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Navigating the Complexities of Being Estranged from Parents While Pursuing Your Dreams

It wasn't until I was writing my book But Everyone Feels This Way: How An Autism Diagnosis Saved My Life, that it was first suggested to me that my mother was emotionally manipulating me.

That was really strange to hear, because all my life my mother had been the "good" parent.

Yknow, "Dad" was the absent alcoholic who yelled and was a really mean, judgemental guy- he was the "bad" parent obviously. I wrote him two birthday cards one year when I was a very small kid; the first one was a real card, where I told him how much I didn't like him, and how much more I would like him if he didn't yell all the time. The second card was a regular "Yay! Happy Birthday Dad! You are the best!" card.

Mom drove me to dance, went grocery shopping, bought us Christmas presents, and told us everything Dad wanted us to know. She was responsible and made sure we were safe. She was good.

I was upset with my parents a lot growing up. I've always been a writer, and my parents have always been avoiders and non-talkers, so I used to write them letters and slide them underneath their bedroom door to describe the way I was feeling. I used to write often- tell them tales of my feelings, hoping they would care more than they always did, and love me more, the way I wanted and the way I always innately felt all human children deserve. The way I felt about children.

My parents (or moreso, my mother, because my father limited his time speaking directly to us) told me that she loved me so much, and that my father did, too. She said what I experienced was love. And I was so sure it wasn't right.

But parents let you know what to think and believe is right, before you know anything can be wrong.

My father being the poopy parent meant that I had discovered and accepted that fact long before I even thought to question the relationship I had with my mother. My dad was blatantly garbage, though. He told me it would be better if I just ended my life finally, so I would stop bothering him and my mother with my depression antics and suicide attempts. I was like, "yeah, that's definitely a shitty thing to say to your child, and I think your head is not right." And I said something like that out loud, too, because I never let my father disrespect me and feel like it worked on me. It never did, and I let him know what a pathetic loser I thought he was.

And I let Mom know what a pathetic loser I thought her husband was.

He was less than useless. He was always a child, a roommate, a little sibling that everyone had to look after or he would end up in jail. My mother ran around frantically, having to be everything for our household at all times.

The house ran the way it did because my father learned from a young age that he could convince my mother to let him live that life- the life that was super easy and where he got everything he wanted- without doing any work. And so, he lived life, and I finally told my mother, "This is not what love is to me, and you cannot convince me I'm wrong. You cannot convince me that this is what love is. I'm done trying to convince you this is what it isn't."

I used to have nightmares most nights, chasing after my Mom in my dreams, begging for her to listen to me and understand me and accept me. She never looked at me, though. She ran to my father and listened to every word he spoke to her, also not looking at me. He convinced her I was lying, I was deceitful, I was wrong and bad and awful. I tried to convince her not to listen to him, but she would never believe that her husband would do that to his own kid.

I ended up trying to beat him up in my dreams.

My father was a bad guy openly, and he didn't care to convince me otherwise. In fact, I'm fairly sure he thought I was like him, or the opposite of him, either way, I would not react the way he wanted me to, and he resented me for it. My mother was a good person, but she was manipulated bad, and she did nothing to protect me from the bad. As we all got older, it just turned out being who she is. Shallow. Part of the bad.

As a kid, my parents had sex a lot with me around, and it bothered me immensely. I talked to them about it many many times, but the problem did not go away. After one particularly loud night, my teacher asked me what troubled me that day, to which I told her, "My parents have sex all night some nights really loud and don't stop even when I ask them to multiple times." That teacher ended up calling my mother and told her about what I had said, which my mother was not too happy about. We had a talk later when I got home. She told me I was not to tell other people about anything like that, because it hurts her feelings, and doesn't make her or her husband look good, and then doesn't make me look good by extension.

When she said this, it didn't feel right in my PDA Autistic body.

I said, "No, I can say whatever I want if it is true. If you want me to say you were doing other things, you should maybe do other things. It's not my problem you're upset with the truth."

... and back to writing this book.

I was still speaking to my mother during the writing of this book. I kept her words in the back of my mind while I wrote about my struggling childhood life. I didn't want to make her look bad.

I kept trying not to make her look bad.

But then, as that became increasingly harder to do, I realized that I cannot shelter my mother from the repercussions of the things she said. The things she said were the nicest parts of my childhood. I left out a lot about my father and how poop he was, because that would embarrass my mom.

Next part coming soon

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