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May 25th, 2013 08:08 PM #11
It's good to be thinking of all this early on. IMO, the earlier you start self-reflection the better. Some people never do, so you're a step ahead of them! Here's the thing, you have a long time to figure it out, and that's a good thing. If you're 18, you have 20 years before the window for babies starts closing. That's longer than you've been alive, and gives you lots of time to figure yourself out. You'll change, and then change again during that time. I'm not saying wait until you're 38, I'm simply saying you have time. Especially starting the process as early as you are.
I've had some really terrible experiences with men. I'll go ahead and be totally open with you because I want you to know there's hope in learning to love and trust men. I was abandoned by my birth father; sexually, mentally and physically abused by my adoptive father; my first love ended up being married; I was raped at 23 by two men at a party. I had major, major issues with men. I too came to the conclusion that I'd never learn to trust them, and that I'd end up being a single mother. I even tried a relationship with a woman in hopes it would fill the need I had to love and be loved; she didn't (I had to learn to love myself first), and it turned out women can be just as damaging as men. We're all just people.
What worked for me? Therapy. And more therapy. And then some more. I've done one on one, group therapy, online therapy, books, self-help, shamans and new age therapy... I've tried it all. I can't say one form worked better than the other, and obviously it's different for everyone. Talking, and thinking, and self exploration, that's all it's about. And it's so important, because what if you have a son? How will you show him what it means to be loved, to be proud of his gender, if you can't trust men? There's so much more our children learn from us than just what we tell them; it's how we interact with the world around us that teaches them. Whether you decide to be a single mother or not is your decision, but regardless of the conclusion you come to, it's so very important to learn to trust and love men.
Start by befriending them. They're really not that different. Just like not all women are like your mother (you're proof of that), not all men are like your father. I eventually fell in love with a friend. It was an exclusively online friendship, and we talked for years before meeting. For me, that worked. I was able to learn to trust him without having to be with him. We've lived together 5 years now, and we've had our bumps and learning curves, but I trust him, both with myself and with any children we may someday have, which was always my biggest fear with men. I'm still learning. Right now, I don't fully understand what a healthy father-child relationship is, and that's something I'll have to learn when we have kids, but I'm not afraid of it anymore. I'm more curious, and a little excited.
Take it slow. If someone wants to rush you, move on. Let that be your number one rule when befriending or romancing someone. You're in charge of the pace. A person who cares about you, or wants the opportunity to grow to care about you, will allow you that. If they don't, that's a pretty good indicator that they're not worth your time. Even if you're living at home, you can make new friends in college. Get involved in something you care about, a political group, saving animals or the planet, an art group, a math group, wherever your interests are. That's one thing about college, there's a group for everything!
I can't say much on the shy front as I'm not very shy, but I imagine it's similar to not being able to trust a gender. You have to push yourself to open up, because it's worth it. It's going to be hard; do it anyway. Make an effort to start smiling at people, look them in the eye, ask questions, answer questions, find things to connect with. If you haven't been very vocal in your classes, start doing that. If another student says something you liked in class, go up to them after class and let them know. If you disagree with what they say, go up to them and tell them you'd love to hear what more they have to say on the subject because you've always thought differently. Once you make a group of friends, you can start looking for alternative housing.
Yes, it's going to be more expensive than living at home, but if you want to heal, I strongly encourage you to leave your parent's house as it sounds like it's been toxic for you. You say you're repulsed by your father, and it sounds like you resent your mother. You have to leave. You're number one, and until you've done some healing, how can you expect to raise confident, happy, well-adjusted little people? You can't. You'll just pass on your own issues to them until someone breaks the cycle. Why not be the one to break it, and start showing your sister what it means to be in charge of your own destiny?
I can honestly say that I appreciate men now. I don't make friends easy (male or female), but the handful I have are wonderful, and they include people from all walks of life, both male and female. We're all a work in progress, and we're all flawed or damaged in ways we can't easily change, but we're all just people.Cordelia Eilonwy Snow | Thisbe Wildrose ● Damian Sparrow | Malachi Tristan Bjorn
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May 25th, 2013 10:29 PM #13Senior Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
I do think that once you are married you become a team and especially once you are parents you have to have a united front when it comes to discipline so that boundaries are clear and the child/children don't get mixed messages or find holes in the system...but at age 18 my advice is to find a group of girls that you could split rent in if you have an income, or find a job so you can eventually get out. I managed to move out by working as a waitress & bartender one summer, once school started I bartended the weekends and lived very frugally and got by in a place shared with 3 other girls. That way you can distance yourself from your parents. I didn't ever live in dorms because it was more expensive/less freedom.
May 26th, 2013 01:59 AM #15
I see that you've already gotten so much great advice and sympathetic stories but your post really struck a chord in me so I wanted to comment too. But I'll try to keep it short!
Most importantly, please know that things will get so much better once you move out. Whenever that may be, whether it's a couple of months or 2 more years, your life will drastically improve once you can step away from the negativity and drama you face at home and can be on your own. I know it can be really hard to see that at this point but believe me, it's out there waiting for you. My parents fought like cats and dogs when I was a teenager and it was hellish to be around. But do not, for even one more minute, think that just because this is the life your parents are choosing to lead that you will end up stuck on the same path. You are clearly very intelligent and thoughtful and you are in control of how your future turns out - the kind of relationship/marriage you have (if you choose to have one), your children and your relationship with them, etc.. That's not to say it's ever easy - but it is within your control.
Someone has already mentioned therapy, I also second that completely. Find a good quality therapist that you feel comfortable with and it can completely change everything. I'm 34 and I've been in therapy since I was 19. Over the last couple of years, it's really begun to make huge changes for me, in very positive ways. I can't recommend it enough - just be sure to find a good therapist. There are lots of lousy ones out there, keep looking til you find one you like!
Lastly, there are many, many wonderful men out there that don't act the way your father does. There are plenty of men that are loving and kind and in control of their emotions and temper and that will treat you as wonderful as you deserve. And they'll be fantastic fathers too. And once you find the guy that does catch your interest, you become a team and you work at it ("it" being everything) together. Again, does this mean it's easy? Never! But you make a commitment to each other and you work it out, together, as you go. That's what a real, adult, loving relationship is about. My husband and I have been through plenty of tough times but we love each other and we're a team - and when things get really hard, we go to counseling together and keep working. And it's amazing and he's my best friend and the best thing that's ever happened to me.
So you have a lot on your plate and I'm so sorry that you have to deal with all of this. Just keep an eye on the future and know that it will get better - because you deserve better and you're fully capable of making it happen for yourself! <<hugs>>
May 26th, 2013 02:24 AM #17
Is marriage really the way my mom says? It certainly doesn't have to be
Do you have to go along with whatever punishment your partner is using, even if you know its not right? It generally is best to present a united front with punishment, but if one of you goes to far, it is absolutely correct to step in and stop them. My mother has stepped in before and said, "Dad, that's too harsh. Stop!" Then explained later just to me, "You should not have done X and Y, but what he did was wrong also and he needs to take responsibility for his actions."
Punishment should be discussed ahead of time between partners. Often times it will be different for different children, or you'll have to alter the way you handle situations based on knowing your own tendencies and limits.
How do you know that your partner is who they appear to be? How do you know they aren't going to change after having kids? Everyone changes to some degree, no one stays the same. However, if you are helping each other to grow in a positive direction, that change can be a good thing. Marriage is the closest friendship you'll ever have. Your spouse knows you better than anyone and if you allow them can be a great source for positive growth in your life. They can show you your weaknesses in a loving way and encourage you to become more and more who you truly want to be.
Don't rush into things, and make sure you're looking at a partner's life as a whole and not just at what they say or how they act. How does he act when someone cuts him off while driving? How does he talk to people who are serving him? What are his goals? Is he willing to work hard for what he wants? Would he use vaguely unethical methods if they were available? How do his friends talk to him when they don't know you're around? All of these things can give you hints as to who someone really is and not just what they say when directly questioned or when he want to impress you.
How do I loosen up around guys? This I can't answer. I was a total spaz around almost every guy I met, until I met my husband. It was the weirdest thing. It was like, suddenly, around him, I felt calm and collected and fabulous.
I will say, don't freak out. If your primary goal for hanging out with guys is, "I have to find a guy so I can get married and have kids!" That's gonna throw off huge wafts of freakish crazy that guys will pick up on. Just focus on, "Is this guy nice? Is he fun and sweet?" You can worry about the rest later.
If I chose never to get married, how hard do you think it would be to raise one or two kids on my own, starting in my late twenties? Hard. Not impossible, but hard.
I know this is a strange thing to ask but I just can't imagine my future without kids in it. If I don't learn how to trust men then how will I ever have a family? Honestly, if distrust of men and a burning passion to have kids is your obsession, then you're putting yourself on a downhill track. There ARE wonderful, kind, loving, happy, fun, good men out there--but you usually find then when you're not focused on "the hunt". Go on a service trip to help fix up an orphanage, go to the local soup kitchen and volunteer, get involved with a local charity that helps kids, help walk dogs at an animal shelter nearby---good guys are out there doing good things so meet them where they are, not in dodgy bars or at the market. Find a passion and then match your passion to someone else's. That's a firm foundation for a friendship and a marriage!Top Names: Benedict Zeal & Noelle Geneva
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May 26th, 2013 11:12 AM #19Senior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2012
I agree with so much advice on here.
My situation is similar except my mom is the one with rage issues; she yells, screams, punches, slaps, andnoften says she wishes I were dead.
My dad is generally calm and level headed with the occasional moment of pure fury. I always received physical punishments. It didn't hurt me so I'm not opposed to them in extreme situations but I would never spank my child while angry. My dad also likes to scream and my mom invariably interrupts or negates punishments which is very confusing. Honestly if one parent disagrees with a punishment they need to discuss it in private and later come to the child as a "united front" and explain why the punishment is being changed.
I had serious trust issues from previous relationships. Try to make a male friend. I lucked out and my male friend wound up being extremely gentle and found ways to work around my trust issues. I'm now engaged to him and our relationship is great.
I would definitely live with someone before marrying them. Like someone said, its hard to hide parts of yourself when you're in constant close contact. I'm forgoing the living together due to circumstance and relying on the fact that I've known him for almost 6 years and have seen him at his best and worst.
You could definitely be a single mom. I know quite a few and they're normally great. You just have to be willing to try to be both mom and dad. But it can and does work.
If you decide to have kids with someone you're in a relationship with make sure they know what parenting style you have and you know there's. Make them as close to one style as you can. OH thinks that physical punishment is always okay. I think it should be used sparingly. So for small children who can't or won't reason a light smack on the rear is okay. For excessive energy that's disruptive a lap around the house or a few push ups is okay. Most 18 year olds don't have a style but we've been babysitting together (ages newborn to 14) for 3 years. We've learned how the other works.