Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  320 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 3, 2018

I'm tired enough that I shouldn't operate heavy equipment. This is problematic in that five hours a day are spent operating 3-phase machine tools. I'm also tired enough that it has made me sick. Probably. But I'm not sure I have time to be sick.

My father is an asshole.

I talked to him on Saturday. It was an entirely polite conversation (on my side) and an entirely jovial one (on his side) and it pretty much shook me to my core. Without getting too deep in the mud my ACE score is six, which is something I only learned about recently. Growing up everyone's family is dysfunctional, right? And then about 22 I built a narrative about how it was because my mother is/was mentally ill, my parents were/are alcoholics and if only my dad weren't so busy being codependent things would have been much better, the intent to be decent humans was there for half my parents at least, and she'd drive me to drink too so it's not like they were both intentionally evil, right?

Right?

So my dad asks how "his granddaughter" is and I mention she's learning to read and somehow this led to my dad reminiscing about how he told me at four and a half that if I didn't learn to tie my shoes by five I wouldn't get a fifth birthday and about three days shy of my fifth birthday I finally tied my shoes and said 'where's my goddamn birthday' which is funny ha ha except my aunt likes to tell the story about how I walked into her house at age 18 months, late for babysitting, and said "that goddamn Volkswagen broke down again" which is funny ha ha until you start to wonder what sort of conflict a four year old marinates in to add "goddamn" to their vocabulary so young and then you go "oh yeah, better parenting through threats."

Over the course of twenty minutes he disparages my career, my hobbies, my intelligence and my morals, twice doubling down when I ask him if he really means that. And I realized that I only hear from my father when he thinks I'm doing badly.

I mean, I mention enameling. He says "I bought an enameling kit for you kids once. It's still in the house somewhere." I ask why we never did anything with it. He says "Frankly it's a wonder we survived. I wanted to murder you all most of the time."

And that's funny ha ha too until you wonder why you segue into murder talk so easily and then you realize that it's always been that way but you've been pretending otherwise. From "what are you learning in school" to "you fuckers are lucky to be alive" in a breath.

There's a fable that kept me alive. It was that time my parents were fighting non-stop for three days and my dad told me and my sister that they were getting divorced and we'd have to decide where to live and my sister cried and I told her that no this was going to be for the best and then the bitch came back and they fought for another twelve hours but come morning the divorce was off and it's always been the case that things would have been much better had they actually split up, better luck next life. But now I look back at that artifice and know that it would have been hell on earth either way and that's not liberating. It means the abyss also gazes into thee and no, mutherfucker, it wasn't better than you remember, it was worse and you've been fabricating fables out of whole cloth to feel normal and you can't anymore.

And Gary Numan lipsynched the entire goddamn show. He didn't do that last time. Pissed.




WanderingEng  ·  319 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My parents seem like a tame version of your parents. Probably significantly tamer but in the same mould.

There are a couple stories my mom likes to tell that horrify me. One is that when I was a toddler, she put me in one of those things where a baby learning to walk is held vertical, and then it has wheels on it. Foosh, straight down the stairs I went as soon as she turned her back, hahaha. The second is when she put my older brother and I in the bath. She left the room and then heard him screaming. She thought maybe I'd drowned but nope, I'd just pooped in the tub hahaha. Who leaves a kid to roll down the stairs or unsupervised in a bathtub?

My mom was never on time to pick me up from anything. It was so embarrassing. All the other kids would be picked up with most of the parents sitting in their idling cars as soon as anyone walked outside. It wasn't that she was working at the time, she just didn't pay attention to time. She somehow always caught Jeopardy on time, though.

My parents fought, but I don't have any frame of reference for it. Just, it was obvious nobody was happy. They're still together, probably out of habit or zero other options.

As for my hobbies, they seem mostly supportive of my hiking. They follow my GPS tracker and seem to take their role as emergency backup seriously if I didn't check in. But they don't understand my running or how important it is to me. College football game they can make the time to travel to and watch. Son running a marathon? Nope. I wish they had come. When I see them tomorrow (before a football game), I doubt they'll remember I was signed up for another marathon on Sunday or that I'm not running it. If I ask about their dogs, they'll tell me how they're doing but won't ask about my cats. Just, everything has to funnel toward them. Neither is very good about reciprocating.

There are people with fantastic parents, right? With great memories of childhood they look back on fondly as adults?

kleinbl00  ·  319 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    My parents seem like a tame version of your parents. Probably significantly tamer but in the same mould.

Quite.

    One is that when I was a toddler, she put me in one of those things where a baby learning to walk is held vertical, and then it has wheels on it.

I also had a walker. I remember corralling the dogs in the hallway and running at them full speed. This was the game. Apparently my father knew I was safe because the first time one of the dogs tried to bite me he smashed it across the face until it yelped and cowered in the corner. Then the dogs knew that they weren't allowed to bite me.

    Who leaves a kid to roll down the stairs or unsupervised in a bathtub?

My mother liked to relay her solution for when I was crying too much: child-proof the house, lock yourself in your room, and wait for the baby to fall asleep from exhaustion.

    My mom was never on time to pick me up from anything. It was so embarrassing.

I was a latch-key from the age of six. The last parent-teacher conference my parents went to was kindergarten. I was never so much as walked to the bus stop.

    My parents fought, but I don't have any frame of reference for it. Just, it was obvious nobody was happy.

My mother would threaten to kill the dogs. Usually took a couple hours. About an hour or two later she'd go hide the cars. Grab the keys, tuck 'em up other people's driveways, dirt roads'n'shit. This was usually the time my father would say "whatever you do, don't get married".

    As for my hobbies, they seem mostly supportive of my hiking.

My father forbid piano music to be played in the house. As soon as I left, they bought a piano. My mother never got a handle on what my degree is in. It's the same degree as her (now ex-) husband.

    But they don't understand my running or how important it is to me.

My father knows I'm pursuing watchmaking. Sunday he regaled me with the story of the watchmaker in Brazil who also had a refrigeration company.... and my dad needed a refrigerator. The guy left to answer a phone call and my dad took the white silk handkerchief with the watch parts on it, folded up the corners and shook it. When the watchmaker came back, understandably horrified, my father castigated him for being upset because "it'll only go back one way." The guy sold him a refrigerator, probably to get him the fuck out of there. "The things some people charge money for."

    If I ask about their dogs, they'll tell me how they're doing but won't ask about my cats.

I invited my father out to visit once. I was living about 90 miles north of my sister, who had just had a baby (her second). He said "well of course I'll be coming out soon, I have a brand new grandson!"

My daughter was 18 months old and had never met her grandfather.

He bought my sister tickets to New Mexico instead.

    There are people with fantastic parents, right? With great memories of childhood they look back on fondly as adults?

I know them. I've hung out with them. I lived with some for a couple months. My best friend's dad taught me to drive; his mom was the one who asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Everyone's got conflict. Nobody's perfect. But yeah. There are people out there whose parents don't pick their kids up off the couch and throw them across the room when sibling squabbles disturb their hangoversleep.

WanderingEng  ·  318 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    My mother liked to relay her solution for when I was crying too much: child-proof the house, lock yourself in your room, and wait for the baby to fall asleep from exhaustion.

My mother's baby proofing solution was "I will teach my granddaughters not to do dangerous things." She actually said that. I assume she took the same approach with her children. This from the person who leaves a baby in a bathtub.

I remember dropping a key on a plug pulled part way out. It sparked and tripped the breaker. It was the vacuum my mom was using, and she'd always pull it too far and start to pull the plug out. Why I was playing with a key near an outlet I can't answer because I was five.

kleinbl00  ·  318 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My father was fixing an appliance while plugged into 220 and has the skin grafts to prove it. My mother enjoyed telling the story of having to beat at him with a broom to get him to let go of the screwdriver because of galvanic reaction.

When the dogs were getting into my mom's irises he put up an electric fence. He bought it off a ranch. It was intended for cattle. Me and my friends discovered that if you grabbed a piece of grass and touched the wires the grass would burst into flame. Then my 4-year-old sister grabbed the fence with both hands and shook like crazy. Apparently coursing 110v across the heart of your daughter was considered a bad enough idea that the electric fence got turned off. At least, until she turned ten. Then it got redeployed to try and keep the new dogs from jumping the new fence.

I ended up with a cavalier attitude about electricity as a consequence - if it isn't 220, it isn't dangerous. I'm still a lot more likely to flip the breaker to fix something if there are people watching. If there aren't, I'll probably wing it.

It's probably a good thing I got out of electric cars.

Foveaux  ·  317 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    There are people with fantastic parents, right? With great memories of childhood they look back on fondly as adults?

My parents are great. I got a solid bit of perspective on this when my mother came through to town to give a "case-study" to the new batch of medical students at the local University. She's been doing this for about a decade or more but this is the only time I've been able to come along to see it, as I now work for the Medical School here.

It was an hour of her explaining the issues of raising a child with severe hemophilia (my older brother) - the likelihood of his early death, the terrifying bruising from everday interactions, people seeing the bruising and assuming my parents were beating him, my brother being so accustomed to pain that any new experience had to be braced for (getting his first proper haircut he had to ask first how much pain there would be). She recounted having his treatment filling up the boot of the car, so any family trips would have to be short-lived and always within range of a decent hospital. We shifted towns because the local school wouldn't accept any of us kids there, due to my brother having had blood transfusions and rural NZ assumed that meant he had AIDS - which also meant we all had AIDS. They just kept trucking on. The purpose of the lecture is for the students to hear from someone who isn't medically trained but is extremely knowledgable in one specific facet of medicine (in this case bleeding disorders), to understand what the patient may be going through and what the patient may actually know about their condition that the Dr may overlook.

My mother in particular is something special. She helped my father through his depressive episodes when he was younger, she helped me through mine that started in 2014, she raised a child with severe hemophilia who went on to develop and then kick an opioid addiction, she's helping my sister (who is now a single mum) raise her 2yr old son. She takes in exchange students and works two different jobs, she lost 35kg one time through diet and exercise, only to have a stroke weeks after her mother passed away. She recovered from it all and bounces back happier than ever.

I'm not even doing it justice, just rambling through some of what she's had to do for our family. Her and dad are brilliant and I'm not skimping on the Christmas pressies this year, that's for sure.

tacocat  ·  318 days ago  ·  link  ·  

🙌 Asshole dads club. A few years ago he gave all the clothes I had in a closet at his house to Goodwill. One example of his behavior

Fortunately my mother is amazing. I attribute all of my positive traits to her or her side of the family. I even look like them. My dad is not particularly attractive so win for me. Sad thing is if I had a more stable dad my mom might be the crazy one. Her family tends towards dysfunctional but in a much more manageable way. I have a pretty normal step dad now but he's not without fault. I think he may have taken the fatherly lessons of 1950s television a bit too much to heart

kleinbl00  ·  318 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is exactly the problem I'm dealing with: in my cosmology, my mom was the bad one. My dad, freed from the constraints of his terrible wife, wasn't supposed to be so terrible. About six months after she left him he actually said "we were dealing with a lot of shit when you were born and didn't really have a handle on it until your sister was born. By then you'd moved on and didn't really need us anymore so you never really had any parenting and for that I'm sorry." It was more of a mea culpa as I ever figured possible and reflected a modicum of self-awareness.

It appears to have been temporary, however, and these tiny little moments were the fingerholds I was clinging to for a sense of normalcy. And as of Sunday, they have slipped away.