When I was 12 or so, I  vowed never to fight with my parents the way I’d heard teenagers did. This vow didn’t last very long, naturally, and I’m not really sure why or how it started, but we started fighting. And how we fought. I think it started off pretty innocently, with just the frequency of quarrels going up. After a while mom and I could hardly be in the same room without having vicious scream-fests. Dad was rarely involved in the actual fighting, since he hates when people fight. Sometimes mom would go and have a talk with him about me after fights, and he’d always, unquestioningly, take her side. The fighting in itself was pretty bad, but what was worse was that we never talked things over afterwards. Mom, or dad, depending on the extent of the fight, would come and say “We’re not fighting anymore, okay”, and if I didn’t say I was sorry there’d be another day of terse conversations and uneasiness. I can’t ever remember talking things through with less heated feelings. Leaving the problems unsolved like this made the fights pile on top of each other, so that each fight was merely a continuation of the previous one, turning the periods of time in between into tense cold wars that could turn into full-blown nuclear warfare at any time.

My parents didn’t trust me at the time, either. Except for the fights, I was a goody two-shoes who did her homework, always went to school, never stayed out late on school nights (well… I didn’t have any friends to stay out late with for a while, but that’s beside the point). I didn’t even taste alcohol until the fighting was a regular occurrence. I didn’t smoke when the fighting started, and I didn’t touch drugs (and still don’t). Despite all this my parents were convinced that the only explanation for my behaviour was that I was high. They tried to make me tell them about the drugs I did, and every time I was late home mom would sniff my breath. I think she once even looked at my arms for needle marks. I was 15 and didn’t even know anyone using anything else than tobacco, alcohol and sometimes weed. Being constantly distrusted is a great incentive to start doing a lot of things you’re not supposed to. I figured, what the hell, they think I’m doing this anyway, I might as well start. Around the same time I started hanging out with a group of girls who were not the best company for anyone. At 15, I started drinking, smoking and making out with strange, older boys at parties were we flirted and wore revealing tops to score booze. It’s a fucking miracle I wasn’t raped then, or got robbed, or got otherwise exploited.

Sometimes during the fights, I’d have out-of-body experiences. I’d see myself kinda from the side, hearing me yell and cuss and rant, unable to do anything to stop it. I was so angry my anger took on a life of its own, completely controlling me. I could only watch what it’d make me do, and hope it would subside eventually. One incident I remember especially, was when we had a huge fucking row in the upstairs hallway. I can’t remember what it was about, but I remember seeing myself from outside my body, angry tears running down my face, arms gesticulating wildly, my voice almost cracking as I bellowed obscenities at my parents. I remember thinking, What the fuck am I doing? I felt backed into a corner, and fought like a trapped animal. Once when we started fighting while I was cutting bread, I almost stabbed my dad. The impulse was so strong I nearly did it, but instead I put the knife down and walked away. That still is, to this day, one of the scariest moments in my life.

One morning when mom and I had had another run-of-the-mill-fight the previous evening, dad came and wanted to talk to me while I was having breakfast. Mom came too, and stood behind him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad so angry before. He explained what mom had told him I’d done, and warned me to never do it again. Problem was, mom’s version of events when we fought always greatly differed from mine. And my version never counted for anything. I’m not saying he should have listened to me without questions, but the way my version of the happenings always was forcibly ignored made me question if what I thought I had experienced really had happened. This time, I started to explain, but he cut me off, saying he didn’t want to hear my lies, and that all I ever did was lie.

It was like he struck me in my face. I knew mom’s and my versions differed, but I never knowingly lied about what I’d done. I started crying, trying to tell him that it wasn’t like that, I wasn’t lying. I looked at mom to back me up, to somehow dampen his anger. She looked me in the eye and said he’s right, you need to stop lying about our fights. I’ve never felt so alone in my life. I was pretty sure things had not gone down the way mom said. I knew I hadn’t dreamed my version of it. But standing there, with my parents telling me all I thought I’d seen happen hadn’t happened made me doubt my perception of the events. Maybe they were right? They seem to think so, I thought. It felt like balancing on the edge of a bottomless pit, like maybe the entire world, all I thought I knew, wasn’t like I thought it was. It felt like the walls billowed around me, the room shrank, all there was was me on the chair, not knowing what was true and what was false. The realization that my word was worth nothing horrified me. It still does, to this day.

I think the constant questioning of what I had seen had really happened or not that I had to do during those years still is haunting me. It landed me in a abusive (psychologically, not physically) relationship with a controlling SOB for three years (more on that another day). It still, eight years later, makes me question if I really share the same reality as others when I strange things happen. I’m still not sure if the things I perceive is real or not.

I still spend time with my parents. I like them. I just don’t like our history together, or the fact that these things were never discussed. I think my mom sometimes blame herself for me being mentally unsound now, and I don’t have the heart to tell her that I think those years contributed to how I feel today. This is a lonely place to be.