I Was Taught to Believe…

That, if I didn’t have my parents’ support, I had no-one’s and I would never get anyone’s support. “You are socially inept,” my mother said, “and you got it from us.”

This exchange happened in late April of 2006, when I had just been kicked out of my parents’ house. Not that I still lived with them, and not that I was ever planning on doing so again, but my parents made it very clear that they would no longer support me. I don’t even mean financially, but practically and emotionally.

What had I done to deserve this? I had told them I was delaying going to university one more year. I wasn’t giving up on it. I was still going to meet their expectations of me that I become a university student, grad student, Ph.D., professor, you name it.

And then I didn’t. In the fall of 2007, while attending the university I had originally been meant to go to in 2006, I gradually fell apart and was ultimately admitted to the psychiatric hospital. Though I was discharged in 2017, I never went back to university.

Though my parents and I are still in limited contact, I know I don’t genuinely have their support. Not emotionally. I mean, I see them twice a year, talk to them on the phone about once a month and get €1000 at the end of the year to spend on new technology mostly. I don’t know whether this will remain the same when I go into long-term care (or when they find out about it). And I’m not sure whether I care. They aren’t the type to stop talking to me at funerals or the like and I don’t really need their money or birthday presents or phone chatter, though they’re nice. I won’t go no contact, but if they decide to abandon me, that’s their choice.

Because, though I was taught that without my parents, I had no-one, this isn’t true. I met my husband in the fall of 2007. You know, the fall that was supposed to be the start of my academic career and ended up being the catalyst to my getting a life of my own. My husband supported me through the psychiatric hospital years. He supports me through the years we live together. I trust that he’ll support me through the coming years when I’m in long-term care. I may be socially inept, but that doesn’t mean no-one will support me. Love me even.

This post was written for V’J.’s Weekly Challenge. V.J. challenges us to think about the untrue things we were led to believe as children or in other dysfunctional relationships.

8 thoughts on “I Was Taught to Believe…

  1. It’s so awful your parents wanted you to believe that. But also so good that now, despite that, you have your husband’s support and you didn’t give in to what they were telling you and don’t have to rely on them.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It is hard to understand the actions of our parents. I confronted my mother after my realization and she said that she felt it was her duty to prepare me for a solo life as she really couldn’t fathom who would love me. In a convoluted way, she meant no harm. She sees now the pain she caused me. Ironically, I turned out to be the most compassionate of all her children. Life is strange.

    I am sorry for all you have suffered, and happy to hear that you have support. Thank you for joining in Astrid.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Astrid’s Mum:

    I say this as one intelligent woman to another, hopefully in a spirit of objectivity.

    you oversimplified because of your guilt and your gradual realisation you would never be enough for two bright daughters – [brighter than you, you may continue to feel – because nearly every parent does wish to feel that for their children] – certainly they had more opportunities and continue to do so.

    Fortunately mine taught me that deferral is not denial and can be a positive choice. Oh, and being in a hurry WILL be to your detriment.

    The test is: would they be decent to you if you were not their child and did not have nineteen years of often tangled and dysfunctional family bonds?

    I am glad that your mother and father are civil.

    You know, the fall that was supposed to be the start of my academic career and ended up being the catalyst to my getting a life of my own.

    A life of my own I knew I would have to get that very early despite and almost because of my parents. I found that through teachers; interventionists; grandmothers; aunts; uncles; friends and parents of friends.

    Social ineptitude is not social failure or social decrepitude.

    How far does your parents’ attitude reflect their own regrets and fears, do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And thank you, Astrid.

        That my comment was both extensive and supportive – was not something I expected.

        I often tend to go too far on the one and not on the other.

        And, yes, deliberately putting them in a spot where people can read them? Goes far beyond the immediate situation.

        Hooray for the dignity of risk! And not being afraid to risk our dignity.


  4. My sympathy for your struggles–some of which are familiar to my story. One way or another, I believe we get to wherever it is we’re supposed to go 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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