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Hello, new here. Interesting site. I think its pretty cool theres a board where you can talk about this kind of stuff. Honestly, out in day to day life, you can't really talk about this kind of stuff with people you work with or outside of very very close friends.
I was essentially raised by a feminist and wanted to share my experiences from it, because I think alot of folks point out the here and now ( i.e. their divorces or losing their kids to Family Court) but I think the destructive road to feminism started much earlier for all of us. The red flags and warning signs were there, but maybe we didn't always know how to see them.
The following will probably be pretty long. Thanks in advance to anyone who sticks around to read it. But its my experiences from basically being raised as a child by a feminist.
I think my Mom changed the most when I was in my early teens, my Pops had passed away and she was stuck raising a bunch of kids on her own. It was a tough deal and it was during a time when there was probably less of a support structure for widows. What I started to see happening, even as a young age, was my Mom started to just resent men. Maybe its because my Pops had passed away, and she was very upset that now she was in this world alone.
So being a male, I noticed a shift. My sisters were always treated well. Probably better than me and my brother, but hey, we didn't say anything. We were kids, we didn't understand much and me and my brother were basically the 'men of the house' We didn't have the right to complain anymore. That was ok with me, I felt then and I do now, that some of that is part of the social contract. Your Pops dies, you step up, its your duty as a son.
So then I notice that every other conversation, what few there were, with my Mom was essentially a tirade against men. Men couldn't be relied on. My Pops wasn't a good father. I was another in a long line of future soon to be failures in my family, like she decided for herself, all the other men. Me and my brother had it rough, he was older than me and left the house when he hit 18. But I was alot younger and my view on it was raising kids alone had to be hard, I wasnt going to complain. I would just say nothing. So it kept on.
When I made a mistake. Usually something like not arranging the chairs around the table the right way or not stacking the mail properly, my Mom stopped buying groceries for a few weeks. Didn't stop her from putting what money she did have into buying a way too expensive house and luxury car for herself though. I was young, I didn't understand much, so I looked for a job. I figured, well, my brother is gone now, I'm the man of the house, theres no food, I have to buy it. This is what my Mom ingrained in me from a young age. That men were worthless unless they could provide. And that was their fundamental purpose.
So I stole food. I went to grocery stores and stole food. Because I was hungry. My sisters however, they were taken out, got new clothes, were taken out to eat. At least until they were old enough to leave the house. But if one of them came home late or too late or didn't come home at all as a teenager ( they were given no discipline) then suddenly my Mom would drag me out of bed in the middle of the night. Yelling at me for hours and hours about how I was the man of the house and how I was, even as a young teenager, doing a lousy job of it and how I was supposed to protect my sisters.
So youre gonna ask. Why didn't you tell someone? Why didn't anyone else say anything? Well to be honest, my parents were detached from their other relatives, mostly because they immigrated to the US, so there were no aunts or uncles or cousins or grandparents around as a support structure. The few friends my Mom did have saw what was happening but said nothing, because I think people are hesistant to tell someone how to raise their children, even if what they see is something they know is wrong. And me? Well I was a kid, I thought this was how men had to be. They had to be strong and silent and provide. My brother left home and never looked back, he never mentored me or talked to me. My sisters learned early on that interfering with my Moms feminist rages were useless so they stopped even trying.
I escaped by reading. I probably read more than any other kid I knew. And the stories , some of the old ones, talked about how life in the old days was tough. Sons had to man up early and provide. And how in the old days, sons would work and bring their paycheck home sealed and give it to their widowed mothers. That was what was right and good. I worked, and it was then that I could finally stop stealing food and could actually buy myself new clothes. Socially it was tough, its tough for kids who are the ones who didn't have new clothes. It was tough for hte kids who had to wear the same clothes everyday and get taunted.
So I got my first paycheck , and tried to give it to my Mom, the way the books said it was done in the old school, the way things were done by young men of character. And I thought that if money was always a problem, or so my Mom said, that if she had money, if there was more money, if I could provide, like she said my responsibility, that she would love me. Thats how I equated love, if I could provide, that she would finally love me.
But by then she had found a boyfriend, one who was not scared off by a 'woman with too many damn kids' as she put it. She still didn't buy any groceries for me, my sisters were all out of hte house now and I was only in high school. But she was never too much of a feminist to let this new boyfriend take her out to dinner and buy her gifts. And I thought that would make things better for her, that finally a man could provide for her and things would be better. People always told me after my Dads funeral, its gonna be hard for your Mom to raise kids on her own, you have to show more patience with her. And that was the line they always said when they saw my Mom doing patently abusive things. Even the people from Church said it.
So when I tried to give her the money from my first paycheck, she laughed at me. It was only maybe a 100 dollars or so, but you know at 16, and for a kid who never had an allowance or new clothes, this was a vast sum. She laughed and said my money was 'small potatoes' Then she proceeded to cook some steaks for her boyfriend. And finally I was angry, and she said 'What are you angry? He does things for me, he buys things for me, what do you do for me?'
So I saved my money, best I could, bought my own groceries, confused as to why other kids in schools, their parents loved them and mine didn't love me. And I thought that no one would ever love me, particularly no woman, if I didn't have money, if I couldnt provide. And it couldn't just be 'small potatoes', it had to be something much larger than that.
I went to college, worked graveyard shifts to pay for it myself, and put msyelf through school. Got a job, worked real hard, tried to make a better life for myself. I got out of the toxic environment. And I thought to myself, ok my Mom is one way, shes just one person, the rest of the women in the world can't be like that. I was wrong.
- My first girlfriend cheated on me, said I worked too much, that I had no 'emotion' in me. Was upset that I could not yet afford a car to drive her around. Told me I lacked excitement because I didnt want to go to the clubs or raves. She plainly told me "Don't love you anymore, you're too boring" But I kept my ear to the ground and found out she left because I didn't have a car. My first real world lesson that many women in the dating world only care about material possessions. (And yes, I understand if you want to be a teenager and date, a car is huge factor) What I didn't know is I dodged a huge bullet. Her parents were not well off, might have explained her need to overcompensate by having or wanting expensive things, and her Mom said " Jacks got a future, he'll be able to look after us " Last I heard she didn't do very well in college, shes now working at a Jamba Juice.
- Second girlfriend, after the beginning, was ungrateful and selfish. Was not hard to see after a while. I paid for everything ( I again thought this man up chivalry old school bullshit was the norm) and she complained about everything. Nothing was good enough. If I didn't buy her enough gifts I was 'cheap' If I did, I was a 'good' boyfriend. After a short while, I finally had enough and that ended. Last I heard shes married, working part time and saddled down some guy with two kids.
- Girl I grew up with since elementary school was a 'friend' of mine. I never had interest in her, she never had interest in me, I thought this could work ok. A girl who was just a friend because there was no sexual interest. She would call me and complain, and complain about her life. I listened for a while. I thought we were friends. Then when I had an issue, she'd dismiss me and change the subject. She got pregnant early on in life, had a kid, and sent her to live with her grandmother. She confided in me that she was seeing a guy at her work ( the father of her kid was long gone by then) but he was into weird things. And that he wasn't too into her having kids. Suddenly the conversations got stranger and stranger. She was consistently upset about being a mother, she kept saying she didn't want her kid, she said her grandmother could do a better job of raising her. Then she talked about how she had the urge to hit her kid all the time, that she wanted to do it because the kid wouldn't stop crying. I told her that I could not be her friend anymore. That I would not stand by and watch her beat her kid and say nothing about it. That people ignored what was done to me and I could not do the same. And I told her, that on a matter of principle, if she ever beat her kid again, I would know, I would find out, and then her life would be in forfeit to me. She didn't beat her kid anymore, I guess other folks heard what happened and what I had said and stopped being her friend too and stopped talking to her. Shes now a lesbian, mostly so theres someone else 'to pay half the rent who isn't going to annoy me like a man'
- Guy I grew up with, I had not seen him for a long time, came back to the States. We hung out. He was alot older. Probably 6 years older than me. And he was like a big brother to me. He tried to guide me and help me and teach me things. And it was a nice time, to know that I had someone in my life who would try to explain things to me, to school me in how to conduct myself as a good man, how to be a stand up guy in the world as you get older. He was a blue collar guy. Worked in factory but his live in gf worked a white collar advertising job. In his mid twenties, he developed cancer. After his first long stretch in the hospital, he had chemo. When his gf drove him home, she said she couldn't be with him anymore. She said she was a Christian and how its was sin for them to live together out of wedlock. So he says " What about the four years we've been living together in sin? Didn't bother you then?" So he said ok, if its a problem then lets get married. She said no, and moved out. I found out later that she had been cheating on him while he was in the hospital dying of cancer. He died a year later. He still loved her, told me he still loved her. He told me that if he had money, if he wasn't just a factory worker, but someone with alot of cash, she would have stayed and how I should always remember that when times are tough, thats when you know who loves you. Last I heard shes in jail. She hooked up with a 'bad' boy gangster type and he used her car to move assault rifles and other illegal weapons around to sell or something. She was going to the store one night, was pulled over for speeding and took the rap for the weapons charges on her own. She stood up for some gangster scum, doing time for him, but wouldn't stand by my brother ( he was my brother no matter what blood said or some documents said, he was my brother because he took the time to look after me and tried to make me a better man. Sometimes things transcend an actual blood tie. ) when he was dying.
- All my friends, everyone I knew from high school and college who got married are either divorced or living miserably because they are trapped by a mortgage and kids.
- I had taken a pretty bad accident at work and ended up in the hospital. I was having a tough time and tried to call my sister a couple of times a week and talk to her. I was under alot of duress about work stress and after a while she said she said she was having problems wiht her husband and she had no time to talk to me. Finally her husband was apparently upset that I was calling my sister because it was interfering with their 'time' So she came to visit me in the hospital and immediately started telling me her marriage was in the crapper and how I shouldn't be calling her house anymore and how I was ruining her marriage and how it was my fault. She got home and talked to her husbands parents, and they told her to go back and apologize. That her brother was in the hospital and she can't dump her marriage woes on him because he will never forgive her. She apologized, but the hurt was there, I do love my sister, but I was pretty upset about it all. Shes still married, her husband ended up with cancer and other physical ailments a few years later. I guess he knows now what its like to be laid up in a hospital with your body battered and broken.
So I realized, that how I perceive women now is shaped by how my Mom raised me and from all the things I was exposed to growing up. I dont hate women, I certainly don't trust them, but I don't hate them. I felt it was a waste of energy to hate them universally. I only direct my anger at the ones who wrong me specifically. By all accounts, I'm pretty lucky I didn't get scarred more than I did. I'm lucky I didn't buy into the program of feminism where men are just there to earn and shut up. I realize that love is for the most part conditional in our world, even with our families, but it doesn't have to be that way, there are good people out there if we are lucky enough to find them. By all accounts, I'm a regular guy. I do have issues with trust and I am a bit of a commitment phobe. And I am frugal ( I still hide cans of food in my closet, the terror of being a kid and having no food still haunts me sometimes)
Sometimes I feel something is missing. Like I see a family together in a park or a person talking about their kids or talking to their parents in a friendly way and I feel odd. Not jealous, I guess I don't know how to relate. I've decided early on not to get married or have kids. I never wanted to be under that kind of pressure again, to 'provide' or have someone throw that in my face. I never wanted to risk making the same mistakes as my parents made with me. ( Whether we like it or not, we all have alot of our parents in us) I realize now that the girls I was dating, I was really dating women like my Mom but didn't see that. Which is why I think some guys are predisposed to having problems with women, they have had bad experiences with women early and they are unconsciously finding their way towards toxic people of the same ilk.
Society says that a man has to love his family at all costs. And that was where alot of my confusion lay. Society says you are supposed to love and honor your parents. That you have to be a good son, a dutiful son. Then you get a parent who doesn't deserve it. In the end, I think the only way a child can resolve that is to hate themselves. Because in the end, the part of their parents they learn to hate is the same part of themselves that is undeniably linked to their abusive parent.
For many of you, maybe the confrontation with feminism started later in life, but for alot of us, I think it started much earlier. And much more insidiously. I no longer believe in the full time Gary Cooper man up bullshit. I do think men shouldn't cry unless they are caught in a beartrap or are watching the movie Rudy, but I also believe men today in the modern world have to find an outlet, a way to release the pain and suffering in a constructive but discrete way. To do otherwise is pure madness.
For those of you who are parents out there and are trying your best to do right by your children. Even in the face of an ungrateful or entitlement having ex spouse. I applaud you, I honor you. I hope and pray those children can be blessed with what many of us never had.
I understand now that while we have every right to be bitter, we can't allow the people in our lives who hurt us to have that power over us. Because when we give them that, that part of ourselves, we have really given them everything. I realize now I am still trying to find the same thing that I was looking for when I was ten years old, I'm still looking for hope. And if we hold onto that, thats how we save ourselves. Thats how we are gonna save our children.
And if you stayed around long enough to read this, then thanks for giving me the opportunity to share.