||July 2nd, 2017 Sunday|| I've still been having a lot of nightmares lately. I also have a new location that I can't pinpoint either. Out of the recent nightmares, the most disturbing one involved me up in the mountains lost on nature paths and getting lured into an isolated location by these two old men to be sexually assaulted. In the dream, I straight up stated, "no, this is wrong, you're the wrong age, and I can see your faces and I don't know either of you, this is the wrong location" and named off a few other things that were "wrong" with the situation down to my age and appearance. I think this dream may have to do with me thinking about how I seemed pretty comfortable around old men in particular, from that old doctor I had as a kid to my grandfather as the only person I allowed as a child to know about my nightmares, whereas when I was a kid, I was really uncomfortable being around younger men. There didn't seem to be any pattern at all with women or teens and younger children of both sexes. A few days after that I had another dream about that shadow man. This time I was outside with him in the dark. I still couldn't make anything out about his face, but I couldn't escape from him either. There were familiar people in the dream, underneath streetlights, but I've already forgotten who was there. I feel like it was relatives I haven't seen in a long time, but I'm not sure. Streetlights have a "special" place in my memories as a location. I generally associate them with bad things, and a particular memory of my father. Sometime when I was really young, my dad was walking me out around the neighborhood at night. Someone else was there, I think? I don't remember my brother being there. I was the only kid, I'm pretty sure. I don't know where we were going or why we were walking around so late since that area was pretty dangerous, day or night. At some point, he takes me underneath a streetlight and tells me about how there's a face on it, a big scary face that shines down to scare off bad people at night and so if I'm out a night, I need to stay under the light. That sounds nice and all, but it mostly just made me terrified of both what was "lurking in the darkness" and how I'd be safe from them by going into the light instead of hiding somewhere also dark. He was trying to convince little kid me the face was some magic protector, but since I was already a highly skeptical child, I knew it wasn't and just became afraid of being out in the streets at night. I was very confused at the time if he thought it was seriously unsafe there, from my child's perspective, why he took me out in the streets at night in a dangerous location to begin with? I didn't believe then he could protect me any more than that light since I already knew people got shot up and stabbed around there and he was weaponless and in the light where everyone could see him. Looking back, while I'm still not sure why we were there, I can see that was another one of his "I'm going to be a wise parent and instill this pseudo-mystical thing into your head" moments. He had a lot of those, and they usually involved "faces" being in things that don't have faces. A spider's abdomen, the abstract pattern on a vase, anything that was just shapes. He'd force me to keep staring at it and stay near whatever it was until I said I also saw the face, but I never saw any faces. If I couldn't see it, he'd get upset with me that I wasn't being "creative" enough, which goes back to his weird I need to be a perfect artist/but get devalued any time I actually make something nice nonsense. I came to associate all streetlights with my father as a child, and I actively avoided looking up at them, at the "face" design because it only made me afraid and think of him. A strange fear. The lights that made me feel safe in the dark where the stars, the moon, my light-up shoes, and the bedroom light of my neighbor/friend who's window I could see from my window. I'd be able to sleep more easily if I could see one of those lights, especially that friend's light. He was allowed to stay up later than me and watch more adult-oriented shows late at night, and then he'd tell me all about them the next day. Once his light went out, I'd start to feel scared again. Now, I'm alone, I'd think, even though I shared a room with my brother at that point. My own room was a source of fear when the lights were off. Since as far back as I can remember, across three houses, that was true. I always had this fear that someone was going to come into my room at night, but I don't know when this fear exactly started. I know I had it in the first house we had, and I obviously wouldn't remember any time from when we lived in an apartment. I was only a baby then. My parents moved into the first house sometime around when I was at least a year old, then we lived in that house for a few years, then moved into the house directly across from it for a few years, then we moved a couple counties over. We stayed in that house for the rest of my elementary through high school years. I remember always having that fear. I could picture that person back then...as a shadow, now that I think about it. A figure of a man in the dark. I remember being so afraid of the shadow man getting in bed with me I would get out of my bed at night and sleep on my toy chest instead, and I would outright tell people I never had a bed while we lived at that house. I wouldn't leave the room either, trying to avoid going to the bathroom until morning if possible. I have a memory of going to the bathroom one night in that house, and the absolute feeling of dread and terror that that man was going to "catch" me in the dark. I was so afraid that I actually didn't end up using it because I was too afraid of being still for more than a few seconds and ran back to my room, slammed the door, and curled up on my toy chest and painfully held it until whenever my mom got up in the morning. I never fell back asleep that night. I told my mom that morning I didn't sleep and that I was worried about "someone in the house" watching me at night. Some man. My mom said there was no one in the house, and my dad said it was probably "the ghost" he claimed haunted the attic but I knew that was bullshit then. I remember some of my other relatives asking why I didn't sleep on my bed then, and my mom said it was because I refused to and that I for some "unknown" reason liked sleeping on my toy chest instead. She complained about it because my bed spread was such a "nice" one that it was going to waste, and I was a bad child for preferring to sleep without blankets or a pillow on some old piece of wood at night. I don't know how I did it. I had to have been freezing back then. My parents have always kept any house they had freezing cold, even more so at night, and I only slept in my underwear then. My parents kept that bed until we moved into the third house. In the second house, I was given that old mattress that got passed from one of my great-grandmother's to my uncle after she died and he got in that accident, then it was mine after he was able to move around again and work. That bed was kept in me and my brother's room in the second house, as a "day bed", it what they called it. If my grandmother from overseas came, she would use that bed usually, though sometimes my parents had her use my bed and I was moved to that bed instead. I hated it. I often refused to even get on that old bed of mine even during the day, and sleeping on it was even worse than trying to fall asleep in my usual bed. At some point, one of those times my grandmother came to stay for a week or so, I asked to share a bed with my brother over taking that bed. I typically complained if she was coming over, solely because I might have to give up my bed and go to that bed. That I would rather share a bed with my brother than sleep in my own bed simply because it was this one particular bed is so absurd. The bed was actually physically more comfortable than the other bed I usually slept in. Here's a bit of an oddity about all that though. I actually did like the bed at one point in time, the one I kept trying to avoid sleeping on. It was after we moved into the second house but before I was given the full size bed. Someone got me a new bed set, Jurassic Park themed, and some matching curtains. Once the bed had all that on it, I loved it! I didn't want to give it up for the full size bed with that weird set-up they had on it and see my sheets be immediately given to my brother while he was bought a new bed and I was handed down a several years old bed. I started to avoid my original bed after they did something specific to it--they put the old bed set on it. Then I didn't want to be anywhere near it. Somehow, that made it "different" in my mind, just by what sheets were on it. In the second house, we had a finished attic and my dad used to talk about how he was going to let me use that as my room once I was bigger, so my brother and I would have our own rooms. I kept begging to be put up there, especially after I was tall enough to reach the cord to pull down the stairs, but my mom and dad kept saying I'd fall or that I'd have to wait until I was a teenager, or that it'd be a pain to actually move my bed up there. Anything to make sure it didn't actually happen. I really wanted to room up in the attic though. I wanted a bedroom that didn't look like a bedroom, one that didn't have a door. It felt safer up there in the attic somehow. In the third house, my dad talked about finishing that attic or the basement, and I'd get that room. He never did finish either of those, because he usually never finishes anything. He started working on this empty room and turning into an office area. When he ran out of the tiles he bought and the rocks he got to decorate it with, he stopped working on the room. The wall he was working on was like 5 stones away from completion and the tile just outside that room was forever left awkwardly unfinished. He'd blame this on my mom, somehow. So, he never finished either the attic nor the basement, he only finished both about halfway and quit. So I spent my time being afraid at night, of someone coming, and I still don't know why that terrified me so much. At least as a preteen, I had my doors locked but that still didn't completely stop my fears. I'm starting to wonder if there's two separate incidents that I'm blocking out or have completely lost the memories of, because this woods fear/nightmares and this man in the shadows in my room seem to be two different things. As for the new location I mentioned earlier, it appeared to be either a small apartment or a motel or something along those lines. A really small room, clearly cheap, with some cheap, old crappy furniture. I'm not sure what that's connected to, other than this really weird feeling of discomfort. The TV model looked like something I remember a lot of people in the 90s, especially the early 90s having, one of those big ones with wood on it, and this shitty loveseat that looked like someone you could only find at a Goodwill these days. A fold up bed, looked like a twin size, and there was one of those mini fridges. I have no idea why I would be in such a place or who else would be with me. Maybe more of that will come back. Just wish I knew what triggered that to come back to begin with. As I've been detailing a lot of the general terrible behavior of my parents, more memories of that time have come back to me, I suppose through being connected to the other ones, but I didn't expect this to happen. Which is also odd, since it's something I'd suspecting most of my life anyway but then I just stopped thinking about it for several years. At this point, I feel like I'm probably the thing in the way of me remembering because while I'd like to get this new anxiousness out of the way, I really don't want to remember something really awful. But I feel like it's inevitable. That, or I'll never know at all and the worst memories may be lost entirely because they seem to come from an early point in childhood and are likely trauma-related. I may just not have them in me anymore. While this has been happening, and I've been thinking more about my past, more of the easier to (mentally) deal with bullshit my parents put me through has continued to come back while I was telling other stories to my wife, that I guess some details in those stories jogged the other memories. -My parents rarely took photos of me at all during my childhood. While they pretty much stopped when both of us hit teenage years, there are significantly more photos of my brother than of me. Some photos of me seem to only exist because my brother is also in the photos. Of me alone, there are few, mostly about events I didn't want to participate in that my parents forced me into if my mom took them or holiday/birthday/special family event ones where a lot of relatives are around. The majority of the photos of me as a child were taken by my great-grandmother. -Pre-K and kindergarten are a weird time mess for me. I can mostly remember a lot of how first grade went, and it's not shocking as an adult, my memories of before that are fuzzy. But again, they were fuzzy back then, as it was going on to the point I as a child thought something was wrong. Adults would tell me this was normal, but my friends all seemed to have better ability to recall memories than me, and it wasn't like I was thinking all that far back into the past at that point either. Some weird stuff I remembered while looking up my old schools, I had completely blocked out the name of my kindergarten. To the point I decided in my head my kindergarten was the school I went to in pre-k and had no name for the pre-k in my head. As I thought back on that, I recalled by fourth grade, I had been doing that, but upon remember the actually name of the school, it jogged several memories from the third elementary school days when I did still refer to that school as my kindergarten (and I brought that school up rather frequently back even). That all came flooding back at once when my mom gave me the name of the school. No idea what happened there in fourth grade to get me so mixed up. Odd. Anyway, that could just be some perfectly ordinary thing, but there was always something else off about those two years. In kindergarten through third grade, I regularly told people I didn't finish pre-k, and I believed I quit after several months, because my mom pulled me out of for some reason but I didn't know why. My mom during this time frame would tell me I was wrong, and that I only went to pre-k for one month. I told her I remembered more than that (I don't remember that much anymore, of course, but kid me remembered it), and she would tell me I had no sense of time. So when people asked me about it, I would give them my mom's number, one month, because even though I was convinced that made no sense, I presumed as an adult she knew more than me. Later on, once I started believing the one month thing (around 4th or 5th grade), she told me that number was wrong, it was now two weeks, and I was positive that absolutely couldn't be right, but I eventually believed her by sixth grade. By sixth grade, I quoted her back and she told me, no, I only went one day, and I went home early that day because I was crying because I couldn't handle being at school and not seeing her after one hour of being there. I told her straight up that was BS because that was not the reason I went home nor how much time had passed either. I can still remember my first day of pre-k (and kindergarten, because they were both pretty embarrassing). I didn't cry at any point. The reason I went home is because I got confused about what I was supposed to do when I needed to go to the bathroom and tried holding it instead of just asking because I had no idea what to do at school. My mom didn't even telling me I was starting school until she dropped me off in front of the classroom that day, so I was obviously very confused about how I was supposed to behave and what the general order of things were. By lunch, I ended up pissing my pants and then informed a teacher about what happened. Then the teacher explained to me I was supposed to ask to go to the bathroom and showed me where some of the bathrooms were on the way to the front office. Then my mom picked me up and I went home. I absolutely went to more days than just that one day, because that ant conversation/befriending Storm Boy happened a different day. I didn't make it to recess that day, and that conversation happened at recess (we were so wrapped up in it that the teacher was yelling at us to come inside already), after me having been through a few recesses. And there was also the Barney thing where I got in trouble for not singing that damn clean-up song and me and Storm Boy had to sit out recess and had some lengthy conversation. (We were weird four year olds, for sure.) And that was definitely not my last day of pre-k either, and was not close in time (at least in my mind) to my first lengthy conversation with Storm Boy. We had already started becoming pretty decent friends by that conversation, and were making jokes about how all our conversations kept ending up being about weird nature subjects and other things that didn't seem usual for little kids. This becoming a running joke between us across the three elementary schools and five grades we attended together, pre-k through 3rd grade. When I pointed out I clearly had more than one days worth of memories and what she claimed definitely didn't happen, she changed it to one week and claimed the memory I had of wetting myself was from my second day, which she claimed I also left early for, and gave me not handle school still as the reason she pulled me out. Whether one day or a month, she always claimed me not handling school was why I was taken out. Aside from that one time I sat out recess with Storm Boy, I don't remember any other incidents of me getting in trouble, I didn't cry as far as I can remember, and the only time I can actually remember being sent home was that first day because I was confused about bathroom rules/locations and I had no problems after that. Hardly reasons to pull a kid out of pre-k. Now, here's where it gets really weird. I wasn't the only one who remembered me being there for months. As I mentioned before, while I switched elementary schools a total of four times, there was someone who attended three out of four of those--Storm Boy. And guess who else remembered me being in pre-k for several months before abruptly being pulled out? That's right. His memory of the length of time matched mine, to the point when I would tell him the length of time my mother wanted me to believe, he would argue with me that the amount of time was impossibly too short and that I had attended for several months then was suddenly pulled out without so much as a goodbye and he never understood why I didn't say anything. And I'd tell him, I don't know why because I don't know why I suddenly stopped attending and I don't think I had any advanced warning about. I have no recollection of this. My memory actually blanked for a while after I stopped going to pre-k and my memories didn't really pick up again until kindergarten started. I'm not really sure at all what happened in between there. Even as a kid it's like yeah, I don't know. There's nothing. I couldn't answer Storm Boy about any questions he'd have about that time frame. As for anything else, Storm Boy noted I was a bit "weirder" back then, and I seemed more "normal" now (in K-3rd grade), but never elaborated on what he thought was off exactly. I can't remember what that might have been either. Obviously, I lost contact with him a long time ago, and even if I hadn't, I doubt he'd remember now anyway. We are talking about 1994, well over twenty years ago. But, you know, there's that year again. -Other lies--kindergarten. According to both my parents, they switched me from the second elementary school to the third one because supposedly that school was about to lose it's accreditation and I always believed that was the truth. Well, when I went looking up my old elementary schools, and discovered that one in particular was now burned down, I came across some very interesting information. Not only was that school not at risk of losing accreditation at that point in time, they were actually getting more awards than usual during that time frame and the school was not planning on closing until long after we had already moved out of that area several years later. The school was still getting awards after we'd moved in 1999. Why the hell did they tell me that? I have no idea what the real reason was because it wasn't distance. All three of those elementary schools, as I found out when I looked them up, were all on the same damn road! My parents weren't paying for my school stuff until partway through IIRC second grade, so it wasn't about money either. My great-grandparents were taking care of that, and if it was just money, I feel like they would have just said so. I have no clue what the fuck that was about. -This has always bugged me, even as a kid, but I keep feeling like there's a school missing in that earlier part of my memories. There's a school building I can't seem to match with any of these, and it's not my cousin Y's school, which I did go to on occasion to see her after school or go to her school events. That was just down the street from my house then, and I know it's not that school. Either I'm remembering an entire section of a school as for some reason being separate from the rest of the school, or something else is missing here. I don't know what. Storm Boy never mentioned me being missing during kindergarten either, so unless I went to two pre-k's, I really don't know what this building is connected to. Perhaps a daycare? Except there's an issue with that idea too. My mom would brag about how I was never once in a daycare. (Which is technically untrue anyway since she worked in a daycare for a while and I was stuck there for hours after school with her, but she didn't count that.) My brother she can't deny was in daycare because I remember him being in it for a while. She claims it was either one week or one day (definitely not the truth) and the reason she told me for a good chunk of my childhood as to why he was taken out of it was because it came out that some people were touching the children in inappropriate ways and thus she quit her job to rescue him. Later, she alternated between this reason and how she quit her job because she couldn't stand not being around to take care of her children. Throughout a lot of kindergarten, I was left after school for long stretches of time to the point teachers asked if anyone was ever coming to pick me up (one particular incident I remember it being close to nine PM) while my brother was in daycare and after my mom quit her job and my brother was no longer in daycare. Sometimes she also had other people's moms watch me. So, that was always kind of funny. At the time it initially happened, I remember my mom just going on about how pissed she was at her new job and later finding out about the scandal after my brother was already not going to that daycare, so that wasn't the real reason. (We're talking like a full year later.) She just quit her job because she didn't like it. These days, she claims she only worked at that place for one day and quit because it was such a bullshit job, but I know she worked there for a while and according to her these days, she quit before the day was over...so why would my brother have even been in daycare for a while? Because that's not what happened. This is another reason, I suspect, why piecing together things has been hard. It's like I was constantly being gaslit about every single thing going on around me, or straight up lied to for no obvious reason. Given how high my mom gets about herself over me never being in daycare, that makes me suspect I was indeed in it at some point, but I have no evidence either way about that. Taking apart my parents collective web of lies is a mess, and I'd believed so many of them for so long, even when they previously told me something else happened. It's pretty disturbing to me. -Another oddity. I have some pretty clear memories of what classmates that I hung out with a lot in kindergarten looked like. I recognize no one from my kindergarten graduation photos. Storm Boy and Ir, my best buddies back then, aren't even in the photos. My mom may have just not taken pictures of everyone at the graduation, but it's like she somehow managed to get pictures of me with every teacher I can't remember and every student I can't remember. It's very bizarre to say the least because I would think I'd want to hang out with my friends during the event. I have no clue who the hell those people are. There's no pictures of me with that Indian girl who I nearly got into a fight with some boys over either, which is also weird because I was pretty buddy buddy with her about as soon as we met. May just be my mom being unconcerned with taking pictures I'd actually want to look back on and her just getting in enough to seem like she cared to show other people, but I don't know. That has always bugged me. I have no yearbook for pre-k, obviously, but also did not have one for kindergarten either. Given the school I went to, I am positive they would have offered one. FFS, they sent me to a damn art academy! (While being on government aid, lol.) But my mom bothered getting me yearbooks for every year from 1-6th grade, so I don't get why kindergarten was different. But Storm Boy also never said anything about me suddenly leaving kindergarten either (that I can remember, anyway), so my mom must have just taken pictures of literally everyone I never gave a fuck about. Talk about not really knowing your kid... -Speaking of time, even when I was at the third elementary school, except for the times when my mom was "watching" Ir and his sis (read: raiding their fridge and watching TV while ignoring us) or my great-grandfather picked me up with her, my mom was always late to pick me up from school to the point of me being one of the last people to leave pretty much every single day. Even when I was in after school programs, she would still pick me up late from those. She doesn't count this as me being in daycare because she worked there, but when my mom worked at the third elementary school's daycare, my brother was left there all day and I was there for hours after school. On top of that, it was the other ladies there who actually paid attention to us. My mom mostly just sat and watched the TV in the room, not paying attention to anything. She watched that thing more than the kids did, and they just played little kid shows. It was like she was just in her own world. -My mom quit every job she ever had since I've been alive abruptly, seemingly for arbitrary reasons every time that were either solvable or just plain irrational. The only thing she didn't quit abruptly was watching Ir and his sis because we moved so that was the reason, but I don't doubt that she would have eventually quit doing that too like she did with CC. The longest stretch of time my mom has had a job for is...maybe three years tops at the same job? She also only seemed to work when she was fed up with my dad yelling at her for never cleaning the house and fed up with yelling at my brother and me for not cleaning the house top to bottom when she was a damn housewife who never lifted a finger inside the house. She'd work for a while and it would suddenly be everyone else's job to clean up the house and cook and buy the groceries, etc. Because she was working, which meant she couldn't do anything else. She would refuse to take off days of work to take us to the doctor because work comes first even though we just used her income for extra things since my dad had always been footing all the bills. She would ultimately spend the vast majority of all her paychecks on herself, primarily clothes and shoes she would never wear. My dad would grumble about it because he was making usually double or triple whatever her salary was for that brief window of time but for some reason her working meant he had to do all of her housewife work and she was exempt from all chores. He'd then turn it into this ego thing where he'd be like "see how much better I do this than your mom, it's because I'm the best at everything ever, no one can clean a house as well as me". When she would eventually quit work, he would return to never lifting a finger once he clocked out of work. It was odd. A lot of times, when my dad would finally get bored of stroking his ego, I'd end up with doing her previous work that she never really did in the first place. -My parents once washed my mouth out with a bar of soap. Why? Much like the times my dad used a switch on me, it was to show me how good I had it because they didn't use that punishment every day. I had actually done nothing wrong that day. They just got the idea that it would be funny to do that to me and did it. They then tried to coerce my brother into agreeing to let them do it to him too, so he could experience it. He refused after watching them do it to me. They tried to coerce both of us into letting them do this to us more than once, with big creepy grins on their faces, but after the first time, we both refused. My dad claimed then his parents regularly gave him this punishment, along with a spoonful of castor oil, but outside of that time frame, he has never brought it up since. He also did once give me a spoonful of castor oil to show me how good I had it that he didn't usually do this to me. They bought a bottle that day specifically to do this because of something in a TV show reminded them of that. They never used it again, and they also tried to get my brother to swallow a spoonful but like with the soap, he refused to "try" out the punishment. My aunt and uncle never mentioned either of these methods being used on them as punishments. (As for getting whipped with a switch, now that one my aunt and uncle did confirm my grandfather did sometimes. ) There were repeated, consistent patterns to what my grandparents did and these never came up. I honestly think my parents just got some weird enjoyment out of these "look how good you have it that I don't do x to you daily" things where we, after doing nothing wrong, were expected to obediently allow them to administer some weird punishment and they always seemed so happy during these kinds of punishments. Usually, when we were getting punished for something in other situations, they were both just really angry and the punishment was mostly only being given so they had someone to let out all their angry out on. These were definitely...different. -My parents often prided themselves on how they didn't usually do this punishment or that punishment, like how my dad never slapped me and that made him such a great man, but he had no issues leaving bruises and making me bleed if it was on my ass or legs. I'd always think to myself when he'd rant on about that that I would have actually preferred the slap over most other punishments I got. But I also presumed the real reason he didn't slap me had more to do with specifically the fact that he didn't care if he left bruises usually, and might end up giving me one on the face which would get him investigated. He would claim it was because his parents always slapped him, but outside of gloating about not slapping us, he never mentioned his parents frequently slapping him and he detailed a lot of punishments they frequently used on a regular basis. My aunt and uncle never mentioned being slapped either but they mentioned the other details to me before that backed up the other stuff he said happened, so I have no idea what that was about. Also, I'm pretty sure punishing kids for doing nothing just to show them how "good they have it" and punishing some things at random rather than consistently is a pretty good way to just leave a kid completely confused about how to behave... -We were always harshly punished for swearing even though my parents swore like every other sentence and they always had shows, music, and movies on with lots of swearing. I still struggle to swear in front of them when I don't care otherwise because it's that ingrained. My brother doesn't care, but he was also punished less than I was. My dad would also go on about how people who are offended by swearing are losers and anyone who says fuck constantly is super cool. And then beat me if I repeated something I heard on a show he put on. Around 9th grade, my parents suddenly decided that they didn't care about us swearing, which given our ages at the time wasn't really odd. What was odd was that they pretended they had never punished us before for it and that it was never a rule that we couldn't, and were "baffled" as to why we thought we couldn't swear. Very confusing experience. To give you an example of how odd this was, CC would make comments about how badly I'd be punished if my parents caught me swearing to other people as late as 8th grade. So this sudden 180 and denial of the past about a year later is just WTF. -I'd forgot about this one for a while. I had to be somewhere between 5-8 when this happened the most. When we were home, sometimes my mom would just go on about how ugly I was and how she had to lie and say I wasn't ugly in public because that's what moms have to do, pretend their kids aren't ugly when they are. She did this at least once to my brother as well, but she did this a lot to me during that time frame. She did it a couple times to me as a teenager too. And like a few other relatives, she kept trying to convince me I used to be fat. I've never been overweight. I'd been bordering on underweight or outright underweight all of my childhood save for a small window of time in my teenage years, because you know, she didn't care about feeding me unless she might look bad in front of people. What's the point of a parent telling their seven year old child their ugly? Or trying to convince them they used to be overweight? I don't get it. -I think I mentioned before how my mom would just ditch me and my brother in stores all the time when we were kids, then get mad if we tried to find her or didn't "keep up" with her pace (even though sometimes she told us not to follow her). Well, she would run off if my dad was there too. He'd try to get her attention, but as soon as she entered the store, she just pretended we all didn't exist until she was ready to leave. Then she'd get huffy that she couldn't immediately find us and my parents would end up arguing with each other in the store or in the car afterwards about how she never stays with us and her arguing that we should have...kept up with her as she quickly tried to get away from us or that we should have stayed in place at the front of the store until she was done with her own whatever the hell she was doing. She wouldn't even be getting things we came into the store for. What the fuck. -The first time a friend asked me for my phone number to call me about a party in elementary school, I had to wait till the next day to tell them my number because my parents never told me what it was before then. My parents got upset about me wanting to give my friend our number, but eventually gave it to me. I told the friend my house number and they were going to call me that night to talk about the party. I waited for a while once I got home from school for the phone call, but at some point I went out to play and asked my mom to let me know if that friend called me so I could talk about some details about the party. My mom claimed that night the friend never called, but the next day my friend said they did call. They gave me the information during homeroom instead and I asked my mom about going to the party. I was not allowed to go. Why? Because she didn't want me to go anywhere. Several times in upper elementary school, she would try to listen in on my phone conversation. The conversations of a 9-11 year old. And she would sometimes comment on the things me and my friends were talking about just to make it known to everyone on the line (I did three-way calls a lot then) that she had been listening in the whole time. She got the idea from one of my friend's mom's. During one phone call, both my mom and that friend's mom did this and started having a conversation with each other about how funny it was. We both ended up being very paranoid about talking on the phone for a while, which is just so stupid since we were never talking about anything interesting anyway. -I didn't know either of my parents' names until second grade or so. Yes, other relatives and they called each other by their names, but it didn't register as those names belonging to them in my mind. Further confusing was that my dad's side of the family had these nicknames for my parents on top of that, and I never had any clue at all who they were talking about when they mentioned those names. I just knew my parents as "Mom" and "that man"/"Dad". It took me a while to understand my father was actually my father. Even when I knew he was my father, I thought of his as a stranger that lived in our house for a few years after I understood him to be "Dad". I also struggled to call either of them "Mom" or "Dad". Actually, I still avoid using those words for them in person. It feels wrong.