Tag Archives: Parents

Dad’s Wrecked Car Wrecks My Week

I would like to say I would’ve had a blog post out in the last week if the week itself wasn’t so damn shitty. I’m probably lying to myself here. My motivation is still at an all-time low.

I can probably get something posted Friday. Oh wait, no I can’t, because Friday is going to suck ass like every other day this week. If I’m going to churn anything out it has to be finished now. Thursday. Today was a hot day, I’m mentally and physically destroyed, and writing anything now feels like a chore. Scheduling a post also means EDITING! which is the worst part of writing by far.

Two weeks ago my dad was involved in a car wreck. I’m not sure of the details, but someone in front of him was turning right, so he slowed down like a good driver. The guy behind him, sadly, wasn’t paying attention and rear-ended my dad. This caused Dad to slide into the person in front of him leading to a three-way fender-bender. It wasn’t really a big deal; despite him being hit by a big-ass SUV in the rear, his car took the least amount of damage of the three. The guy behind him? Car was fucked. (He was younger, his mom showed up, and according to my dad she was not pleased with him. He had the worst day of three by far, not even considering his damaged car…) Lady in front of him? Car: fucked. Dad’s car doesn’t have anything to hint that he was slammed into another car, just a tiny scratch or dent on the front if you really pay attention. Most importantly no one was hurt.

(His tank of a car, by the way, is a 2006 Chevy Cruise. If you’d like your next high-mileage used car to be impervious to damage, look into the Cruise.)

I looked at his car the following day and it was fine. Cosmetic damage to his trunk and bumpers but the car itself was fine. All the doors worked. The thing drove okay. Nothing of functional importance was harmed at all. He asked me my opinion on what he should do about the car: ignore the wreck or make an insurance claim? Dad doesn’t have a job, can’t afford shit, and is waiting on Social Security to either approve or deny his benefits/payments/whatever they’re called. In short, I told him to not worry about it. Cars are meant to get you from point A to point B, his car still did this, so why even worry about it? Insurance probably wouldn’t do shit about it anyways…

He didn’t take my advice (big surprise there). He made an insurance claim which was itself a pain in my ass. My sister and I have a deal where we pay for his insurance and split the bill. When I set this up I put everything in my name. My email, my phone number, with only his name on the policy. It was easier to do it that way. Since his insurance claim involves him he should ideally be the guy dealing with the insurance company. Since they’re unaware of my impromptu setup (we didn’t think he’d ever actually make a claim), they’ve been blowing up my phone trying to contact my dad. Emailing me and me having to relay the email to him and calling me so I can call him and tell him to call them back. They miss his call and call me back. It’s my own fault — I even said so when I replied to their email giving them his actual contact information — but it’s still a pain in the ass to deal with.

I was wrong about his claim by the way. They did not do jack shit; in fact they decided to total his car and write him a check for $6,075. Holy hell! I was certain I put him on liability insurance; where did all the money come from? It didn’t make sense to me at all, but hey, I’m not a hot-shot insurance worker. Apparently this makes perfect sense to them. They grabbed his car last Thursday.

(We use Metromile. They’re a pay-per-mile insurance provider fitting for my dad, who logically, shouldn’t drive that much at all. I own 200 shares of Metromile (MILE) and was tempted to sell them when I found out about the massive payout to him for insignificant cosmetic damage. Was this company really the one I should be investing in?)

And here’s where my trouble really begins. It was easy: dad gets his check, we get him a new car. Nope, life is never that easy.

Since Monday was Memorial Day his check didn’t arrive until Tuesday. He also doesn’t have a bank account. I was to put the money into my bank temporarily. Okay. Tuesday was a trip to my bank so he wouldn’t have to pay a whopping $200 check-cashing fee. (I should open up my own check cashing place. A 3% fee to give people their own money? Hell…) Normally I deposit any checks I receive via my bank’s mobile app. Doing this with a check in his name might be a terrible idea, and I didn’t want to hold things up longer than I needed to. Dad is fairly independent and wants a car, so we’ve been trying to do this stuff as quickly as possible.

We went to look at cars (on Memorial Day) and that sucked. All the places were closed so we drove to those questionable used-car lots that are more numerous than I remembered (they’re everywhere) and shopped unhindered by pesky salesmen. He knew he couldn’t buy a car that day, but surely he’d find one that he liked. Nope. Buying a car is a big deal and isn’t as easy as deciding on a fast-food restaurant when hungry. It’s Thursday and he still doesn’t know what car he wants.

Since the cash is in my account, I’ll have to be involved in the car buying process as well, whenever that actually happens. Not really ‘involved — I’m not buying the damn thing — but he can’t really leave with a car until I write a check to the place, usually the last fucking step in the process. One more big hurdle before I’m free, but if we don’t pull this shit off tomorrow it’ll surely be a shitty weekend driving him around to wherever.

Today involved driving him to the smoke shop for tobacco and finding him a window AC unit. This whole fiasco occurred right before the first real heatwave of the year. He’s a bigger guy so he kinda suffers unnecessarily in the heat and needs an AC. Luckily, my mother-in-law had an older AC unit to give him; the errands were a bit easier because we didn’t have to buy him a new one from Menard’s or something. Hauling an AC unit around an hour after waking up isn’t a joy, but it’s better than going shopping.

Obviously I’m driving him everywhere he needs to go. He tries not to be a bother and I don’t mind helping, but it is getting old having that in my schedule to work around. My insomnia is still kicking my ass — I don’t sleep until 6 a.m. and try to be up around noon — and each day is a struggle to pound down as much coffee as possible and get out of the house to haul dad around. By the time I’m functional, I have a good two and a half hours to do stuff before going to work. Sometimes we’ll finish early, not early enough to go home but too early to go to work. Tuesday I was in the work parking lot 45 minutes before I had to start, just sitting and zoning out to music. I did get to see what time my coworkers pull into the parking lot which was mildly interesting. Some people get there really early, but who was I to judge?

Friday is a fun day because I go to work at 7 p.m. instead of 4 p.m.; I have all the time in the world before work to ‘be productive.’ Hopefully I can get something written but probably not though. Groggily awake at 12 p.m. Therapy at 2, hauling dad around to hopefully buy a car around 3:30 p.m., and how long will that take? Tomorrow is fucked. Saturday will probably be fucked as well. I know it’ll be fucked. I can predict the future: Dad won’t have a car yet and I’ll have to take him to get groceries or something. Sunday I’m hanging out with a friend (cool and all, but damn I’m dreading being social…), and maybe I should put a new belt on the lawn mower? And maybe I should weed the garden? And I need to go to the store. And I need to clean the cat litter. Those windows in my car really need to be cleaned — I haven’t washed them since fall — and the outside could stand to be washed as well. And…and…I’m sure there’ll be tons of time to write a blog post.

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An ATM Trip (and It Sucked)

Another day where I wanted to write something good and life shits on me.

My dad called and asked to borrow $20. Again. He borrowed $20 last week after finally paying me the $200 he owed me with his stimmy check/BidenBux™. I don’t mind borrowing my dad money because he pays me back. It might take awhile, but he’s good with his debt. My mom on the other hand…

I checked my wallet and I had seven $1 bills on me; this is not $20. I didn’t say anything about going to the ATM because I figured he’d find out soon enough. He showed up, I hopped in the passenger seat, and told him I didn’t actually have $20 so a trip to the ATM was on the itinerary. And yes I made him drive me there because I’m doing him a favor so he can work for his money. I always try to have $60 cash on me at all times to make these random, “can I borrow some money” situations easier, but no one is perfect.

We get to the ATM and there are two cars in front of us. The first dude left, circled around and parked in the parking lot. I’ve seen many people do this at the ATM and don’t really give a shit what they’re doing. My dad on the other hand: “What’s he parked over there for?” I said I didn’t know and continued to jam out to Poison’s Talk Dirty to Me; it’s their best song. Poison can fuck right off — I despise hair metal from the ’80s — but that song is a fucking bop. “Do you think he put something on the machine to steal people’s information?” No, I really doubt that. Who the fuck would install something on an ATM in broad daylight and then sit forty feet away? These people are sneaky — jail time isn’t fun and defeats the purpose of robbing people — and clever. They’re not going to sit there and manually steal shit. If you’ve programmed a device to steal info from cards you probably also programmed a ‘memory’ feature where it just, you know, stores the information for later.

I also didn’t have to try very hard to know what he was really thinking: “I bet this guy is going to sell/buy drugs.” Everyone on the West Side of Rockford in a parking lot is looking to buy drugs. Obviously. Luckily, he didn’t say this so I didn’t have to cringe and wonder what the hell happened to him over the years.

The second guy was fucking around doing his thing at the ATM and dad called him a “stupid motherfucker” for some reason. Not to him directly, but said it aloud in the car. For what reason, I don’t know, but shit, how dare this guy use the ATM? We’re also sitting in line waiting to use the ATM so what’s the big deal dad? Just let me listen to Poison for fucks sake.

I didn’t care so gave him my card and told him my PIN. (Never say ‘PIN number’ by the way. PIN stands for personal identification number so saying ‘PIN number’ is like saying personal identification number number. It’s the same with ‘ATM machine’; the M in ATM is already for machine, you don’t need to say it twice!) He fucks something up so I get out, walk around, and get the money for him.

He then proceeds to circle around and park in the exact same spot that the first guy was parked in. You know, the guy stealing card info/dealing drugs. I became excited; we’re we going to steal some shit or buy some drugs? Sadly, no. His car was overheating.

So there we were standing outside with the hood up looking like two basic white dudes looking at a car engine. All we needed was a few beers and grease all over us and we’d be a stereotype. He pops the cap off the coolant reservoir, pours in the remaining coolant he had (it wasn’t enough), and slams the hood. We were on our way.

I gave him the remaining coolant I had in the garage. I don’t even know why we had two bottles, maybe I’m just obsessive about having fluids stocked, but it was nice to get rid of them. Dad opened the hood, filled up the rest of the coolant reservoir, and pondered what the hell was wrong with his car. He recently changed the thermostat so it wasn’t that. He asked me what I thought was wrong and after ten seconds of silence I said, “I have to think about it.” I was serious too; let me mull over the problem for a few hours, let my brain percolate it in my subconscious. Let me sleep on it, maybe I’ll have a dream where the solution is obvious. Hell if I know what it is currently; I hate cars. They’re complicated and fixing them is bullshit.

Anyways…

Sometimes I wonder when my parents went off the rails. Maybe they’ve always been this way and I’ve never noticed. Maybe I needed to get away from them and have my own unique personality and life before I realized how flawed they are? As a teenager I saw my parents as adults, people that have their shit together and have life pretty much figured out, and sure I complained at the time about how fucking stupid they were but it was mostly me being a stock, basic, edgy teenager. Somewhere between then and now my view of them has changed. They don’t have a fucking thing figured out! I don’t either, but I’m further along in having shit figured out than they do. When did I become a more functional adult, even with all my fuckups and issues, than they are?

When did my dad get so paranoid about strangers? When did he become scared of every single thing in the world? When did he start to see evil everywhere? Does he see a different world than I do? Is he living in an alternate reality? I saw people at the ATM getting money for whatever the fuck they’re getting money for — I don’t really care — and he sees threats. When did my dad’s health spiral out of control, and why? Why doesn’t he have a job and why can’t he support himself? Health issues obviously, but why doesn’t he give a shit about his health? Why doesn’t he want to fix anything in his life? Why’s he so passive and willing to live in his shitty current state? Why does he have no will to improve or be proactive? Why won’t he just go see a damn therapist for once? He doesn’t seem like the dad I had a decade ago and that is both confusing and scary. It’s hard not to reflect this back on yourself; what if I lose my fucking marbles in ten or twenty years? What if I go off the rails and stop making sense? What if I stop being a dad around the kids and turn into a kid myself where they have to support me and my fuckups? I don’t want that to be me.

Shit, that got deep at the end. Thanks for reading.

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Battling the Bad Saturday Vibes

Mowing Dad’s Yard

3:19 p.m. and I’m at my dad’s watching my stepdaughter mow his yard. This is her first time using a push mower and boy is she doing an awful job. He finally admitted that his back was totally fucked up, he wasn’t the strong and undefeatable man that he once was, and that he needed someone to mow his yard.

The “someone to mow his yard” is me, obviously. But I’m trying to teach the kids that you have to work to earn something, be it money, food, or whatever other shit they want, and since I despise mowing decided to pay one of them to do it for me. I doubt my father will pay me, so I’m accepting of the fact that I’ll probably have to pay her out of my own pocket to be lazy, not mow, and write this angry blog post in the meantime. When I think about it, $20 is totally worth it.

I had to mow his back yard because the grass was nearly a foot tall. She couldn’t even get the mower through the mess, so I took over and knocked out the back yard for her. She’s doing the front, and I’ll still foot the bill for the her labor, the full $20. I forgot how shitty mowing yards are, especially if you’re using a push mower.

Another favor for my parents where I’m sacrificing something to assist. Time, money, peace of mind, convenience: something. They did raise me and I’m appreciative of that fact, but aren’t my parents — two fully functional adults — able to be a little more self-sufficient than this? Always borrowing money. Rarely paying me back. Requiring me to come get the money that they’re paying me for some reason, like a guy from the bank showing up at my home if I had a payment for him. Having me pick up cigarettes for them. Footing the phone and insurance bills for them monthly. Just being all around pain in the asses to me in a way that I don’t think is good for anyone involved. Sure, I’ll help when needed, but my help seems to be required all the time to where it isn’t helping anymore. It feels like a permanent assistance plan. Especially for my dad who seems to be kinda conservative, I wonder if he equates his opposition to “social safety nets” — those damn welfare queens getting free money and food and shit — to anything I’m doing to help him. The world has a way about making you into a total hypocrite if you’re not careful.

FORD: Found On Road (Driveway) Dead

We hopped in the car to drive to my dad’s to be greeted by this message in the Ford Focus Electric:

Oh no. Recall that this is a fully electric car and while I love the thing, when something does go wrong all it does it blast this message which doesn’t let you drive the car at all. You do have to appreciate shitty mechanical gas cars for your ability to actually fix them. I called Ford Roadside Assistance to get it towed 20 miles to the closest dealership that can fix the thing. (For free. Fuck Ford. Their shitty car broke again and they can pay to have it towed.) At least I bought a used Honda Civic a few months ago with 195,000 miles on it that can act as a spare. I swear that car will never die.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

More money down the drain. Hopefully it isn’t over $1,000 like last time. Oh yeah, I still need to pay $500 for a dorm deposit fee for the other step-kid…

A Pointless Car Trip

Before that? My dad stopped by to drop off food for some reason. Yes, we were going over to his house to mow in a few hours, but for some reason he felt the need to stop by and give us food and some tomato plants. We could’ve picked them up when we went to mow, but no. Once again, I have no idea why he did this — it doesn’t make sense — and seems to be a larger inconvenience than anything.

The Favor Dictator

While he was over all he did was act passive-aggressive the entire time. He said he had to “wait on me” and that he had “stuff to do” or something, once again proving my point that when I do someone a favor them seem to want to dictate the details. If I’m nice enough to mow your yard, maybe not be such a demanding ass all the time? I wake up around 11 or 12 and it still takes me at least 30 minutes to caffeinate and nicotine up to where I can function; apparently this is much to late for my dad’s liking. Nagging, but subtly, about me getting my ass in gear and getting his yard done despite him having no actual plans to attend to today. I can’t help that he wakes up early, is antsy, and really wants his yard mowed. If someone is doing you a favor, work with them a bit.

Phone Call Excerpt

“What are you guys having for dinner tonight?” he asked on the phone before he came over.

“I don’t know. We never have plans. I have no fucking idea what we’re going to have.”

Well, why not?

“I don’t know. I never cook the meals really.”

Well why not?! You need to help out around the house too. Does your wife need any more tomato seeds? Any tomato plants? Do you guys want some potatoes?”

“I don’t know. You should probably call and ask her; gardening is her hobby/project. It’d be like asking her about my solar panels or…”

Click. He hangs up on me.

Father Knows Best, Or, You Don’t Know A Fucking Thing

We had some fermented apple juice laying around today. About a half gallon, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. Straight apple juice doesn’t really turn into a strong wine, so I opted to add a few cups of sugar to it to really get the alcohol content up to wine-like levels. I grabbed a funnel, measured a cup of sugar, and dumped it in.

Apparently this caused all the dissolved carbon dioxide in the juice to instantly fizz out, ala Mentos and Diet-Coke, causing an impromptu volcano of fermented apple juice to spray violently all over the table. I laughed — Wow I didn’t expect that! What a fucking mess! — and was overjoyed to have fucked up so badly and been surprised as much as I was. I had a moment of sheer childlike wonder that I rarely experience anymore. But apparently my dad and my mother-in-law didn’t appreciate the volcano of juice as much as I did. “Why didn’t you do that outside? What were you thinking? Clean that up now, quit watching it spill all over the floor and laughing about it.” Fuck, I didn’t take it outside because I didn’t expect it to blow the fuck up. Duh.

So I’m cleaning the table and my dad has to point out to me that I should lift up a few jars, cups, and cans and wipe under them. You see, as my dad explained, the juice can collect under the cups or whatever and you must lift them up to really clean everything up. “Goddamnit dad, I know how to clean a damn table off, holy shit.” I was really losing it about this time. I’m a thirty-year-old fully mostly functioning adult and it’s offensive that he thinks I can’t clean a table or something. Fuck off, man.

I went to add more sugar after I cleaned the mess up. More nagging. “You’re going to do that again?! Why don’t you take it outside this time?!”

“Goddamnit, dad, ALL THE CO2 DISSOLVED OUT ALREADY, IT WON’T FIZZ ANYMORE.” And it didn’t do anything dramatic when I added more sugar.

Phone Call Excerpt #2

“Where are the kids at?” 

“I don’t know.” 

“Why not?! You should spend time with them.” 

“I’m writing right now. Trying to get a blog post out.” 

“*passive-aggressive sigh* Jer, you need to spend time with your kids. Take them to the park. Play with them.”

“I have a list of things I need to do. I’ll take them outside later.”

“*Sigh* Okay. Whatever.”

Towing the Car, Or, I Do Everything Wrong

The tow truck finally showed up to take the derelict car to the dealership. Yay, I could get that mess dealt with finally. I took the kids outside, a five and a four-year-old, to watch the guy put our car onto the flatbed tow truck. Kids are kids and love seeing new and unusual things and I knew they’d be interested in watching the car get loaded and towed away, and I wasn’t wrong. They didn’t know what was happening and I loved explaining what was going on and watching their wonder. When the man drove away, they ran to the end of the yard waving and smiling and the guy smiled and waved back. I knew that the two little curious kids totally made his day. Like he’d go home from work and tell his wife and kids about the two excited children he met today. Totally excited about his mundane job that he probably hates and gets little joy out of. It was cool and I felt good about it.

But apparently this was not the right course of action, at least to my wife. She was worried about the tacky clothes they dressed themselves in today, as if that matters at all to the tow truck guy dressed in his dingy work clothes. And apparently he had a cough so she was pissed the fuck off at me by having the kids outside around an obvious COVID-stricken person. We stayed more than ten feet away from him! The kids are scared of everything — loud trucks, strangers, big machinery — and they never went anywhere near him. Well, fuck me right? 8 p.m. on a dreary Saturday and I’m once again feeling that no matter what I do doesn’t seem to be right.

Mow my dad’s yard? Get shit on. Mow our yard? Get shit on. Car shits on me. Try to show the kids something new and exciting, and guess what? Yes, get shit on. I’m really feeling the bad vibes today and I’m sure after I make this ranting post I can get shit on for whining about getting shit on. I cannot wait. Oh well, there’s nothing else to do on the weekend besides piss time away, and this is serving its purpose nicely. Maybe Sunday will be a better day; at least I can drink on Sunday.

My Sister’s Parents Suck

It’s 8:46 a.m. — about three hours before I naturally wake up — and here I am typing a quick blog post before I start on my “adventure.” It’s not going to be an enjoyable adventure and I didn’t get much sleep dreading the waking up early (a terrible form of anxiety to have) and the drive to Davenport, Iowa. To tell the truth I don’t even know how long it’ll take me to get there. 90 miles I think? An hour and a half about? I don’t know. There isn’t much of plan here. Leave by 9:30 or 10 a.m.? Who knows. Earlier is always better.

This mission, should I choose to accept it (I did), is to help my sister move out from her house — the house her cheating wife has somehow taken command of — into her new apartment. The entire thing is a mess and I feel so bad for her I can’t even explain in. Even worse is the fact that this situation has sort of happened before year ago. In fact, my sister seems to have “a type” of person she’s attracted too: dominating, strong-willed, controlling, selfish, and let’s say “bitchy” (as hard as “bitchy” is to quantify). As everyone knows, you can’t help being attracted to “a type” and her’s is a terrible type indeed.

I suppose there were signs of this not ending well. Without much of the family knowing she was in a relationship, they told us about a courthouse wedding a week prior to their marriage. Holy shit, my sister is getting married?! Wow, okay. We were supportive though — what they want to do is what they want to do so who cares — and it was a quaint and peaceful little wedding, if a bit of a surprise. Her wife seemed nice then but looking back maybe my intuition was trying to tell me something, although I still can’t put a finger on it. Maybe I’m just trying to pretend like I knew all along.

I think what really tipped me off was when I helped the two of them move out of my dad’s house years ago. I was drunk (you have to drink when you help people move) and far into the evening they started arguing about something. Her wife seemed really dominating and controlling while my sister was passive and appeasing to her demands. My reaction was one of utter depression — something I thought was pure and unadulterated love seemed cruel — but I attributed this to me being drunk and making too much out of a one-time scenario. Even though I brushed it off at the time, apparently I saw some cracks that now seem obvious.

8:57 now, and let’s move forward. Her current wife (soon to be ex-wife) has found a new girlfriend and has been cheating on her. She (the soon-to-be-ex-wife) doesn’t even live in their home anymore but is taking charge of the situation and kicking my sister out. Like true fashion with our family, she is being passive and compliant trying to not make much of a fuss in this trying time and only wants to move on to another part of her life, and quickly. Everything is shit for her. Her life is basically falling apart. She doesn’t know what to do. Hell, she probably had COVID a few months ago by displaying nearly every symptom despite getting a negative test result which her wife then blamed her for being lazy by not working. I’m ranting again. Her wife turned out to be a total bitch which seems surprisingly like her last girlfriend was. Total bitches are my sister’s type, and she seems powerless to change it.

She did have one really nice and cool girlfriend, but “something was lacking” in their relationship. Perhaps she wasn’t bitchy and controlling enough to be my sister’s type. That’s my working theory at least and damn if I’m not positive I’m correct.

Why is she this way? Why am I the way I am? Our Goddamn Parents Again, another thing I’m sure of. We were raised in the same household and went through the same shit only staggered by five years, and it formed us without us knowing. I’ve ranted about that stuff here. The only differences between her and I are ourselves, our uniqueness, which I think explains the differences in how we processed our childhood. Same experiences, slightly different outcomes based on us being individuals. Luckily I ended up with a severe thirst for acceptance and social approval and not picking partners that are totally awful people. We do both have a lack of confidence and self-esteem if that makes you guys feel a little better.

Let me digress for a bit, mostly because I’m running out of time and I have a point I need to make. My wife and her daughter (my step-daughter to make it clear) had quite a falling out last night. The step-kid, who recently turned 18 a week ago, said my wife was “mentally abusive” and that turned into a big fight apparently. I was at work thankfully so only heard about it without experiencing the mess, but walked into the fallout after work. This was curious because my wife is notably not mentally abusive and everyone else in the house agrees with this. If anything I feel she is too lenient on the kids. What was going on to where the oldest kid felt “mentally abused”?

After hours of playing Dark Souls and mulling over what to do about the situation I realized that Oldest Step-Kid is like me in many ways. I love to write out my problems so had (well, told her sister to tell her) her write out how she felt. It was a mess, a mess of truthfulness from her point-of-view, but a mess nonetheless. Apparently she has taken this “parents fucked me up irreparably” view (like me) only cranked it to the max. Everything wrong with her is due to her mom and her dad and how they fucked her up. There is no ownership of the problem I guess. She’s the victim of life and she can’t help how awful she feels at her situation. It was depressing to read due to how much blame she was dishing out but how there was no talk of how she’s dealing with it or trying to deal with it.

It’s nice to see a path your going down to the extreme. I’ve been “blaming” my parents for a few months now on this blog, but it was never my intention to play the victim. I’m becoming a very proactive person who only wants to do things to help themself and the people around me. Be a big fucking shining beacon of hope to anyone struggling with mental health issues. If I can work through my shit, anyone can. And to fix any problem you need to first understand the problem, but the entire goal is fixing the problem and not placing blame. Blame, or more precisely finding the cause, is the initial step to solving the problem. If some dickhead drunk driver hits your car you can be mad and you can blame him for it, but it’s still up to you to deal with it. It’s up to you to take your new information (my car is fucked because Jim-Bob had too many PBRs) and figure out how to move forward (So, do I sue the shit out of Jim-Bob? Buy a junker car? Ride my bike to work?).

There’s a lot going on here that I don’t have time to really elaborate on, and I hope you appreciate all the curious things here. My sister and I being different in many ways but similar given our upbringings. My insecurities versus her attraction to “bitchy” women. How stubborn you are to changing “your type” even if you know they’re toxic. How if you take the parental blame too far you take away any empowerment you have. How you still need to take responsibility for how you respond in life. How one person might see their childhood as “mentally abusive” while their siblings are perfectly happy with theirs.

And at 9:21 a.m. and with way too much on my mind I close off this blog post and head to Davenport, Iowa to help my sister move out of her own home.

My Parents Suck: Part 2! of ?

This is part of a totally impromptu series about my fucking meltdown and self-discovery process. These are all very uplifting posts as you can imagine. If you want to read more, here’s one about my parents, here’s one about depression, and here are two about therapy!

This is also the fourth post in four days (Technically not because WordPress is on eastern time, so I think I’m like 15 minutes too late. Technically… NEVERMIND!) which is a new record for me. I’m not trying to do marathon posting here and find myself just going with the flow.

I hate to be the person that blames their parents for everything. To recap the last post about my parents: I had a normal family, normal childhood, normal everything, at least that’s how I thought of it at the time. My parents weren’t blatantly abusive, either emotional or physical, and everything seemed okay. While I acknowledge that everyone is formed by their parents, with mine being rather “typical” that I myself should be rather typical too. Maybe I did inherent or learn some negative traits along the way, but since they didn’t beat/molest/degrade me day after day I shouldn’t have much to worry about, especially when you consider other people who are raised in totally hellish homes, starving, being beaten daily, and whatever other punishments they end up dealing with as a child. Others are terribly scarred and I’m not. Right?

Well, apparently fucking not. I’ve grown into the realization that my parents, more specifically my mom, have totally fucked me up unknowingly. And even after you realize this, what do you even do about it?

Firstly, my problems. I’m a terribly needy and insecure person. I’ve written a bunch of posts on how terrified I am of writing and being seen as a bad writer to the point that I don’t write/post out of fear of rejection. I have to force myself to write, post, and to share with others which I’m thankfully making progress on three or four years later. I’m terrified to show myself or to open up out of fear of rejection. I overthink everything socially and the clearest example I can think of is my unusual text message anxiety. I will receive a text and will be paralyzed by anxiety for literal hours trying to figure out what I’m supposed to say as a reply. The perfect reply, nothing too needy, anxious, serious, or overemotional. Overthinking and overweighing every course of action from a simple text message. It always gets worse the longer I procrastinate too; after two or three hours I think it might be too late to even respond. I’ll look like an ass, I’ll look like I don’t care, I’ll look like I don’t appreciate the other person. It’s bad.

It’s even worse if I’m the one doing the messaging in the first place. “Should I even send this message? What if it’s too weird? What if I look too needy?” If I don’t get a reply within a few minutes my mind zooms off into anxiety orbit where I’m certain that I’m just bothering the recipient. It’s unconscious too; I logically know the other person might be busy, tired, or just not wanting to respond at the time. I do it myself. A friend will text me about a video game and if I’m not in the mood to talk about games I’ll ignore it. I don’t hate him of course, this is just how I am, but I cannot reverse this outlook and see people as not being totally evil and against me in every sort of way. Any reply not instantly received is a personal attack against me: a sure sign I’m hated by them and a complete bother to their otherwise idyllic day.

Just apply the text message anxiety to every other aspect of life and you should get the idea what it’s like to reside inside my head. Talking to people: anxiety. Having friends: anxiety. Facial expressions: anxiety. Everything is overthought and fraught with fear.

I’m also terribly needy. When I bond with a person I worry that I tend to smother them and use them as an emotional crutch. Usually this backfires to where they’re pushed away (which makes me need them even more) and even if they’re not I still overexamine, overweigh, and overworry about every interaction we have. There is a constant fear of not if but when they will abandon me, finally see me as the problem I am, and cast me away never to be bothered by me again. Even if they don’t, the fear and anxiety of it is ever present which undermines any true friendship. So I sit in my own little bubble alone for fear of not wanting to bother others, because obviously I am the problem. It’s all about me in some twisted and illogical way that even I know is crazy. But I can’t help it. It takes a conscious effort to get over these thoughts, and by that time I’m usually so mentally exhausted that I can’t socialize, which leads to more anxiety about people seeing me ‘in a mood’ which then pushes people away which makes me worry that I’m pushing them away by overanalyzing everything and being quiet.

In general my life is one of anxiety and self-hatred, which I’ve only recently realized. This constant feeling that I’m a problem, I’m a bother, and that I’m better off keeping to myself.

Why? I asked my sister if she’s this way, having some tiny and vague idea that if this parental-inflicted we’d share the same undermining traits. Sure enough, she’s the same way. She seems to function better than I do, but people are sometimes good at hiding. Her logic was this: “I don’t think we got the right kind of attention when we were younger. She’s (our mother) always been involved in her own life. I always kind of felt like we were just another problem for her to deal with.” Fuck. My mental gears started quickly turning, speeding towards some obvious conclusion.

The therapist seemed to be hunting around for some deep parental cause to some of my problems, hell, maybe even all of them. She asked if there was a time where I was really proud of something and showed my parents only to be met with lukewarm or no reaction at all. I couldn’t recall a specific time because it was so long ago, but I didn’t doubt it happened all the time. Maybe this tipped me off towards a search towards childhood and how I might have been crippled from my parents. But mom. Yes, mom. She wasn’t very loving. She didn’t let us feel secure. We felt like another list of problems to deal with. And if you grow up in a home feeling like a constant bother or problem is it any surprise you carry this into adulthood? It all made sense. I’m insecure, unconfident, and always need attention. I need someone to constantly be supporting me because I didn’t get this love and support from my mom. And is it any surprise I always want females to comfort me? Hmm? For some reason having close guy friends doesn’t cut it — it doesn’t feel right — I always want a female to support me. It’s like I’m constantly searching for motherly support, trying to obtain what I was lacking in my childhood.

Texting people, talking to people, being part of a group, the yearning to be included, I always feel like a problem. The odd man out. The one not really part of anything. The problem, the hassle, the person to be dealt with out of obligation of social niceness more than anything else. I’m never an asset, someone important to be included for their unique gifts, but always included out of self-pity. Someone who needs to tag along just because and not because anyone really wants me around. And it’s wrong, it’s all wrong, but it’s how I feel. Why? My goddamn mom. Really? While never beating me or really cutting me down was never loving or supportive and this damages you permanently just like any other form of neglect. As a child I was just another problem to be dealt with and here I am as an adult feeling the exact same way. I’m surprised I didn’t connect the dots earlier. And so is the struggle of knowing yourself.

I don’t think my father is guilt-free either, and in fact I think he might be the same as I am. I was in a mood yesterday when he came to visit; I didn’t say anything to him out of depression and an inability to interact; I just felt tired and withdrawn. Of course a few hours later he goes full-on Jeremy-Mode and asks me — over text, obviously — if I was mad at him or if he did something wrong to upset me and for me to just tell him and that he wouldn’t visit anymore. Being really pathetic and mopy about how I was acting and making it sound if it was totally because of him for some reason. It was pathetic but I’d do the same thing; assuming I was the real problem, the center of everyone’s negative moods and shitty lives, the cause for it all. And why is he that way? Did his own mother not love or support him enough as a child like my mother did? No, she didn’t: she passed away when he was 13…

I don’t want to blame my parents or to shift guilt away from me, to remove my own ability to act here, because it seems to diminish my own power. I don’t want a pity party or sympathy or anything — I don’t hate my parents — but I am frustrated that I am this way. Obviously there is no ‘redo’ button to fix things — I can’t go back into my childhood and change anything — it’s just something to deal with. I think it is freeing in a way to actually be aware of where your problems came from. It gives you a path forward I guess. It’s also nice knowing that maybe the way you are isn’t just the way you are but because of some external cause. I’m not fucked up by default, I’m fucked up for something outside myself.

So now what? How do you fix this? I don’t know. Changing who you are is a fundamental pain in the ass. Kids are super impressionable when they’re young and everyone toughens and hardens as they age to where it’s nearly impossible to change who you are. But as the therapist said, I’m not stuck as I am. People are fluid and you can learn to change and deal with who you are. The first step is always figuring out what the hell the problem is in the first place, so maybe that tiny little puzzle piece has finally found its place which is nice, but now what? Do I just practice forcing myself out of this point of view over and over again until the neurons in my head realign and make other connections? I think so. I don’t know any other way to change my outlook other than practice.

My Parents Suck

I think the primary challenge to the new blogger (at least one as anxious as myself) is getting over the fear that someone they know — friends, family, or coworkers — might read their writings and judge them, perhaps harshly. Anyone who has blogged for more than a few months knows this is an unfounded fear: most people don’t actually give two shits about what you’ve written let alone recalling the fact that you’ve been writing in the first place. I recall my cousin asking me about this blog a year or so ago: “So you’ve have, uh, what’s it called? A blog? And you write? That’s really cool. I haven’t actually read any of it yet though…” Yeah. No shit. No one in the family does and I’ve stopped worrying about them reading it a long time ago. I feel like I can bash them all I want and no one would ever know.

This post will be a little different though if you read the title again. My parents do “follow” this blog on Facebook even though I don’t think they’ve read a single thing I’ve written. Ever. It seems fitting for the topic at hand, doesn’t it? Despite not reading anything I’ve written, I think them seeing a big, fat, blue and white banner saying MY PARENTS SUCK might get them to change their minds, if only temporarily. I’m not going to post this on Facebook. I’m not scared they’ll read this, I’m just worried that if I write this in the frame of mind that they could read it I might not be as open as I would be otherwise. And if they do read it? Who cares? It might do them good to read it and especially so if I wrote it as blatantly truthful as possible because I thought that they wouldn’t read it. So this will just be a secret between myself and those who find it themselves.

I don’t think kids realize how much their parents affect them growing up. I’ve always felt separate and unique from everyone else and being a child was no different. I’ve always felt like myself and never considered that my family/parents where shaping me as a person. Obviously being around parents/guardians as an impressionable kid will change you, it just never felt like it at the time. As a child you also have no outside perspective as to how other parents really are. All you are aware of your narrow personal situation are are hopelessly ignorant of other families. You don’t realize that other families can and are horribly fucked up or immensely better than yours unless you have knowledge of them. In short, being raised in a fucked up home can easily lead you to think the situation is normal. You grow up inevitably altered and perhaps even damaged without even being aware of it. It’s scary.

As an adult I’ve grown to appreciate how many flaws probably stem from the damage my parents inflicted, usually unintentional damage. And I want to stress that we (my sister and I) didn’t not have a bad upbringing with a capital B. No one was molested, abused, or tortured. We never starved. We never suffered. But I think this made it harder for me to accept the damage; by not having a Bad upbringing how much damage could’ve been done? It doesn’t take a dramatic event to mold you though. The small and nearly imperceptible hits you take daily slowly bend and form you even if you’re unaware of it.

The Mom

My mom was crazy. Unhinged. Angry. Depressed. Memories are vague from my childhood but she would always be yelling at us. Tell us how ungrateful we were and how we didn’t do anything to help out around the house. Her anger was always relegated to yelling and despite constant threats to “beat our asses” she was rarely violent. We’d usually laugh it off because she was never a threat. A dog with a fearful bark but no bite. My dad and her would scream and fight at each other and I vaguely recall her grabbing knives a few times, but usually would just throw random shit at him. He never seemed to do anything bad to her, but I later come to understand what I had missed with age; my dad wasn’t a saint.

She was very selfish and self-centered. Everyone had to cater to her. She is still this way although she has improved immensely over the years. But she is still a fucked up person. You always need to do the work, or to have an understanding of her unique situation; she always needs to be catered towards. If she owes you money, for example, you need to drive to her house and get it yourself. And you need to be grateful that she even paid you back the money! “I hope you’re happy” she has said to me a few times upon paying me money for our mutual phone bill. Yes, I’m serious. She also “borrowed” $200 from me once and upon nagging her for a payment, she wondered why I didn’t want to help her out and wasn’t grateful for her raising me. It wasn’t the point, I said, a loan was a loan and you can’t just change the terms of what was agreed upon. I still don’t have my $200 either…ANYWAYS…

Apparently she struggled with mental illness and depression the entire time we were kids (and still does), but it always seemed like an excuse. She’d endlessly bitch, yell, complain, and scream at us and justify doing so with her depression. If you tried to argue any opposing point of view about anything she’d usually break down crying, play the victim, and talk about her depression. Always on the attack until you attack her and then she is the victim. And endless “woe is me” story. You literally cannot tell her she’s wrong in a firm way without her being a victim. Considering the previous paragraph, depression always seemed a way for her to make anything instantly about herself. She was the one hurting, no one else understood this, and to hell with anyone else suffering: it was her that needed the most help.

The Dad

My dad was much more “normal” I guess, but his demons and flaws were just not as obvious to us kids. I remember writing a paper in fifth-grade calling him “my hero” and also remember my mom being ultra-pissed that I wrote it. “He’s not a hero, you don’t know the bad things he’s done.” I attributed it to her being mean and pissy (like always) but surprisingly she was onto something. Dad is fucked up, and maybe even more so than our mom. We just didn’t know it really. Mom was openly fucked up whereas dad wasn’t.

He sometimes would drink and would become mean and violent. He’d throw shoes at us. Always the loving father sober he would be transformed by a few drinks into a total asshole. He told us many times “I never wanted you guys anyways” or something along those lines. When we’d get upset by it he’d claim that “drinking made him tell the truth.” It’s one of those things you don’t think sticks with you, but apparently when you write a blog post about it decades later it still hurts. LIke, shit, that was really mean. I was really hurt by it. Luckily he didn’t drink that much, maybe once a month if I could guess. But when he did drink things weren’t good.

That was a classic sign of my dad’s flaws: being too hidden to be honest with himself or others. He’s still that way too, maybe even more so. Passive-aggressive as anyone could ever be. He never directly insulted you or had an opinion as most of his actual opinions and thoughts were hidden behind jokes where he could say what was on his mind and laugh it off if challenged or questioned. Anything emotional was hidden. I’m assuming this is why he’d be a dick when drunk. Everything came flooding out and you couldn’t really blame him because he kept packing baggage deep within himself. And this is why my mom would be immensely mad at him; he would say smart-ass “joking” remarks that were very incendiary towards her, and her being fucking crazy in the first place would totally lose it. He’d pick at her, subtly insult and provoke her and all of this went right over the heads of the short and ignorant children that we were. Dad wasn’t evil, but as mom was well aware he wasn’t a saint either.

I’m certain my dad’s emotional immaturity stems from his mom’s — our grandma — death from stroke when he was twelve. I assume he was faced with some serious emotional shit and coped by just stuffing it deep inside and ignoring it. He had a slew of brothers and sisters and being one of the oldest required him to grow up quickly and act as a parental figure. As I’m talking about myself being fucked up by my childhood situation, you also have to realize my dad is also fucked up from his childhood situation. You can’t blame him I guess. I guess you can’t blame anyone really. It’s one big giant chain of fucked up people raising fucked up kids. And so on.

And Myself

And now onto myself. How am I fucked up? That’s hard to answer because knowing yourself is hard to do, at least it is for me. I struggle with depression, maybe some genetic holdover from my mom. I don’t know. And my depression is usually hidden, tucked away, and kept quiet possibly due to my mom’s bombastic treatment of the subject. Remember depression was her go-to, catch-all reasons for everything. It didn’t feel like serious depression even if it really was. It seemed like something she’d bring up to win arguments or to get us to do things. She never tried to get help (that I recall), making it seem even more trivial. I guess I’m totally opposed to this. I see depression as a serious thing, so don’t want to bring it up to strangers and coworkers every day or to play the victim all the time. In a way I probably keep it too hidden and end up being more like my dad. Shit.

Most of what I learned through my mom was an opposite reaction to her. She was open about mental illness to a degree that trivialized it; I keep it hidden because it’s a serious subject to me. My mom would also yell and act generally crazy while I try to remain calm and logical. She was/is also terrible with managing money, and as a response I ended up being super talented at managing money; this still leads me and her to arguing like the examples above. I do have her mouth, as you can fucking tell from my writings, but otherwise she taught me who not to be and it probably worked out for the best honestly.

As for my dad? I think I have the same “opposite action” thing going on from him, especially lately now that I’ve realized the ways he is flawed. As stated my dad avoids problems by not acknowledging them. He recently had a pulmonary embolism where his breathing became worse and worse over a few weeks. A few weeks. Just avoid the problem until it goes away, right? He’s also terribly overweight but doesn’t seem to care about it, not enough to change his habits at least. He’s also diabetic but doesn’t give two shits about insulin and checking his blood sugar as well as he should. It’s the same emotionally: closed off and not acknowledging any issues whatsoever. So as a reply to this I’ve been trying to be much more open and receptive of my problems. Realize the problem, make a plan to solve the problem, fix the problem. It’s easy and the hardest part is realizing the problem in the first place.

On a more visceral level I think I’m so terrified, anxious, and frightened because of my upbring. Once again our parents arguing was never an obvious problem at the time, but something seems to have been carried into adulthood from the fights. One scenario really stands out. A few years ago my dad moved in with my mom to help her pay for her house (yes they are divorced and yes they did move back in for financial reasons and no it did not work well at all) mostly because she’s bad with money. They somehow got into a yelling argument just like they did decades ago and something deep inside me appeared. A visceral terror and fear of people arguing. The precipice right before a simple disagreement turned into full-fledged yelling, and possible knife-grabbing and waving and object tossing affair. I felt panic and on-edge and tears creeping around inside my eyelids but adult me was able to choke the feelings back down, but in the moment I felt like I was instantly teleported back into my eight or ten-year-old body feeling as helpless and terrified as a child me would feel. When you have those memories from childhood hidden deep down inside you where you’re not even aware of them, is it that hard to imagine that they might also be the source of anxiety and fear that seem to haunt me daily?

I also have very strong beliefs about my upbringing and my inability to persevere in the face of difficulty. I totally blame them for how I am with this aspect of my personality. I had very good grades as a kid. I was smart. I was the kid the teachers would “want an entire classroom of!” or some bullshit like that. I didn’t have to try hard to succeed at school or anything academic. My entire life in school was one of ease — no effort, no motivation, no difficulty — and I’d be rewarded anyways. They also kept telling me how smart and talented I was and how I could do anything I wanted to do if I just applied myself! Bullshit. This is my biggest regret about my childhood and what I blame my parents for the most: I didn’t learn how to persevere.

I know they were trying to be supportive to their kids (maybe as a reply to their own parents’ lack of support?) but that’s how you scar them and cripple them as adults. Before this blogging ordeal I never tried anything difficult that was outside of my comfort zone and in some ways I think I enjoy blogging so much because of the challenge to persevere in the face of zero obvious progress. I never experienced failing over and over until I succeeded because I never had to do that as a child. By endlessly encouraging me as a child they crippled my ability to weather defeat and learn perseverance. I learned that I didn’t need to take chances. I’m a softy. I can’t take rejection or failure. I can’t hear criticisms. And damn is it a struggle to unlearn things you’ve had beaten into you for literal decades.

This was a really long and rambly post that probably didn’t offer any readers anything in return, but I wanted to vent a bit. How have your parents (or other adults) fucked you up? Did they do it in small and subtle ways like mine did despite having an average childhood? Do you have strange personality quirks that you’re not sure where they came from? Did you have a good childhood and your parents actually didn’t cause you much harm? Are you a well-off and well-rounded adult? Or did you have a childhood from hell where all you learned to do was be beaten and insulted day after day? Where your adulthood is mostly a struggle to live and deal with all the trauma inflicted upon you?

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