I Didn’t Turn Out “Okay”

I found this via The Friendly Atheist and I had to post it here, as it was pretty relevant to me: In Court, Christian Parents Claim a Biblical Right to Spank Their Foster Children.

Apparently, these people want to take in foster children and give them a home. Sounds pretty noble, right? There’s only one problem: they believe in “spare the rod, spoil the child” and discipline by spanking. When a social worker who was interviewing them heard this, the response was simple: “No.”

Now, the couple in question did try to compromise; they have said that they wouldn’t hit the foster children, only their biological children. (Yeah, you read that right. Just how fucked up is that?) But still they were told “no”. Of course, the couple is claiming discrimination, but the most horrifying thing is the fact that they see absolutely nothing wrong with striking their children. They don’t see any of the negatives that have been spelled out in published studies. Nope, their kids are just fine. Nothing to see here, move along, you looky-loos!

If it sounds familiar, it is. This has been the one piece of evidence that spanking is a valid form of discipline and not abuse: “I was spanked as a kid and I turned out okay.”

Here’s the problem: I was spanked as well. I didn’t turn out okay.

My mother was pretty darned Christian–she attended a local Kingdom Hall when I was a child–and she was a staunch believer in physical discipline. Her excuse was that she used her open hand and not a belt, like her father had done to her. So to her, she wasn’t beating or abusing me, she was just disciplining me. Out of love. She did it all out of love.

Every time my mother struck me, I hated her. With each slap, I hated her. With each spanking, I hated her. With each and every screamed threat that was lobbed at me, I hated her. Slowly but surely, the love I felt for my mother was eroded and replaced with little more than animosity because of her supposed “loving discipline”. I never respected her, I never appreciated her attempts at discipline, I never thought she did any of this out of any sort of caring. If anything, I saw her doing this because she was a terrible person and ill-equipped to raise a child. All the spankings I received did little more than undermine my relationship with my mother; it may have stopped the unwanted behavior, but at a cost, one that I don’t think my mother can quite understand. Needless to say, I have very little contact with my mother.

The physical remnants are gone–I carry no welts from those days–but the psychological remnants still remain. I have terrible self-esteem. If anyone raises their voice to me, it’s all I can do not to run for cover. I have a deep mistrust for female authority figures, especially if they are blonde. In general, I don’t trust a lot of women at all; I trust men much more, as my father wasn’t abusive towards me. The list could go on, but I won’t bore you with it. You get the idea. In my case, spanking may have discouraged any “bad” behavior but it came at a mental cost. Sure, to some spanking is a great way to discipline their children; besides, they were spanked as kids and turned out okay. So it’s not abuse at all, right?

Hardly. I was spanked too. I didn’t turn out okay.

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About Silverwynde

I'm a Transformers fan, Pokémon player, Brewers fan and all-out general nerd. I rescue abandoned Golett, collect as many Bumblebee decoys and figures as I can find and I've attended every BotCon since 1999. I'm also happily married to a fellow Transfan named Prime and we are both owned by a very intelligent half-Siamese cat. Life is pretty darned awesome.
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3 Responses to I Didn’t Turn Out “Okay”

  1. ~daiAtlas says:

    Sorry for the late response, still trying to get used to your new location. 🙂

    Ah, spanking. Many adults believe they have a divine right to do that.For the many times my ex-stepfather Danilo would do that simply because of my emerging sexual orientation, what was worse was that my mother Ana would let it happen and also partake in it herself. In private and in public, she would spank and insult me in front of strangers, friends and even family. In 1987 on my 11th birthday she spanked me simply because I wanted to help put up a piñata. This action of hers instilled a hatred of having my birthday celebrated. In future years whenever they’d want to throw 1, I would flat out refuse saying, “I DON’T WANT IT!” I would not start getting over this beginning in 2003…

    Into my teen years the abuse would continue. So much to the point that I began telling Ana, “If you keep doing this to me, do not expect me to help you when you get older.” Maybe it wasn’t the greatest thing to tell your mother but with her not growing any wiser year after year, in September 5, 1993, everything changed. 6 months before I turned 18, I walked out on her. It is a day I commemorate every year as “Autonomy Day.” In her righteous “disbelief” her reaction of, “how dare you do this to me, the woman who gave birth to you?!” was met by my response of, “You adults think you have the right to treat children whatever way you want? Well, I’m an adult now. Now I have the right to treat YOU however I want!” And I decided to take my chances on my own by myself in Los Angeles rather than move with them up to the San Francisco Bay Area and stay with them.

    Since I struck out on my own I’ve had my shares of professional and personal successes and failures. Ana and Danilo have themselves to thank for developing me into the serious man I became. As years are now turning into decades, she has come to see that I meant what I said when I told her not to expect me to help her as she’d grow older. I don’t like to be cruel to people but I decided that instead of doing something even more drastic, I would simply inflict on her the torment of never knowing whatever became of me for the rest of her life. Whenever she tries to track me down, she fails to book me on her guilt trips. She had the audacity to even send an email while me, Defensis Prime and Silverwynde all lodged together for BC ’12 in Dallas, TX. She almost ruined my vacation with my best friends on that weekend…

    I still maintain a pipe hope that parents should think very carefully about how they treat their children growing up. Even if their cases don’t turn out like my scenario, parents and children would spare themselves unnecessary drama. Again, like I told my folks, If you think you can treat me any way you want now, that poor decision will haunt them for the rest of your lives – the very period they will need their adult children to take care of them…

    ~daiAtlas

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Silverwynde says:

    Don’t worry about it; I’m getting used to the new site myself. But man, it’s so much easier to use than Blogger!

    DA, it blows my mind just how parents think they can treat their children, then wring their hands later and wonder just what “went wrong”. A lot of people don’t understand that no, you do not “own” your children and this ties into that. The mindset that I’ve dealt with while living in the South was “I’ll discipline my child however I want!” And by discipline, they mean spank or even worse, beat. It’s revolting.

    Your feelings about your birthday sum up how I feel about Thanksgiving: I’d rather skip it, thanks to the drama. Ugh, I don’t even like cooking on that day. All the drama just ruined it for me. I made a post about it, it was that bad. =/

    Ah, BotCon 2012. I remember Texas, the land of bad drivers and pollen. And the weirdest interstate system I had ever seen. “There’s our hotel! Now we just have go three miles to the next exit and double back a few miles to get there…” I just had no idea you had to deal with that sort of email drama then, though. Sorry about that. Here’s hoping that it never happens again.

    Like

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