Reverse Role Models – Learning the hard way

Just realized I have many reverse role models in my life. I don’t have many (any?) people that I admire so much that I strive to be like them. I have had to rely on myself far too long for that. But I have learned many things from my parents as long I do the opposite. Warning – This turned out to be a bit harsh, wow, didn’t know I carrying this anger inside. Good to get it out. I can now forgive this too and let it go. I am amazed at how these memories continue to churn up, out of the blue, and then BAM, I have to deal with it.

1. Do not deny love to children when they misbehave or make a mistake, or act grumpy, or even when they say terrible things like “you’re the worst mom ever”. This is the time to love them more. Tell them you do not like the behavior, but still, and will always love them. (Both parents were guilty of this, I used to feel invisible, and isolated as they gave me the silent treatment)

2. Do not make promises, even tiny ones, if you can not keep them. (Dad would have us look through vacation books and watch travel videos, but we never went any where. It was always our fault for having medical bills that we could not afford a trip or that we did not do our chores, or someone got a bad grade)

3. Do not blame others for your mistakes. Accept your mistake, do what you can to fix it, and then let it go. Also though, do not blame yourself for things you can not control. (Dad’s anger was always our fault. If we could just be good kids, he’d be a good dad. Mom always blamed us for being overweight, the pregnancies and all the kid food. She now blames her *illnesses*)

4. Do not hold grudges. Deal with each issue immediately. Start each day new and fresh. (So many people have been banned from our lives from some wrongdoing or another. I always knew about some aunts or cousins that *we don’t talk to them, so you can’t either*)

5. Do not show jealousy, especially towards your children. (My mom would always hand me over compliments for being pretty, then in the same breath say she used to be but having babies ruined her. She would tell me to get the pretty dress, but then moan that she can’t wear pretty things any more. She would say how lovely our music is and then say how sad she s she never learned to play an instrument. this one goes on and on for pretty much every topic. Her jealousy filled us with guilt for the good things about ourselves)

6. Loving your kids does not mean letting them do anything they want. (When I moved in with mom, seeking something normal at last at age 16, I was encouraged to date and guy that asked, as it would be rude to refuse. I think back now on the guy who was 26, picked me up, at age 17, while my mom was home, and she just took some pictures of us and said have a nice time. No curfew. No “who the hell do you think you are dating my little girl-get the f***k out of here creep!” That’s what I would say when the time comes for my own girl to date. I was anorexic too, and never once did my mom encourage me to eat, instead I was told I was thin and beautiful and she wished she could wear a size 2 again. Again, this can go on and on)

7. Gifts should not have strings attached. (birthday gifts of cash always had something I had to buy for myself, so why didn’t she just buy that then? Because she wanted to take me out shopping to get it. It was cash and time with her. Gifts from dad were always inappropriate and to prove he loved me more than mom, and to make her jealous, like the gold necklace when I was 10 and he got nothing for his wife’s birthday)

8. Activities must be age-appropriate, to the youngest present. (Dad – Just because you think the teenage sons will enjoy watching that porno with you, maybe the little girl should not have seen it at age 6? Dad – Just because you think dirty jokes are funny, your 6 year old should not have to hear things like “How do you know you have an overbite? When you’re eating p***y and it tastes like s**t” I did not understand that joke for many years, and when I finally did, I could not believe he used to say stuff like to me. I used to repeat it to my friends at elementary school, not knowing what I saying, no wonder I didn’t get asked on many playdates. I should not have seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in the theater so young, I had nightmares about the lava pit and ripping out hearts. )

9. Children need a bedtime, and a bedtime routine. (I was never told to go to bed, and usually stayed up late watching TV with everyone. Sometimes my parents would go to bed first and let me stay up. Not sure they exactly let me, just never cared enough to check if I ever went to bed. Or brushed my teeth. or bathed. on and on)

10. Do not say you can’t, when what you really mean is you don’t want to. (Both parents had an excuse for anything, always too busy, too tired for the kids. Or my mom can’t exercise, really is she doesn’t want to. I can’t go to your school play means I don’t want to. I can’t afford new shoes for you means I don’t want to give you money because I have to pay the hooker this weekend. I can’t drive you to your friends house because I don’t want to miss my TV show. I can’t remember to put you in bed because I don’t want to think about you as a person – you are my property and should stop making demands)

12 thoughts on “Reverse Role Models – Learning the hard way

  1. Wow!! It makes me so sad to read this. My parents did stupid things too, but not this many and most not this bad. It really is a shame that you (or anyone) would have parents that behave like this. I am in awe that you have been able to rise above these people and see the truth!!!

    I enjoy your posts very much!!

    • Thank you. I agree no one should have parents like mine, but I survived and rose above it. I also do stupid things, as no one is a perfect parent, but I would never intentionally hurt someone. Thank you for reading.

  2. Well said!

    This made my mouth drop: She would tell me to get the pretty dress, but then moan that she can’t wear pretty things any more.

    It never dawned on me this was an indication of jealousy. My NM would always tell me how she went without new clothes so I could have pretty clothes.

    Now I write it, I also realize it’s the martyr…

    Wow. Thanks, RootstoBlossom. These are excellent.

    • Even though my mom never touched me physically, I am still figuring out how she has emotionally hurt me, and still attempts to. I used to drown in guilt, never enjoying any of the good life could offer. Never thinking I deserved anything good. I think many children have survived the guilt trips though.

  3. Wow. Now I’m angry for you! You are doing so well and working hard to get beyond this. I am so proud of you for being able to separate yourself from this and see so very clearly what you should and should not do with your own family. So so many times the cycle of abuse is repeated. And you are doing the opposite. You are amazing, and strong, and my new hero. Hugs!

    • Aww, how nice of you to say those things. I am working so hard. But I never had to work hard to see the value and beauty in people, and especially children. I know abuse survivors who have then abused their own children, but I don’t understand what it is inside of those people. I don’t have it in me. Something to think about, what happens to someone, or are they born with something wrong or missing that they turn into monsters?

    • Parenting seems almost easy and natural to me to nurture my little ones. Sometimes I can’t help but think back and wonder why I had 2 parents incapable of nurturing me and my brothers.

  4. Pingback: Another awesome post… « The Project: Me by Judy

  5. Awesome that you recognize that doing the opposite in some cases is a good thing. My counselor asked me how I raised my kids…what ever my mother did, I did the opposite. He considered my answer then finally admitted that in my case that wasn’t too far wrong. I have awesome kids. They actually like being around me. I am impressed. You state that you learned the hard way but you learned which many others do not. Do you ever wonder how you figured it out?

    • Yes, when in doubt, do the opposite. Yes, I wonder all of the time how I became me when I was raised that way. I am still figuring things out, but I know they didn’t really love me, not how I love my kids. And I can’t understand that part. I guess I am glad I don’t understand that part. They seem so foreign to me because I have never had such selfish motives. I honor, protect and cherish my loved ones. If I hurt them or make a mistake, I offer an apology and we get through it together, I would never let my babies think anything I did was their fault. My kids are awesome and I love being Mom. I am so happy you have found a happy place to enjoy your kids as well.

  6. Its amazing that this was what you were born into. It’s what you knew, growing up. I can only imagine the bitterness and sadness you contend with every day. Yet you were able to RECOGNIZE the inappropriate gifts, jokes, etc. as you got older. Recognized the wrong behaviors toward you all your life, were wrong. That in itself, must have taken such intuitive sight and strength to grow PAST! I know you feel the loss, still. Yet, I also know you know what pride feels like, and is 🙂

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