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#432461 - 04/26/13 02:35 AM What is love?
theIrregular Offline

Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
I'm not sure if this is a CSA issue. I'm sorry this post turned out to be much longer than I expected; bear with me.

A bit of background:
My family immigrated to Canada when I was 14. I did my highschool + univ/college here.
All through that time, my parents reminded me, every change they got, that the sole purpose of coming here was our education. If there was one part of my life my father controlled, it was school. In high school, he chose which courses I would take and what grades he expected. He sent me off to univ for Computer Engineering. I wasn't fond of the field, but for whatever reason, I followed. May be I was trying to be 'a good son' or I felt indebted to them.

It took a couple of co-op positions to realize my heart was never in it. I was really depressed and it was around this time, I started becoming aware that my 'childhood experiences' were actually CSA.
I also found out the truth about us coming here. You see, my dad had a brief stint in the U.S. where he failed due to 'workplace politics'. He was actually working for his childhood friend and he felt the betrayal was personal.
So, he decided that I would be the'proverbial son who succeeded where the father failed'. Even through high school, he often talked about how we would move to the States after my univ.

Anyways, I dropped out of univ. I really didn't know how to tell them. I kept working the co-op job for about 6 more months. I finally came out to them about my depression (not the abuse). Understandably, they were upset. I still regret not approaching them sooner. A couple of months later, I let them talk me into going to college (computer programming) to 'salvage my education'. I knew I would never work in the field, but I did it anyway because I felt guilty.

Fast forward a couple of years, I'm 26. I had just started smoking. When my dad found out, he tore me one. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "You are not depressed. What have you got to be depressed about? There's nothing wrong with you. You've always been a manipulative bastard, even as a kid. I'm so ashamed of you. You have been the reason I don't hang out with my friends, I can't show my face to them. You don't love your parents or your grandparents. I'm 51, I wanted to retire by now. We would have been in California if you had just gotten your head out of your ass."
I just let him get it out. I just sank into the chair I was sitting on because I get really light headed when I'm accused of something. After he was done, I said I was sorry.

I still don't understand what he meant, "even as a kid". I never did drugs (not even pot) in high school/college. Never had alcohol. In fact, every friday night in univ, while my roommates got boozed up and offered me some, my reply was "my parents wouldn't like it if I drank alchohol". And I hadn't touched a cigarette until 26 and this is his reaction?

This incident was last year and it's at the forefront of my thoughts quite often. I plan to move out at the end of the year and no longer be a burden to them. My parents still disapprove of my line of work. I work at the airport as a baggage handler and I can understand their disapproval. They still talk about my getting a job as a computer programmer.

My dad said I didn't love them. What is love? When you love someone, wouldn't you want to do everything you can to see them happy? (even at the expense of your own happiness). If love is about sacrifice, then he's right - I don't love them. And I don't think I'll ever feel that way about anybody. All I feel towards my parents is duty and responsibility.
Why am I like this? Am I just hurt because I feel used or am I just an ungrateful asshole? I just wish someone would tell me either way. It's the not knowing that's driving me crazy.

A part of me just wants to come right out and say, "Gee, thanks! Dad! Remind me again, how do you know what I was like as a kid? You went away for two years, about 6 months of which I was abused. But, if you'd ask me who I am more angry with, my abuser or you, I'd say it's a tie. He used me for his personal gratification. You tried to use me for your personal vendetta. I am so sorry I'm not grateful (sarcasm)."

Sorry if this came out like a rant. I've just been thinking about this all day today. I couldn't turn it off. I would have written this in my journal, but last week my dad went through my stuff under the pretence of cleaning up my book shelf. Luckily, I took the journal to my work that day. Anyways, I tore it up into pieces (5th incomplete journal in my life) because I was scared he'd come across it.

#432464 - 04/26/13 02:58 AM Re: What is love? [Re: theIrregular]
ThisMan Offline

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 778
Loc: upper south
Hey, Irregular.

Seems your dad has, without a doubt, some pent up anger that is totally from a different place. Talk about misdirected and overly aggressive. There is one thing I can promise you about our dad... YOU ARE NOT THE REASON he is not "showing his face" or hanging out with his friends, you are not the reason he hasn't retired and not the reason he hasn't moved to California.

I wish he could take back the "I'm so ashamed of you." Unfortunately, even though he didn't mean it, its going to hang in the air for a long time. My momma once said that to me. You just never forget it.

I doubt you had much success manipulating against the kind of anger your dad exhibits. I think it would be so scary to grow up in that environment with that sort of parental control. Try to pull it together so that you can move out and on your own. It will be the best thing for you as soon as you can. Begin slowly to pull away from your father's approval. To disclose the abuse or not, that is just a very personal decision only you can make.

Stay strong and give yourself a pat on the back. You need it. And I am proud of you for working so hard and posting your thoughts. Take care

For now we see through a glass, darkly.

#432468 - 04/26/13 03:42 AM Re: What is love? [Re: theIrregular]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: theIrregular
"You are not depressed. What have you got to be depressed about? There's nothing wrong with you. You've always been a manipulative bastard, even as a kid. I'm so ashamed of you. You have been the reason I don't hang out with my friends, I can't show my face to them. You don't love your parents or your grandparents. I'm 51, I wanted to retire by now. We would have been in California if you had just gotten your head out of your ass."
Hey Irregular,

Your father's comments are familar to me, as my own father communicated similar things. Rants like this are a form of emotional abuse, and simply are not okay under any circumstances. My father's emotional distance and verbal abuse, in part, set me up to go looking for male affirmation elsewhere and......ultimately sexual abuse. I kept contact with my father for years trying to please him, hoping he would change and like/love me. Finally I realized this was a fantasy and was never going to happen. I cut him off and had no contact for many years. He died last year and I shed no tears.

I'm not reccomending that you cut your father off. Only you can decide if thats appropriate. But I am saying that the treatment of you described above is abusive, not your fault, and not deserved by you. You don't have to take it.

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#432602 - 04/27/13 05:01 AM Re: What is love? [Re: ThisMan]
theIrregular Offline

Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
Hey ThisMan,
Thank you for the kind words.
I'm just really not sure if he did mean what he said or he didn't. I mean, this is the same person who, when I came out to about being depressed, tried to make a tearful apology for having a short fuse when I was a kid. I just lied and said, "I don't remember any of it". Truth be told, I don't remember most of it. I just have this one memory of this one time when he hit my mom and she went to the kitchen crying and I followed her and we both cried. Growing up, I just had this fear of his hands. Never really put it together until he told me how I used to cower in fear and how I used to beg him not to hit me.

Anyways, some distance from them is long overdue.

#432605 - 04/27/13 05:25 AM Re: What is love? [Re: Jude]
theIrregular Offline

Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
Hey Jude,
Thank you for the kind words.
I just keep telling myself that I don't care what they thought of me. Then they'll say something and I'll have an emotional reaction to it. I never show it to them, of course, but I always end up beating myself up over it. I know I shouldn't care and I want to not care, but it affects me.
You mentioned your father. I am really sorry for what you had to endure because of him. I always told myself that when my father passes, I will definitely not be making an attendance at his funeral.
As for cutting him off, like I mentioned in my reply to ThisMan, I want to distance myself for now. The deal with me is if I don't physically interact with someone on a daily basis, it's almost next to impossible to keep the relationship going. I never keep in touch. Moving out is the first and only step that might be necessary.

#432622 - 04/27/13 11:24 AM Re: What is love? [Re: theIrregular]
jfy Offline

Registered: 04/16/13
Posts: 15
What is love? Here's what i use to keep my 'head straight' about what love really is...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

#432629 - 04/27/13 03:23 PM Re: What is love? [Re: theIrregular]
WriterKeith Offline

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 980
Yes, it is most definitely a common PTSD issue related to CSA. It has overshadowed my life as well.

I understand your post because I have lived it. My father the rapist/molester/abuser/predator cloaked his evil under the guise of "loving Christian father" He reinforced his control over his victims by citing Bible scriptures and the support of strict pentecostal/evangelical doctrine.

I was unable to define pure "love" until I identified what love "is not."

Here is what I decided for myself:
Love is not driven by obligation.
Love is not motivated by guilt.
Love is not founded in shame.
Love is not extracted by fear.
Love is not a contract.

"What IS Love?"

#432632 - 04/27/13 04:46 PM Re: What is love? [Re: theIrregular]
txb Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 416
My girlfriend and one of my friends have similar parents. I'm sure they 'love' them, but they also think that they own them - and that's not right. Both of them are similar to you, they don't drink or do anything bad but their parents still find fault in them when really they should be grateful that they turned out so well. I don't think it's a CSA issue but it IS abusive. You're NOT ungrateful at all, and you have every reason to feel depressed. You should also be able to do whatever it is that makes you happy.

I think love - for parents, is something that they are supposed to do whatever happens, whatever you turn out to be. And they should really just want you to be happy. My dad has encouraged me with trying to get into art school - which is something I doubt I can make any money from, but it makes ME happy. Me being happy makes him happy.

I'm sorry you had to lose your journal. You should be able to have things that are private and have your family respect that. I'm sorry they don't. Maybe you can get a blog to write in that can be accessed only by you, with a password? I know typing isn't really the same as writing though. Sometimes, in my journals if I write something I don't want anyone to ever see, I paint over the page. Just with cheapo acrylics. I just dump the paint directly onto the page and spread it with my hands. Obviously you can never read what you wrote ever again though. Hope you can figure something out. You do deserve to be happy.

#432647 - 04/27/13 08:12 PM Re: What is love? [Re: theIrregular]
BraveFalcon Offline

Registered: 02/26/13
Posts: 1231
Loc: The ATL
Originally Posted By: theIrregular
He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "You are not depressed. What have you got to be depressed about? There's nothing wrong with you. You've always been a manipulative bastard, even as a kid. I'm so ashamed of you. You have been the reason I don't hang out with my friends, I can't show my face to them. You don't love your parents or your grandparents. I'm 51, I wanted to retire by now. We would have been in California if you had just gotten your head out of your ass."

Hello Irregular. Sorry to hear you're going through this. It pisses me off to read what your dad said to you. Every last sentence of it pisses me off. I used to hear the "You're not depressed. What do you have to be depresses about?" line from my parents as well and it just killed me inside. When I've heard it, nothing could have made me feel any weaker or more small and unimportant. Nothing hurts or makes me angrier than having my pain invalidated, so I can relate to you there. That's why I don't express myself or open up to my parents anymore.

The rest of what your dad said is garbage as well and I hope you know it. If he is ashamed of you, then his standards for feeling pride in his son are way to high and his priorities are fucked. The real problem is with him, not you. Same thing when it comes to that nonsense about you being the reason his social life sucks, maybe even more so. What? Fucking seriously? He's a grown man and he's going to blame his social short-comings on his grown son's perceived bad behavior? That's ridiculous.

Anyway, good luck getting to a place in life where your toxic relationship with your dad isn't such a factor. Hopefully that can happen sooner rather than later. Take it easy man. Peace,


#432809 - 04/29/13 05:51 AM Re: What is love? [Re: theIrregular]
theIrregular Offline

Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
Parental over-control is pretty common among us South Asians, so much so that they don't consider it immoral. Everybody seems to have just accepted it as the normal thing to do. Even my relatives look down on me for not settling down and giving my parents an early retirement. It has gotten to the point that I don't talk to many of them any more. There are days I don't like myself much and I really can't afford to have them guilting me.

I've started another journal. I vowed to keep this one until all the pages are filled. I just keep reminding myself that I am allowed to have private thoughts.

As far as 'love' goes, I've never looked at it in the way you put it, Keith. Since it is subjective, why not start with what love is not instead of what it is! Seems like the 'love' I feel towards my parents is driven by 3 things on your 'not' list. I've never expected anything from them or asked them things in the name of love. I just keep thinking they should be decent enough to return that same unconditional affection towards me.

I think this issue is going to plague my mind for a little longer. Haven't been able to sleep much lately because of it.

Thanks again for the support, guys. I will use your words to fuel me against my self-doubts.

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