Traumatic episodes + Extreme amounts of pain inflicted by a loved one’s verbal abuse = Total Melt Down and extensive Memory loss!
Have you ever been pushed so hard and so far by somebody or something that you feel like you lose control over your emotions? I have way too many times. It is certainly not healthy and should never have went that far. Why let it get that far? To what good does it provide to allow someone to push you that far? Why would anyone allow something or someone to tear us down like that?
Why do some people seem to want to argue all the time? Why can’t we just talk to each other without bringing up painful arguments from from the past that were never finished because one could not convince the other of their side of it? Why do two people that love each other so much cause each other so much pain?
Ever hear that old saying “we have layers?” I believe we all have layers that start building at a very early age. These layers represent our feelings, our pain and every single thing that has ever happened to us both good and bad that develops our very complex personalities.
Now, let me ask you another question… have you ever heard the saying “rotten to the core?” Do you think these two sayings have anything in common? I can’t say I ever thought about it before now. Maybe if I was asked this question a month ago, a week ago or even this morning I would’ve been like “hugh?” but today I definitely can see a connection. I can see how one can in fact causes the other. If we have layers that represent our feelings and each one of those layers is what is building our personalities and creating who we will become then I’d say it’s pretty darn important to make sure we pay attention to the things happening in our kid’s lives that are building those layers that will quite possibly last a lifetime.
I believe we all start out innocent, honest and good kids. Maybe some of us have a tendency to get into more trouble than others, be more aggressive by nature because of
the genetics we inherit from our bloodlines and gene pool. But overall, I would bet that 99.9% are born with a very good, loving nature and sweet, kind heart. So what changes it? What causes a child to lash out and bite another at daycare? What causes a 1st grader to smash their toys in the yard with a baseball bat? Or a 6th grader to start smoking cigarettes and lie to their parents, teachers and friends?
It’s called Pain.
This pain is caused by the great expectations of a child who wants nothing more than to feel their parents’ love. Not just some how know their parents love them even though they don’t have time to show it. Not just, somehow, understand that the expensive things their parents buy for them is supposed to show them how much they love them because mom or dad have to work all the time. Not just, somehow, understand that when mom or dad whips the ever loving shit out of their child that it is for “their own good.” Their hearts grow hard while their skin gets thicker. The more a child is abused the more they expect it and the tougher they get. This in no way means that they will be a better person for it. This does not mean that they will love their parents more for it. This is not going to make them respect their parents more. They already felt all these things to begin with before the abusive treatment. Forced respect is not respect. Forced love is not love.
What it is, I believe, is a parent that loves themselves or someone else more than their kid. Whether it is a spouse or a career or themselves. In some cases… all three. This is not a conscious thing. These parents would vow they would kill someone over their kid. Would never let anyone hurt their kid and yet they do it almost daily. Parents are not born knowing how to be good parents. They are the result of their parents, and their grandparents, and their great grandparents before them. Family is the ties that bind us all. Yes, we can break free and give our kids a better life than what we had but don’t think for one second that our past won’t affect their future. It will bear its head in many different ways.
One parent that was beaten as a child may vow to never lay a hand on their child when they have kids. Another may swear they will never drink around their kids because their mom or dad was an alcoholic. And maybe another one thinks they will let their kids have more freedom than they ever had because their parents were so controlling. These thoughts cause us to either over react or under react with our kids. There is not a healthy balance in their discipline when we try to be completely different from everything we know about parenting.
We can read lots of books, blogs like this one, talk to all of friends whom we very much respect and yet somehow that ugly head and mean voice from our past will still affect our decisions on a daily basis. If we choose not to whip our kids then we are accused of trying to be their friend and people like to say you can’t be friends with your kids and still be good parents.
I’ve heard one guy recently say it’s not up to the kids, it’s up to the parents whether it’s whats for dinner, what to watch on TV, what movie to go see or what kind of pets the family will have. This is true, it can definitely be just up to the parent but how is that okay to not allow your children to have basic human rights in their own world? What kind of kids are we raising if we never allow them to help make any decisions on anything? How or when will they learn how to make good decisions? Are we going to wait until they are grown before they get to decide who their friends will be or how their hair will be fixed, what kind of clothes are they going to wear?
I believe rules are important for a base, a good foundation. Bedtimes, study times, eat healthy foods and drink lots of water. Exercise and participate in sports, band or other groups so they learn how to be part of a team. Kids should be helping around the house from the time they are big enough to do the task. All of these things can be accomplished if the kids are given positive support and positive reinforcement. They need their parents to lead them by example. Lead them in the right direction. Give them a foundation that they will refer back to when have big decisions in their lives. They don’t have to be forced, whipped into shape or verbally abused. They need and want to respect their parents but they also need and want to be respected.
I had a cop tell me kids have rights too. Did you know it’s not okay to take everything your child owns away from them? Did you know your child has basic rights to communicate and not be locked in a bedroom? Did you know that it’s considered abuse if you hold them in a way that can be considered imprisoned? Yes indeed it is true, our kids do have human rights!
When my middle child was having a very difficult time at his dad’s house it started because his grades began to go down. His dad punished him, got angry, put him down, insulted him and then ended up threatening him. This went on for over 6 months. Can you imagine being grounded for over 6 months? Feeling like you live in a prison. I can only imagine it because I had to stand by and watch the events unfold.
If I was to step in I could do more damage than good. They needed to find steady ground or they could’ve lost their relationship forever. The one time I drove to his dad’s house was to pick him up and take him home with me. He told me that He had told his dad he wanted to come live at my house. He told me his dad said he could. I was on my way. He did not have to tell me twice. I had been to court with that man 2 times and lost both times. Court was filled with lies and deceit, lawyers painting horrible pictures out of accusations that were not true but very carefully orchestrated by so-called witnesses that spun their lies. I lost because I refused to play the sick game. My son lost too though by being the prize given to the winner of our joke of a court system.
My son was 15 years old. He told me that his dad had finally told him, after 13 long years, that he could come live with me. There was a catch though, he had to leave everything his dad bought and paid for there at his dad’s house… including his clothes. As in, he had to walk out of the house in his underwear. My son was communicating with me through an ipod he had hidden under his mattress when everything was taken away from him. He text me using the wifi unbeknownst to his dad. I’m the one who called the police on my way over to the house because I did not know what I was walking into. My son had made a few comments that made me question whether or not his dad really was going to let him go. I needed to know he was okay. I needed to see him and know he was really okay. Things had got pretty bad. My son was starting to break down mentally from the months of torment his dad bestowed on him trying to break him down forcefully and used bully tactics to accomplish it.
The cops met me down the street, I agreed to stay in my car and park on the road and they walked up to the door with intentions of verifying that my son was okay and we prayed that it was true that his dad was releasing him to us.
He and his dad had been having a very rough go of it for over 6 months and the discord had taken its toll on the relationship. Both held very little respect for each other at this point. My son had said many times that he hated his dad. I would say no honey, you don’t hate him. You love him. You hate the pain you are feeling because you don’t understand why he’s doing the things he is doing but you don’t hate him. My son feared him to the point of keeping a tire iron in his closet and a screw driver under his pillow. He lived in fear. His dad used bully tactics instead of being a good leader. Everything he owned was taken out of his room and there was only a bed. My son was failing in school and both of them were having some sort of Mexican stand off. They both are very much alike in their personalities. Very strong, very smart and very authoritative. What I learned watching them reacting to each other’s next moves was this… when a child has lost everything because it was taken away, whether it be all at once or piece by piece, when they have nothing else to lose then the parent loses all control over the child and has to resort to fear. Literally making threats to the child like “I’ll put your ass in boot camp” or “I’ll ship you off to military school” or “don’t make me…!?!” I’m honestly not sure what’s worse… getting your ass beat or feeling like your parent has given up on you and resents you so badly that they want to break your spirit, your will, and make you beg for the right to call your own mom. But then that wasn’t allowed either. Part of him being grounded from everything was also being grounded from me. His dad tried to tell me not to pick him up for my weekend because he was grounded. His dad was so into “winning” this whole stubborn “I’m tougher than you” pissing contest that he couldn’t seem to see was causing him to lose his son. It was really sad.
I would talk to my son and tell him his dad just doesn’t realize what he’s doing. He’s just frustrated because what he’s doing is not getting him the results he wants to see. I told my son if he wanted it all to stop then just do his schoolwork. My son would say it wouldn’t matter dad would just find another reason to ground me. My son has always been an A-B student. It wasn’t until he was in high school that his grades began to fall. I would tell him to talk to his dad and not give up on him. I talked to his dad and asked him how far was he willing to go with all of it.
My son text me one day and said he didn’t know how much more he could take and he was thinking about ending it, as in killing himself. At that point I called his grandma, his dad’s mom, and went off on her for calling him fat and lazy and stupid. I called his dad and went off on him for not being a good leader to begin with and expecting our son to just be a good kid just because he said so and yet his dad sat in front of a computer every day of his life playing video games… moved a new woman in after one moves out over and over again like a damn carnival ride. It’s a very good example of a father that has the best of intentions but thinks he doesn’t have to live by the same rules or actually do anything with his kid. Oh, he’d invite him do things with him and whatever woman was living there at the time, things that he was doing with her and her kids that were always way younger than him and oh boy, it was bad if he didn’t want to go… and yet it was never about him, always about her and her kids… sound familiar at all? I think it happens a lot. He never has ever taken him fishing, boating, golfing, mudding… nothing… ever…. ever…. ever. He didn’t even want to play the same video games with him even though he did play the same games. He said it was because his kid may slow him down because he was on such a higher level in the games. WTH???!!! 😦 Okay, I’m getting way off bitching about my ex now, back to those layers…. as you can see I built up some layers of my own over the years too that were just now showing! We could call that peeling back the layers!? Right? lol! (breath in the good, breath out the bad 😉
My main point in getting all into that story was to show you that negative in does not create a positive result. That is also what I stressed to his dad while going through it. Our son needed his love, his attention… just needed to know that he was inside his dad’s circle. The different women coming into their lives, bringing children with them and going back out, a new one coming in, going back out, coming back and trying again, out, in, out, in… not a healthy atmosphere for any of them. The amount of stress that relationships cause adults also affects how they react to their kids when they have any issues with them. Whether its school related or attitude or withdrawing. If a parent wants to blame somebody for their kid’s actions they better take a good long look in the mirror because the problem, I guarantee, started with them.
All of these trials and tribulations that kids go through with parents trying to do the “right” thing and be what they think is a good parent builds layer on top of layer that eventually forms our kids’ personalities. For the kids that have lots of layers of negative experiences in their lives it will take just as long, if not longer, for them to peel back those layers and deal with those issues in their minds on what was right or wrong. Who was right or wrong. They may push it to back of their minds but piece by piece it will emerge and they will have to deal with it and face it at some point in their lives. They will have to make decisions on whether or not they want to be the same way and justify it because that was how they were treated and raised or decide they never want to be like that and that’s where it can actually get a little scary because they won’t have any definite road to follow and can get lost in it. Maybe they start to avoid it all together and not deal with it at all because it hurts to re-live it and thinking about it is very much like re-living it. Not everyone can afford therapy and not all therapy is effective.
When you hear “rotten to the core” that has a tendency to make you think there’s not help for that one, they are ruined all the way through. How much did it take to get that child or adult to be so full of pain that they just can’t seem to care anymore?
The end result may be a child that grows into an adult that is extremely smart, works hard to control their every move, does everything in their power to do the right thing, say the right thing, present themselves as the right person for the job but in reality they are an empty shell barely hanging on to the image of what they think they should be. They can still be hurt by the same parents that caused it.
When you get older the parents don’t have a tendency to use physical abuse anymore, now they use verbal. They tell you that you won’t succeed. They don’t think any of the decisions you’ve ever made in your lifetime are good or right. They bring up years of memories you’d like to forget but expect you to argue with them about it as if it just happened which causes you to re-live it all over and over and over again. You try different approaches to avoid it. You may even avoid them. Nothing works. Then one day, after a great visit they hit you from the side, totally unexpectedly, with a comment that goes straight through you and you snap. It’s hurtful and it’s piled on top of all the layers that have built up over time after time of being insulted and hurt… and you just lose it. Your wires cross, you say all the things that you’ve held back and restrained yourself from letting out all the other times you tried to avoid an argument. It ALL comes out. You end up either leaving or hanging up the phone and then the remorse of what just happened washes over you and it literally breaks you down feeling like the world just ended right there. The hateful things that came out of your parents’ mouth cuts you worse than being beat up on the street. I once told my mom I would rather her cut my arm off than hear the horrible things she thinks of me. It’s devastating. It’s destructive. And it takes several days to recover and just feel normal again because the mean things that were said just keep rolling through your mind.
I have definitely suffered from some sort of depression many times in my life over it. All I ever wanted was to be able to go see my mom, make some dinner, help her with something around the house or in the yard… would love to do something with her but we can’t seem to be able to be around each other for very long without her bringing up some kind of something and never letting it go. One thing leads to another to another and next thing you know you’ve traveled back in time 20+ years and she’s brought up everything she thinks you ever did wrong in your life.
When I’ve let her push me to the point of going over the edge and fighting back, my wires seem to cross and I’m pretty sure that in that moment I am literally borderline suicidal. It hurts that much to hear your parent say the most horrible, unexpected things. That feeling of total loss caused by a parent ripping you to pieces verbally is worse than anything that has ever hurt me in my life. It is abusive. It does cause trauma. And it literally causes memory loss. I have lost so many memories and the one thing that connects each time frame that is missing is the fact it is the period of time right before a huge fight with my mom. I believe it is my brain reacting in a self-protection mode of some sort and it’s either tucking it away in the back of my mind or it’s just gone forever but either way it has caused me to lose precious memories of my childhood and my adult life.
If you have a parent relationship like the one I’ve described here I suggest you start a journal and write in it often. Write about good times, great memories, moments that you never want to forget because someday it may mean the world to you. I never had a journal. My memories are lost and as far as I can tell gone forever. My kids tell me about things I no longer remember. My sister and brother bring things up from our childhood that I have absolutely no memory of. Even when they tell me detail for detail, I have no memory of it.
I’m not sick. I have no disease. I’m 46 years old with no signs of any illness. The only connection with these sections of my life I have lost, because it’s not all of my memories, it’s not just recent or just old memories, there’s no time factor like that… it’s the memories right before our fights. So the next time you get to the point of feeling like you may blow a fuse and cross your wires or “lose it” like some call it…. just walk away. Don’t do it. Just let it go. It’s not worth it. They can’t fight with you if you don’t fight back. And then go to therapy, start a journal or a blog and start to peel back your layers until you reach your core, you know that place deep inside you that feels like there’s nothing good left there. Keep pulling the bad out and keep replacing it with positive good decisions, actions and memories. Then, and only then, can you start to rebuild your life with a new strength in a new light. You’re not rotten to the core, you just have to learn, like me, to let it go, find your balance, love your family without limitations and start living your life for you and your family by your own rules. Redefine and recreate yourself into the person you were born to be before the pain. Your kids will be better for it and they will be better parents when their time comes because if you learn how to let it go with your parents and live your life the way you want to then you won’t hurt your kids the way you were hurt.
Remember negative reinforcement will get negative results.
Positive Reinforcement will give you positive results. It’s all about building a good foundation to grow from and build on. We may stumble and we may fall but it’s how we pick ourselves back up that makes us who we are going to be!
I know not all people will relate to what I speak of and most of the time that will be a good thing. The ones that have not been where I’ve been usually do not understand me or see things the same as I do, and again, that’s okay because most of the time it means they had a better life and don’t know the sorrow and didn’t have to bear the pain.
For those that do know exactly what I’m talking about and have dealt with loved ones, either as the child, as the parent or both, I can only hope that this helps to make you have an awareness that will help you create a more healthy relationship with your loved ones.
I can’t tell anyone for sure what does work or what will fix it or make it stop because I don’t know your family but I do know what does not work and what I’ve seen myself in my own life experiences.
Trust your instincts and believe in yourself and the kind of person you know you want to be regardless of how you were raised.
Thank you for time and God bless,