Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2-Fer Tuesday.. Confession #2

Well, I'm going to let you all in on some history of who I am, and how I came to be.

I'm the oldest of two boys. My brother is 4 1/2 years younger than I am.

My parents are still married, and are headed for their 40th wedding anniversary pretty soon.

But I'm going to let you all know about something that I touched on in my earlier post.

I'm a liar.

Yes, that makes me a bad person, doesn't it?

If you think that, then you can stop reading now.

If you want to find out how I came to be this way, then feel free to read on.


Growing up, I was taken care of by my grandparents. Both of my parents worked full-time jobs, and usually put in TONS of overtime, so we didn't really get to see them much. I'd go to school, get out of school, head home, do homework, eat dinner, then get picked up by my mom and head home in time to take a bath or shower, and get to bed. I'd hardly ever see my dad when it wasn't a weekend.

Then the time came when my mom decided that I was going to be old enough to be home by myself. I was 10.

I was given a list of things that I was expected to do once I got home. Here's the list:

1. Start dinner. This was then to be ready to serve at 5. If it was later, spanking.
2. Start a load of laundry. Clothes needed to be washed daily. If fresh laundry wasn't done, spanking.
3. Clean the house. A literal white-glove test was done each night. Failure meant a spanking.
4. Vacuum. If there wasn't fresh tracks in the green shag carpet from my vacuuming of the house, a spanking would be forthcoming.
5. Clean dishes and empty out dish washer. Failure to comply will result in a spanking.
6. Homework. Any non-passing grade will result in severe penalties.
7. Shower - Quickly. Anything over 5 minutes spent in the shower will result in a spanking.
8. Bed.

This was my routine from the time I was in 5th grade. I'd get home, and make sure that dinner was ready and going. Then I'd run through the house, pick up all the laundry I could find, and start a load. Once that was done, I'd grab the Pledge and a rag and start wiping down each and every surface I could find. Then I'd grab and start vacuuming the carpets and floors. Once that was done, it was usually time for dinner. The table would be set, and we'd eat. Then i'd clean up the table, wash dishes, and put them away. That would then leave me just enough time to sit down at the table to do my homework, and get it finished. Once done, I'd jump into the shower, scrub, and get ready for bed.

I can't tell you how many times I was spanked, to be honest. Things like finding a line of dust on the coffee table because I was a bit careless, or a piece of crusted-on food that I couldn't get out of the crack of a tupperware lid (I still hate those things!), or one section of carpet that didn't look like it had been vacuumed.. All these things led to spankings.

Needless to say, I got used to them, and they didn't really faze me one I hit middle school.

Now at this point my mom was at a very stressful time in her career. She worked as a nurse, and the hospital that she'd been working at was bought out by the larger hospital in town. Because of this, she had to relocate her job, lost her seniority, and was busted down to "new hire" status.

This led her to come home at night in really foul moods.. Which she would then find an outlet in beating me.

However, because of my lack of response in getting spankings, she then resorted to more "creative" ways to punish me. Plus, she found more things for me to be responsible for.

I recall one time being beaten with the rolling pin she used to make bread and pie dough with..

I also remember the time I'd been told that I could go play with a friend, only to be told just after she got home that I was going to stay home. I argued, and then was knocked out. I found out later that she'd ripped the top off of a piano bench, and belted me alongside my head with it. This resulted in my being taken to the hospital to be treated for a concussion and minor skull fracture. My mom's explanation? I had been playing football in the street, and dove for a catch - hitting my head on the curb.

No questions were asked, because she was a fine upstanding member of the hospital, and it was an era of "don't ask, don't tell" as well.

Finally, I got my chance at freedom.

When starting High School, I found that I could get a job, if my parents signed a release form.

So, I took the form to my dad one weekend, and convinced him that I needed a job in order to pay my own way.

Once the dotted line was signed, I took it back to school, and got a release from them so that I could get work. Once I got my first three checks, I moved out of my parent's house.

I was VERY lucky in that I'd had an older friend who was willing to let me move in and stay with him. If not for that, I'm sure I would have been in some serious trouble. As it is, I still got into trouble, but I did manage to get through it all mostly in tact.

Yet because of the fact that I would get beaten for any failing, I developed a severe defense mechanism.

I'd lie.

I'd get asked questions, and I'd make up an answer to avoid a beating. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it failed MISERABLY. Other times, it was ignored.

Yet this behavior was more like a "fight or flight" response. Any time some kind of confrontational challenge was issued, the response was almost immediate. Lie. Make it good. Memorize it. Recall for later stories.

Now, I'm not excusing my behavior. There really should be no reason to lie.

However, in my defense, I honestly feel that some of my lies probably saved my life.

Those times when my mother would come into the house, and you could feel the anger, rage, frustration and overall peevishness of the day washing off of her like heat from a furnace - those were days to make up really REALLY good lies.

You might ask yourself where my dad was in all of this? Working.

My mom didn't try to leave bruises, and when there were bruises, well, I'm a growing overactive boy, and things do tend to leave marks.

So, if he wasn't there to observe it, it was my word against my mom's.. Who do you think he'd believe?

Exactly.

Now? I cope with my mom, and I still try to keep the lines of communication open. However, there are serious times at their home when I can feel trouble brewing, and it is at those times when I'll pack up the wife and kids, and head for the safety of home.

Do I still love her?

Yeah. Of course I do. She's my mom.

Do I accept what she did?

Absolutely not. There's no excuse for it.

This is also one more reason why I love my wife. Because she's helping me to learn to be a much better parent than I grew up learning from. Now? I can parent with love instead of discipline. I can discipline with moderation, not rage. And I can now say "I love you" to my kids without feeling semi-silly.

Anyway, that's my rant. I hope it didn't bore you. I'll have something less serious to talk about tomorrow!

9 comments:

Dana said...

Yes I did read - the entire story - and now understand a bit better the parallel lives we seem to have led.

At think, at the time, there was far more of that than anyone will ever admit.

PinkPiddyPaws said...

My mom was a fan of the plastic race track sections OR the western belt that had her name in silver studs on the back. I used to have her name backwards, on my butt for days.

And despite all of it, I STILL think we turned out better than the kids today who get "Time outs" and stuff. But hey, that's just me.

Ultimately, YOU still turned out well and that's because you chose to be a better person. It's always about choice.

Another Suburban Mom said...

I honestly have no words to offer. Just wow.

HLB said...

You sound like an amazing person

Jormengrund said...

You know, there are times when I wonder how I would have turned out if I'd grown up like some of my friends, in a loving, nurturing home.

However, because of the things I lived through, and was able to overcome, I think that I've got quite the insight into what can make a house a HOME.

It's not what folks see on the outside. You can make a mask for just about anyone to see there.

It's what you put into the home that really counts, and the folks that are going to reap the benefits of this are going to be the ones who live and deal with you daily.

I don't regret what I had to go through. I just hope that because of what I dealt with, that I'm able to keep others from having to go through as much pain as I did.

I know there are others who have dealt with worse, and I really feel for them in a way that some can't understand. However, because of their tenacity and longsuffering, this world is a much brighter place, because we tend to see things in a different light.

We enjoy each day, and try to squeeze each drop out of life as it comes to us. Happiness is something that is stored and saved, because you never know when it could "run out".

I'm a survivor, and I cherish and honor those who are survivors with me.

Bee said...

I'll never understand a dad who hits their kids but MOM?? THAT leaves me doubting humanity. :o(

My fear is always that kids who grew up being beaten on become like their parents. Good to hear you didn't follow the same path.

Also, what happened to your brother?

Jormengrund said...

Bee:

My brother is just fine.

After all, he's my mom's baby!

After high school, they bought him a car, paid his insurance, and have helped him every step along the way.

Last I recall, they were still holding on to a bunch of his furniture, and had helped him repair and sell off his junker cars that he'd been keeping in their yard.

So I don't think that there's going to be any problems there, really.

Sad case of preferred child syndrome, or something of that nature.

I was one they didn't really want or handle, but he's the one they made up for my lack of love and nurturing..

Gotta love compensation, don't ya?

gottaluvme3 said...

You are doing an amazing of being honest! I dont think I have questioned you much in probably the last 6 months or so. And I am still trying to remind myself of your history growing up, so bare with me. Love you!

David said...

wow...ouch...other words.

That is some kind of heartbreaking. I have very little patience for people who harm (physically or emotionally) children.

God bless you for being able to overcome the days of your youth.

Cheers