Growing up, she’d tell me that we were going to lose the house. She’d say that we didn’t have enough money for groceries. She’d tell me that we didn’t have enough money to pay the bills—and we’d have to file bankruptcy. My mom taught me how to worry.
When he was high or drunk he was always joyful. When he wasn’t high, he was exceptionally angry. My dad taught me that drugs and alcohol make you happy.
She’d make fun of her body constantly, simultaneously obsessing over mine. She’d call herself fat, overweight, obese, or enormous. If I didn’t wear make-up, she’d ask why and tell me I needed it. She’d dissect the visual aspect of my body after tearing down her own. My mom made me hate my face and my body.
When he was angry, he’d throw things. He’d slam his hand against the wall and yell until he couldn’t. I had no control over his uncontrollable behavior. When something wouldn’t go his way, or I could sense he was going to get upset, I grew nauseously uneasy. Fear would hit me so hard it turned my stomach—still a trigger for me to this day. My dad made me fear masculinity.
My parents never kissed, not even once. Not ever. I’m a 27-year-old that’s never seen my technically-married parents share a kiss. My mom would always told me she would leave my dad soon enough. My dad seemed comfortable while despising her in the same breath. Their fighting made me incredibly anxious but still didn’t bother me as much of their lack of chemistry. That was everything I first learned about love and relationships. I was unable to stop this from influencing my perception of relationships. I wondered if I was incapable of finding someone to love me or if I was destined to repeat their doomed fate. My parents made me never want to get married.
I held resentment for my parents for the longest time—that was until I realized I was only hurting myself.
Forgive your parents.
They were babies, kids, teenagers, and young adults too. They did the best could—and that’s all any of us are really doing. Holding onto the past keeps you there—stuck, numb, and left behind. We’re taught that parents know best—but that isn’t always true—and there’s nothing wrong with that. Parents make mistakes because humans make mistakes. Becoming a parent typically happens without any prerequisites. Parents are not absolved of human error; none of us are.
Parents do the best they can with what they have. Some of us never get over our shit, but it’s the people who do, that stop they cycle—and they change it. Forgiveness is an underrated skill that will propel every aspect of your life forward. Let go of what you’re parents taught you and teach yourself. Think for yourself, and do the best you can with a growth mindset. Have empathy even if you think they don’t deserve it, because really, who are any of to decide who deserves what?
Forgive and don’t forget. Remember this strength and take it with you into every day.