My own mother doesn’t love me. I remember the first time she told me that. I was eleven and I had just come home from a day of school. I was standing in my room—in tears, and she was in the hallway and we were arguing about something that I can’t even remember now, I think it had to do with my little sister. She was always favoring her over me. I said to her, “You don’t even love me, or at least you don’t act like you do.” And I remember what she said back so clearly. “You’re right, I don’t love you.” And she walked off. Just like that. I collapsed on my bed, in tears. I cried myself to sleep that night.
It’s funny how a memory like that can be remembered so vividly. Even five years later.
Four years later and mum is screaming at me for something to do with my little sister again. I’m standing in the kitchen and so is she. In the midst of her screaming she started to hit me. I attempted to protect myself by trying to block her from hitting me. That made her really mad. She started screaming even louder, and hitting harder. My dad was in the next room, and I watched him get up, feeling relieved that maybe he was going to come and defend me. I was wrong.
Dad took me by the arm and shoved me onto the floor. He started kicking me. He kicked, and kicked, and kicked. Each time I would try to get up he would push me back onto the ground. He kept repeating, “You know I can kick you, you’re not so old that you can’t be disciplined. I can kick you, I can kick you”.
While this was happening, all that mum did was watch. She didn’t stop him. She just watched on as he continued to kick me.
After dad had finished, I just stayed on the floor. I will never forget how worthless, pathetic, and small I felt.
Five years later and I’m sixteen, in a specialist program at a college. Trying as hard as I can, and passing, but only on mediocre grades. There was one assignment that I chose to hand in late because I thought that it was better for me to hand in late, and do the best possible job that I could, instead of hand it in on time, not very well done. The teacher who had given us the assignment decided to call up my dad and tell him that the assignment hadn’t been handed in. Dad was so mad at me. He called me up while I was at school and proceeded to threaten and yell at me. I remember catching the bus home that afternoon and just crying my eyes out at the bus stop and on the bus. I didn’t care that people were staring. Dad then sent me a text saying that he’d called up my work and asked them to give me less shifts because he thought that working was affecting my studying. I replied with a text that said, “That makes me look like a fool and really unprofessional. I have never prioritized work over school and you know that. All my assignments are always handed in on time and if for the first time in my whole life I have missed a due date for an assignment I would think that you would understand that it is within valid reason. You know that school ALWAYS comes first as it is the most important thing for me. You know that I value it ahead of everything else. When have I ever disappointed you when it comes to school? I don’t know why you would do this.”
I thought that he would at least consider my text and reply to it, apologizing even. I got nothing back. He and my mum hate to listen to what I have to say. When I got home that afternoon he acted as if everything was normal.
That was the first night I self-harmed. I slit my wrists. I expected it to feel like a release but it didn’t. It just hurt. I cried myself to sleep.
A week later dad decided to finally bring up the topic of the late assignment, at the dinner table, with mum in his support. I remember getting yelled at and having really negative things said to me. I cried so much. You would think that when a child cries in front of their parents, their parents would feel some sort of sympathy. Not mine. They continued to scream at me. Not just about the assignment, they brought up every possible wrong thing that I had ever done. Dad accused me of being selfish because every time I buy myself food for lunch, I never share it with the family. He said that that’s not how a family should work. For my defense, I tried to argue that parents not loving or ever listening to their children is also not how a family should work. That really made dad angry. He screamed that it’s how HIS family works. HIS family. Like he owned me. Like I was HIS property.
At this point he stood up from sitting on his chair and I was so scared that he might hit me that I ran to my room.
I thought about self-harming again but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I cried myself to sleep again.
I don’t think that either of my parents remember any of those occasions. But I do, to such an extent that I think about them all the time. I also think about how much of a bad person I must be, if my own parents, the two people who brought me into this world, don’t even love me. How will anyone else ever love me?