I was practically brought up by my grandmother, well, the formative years part atleast. Coming back from abroad, my parents decided that my paternal grandmother was the best person to look out for me and my brother.
Grammy is the best. She was and still is the peg of what I want to achieve in life. A hard worker, intelligent and money-savvy, Gram also ran a beautiful, comfortable home which was the envy of the neighborhood.
She held little lunches for family and friends and believe me, it was always done with taste and a touch of elegance. Because that was how she was brought up and I have to thank my great grandparents for that.
When my parents finally came home from abroad and we moved into our new house, I was already in my gradeschool years. Basically, what I learned from my grandmother was enough to mold me into the person I am today. Thus, the formative years in a child is vital. It will set them for life.
My life started out comfortably. We had a car, a huge property, two stay at home helpers, had vacations, went to a good school. Everything was good.
Then my parents separated for reasons I will no longer divulge in this post.
When you are a product of separation, it will always be a chip on your shoulder. You feel that everything is unstable, unreliable and unsafe. You are unable to trust, to give love and accept love in return.
Everything became “official” when I was in my college years. I was forced to leave the expensive ladies dormitory I was staying in for economical reasons. I felt humiliated and beaten down.
I only felt shame for my family. How can we start out so well and end like this? If my parents really did love us, how can they let me and my brother suffer so much? To be gossiped in family circles, etc.?
I was even branded by some family members and family “friends” as anorexic and ungrateful while my brother as a withdrawn drug addict. Yes, some people go that far. No one was there to protect me and my brother from such attacks. Weren’t we the real victims in this story?
And because of that, I grew up fast.
Me and my brother didn’t like attending those lunches anymore or any gathering for that matter, beacause my family’s present circumstances was jiucy gossip. Our struggles were fodder and at times, a source of amusement for their “perfect” lives.
I focused all my energies in school. I became part of the debate team, made it to theatre arts, had good grades, etc. Partly because of my desire to get out. I said to myself that if I make good, me and my brother can start all over again. This time without our unreliable and unstable parents and the people who “wanted what was best for us”.
Things didn’t go according to plan. I graduated, yes, but I was miserable on the inside. I got my first job in a reputable company but I was unhappy with work. I moved from one job to the next. I messed around with men (regardless of the age and marital status), I excercised too much and ate very little. These were the things in my life that I thought I could control.
My view of marriage was that it was rubbish. If I could get away with the things I did, marriage didn’t mean anything. Commitment didn’t mean anything to me because my concept of family was non-existent.
I looked gaunt. My brother even told me one day that he didn’t recognize me anymore because I was so thin. He called me a walking skeleton. Some good friends mentioned that they were worried for me. I brushed it off and said, I ate. I showed them I ate. But after that, I excercised like there was no tomorrow and my guilt was just to big to swallow.
I have graduated from some of my struggles, but there are still some things I still have to deal with everyday. Simply because hurt people, hurt people. In my case, I wasn’t only hurt, I was a broken person.
So for all parents out there, let me give you a word of advice: never fight in front of your child. Never talk bad about your spouse. Never belittle your spouse, after all your child is also a part of them. If divorce or separation is inevitable, explain to the child why. If its not too much to ask, be civil with each other.
My point of the story? Being a product of a dysfunctional home is no laughing matter. In fact, it will be a spiral down for some people. I was able to get away from some horrible things I did by the skin of my teeth. It was that bad and they still haunt me to this day.
In the end, the life you bring into this world, your child and his/her future, is all that matters. Why would you even be a parent in the first place?