Listen to this story
As of January this year, I’ve gone a whole year without saying a single word to my parents and it was the best year of my life.
I can just hear that pin drop.
Before everyone loses their mind and starts lecturing me on the importance of family, I’d like to pose a question to you all. Let’s say you’re a mom, right? Hard to imagine for those who aren’t but stay with me here. Now, you’ve got a rowdy kid, as all kids are. Not really out of the ordinary, kids are just full of energy. Now, you’re tired and worn out and you really just want the kid to sleep.
A.) try to read them a book
B.) tell them it’s nap time and just shut the door
C.) give your 4 year old child Ambien which is barely safe for adults to take?
If you answered C, you’re abusive and should never have kids. Lucky me, no one told my parents that so I am 22 years old and have severe chronic insomnia and horrible nightmares and permanent brain damage thanks to the years my parents spent shoving all manner of pills down my throat to get an obedient doll that didn’t speak or make loud noises. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, people. Years and years of physical abuse, verbal manipulation, and being told how little I matter and how I should just go ahead and kill myself.
One day, I threatened to call CPS if my dad hit me again. I was 14, my sister was only 3 years old and she had already witnessed me crying on the ground multiple times after my parents were done yelling and hitting me. You know what their response was?
My dad handed me the phone and said “Go ahead, but you risk your sister getting separated from you.” He dialed the number and everything, all the while telling me how my sister could end up in a home full of druggies alone or she could end up with a child molester. In the end, I never called because I couldn’t risk being separated from her.
Night after night, all through high school I’d take a beating, and my mom would hold my sister there, letting her watch as I took the brunt of our fathers anger. I’d tell myself it was better I get hit than her. Better for me to take it than a child.
This was what life with my family was like. Everyone, including my aunts and uncles and grandparents would excuse this behavior, telling me I’d understand when I had a kid. Always with the “you’ll understand one day, when you have a kid of your own.”
Well I have a kid now, and I cannot fathom ever laying a hand on my child out of anger, or telling him he is worthless and his dreams are stupid or that he’s fat and ugly.
When people tell me I’m too harsh on my parents, that’s like telling a woman she was too harsh on her abusive husband. Would you tell a woman to go back to a man who beat her? Of course not!
So why does blood make it different?
Let me let you in on a little secret: It doesn’t.
People think that sharing genetics with someone makes them more important, makes it more worth it to fight for the relationship to work. However, some people don’t want to change. I did try to make it work. I asked them to go to family counseling with me, asked them to see a therapist privately, and even asked for an apology. Anything to show me they were willing to make a difference, to change for the chance to finally know their daughter. But it didn’t matter because they refused to believe they did anything wrong.
Stop putting an emphasis on family. Stop telling people they need to love their parents. You never know what someone’s home life was like growing up so you have no place to push the hallmark bullshit that tells them they need family. Some of us didn’t get the love of our parents. Some of us found family in friendship, with people we share no genetic relation to. My family is my friends, the people who I hang out with every week and play D&D with. The people who would drop everything in order to be there for each other. The people who love me for who I am, not who they wish I could be.
Family is the people who are there for you and care about your well being. The people who put a smile on your face and help you through life’s rough patches. It has nothing to do with blood.