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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Maybe a Lack of Involvement Explains a Lack of Influence

I still don't know what it is about me that makes me think so differently from the people who raised me, the ones who should have had the biggest influence on my belief system. From the time I was a little kid I always thought there was something kinda wrong with what they were telling me was right. It didn't make any sense to me. There were so many contradictions, so much superficial bullshit, and so many out-right lies, that I could never wrap my head around all of it. And if I dared to ask for qualification or further information on what they were telling me, well hell, there was just something seriously wrong with that.

It seems as if at some point in life each of them said to themselves, “this is how I see the world right at this minute and nothing is ever going to change that view no matter what.” And anyone who's view is somehow different, well, they are either wrong, or just stupid.

I'll give you an example, during my first year of college I took a geology class, I had always had a strong interest in rocks and how the earth worked, and I just loved the class! The teacher was easy on the eyes, and a lot of fun to be around besides being inspiring and an all around great guy, so that helped a lot, but I really like geology. I find the processes and their results fascinating and beautiful and one day I was trying to share my new found understanding of Plate Tectonics with my father. Bad idea! My gawd he went ballistic about how he didn't want to even hear about such nonsense and that was the end of that.

Unfortunately, that was not an isolated incident. And its not just my father. Everyone in my family is that way. Don't bother them with facts or science that contradicts their world views. I didn't even realize at the time that he would have a problem with the whole concept of Plate Tectonics, he was never religious to my knowledge, he didn't go to church or read the bible. I knew he believed in God, but I didn't realize he believed in ignorance.

It was strange how they always told me how smart I was, and then told me that education was not really important for me since I was a girl. In second grade they had my IQ tested, at the request of my teacher. My parents initially fought against it, but eventually relented. When my score came back at 2 points below the genius level (that is what they told me anyway, my later scores were a little higher), they never let me forget it. Not the fact that I was pretty damn smart, but that my score was “2 points below genius”. Then my mother would lament about how I wasted my smarts by not applying myself. WTF is that!?! I mean seriously now, how is anybody supposed to process all those contradictions and not end up messed up in the head?! And that was just the tip of the iceberg, the contradictions were constant, and constantly confusing.

The worst part of it is I have wasted so much of my life trying to defend these people. I have actually gotten up and walked out on psychiatrists in the past who dared to even hint that my psychological issues had anything to do with my parents. They were above reproach in my eyes. I have always said they did the best they could with what the had to work with, and I would still like to hope that is true. They tried to be good parents, I really believe they did. They just were not equipped to handle raising a child like me, and they had no interest in learning. I guess that is the biggest difference between me and the rest of my family, they see learning new things as a bad thing, sometimes a necessary evil, but something that should be avoided at all costs. I see life as an adventure in learning, I look forward to learning everything I can about everything I can learn about. I suppose it should come as no surprise that those two conflicting points of view would result in a few conflicts over the years.

I always thought that because my parents provided me with a safe, stable home, where there was no violence, no physical or sexual abuse, no neglect or substance abuse, that meant that they were good parents and obviously whatever the hell was wrong with me was entirely of my own making. And they were “good parents” as good as anybody else, better than a lot of people. But they never really understood me, and they still don't want to. They have no interest in who I really I am. They have never had any real interest in my children, which really pisses me off. They don't like kids. I don't think they ever have, but I know they don't now because they have told me so repeatedly. My oldest son in an adult, actually he kinda always has been, but he is the only one they have ever had any interest in, and even that interest is severely limited.

I know my dad is behind most of it. He never liked kids when I was one, and I knew that. When he was at home he was sitting in his recliner in front of the television reading a book, pretty much all through my entire childhood. He rarely spoke to me, so when he did it left a huge impression. He was cold and distant, and just uninvolved in most of my life. I always had the impression he was scared of me.

My mother tried to be more involved in my life, but after raising the three boys (my youngest brother is 8 years older than I am) I think she was just burnt out. I was an accident, a failure of birth control. My mother used to love to tell me that the only thing they “planned” about me was that I was a girl. She had been trying for a girl with all of the boys and didn't get one, so they gave up and decided not to have any more kids. Then eight years later a tiny whole in a diaphragm resulted in me. I think she really tried to be a good mom to me, she didn't have the energy or desire to learn how.

So, in a lot of respects I was kind of left on my own to raise myself. I never had a curfew, unless I needed a ride home. They went to bed at 11:00 pm on the weekends, 10:00 pm on weeknights, whether I was at home or not. They never knew most of my friends, or their parents, had no real interest in knowing any of them. They only went to school functions that they felt were mandatory, like parent-teacher conferences, but never came to my sporting events or choir concerts or anything like that. Hell they couldn't even be bothered to drive 150 miles to be at my college graduation!

They seldom knew where I was as a teenager, Hell I moved out of the house for 3 months when I was 15 and they had no idea where I was (but I called my mother every week to let her know I was okay). They had no interest in what I was doing, and they pretty much just ignored anything that I did that didn't meet with their approval. I was in charge of my own education, they seldom helped with homework other than providing me with a dictionary and encyclopedias from the 1950's and an regular trip to the library every other week. Most of the time they were both absentee parents, even though they lived in the same house with me.

So I guess maybe it isn't so surprising that I turned out so differently than all of them. Even though we lived in the same house, we never really lived in the same world. Their level of influence on my belief system parallels their level of involvement in my life.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for this. i am nothing like my family. i jokingly tell people that i am not the black sheep of the family ... since that supposes that all the members are sheep, then i am the emu. ;-)