• 2 weeks ago

I never really gave a thought about the way my family functioned, how…extreme it could be, one way or the other. Recently I came upon some psychology videos, and somehow two contradictory “tropes” both described what I went through. It was nothing either sexually nor physically abusive, mind you. I grew up as an only child, and, in some regards, I was both a Golden Child and a Scapegoat Child. My moments as a Golden Child were rare, but I think, they reinforced my belief that if I stepped slightly out of my parents’ orders, I would become the Scapegoat, always inadequate and worthless. I can say that, for the most part, I always looked to please my parents. For example, I always the people they wanted me to, regardless if they were my school bullies. So, you can imagine the “friendship” was an act. But I was all for pleasing people, doing everything they asked of me, as long as -in the end- it meant I would get praised and doted by my parents. I think other parents of the girls from my school (it was an all-girls school) figured out I was not really the popular kid, contradicting my parents’ praise of how such a kind and agreeable little girl I was. I suppose someone eventually told them I wasn’t really anyone’s friends. In all honesty, back then, I firmly believed my bullies were just jealous of just so special I was so they were horrible to me. I think that, even if I was sure I was hiding away all that hatred far from anyone’s sight, there’s only so much a 8 year old kid can do to fool adults.

I don’t remember exactly what it was that they stopped caring if I got friends or not, but it suddenly became all about my grades. How good I could do in school. This was important before, for sure. I loved working hard on my homework, and my “hobbies” were whatever I remembered my parents occasionally mentioned was “refined” or “elegant”. I never really ended up liking anything I picked up. In hindsight, it was just another step in trying to get attention and praise. It was between my 9th and 10th birthday that my grades became the only focus of their attention. Before, any grade that was 90% and above was good, something in the 80s was ok, and anything below 70% was pure garbage and brought me punishment. Again, nothing serious, just being confined to the silent treatment for three days or so, until I came up with a “study schedule” and stuck to it until the next test/homework. When I was around nine though, nothing became acceptable. If I aced anything, it was because the teacher made the homework/test intentionally easy, often saying that the next ones were going to be harder, again on purpose, to make everyone fail. Of course