me. I would intentionally hurt him before he could do it to me. It was my defense mechanism.
Fast forward to present day. I’m pretty sure that I possess the same qualities regarding relationships, and being fully aware of it is what’s so scary. The last ship which I was involved in, was by far THEE most toxic and painful of them all (although nothing compares to someone having a child outside of your relationship), it cut to the core. I allowed so much disrespect that I probably should be in a straight jacket and institutionalized. He was that guy, you know the charmer, the one that all of the ladies wanted. His words were kind, his smile was healing and he reeled me in just like that! Even though from day one, I knew that it wouldn’t work. I actually thought that I didn’t deserve him. I thought that he was out of my league. I couldn’t figure out why he would want me and more than that, why would he love me ? How could he love me? I’m not even his type, I certainly was not worthy of him, or so I thought. What I discovered during the 2 crazy years of dealing with him, is that I am addicted to abuse. Verbal, emotional, and physical. Crazy, I know, but a fact none the less. Don’t get me wrong, in the beginning when his representative was there, it was great, I was trying my best to get accustomed to having someone be nice to me. And though it was long distance, I loved him. I traveled home often to be with him, and he came to visit me as well. It was beautiful, a fairy tale. There was talk of me moving back home so that we could continue to build on our relationship, we spoke of getting married and all of the shit that comes with that. Finally, I agreed and moved back home to the city I loved and missed dearly. It was going to be great, or so I thought until I realized that once again I’d been played. Upon my arrival, I was told “Don’t act like you came back for me.” I couldn’t believe my ears. The state of confusion was so raw and painful. What? Don’t do what? I could have killed that day, how humiliating and disrespectful. Yet, a few days later, he was between my legs, “loving” me. Unfortunately, it felt normal for me. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling, but normal. It has been what I’ve known, so this must be how it goes, right?
Now here I am 2 years later, feeling like I have wasted so much time and have given so much of me with nothing in return. I tried to think of reasons to make it work, but there are none and shame on me for not leaving 2 years ago when I saw the first 5 red flags! Relationships, it does take 2 to make them work, correct? I was even honest enough to admit that I didn’t know how to be in one, and asked for patience, what I got instead was accusations of being insecure, jealous a whore and other horrible names that I’d rather not recall. There was a time where things got physical and he hurt me. I still went back, as I’m sure he knew I would.
I can say, however, when you have 2 people who have issues with trust, rather because both or one have been the perpetrator or because one or both have been the victim of trust being abused, it makes for a difficult situationship. In this case, he was clearly the perp and I the victim, again. I had the displeasure of dealing with a classic narcissist up close and personal for 2 years. The lies, the cheating, the manipulation was unbelievable, yet I stayed thinking, hoping that it would get better or that he would change for me. Silly girl! Even when presented with proof, evidence, facts of his disloyalty, he chose the lie.
As I work on putting that behind me and trying to remain open and willing for that love which I’ve been searching for, I’m looking for the lesson in the whole thing. Is it that I should value myself more? Should I learn to genuinely learn to not give a shit? Or is love and a happily ever after just not for me? After all, I’m practically a half of a century old and I’m single, the last single girl.
I’m choosing hope. I’m choosing love even though I’m not sure of what it is. I know how I’d like for it to be, so perhaps I’ll have to become that in order to attract that. I suppose another lesson is to not be afraid to walk away from anything or anyone who does not fit the description of what I have as love in my head. I deserve it and I need to believe it. The lack of love that I got as a child and have been searching for all of my life, can not be filled by someone who doesn’t know love himself. It is now up to me to learn to really love myself and to accept nothing less than what I know I deserve and desire.