What are the true consequences of abused and neglected children on society? Becoming Retrocentrics is the least of our worries.
Bullying: Already Abused Enough At Home.
My sister posted something on Facebook that started an honest discussion about bullying and what causes it.
The girl you just called fat? She's been starving herself & has lost 1 lbs. The boy you just called stupid? He has a learning disability & studies 4hrs a night. The girl you just called ugly? She spends hours putting makeup on hoping people will like her. The boy you just tripped? He is already abused enough at home. There's more to people than you think. Post this as your status if you're against bullying!
The sentence ďThe boy you just tripped? He is already abused enough at home. There's more to people than you thinkĒ really spoke to me and I wanted to use this opportunity to discuss a much deeper issue. This isnít just bullying; itís a symptom of a much bigger problem - Child Abuse and Child Neglect. Iím going to share with you guys something Iíve only written about on my own site in the hopes of better understanding for someone else who went through what I went through, or those who are now.
Being abandoned by one parent via alcoholism and divorce at an early age has a deeply profound and negative effect on a child. Thereís a lot of wondering about what really happened and no matter what anyone says that child is going to blame themselves. Couple that with a stressed out mom who used to yell ďYouíre just like your father!Ē ďYouíre not my son!Ē ďYou rotten little bastard,Ē ďYouíre a little shit,Ē and other such nonsense when angry and frustrated, what effect do you think that has on a child and how is he going to feel? What do you think his self-image is like?
On top of that, what do you think a small boy is going to feel and think of himself when he has the perception that neither his uncles nor grandfather have any interest in him and donít care about his development or growth? Couple that when a new ďmale role modelĒ moves into his house and treats that boy like the alien intruder? What happens when this male role model verbally, physically, emotionally and sexually abuses him?
Nobody cares if this boy succeeds or fails, or so he believes. Nobody cares if heís good in sports, knows how to or goes through the usual rites of passage all the other boys go through. Then this boy gets picked on because he canít do the same things the other boys can thus becoming the constant target for ridicule and pranks. This boy will then do all the wrong things to feel included which could lead to teen-age addictions or alcoholism.
This is a formula for disaster, a crisis in the making. Thereís a vacuum here that could be filled by anything good or something evil and itís a luck of the draw what this boy obsesses over. It's kids like these that become a fanatical follower of ďanything.Ē Society created this new ďFrankensteinĒ and it ignores this child as he or she grows into adulthood at its own peril.
In my case I found an external role model and tried by best to emulate
that person the best I could. My ďFather-FigureĒ was constantly there for
me starting in 1977, then from 1980 to 1986 he was there for me at least
once a year and then showed me in 1989 that he (or at least one of his characters)
was ďjust like me.Ē Because of this ďfather-figureĒ I was pretty strange
and did some really odd and often times near-suicidal things.
I started doing some pretty horrible things to myself, hanging out with edgy people and picked fights with bigger boys whom I hoped would beat me to death because I hated myself and I hated my life regardless of any outward appearance and false bravado. I was hurting deeply and I wanted to end it all. Being told by some that ďI wish you were deadĒ didnít help matters either. Being ridiculed and told to ďfucking grow upĒ by those who were supposed to be my role models or family made the problem worse.
Towards the end I had an epiphany that lead to bad consequences for
those "close" to me.
Towards the end I had an epiphany that lead to bad consequences for those "close" to me.OK, you want to exclude me because Iím ďdifferentĒ because I tapped into something to fill the void you created, fine. Fuck youÖ Iím excluding you. Iím not a part of this family, then youíre not a part of mine. If Iím a misfit then Iím going to fit in with the other misfits regardless of what that means. Iíll find or create my own family.
That explains in part why I ran away from home when I did in the late 80ís and why I traveled the country and was homeless off and on between 1988 and 1996. I experienced a life out on the fringe fueled by the need to feel something, that I was special or doing something on the extreme. I wanted to live the life personified by one of my on-screen role models. I didnít want to be him, I wanted to be like him, his fedora-wearing contemporary.
My personal history also explains a lot of my extreme behavior on a lot of these forums and why Iím such a staunch defender of those like me. Much of what I wrote here is in the third person; not because Iím trying to disassociate myself from my past but because there have been so many times when Iíve had my own story repeated back to me with different names and details. It seems to me that in every town thereís a kid who was going through the same thing I went through and wanted to emulate the same heroes on screen. These kids and younger adults gravitated towards me and I became a leader for no other reason than Iím louder and further ahead on the curve than they are.
Many times Iíve received phone calls from a lot of you because you had no one else to turn to. Iíve been woken up in the middle of the night because some kid had a fight with his abusive or neglectful father who wanted to take away his fedora or punish him for wearing one. Iíve written a lot of private messages and IMís to kids who needed help, and messages to their parents. Iím not welcome in some circles because of my earnestness during my heavy drinking phase. Iíve never made threats of violence against those who have tried to hurt you, Iíve made promises. The rage of what happened to me comes out when I hear that itís happening to someone else.
There have been a couple of events in my recent past that made me realize that Iím actually not alone and in danger of alienating my own sons.
After my grandfatherís ashes were buried I was driving my sister and brother back to my house and we were talking about what just happened. My sister was crying out of anger and frustration; weíre morning the loss of a stranger. Nobody cared about us or what was happening, nobody stopped what was being done to us. We werenít included in anything that was happening on that side of the family. Why are we crying about the death of our grandfather when he didnít take an interest in us? Nobody did.
I think this lead to my brother finally leaving his abusive wife. Around this time he was arrested for driving my car down Main Street in Nashua, New Hampshire at 75 miles per hour. He had his license suspended and I drove him around everywhere I could. He and I talked a lot during this time and I heard his version of what happened during those years. I wasnít alone because he also had his own private hell. I was alone only in my own perception. We were all taking bites of this crap sandwich made for us in the dark.
There are moments when I stop and listen to what Iím saying to my sons and I have to ask, am I ending the cycle of violence, abuse and neglect? What am I doing to make sure that it ends with me in my past and that they will grow up with all the potential to be the person I could never be? How can I take what happened to me and turn that around and be the parent to them that I didnít have, and my father didnít have either since he also grew up in a broken home?
In the past couple of years Iíve reconciled with a lot of the people mentioned in this rant. Iíve asked for forgiveness from some of them, and forgiven a lot of others. If I donít do this then Iím just an angry fedora-wearing idiot who likes to show off his collection of grudges that also happens to be poisoning my days to come. I have to come to grips with the fact that those who abused or neglected me had the same experience and thatís all they knew.
This has to stop; because of the abuse and neglect weíre creating more monsters. Our society is in a perpetual cycle of creating little Frankensteins; my personality is the product of my messed-up childhood, so my children are going to have a hard time growing up because thatís all I knew, so my grandchildren will too? Who among us has the strength and courage to say ďthis is what happened to me, I canít allow it to happen again.Ē I refuse to pass on this toxic legacy to my children and the rest of my family. Iím going to continue to turn over the rocks in my past and pull the skeletons out of my closets and deal with them. I canít be alone and the only one doing this, though. I canít be the strongest person among all of us to try to stop the violence. The cost of not trying to end the cycle of abuse, neglect and bullying is of course escalating violence and a decaying, depraved society.
What more besides this one rant can I do for our community? Threatening or promising violence didnít seem to help the situation. What more can I do besides lending my voice to this cause? What can I do to help those of you in need? Iím at a loss and I need your help figuring this out. We have a thread on The Electric Speakeasy where you can post your responses and thoughts. There you can also post about how you handled bullying and what you think we can do to stop it now and in the future.
We need your help, and I hope youíll start by participating in that discussion if you havenít already.