One time my friend made a stick person out of a rotten tomato from my parents’ garden. For touching his things, my dad took a bunch of tomatoes and smashed them on my bedroom door, floor and rubbed them into my rug.
One time my sister got caught underage drinking and my dad chased her around the house with a belt.
One time I got a C+ on a math test and started hyperventilating in front of the class because I knew that my dad was going to yell at me for 4+ hours that night.
One time I saw a big blue bruise on the side of my mom’s face and another on her arm. She told me it was blue marker. He told me that she hit herself with a clipboard because she’s crazy.
One time my ex-boyfriend drew on my car in chalk – my dad screamed in my face at 8am the next morning and told me I was kicked out of his house. I walked down the street crying in my pajamas hoping one of my friends would come pick me up.
One time my sister was wearing a sundress and my dad asked if she should go on a diet because her stomach was sticking out.
One time he didn’t like the tacos my mom made so he smashed his plate and threw some condiments at the wall.
When his breath gets heavy, your stomach seizes up.
When you hear his footsteps coming down the hall, you clean up your room as fast as you can.
When he’s yelling at someone else you take his side.
When he offers to take you to get ice cream later on, you eat that ice cream and you love it.
When you do something wrong and mom finds out, don’t worry she’ll lie for you to “not cause a scene.”
Having an emotionally abusive dad has made me a shy, anxious, insecure, angry person. Having an emotionally downtrodden mom has taught me to lie, manipulate and cry.
But they’ve also taught how not to act and what not to become. Having an emotionally abusive father has forced me to have tough skin and to not let criticism (especially from men) get me down. He’s shown me what kind of man to avoid – I will not marry someone like him. He’s taught me to not take out my feelings on my family or loved ones.
My mom has shown me how not to be an independent woman. She made me realize I don’t want to get married at age 20 and have a child a year later just to get out of my parents’ house. She’s shown me what kind of man not to marry. She shows me every day what bowing down and doing what you’re told looks like. I know now that I won’t accept this behavior from my future husband. Without watching her deteriorate, I wouldn’t have such strong goals and beliefs to better myself everyday – to exercise, do well at work and be a good girlfriend.
Without them, my sisters and I wouldn’t have such a strong bond – something that can only be formed by clenching each other in fear of who/what is coming down the hall.
I’ve spent 15 years of my life actively hating my parents and everything they’ve done/continue to do, but now I know that these experiences have made me who I am today.