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#418191 - 12/04/12 11:49 PM presents
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4227
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
warning - this is self-pitying sh!t of the deepest variety - more relaeted to holiday depression than CSA - but that is always a part of the mix. so if you want to steer clear - that's OK.

I know that there were kids who had it worse than me. I suppose I should be thankful that I got any presents at all. But I think the presents I was given made me feel worse than if I had nothing. Being given nothing would have been more honest. That’s what I often got later – once I was out of high school. Somehow it was easier to not be acknowledged or to be forgotten or even intentionally ignored than to have felt that I was the wrong one getting the presents.

The first present I got from the step-dad was a punching bag and boxing gloves. I was 6. What I liked were books and paints and puppets. I felt like the present was meant for someone else – someone older and more athletic.

The next present I remember being given was the bike that had belonged to the step-dad’s 12-year-old son – who had died.

I was already living in the dead son’s room, sleeping in his bed, using his desk, playing with his bats and balls and mitts and so on. Nothing seemed to fit me.

Later, he gave me the dead son’s trumpet.

And I took lessons and practiced on the piano that the dead son and dead daughter used to share.

Another time the step-dad gave me a chemistry set. The only experiments I cared about were the ones where the chemicals changed color dramatically. I wasn’t good at science or math.

Maybe he was trying to fix me. But I got the message – from the presents - as well as from his words: I wasn’t a “real boy.” Maybe that’s why it was OK to treat me like a girl. Or like the film, “Ordinary People” – the wrong son died. I should have been the one.

What it felt like was watching someone else get presents – and being left out. I always hoped that there would be something that was really chosen with my interests and desires in mind. I never felt like the presents were wrong. The problem was that I was the wrong boy.

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#418200 - 12/05/12 02:00 AM Re: presents [Re: traveler]
cosmos Offline

Registered: 11/12/12
Posts: 191
Loc: Puget Sound
Traveler I understand and wallow in the self-pity with you on this one, not sure if in my case it has anything to do with the abuse but neither of my parents new or cared for who I was either, not sure who they wanted me to be, but it was the exact opposite of you, I got paints and stuff like that and was good in math but I really wanted to be out there with the rest of the kids playing ball and such. See I think a lot o times stuff like that has more to do with what our parents are inside then what we are inside and what they wish they were, they live out their dreams through us, just that we here @MS have other things that get in the way. I guess that kinda mis-match along with the betrayal and lack of support is the reason that I left home at 14. Even now my mom just doesn’t get who or what I am, she still thinks of herself in her seventies as an aspiring artist, she must think by now any day that she’ll be the next Grandma Moses, never mind the fact that I worked and saved to buy an Atari800 back in the day; and who could foresee that down the road I’d be in IT and actually make money at it, sure enough not them, they couldn’t understand how I could be willing to pay 3 grand on an electronic thing that required you to do something to make it work, no concept of me or what I cared about. Presents aren’t about the recipient it’s about the giver, and just look at what they give; it’s about them and not us, let this one go it’s about them.

"it has never yet been discovered how to make man unknow his knowledge, or unthink his thoughts"

T. Paine

#418201 - 12/05/12 02:22 AM Re: presents [Re: traveler]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
One year all I got was some comic books wrapped in aluminum foil. I was bitterly disappointed but I soldiered on. It wasn't okay to express how you were feeling in my family. If you didn't uphold the illusion that everything was allright, you got your head taken off.
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#419462 - 12/18/12 04:40 PM Re: presents [Re: traveler]
ShortedDiode Offline

Registered: 11/26/11
Posts: 121
Loc: Hamilton, ON Canada
Traveler, Cosmos, Jude,

I understand the awkward issue of presents this time of year. Presents were also used by people in my family to try and shape and influence the kids too, but it wasn't a case of the parents living vicariously through their children. Instead, gifts were used as a crude lever by my parents and one of my grandparents and they tried to get all the aunts and uncles to go along by talking about how the different kids deserved different gifts for various reasons.

The children in my family who were deemed to be doing well were given nice presents. The children who weren't didn't get presents that were as nice, sometimes just a token gift to unwrap so nobody could claim they were completely frozen out, but sometimes people didn't get anything at all. Definitely some carrot and stick action where whoever was out of favour had it rubbed in first by getting a token gift or nothing at all, and being surrounded by brothers/sisters/cousins on Christmas Day who were unwrapping fantastic gifts. One of my grandparents wrote cheques for people for Christmas and birthdays and the amount was varied according to your status at the time.

When you said thank you for your gifts, you either got told how good you were and why you deserved so much more than so-and-so who wasn't, or you got told how you didn't get such a nice gift because you didn't deserve it compared to the others, and why. I was in all of the different categories at different times, but being the black sheep of the family it was usually at the "you don't deserve it" end of things.

That Christmas I wrote about in the other thread where I sold myself for that $20 to scratch together enough money to buy gifts was one of those. I guess I'll explain how the rest of it went down after I spent six hours in the perp's filthy apartment for $20. The whole time leading up to Christmas while high school was winding down and exams were taking place, my parents were going on about how my grades weren't good and that I didn't deserve anything for Christmas and that my aunt and uncle were going to give me gifts I didn't deserve anyways even though they were told not to etc. and that I'd better have gifts for everyone because they thought I was a worthless asshole etc. etc. etc. My parents gave my brother and sister a full stereo system each. Christmas morning came and my parents told me to be Santa and pass out the gifts from under the tree so off I went handing out the presents to everybody in the living room until there was nothing left as it slowly sunk in that there was nothing under the tree for me. Nothing. Meanwhile my brother and sister were unwrapping the huge boxes that contained the 5 disc CD changers, receivers, and speakers and my parents had to REALLY rub it in by making me set up the damn stereos in their bedrooms after that. At the end of the day, I got told this was because nobody thought I'd be able to get into university with the grades I had. Message received loud and clear.

The next Christmas, after making it into university after all, my grandmother told me that cheque she'd written me was for the same amount as for one of my cousins about the same age and this was because she felt an overriding principle to give all the cousins in the same age ranges the same gift, even though I didn't deserve it but my cousin did and she gave me a full explanation why. However, the principle of giving the same gift to all of the grandchildren in the same age ranges was total nonsense because she'd chopped my sister's gift down compared to another cousin who was the same age at the very same Christmas. As I said, gifts were used as a crude lever by the adults to try to get whatever outcomes they wanted from of the kids.

The end result is I don't like presents. I'm fine with giving presents, I actually enjoy that, but only if I'm not being strongarmed into it especially when I can't afford it like the time I had to sell myself out of desperation. But I hate receiving presents. I truly hate being given things.
If it's a choice between laughing or crying, I'd rather laugh.

#419466 - 12/18/12 05:11 PM . [Re: traveler]
Life's A Dream Offline

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island

Edited by Life's A Dream (01/13/13 02:26 AM)


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