Most people I know regret at least one thing that they have done in the past. I’ve had several. I cringe when I look back at some of the things I’d done as a teenager especially the number of potentially dangerous situations I’d placed myself in. Hindsight is surely a bitch, but I think maturity and clarity had a lot to do with it too.

The person I was at the age of 16 is not whom I’ve become 20 years later. In fact, I’ve gone from one extreme to another. I miss the “me” at 16. I was fiery, passionate, assertive and extroverted. To my parents, I was a trouble-maker. Rebellious wasn’t just my middle name. It was my first name. I was one helluva hell-raiser. Today, I’m quiet, introverted and passive. Standing up for myself has become anathema to me. In my black/white world-view, I am still trying to find a happy medium.

Somehow, in my mother’s eyes, I am still the rebellious teenager.

A couple of days ago, another phone call from my mother was bestowed upon me. Several, actually, because the line at her end kept dropping out from being in a remote part of the planet. She started “grumbling” about dad (putting it extremely mildly here because it was more of a character assassination than anything else). I started playing Jewel Deluxe on my tablet, making appropriate noises in between. Although I got engrossed in the game at some points and she had to ask “Are you there? Are you listening? Can you hear me?” Oopsie!

The topic then steered towards her Golden Child as always. I was quite surprised to hear that the Golden Child had cut her off because my mother didn’t agree to lie for her. I’m sure I must have been gaping like a goldfish out of water – my mouth opening and closing without any words coming out. My mother had suddenly decided not to lie for her? Wonders never cease!

The Golden Child has just recently been divorced. Typical of Narcissists, my mother is extremely conscious of the image other people have of her and her Golden Child. She would have preferred if everyone was in blissful oblivion of the fact that her Golden Child is divorced. So that both her image and the false image she’s created for the Golden Child remain intact.

The Golden Child, however, had other ideas. She’s wearing her divorce like a beauty pageant winner wears her crown, flaunting her divorce and her new relationship. She told my cousin on FB. The mother of this cousin (who is also my mother’s sister) is more efficient in communicating information than social media (read chronic gossiper!). She is so efficient that another auntie and I have given her the nickname of a local newspaper in my country of origin.

My mother lamented that the whole family in our country of origin would now know about the divorce because the news would have spread like wild-fire. She was afraid to keep in touch with her siblings now because of the loss of face value. But somehow, she still lumped me in the same category as her Golden Child because the Golden Child had screwed up.

A snippet of conversation went like this:

Mum: Why is wrong with all my children?

Me: Excuse me? It’s CHILD, not children.

Mum: You also used to be very havoc (slang in our country of origin to refer to a hell-raiser)

Me: I was a teenager! I was ALLOWED to be!

Since then, her words have been haunting me. So much to the extent that it has been detrimental to my creative work. I haven’t been able to get into the creative zone with all the clutter in my head.

I am angry, hurt, disappointed and feel extremely frustrated. I just wanted to break things. I was in destructive mode. She is comparing my past with the Golden Child’s present. She is comparing the actions of a 16 year old to the actions of a 40 year old. How is that even possibly and remotely a fair comparison? The Golden Child’s past slate seems to have been scrubbed clean. She also had some colourful teenage years! She started being a pain in the ass as a teenager and still hasn’t stopped! My parents have been bailing her out of trouble for years. It is unfair for her to pick on my past solely because she can’t find something valid in my present to pick on.

Her current attitude hasn’t changed in years. It reminded me of the childhood abuse that I experienced. When I got into trouble, I got bashed up. When the Golden Child got into trouble, both the Golden Child and I got beaten.

She doesn’t know the me that I am today. Hell, even I don’t know the me that I am today. However, I’m slowly learning about myself by spending more time with myself and through therapy. One thing for sure is that I am not the 16 year old that she remembers. Hubby keeps hearing about the fun-seeking person I used to be and sometimes wishes that I had retained some of my old personality. Fortunately for me though, he accepts me just as I am – depression, PTSD, health issues and all.

I don’t believe in judging a person by their past. That’s probably why I’m having a hard time accepting that I was abused by dad growing up. No child, no matter what the crime, deserved to be beaten until she peed herself. What I thought was discipline was actually abuse. It took my nutty friend six hours over the phone to get through my thick skull and make me realise it.

However, dad is not the same now as he was then. He used to be abusive, strict, authoritarian and definitely unapproachable. He only stopped hitting me when I kneed him in the crown jewels. It was not my finest moment, but I had achieved my goal – the beatings stopped. Today, he’s supportive, concerned and approachable. He even confides in me. He’s not the same as he was 20 years ago. I am not going to make him pay for his crimes for the rest of his life when he has clearly changed – towards me, anyway.

Just as I don’t judge others by their past, don’t judge me by mine. I don’t live there anymore.

And as for a “Screw You!” to my mother – cousins and relatives know that an e-book I wrote became a bestseller on Amazon last night. Oh and what did your other daughter do? Get divorced and has already found another man because she can never be alone. Tsk tsk!

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Comments
  1. southafricanwhitegirl says:

    awesome about your book!!

  2. Kim Saeed says:

    Lovely post. I’ve forgiven my parents for my childhood. As you so aptly stated, they aren’t the same people now as when I was growing up. They were still kids themselves and were doing the best they could from where they came from. Sorry to know it seems your mom missed that train…

    On a lighter note, congrats on your eBook! That’s so exciting! What’s its title?

    Sorry to fire-hose you with questions, but did you do your own formatting (kindle, etc.)

    • firenice84 says:

      Hi Kim,

      Wow! It’s an honour to have you on my blog! Especially since I learnt about Narcissism from you 🙂

      Yes, my mother definitely missed that train.

      Thank you! It was a non-fiction book – The Bearded Dragon Care Manual – The Ultimate Care Guide for Raising a Happy, Healthy Bearded Dragon.

      My cousin and the co-author worked on the formatting for Kindle. 🙂 No apologies needed at all for questions! Questions are always good

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