Enduring Mistreatment Is Not Currency To Be Used At A Later Date And Recipients Are Not Entitled To Pay It Forward

“You think you’ve had it hard? Compared to my life, yours has been a dream.” “I would trade childhoods for yours in a second.” “My parents were wayyyy harder on me, and do you see me complaining?” “I may not have been a perfect parent, but you weren’t a perfect child either” “I’ve told you over and over; you’re listening to the wrong voices in your head.” “You will NEVER feel loved by others until you love yourself.”

For f*ck sake. Alright, let’s do this. These quotes are a combination of submissions and statements in passing conversation with their blessing to share. I think the most meaningful way would be to dissect each of those statements one at a time and depower the pontifications and self aggrandizing rhetoric.

“You think you’ve had it hard? Compared to my life, yours has been a dream.”

Yeah, I’m not sure what you’re looking for with that statement. Taken at face value, I’d have to point out this comparison is obtuse. We both know we did not grow up together so I’d have no credible unit of measurement in which to compare your arguably biased and single sided account of those experiences…and my own observations and interactions of you would not in good conscious allow me to give you the benefit of the doubt. Trust is built and earned, not demanded.

“I would trade childhoods for yours in a second.”

Your childhood is not my problem or responsibility. I had no power or control over it, and incase you hadn’t noticed; I wasn’t there. I also had no say or control over your parenting of me; that was all you. Sure you did nice things for me and were generous at times, but that was YOUR decision not mine. You had all the control. So, what? You want me to thank you for not hurting or mistreating me? You want a standing ovation for your moments of good parenting? Do I look like a trained circus poodle to you: with you holding up the flaming hoops, training and commanding I jump through them as you desire? Have you actually diluted yourself into believing I was a willing volunteer participating in your choices? I wasn’t.

“You think I’m cruel? My parents were wayyyy harder on me, and do you see me complaining?”

Well yeah I do….because you sound like you’re complaining right now. You also have a point. While It’s true I was never chained to a radiator, what are we measuring? You clearly had objections to your parents treatment of you otherwise you wouldn’t bring it up. So, what? You think that as long as you’re not AS cruel as your parents, you’ve achieved something? You gave yourself permission to pay that treatment forward just a little; but still sleep at night because it “wasn’t as bad” in my experience? That’s really your healthy gage in the treatment of children?

“I may not have been a perfect parent, but you weren’t a perfect child either”

That’s right. all that literature on having children; “What to expect when you’re expecting,” They all emphasize the important of your minor child’s flawless execution at life. If your toddler isn’t filing alphabetically according to last names; if your preschooler isn’t lecturing others about fiscal responsibility; if your Tween isn’t flawless in her grades, dress, manners, and investment portfolios will little to no presence or input from you, you were robbed. So, as a fully grown man, woman, adult, please take this totally unselfish, not at all patronizing moment to mourn being cursed with an imperfect, minor child. Just because their three, six, twelve, doesn’t mean they cant use critical thinking and draw from life experience to make informed, responsible decisions. What? They expect you as their fully grown adult parent with life experience to show them compassion, guidance, and understanding? Please.

“I’ve told you over and over, you’re listening to the wrong voices in your head.”

Well thanks for that, Ms. Cleo. Have any winning lottery numbers for me? I’m thinking of a number between one and ten, can you tell me what it is? Of course you can. I think by ‘Voice’ you mean ‘intuition.’ You know, the voice that tells us: love doesn’t periodically stonewall us when we’re going through a divorce and need the kind of love and support that wont get you praise and attention from others; that it’s wrong for anyone to exploit our relationship with others in an attempt to gain their compliance and control; that anyone who gets angry or challenges your reality in your relationship because it doesn’t reflect their expressed desire of appearance, is someone you should run from…quickly.

“You will NEVER feel loved by others until you love yourself.”

You’re so right. Cosmo, Self, Maxim, where ever you read that quote; it’s true. So thank you for being a living example of what love isn’t:

  • A scarce resource
  • Earned
  • currency for compliance and control
  • Taken away at a moments notice
  • arrogant
  • selfish
  • condemning
  • insincere
  • A measurement of worthiness

It may be a journey, but every day spent avoiding a bucket of crabs (When you put crabs together in a bucket and one tries to escape, the others pull it back in the bucket. It’s a real thing, look it up.) is a good day, and away from it there’s only better to come.

Daughter, Sister, Friend.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store