I was born in Haiti and that’s all I could remember for the first 5 years of my life. There were no memories of my mother, father, or siblings because the immigrated to the United States for refuge from the Haitian Government. As a child I could never understand why I was left behind. There is a stigma of independence that controls my personality because of the feeling that I was left behind. When my parents’ sent for me in Haiti, I arrived and didn’t even recognize my mother’s face, feel, or touch. Those years of separation would hinder our relationship for years to come. As a child I didn’t even know the date of my own birthday.
There was a lack of emotional development because I never had an opportunity to build an attachment to my parents and that lack of emotion effects me today as a man. I find myself unable to completely emotionally attach myself to anyone and completely trust anyone. Instead, I distant myself whenever I conclude in my mind that they have no purpose in my life. Which is not always true because religiously I believe that everyone comes into one’s life for a reason but I am unable to give anyone time to develop that relationship with me.
My life can be divided into five years increments because every five years there seems to be a drastic change. I was born, five years later I immigrated to the United States, at age 10 I began to show signs of emotional distress, 15 I went from 200 pounds to 134 pounds, at 20 I earned and Associates degree from Tallahassee Community College, 25 I went to jail and began to overcome my depression, and at 30 I got married. Now, at age 31 I have an understanding of life that I compare to the story in Bible about the Prodigal Son.
Why the Prodigal Son? Because my relationship with my father has shaped my entire life from the negatives I’ve experience to the positive. Now, my father wasn’t the greatest by any measure but sometimes you have to learn with your eyes and watch what others do so you don’t make the same mistakes. I left my father’s house at age 18; not to just simply go to college but to escape him. Growing up I thought my father was pure evil. He didn’t appreciate us as his children and he vividly displayed a lack of appreciation for my mother.
My parent’s relationship at times was physically and emotionally abusive; no matter the reason that should never be the foundation between a man and woman. But in our household this negative and violent atmosphere was the foundation. Some days I would pray that my father didn’t come home because he would just remind us of the suffering.
As you can probably image I grew up very poor, my mother worked minimum wage jobs, and my father was taking care of other women and their families. Can you imagine getting good grades in school but being told by your father that you would never be anything because you had your mother’s blood? Think about what that does to your psychological state as a child. There was a constant continuation of emotional breakdown.
At a point in my life I was very shy, timid, low self-confidence, and self esteem. I felt like nothing and resembled such. These personality traits I believe were the result of a lack of emotion from my father and an emotion less atmosphere at home. In my twenties my father told me that he loved me for the very first time but I couldn’t say it back to him. The love from my father didn’t arrive until I could help him solve his financial problems. In 2009 I was evicted from my college apartment as a result of me sending my father my rent money to help him keep up with the bills. I didn’t want to see my younger siblings suffer.
My father has two children outside his marriage with my mother and he holds those two kids above all. When I was preparing to leave for college my father once told me that his two outside children would make it further in life then me. Man was he wrong! But worst of all he acts like he never said it. I choose not to remind him of his ignorance but continue to grow and be a better man than he was. Sometimes I try so hard not to be like my father that I find myself to be like my father. The emotional abuse suffered from an unbalance house of rage is a personality trait that I believe my father shared as a child.
That is not an excuse for his behavior; its just me doing a self-evaluation and to later explain my growth. In my relationship when arguing becomes too much I learn how to walk away because I have seen how far improper communication in a relationship can go. Everyone tries to define what a man is or suppose to be; however, I believe a man starts with God then his son Jesus Christ. What I mean is God’s the father and not the grandfather. Jesus is the son and I am also considered that son; therefore Jesus is my brother. If I have a father in God than I have a role model in a man and don’t need to look elsewhere for an influences of manhood.
Some Christians may differ but when you really think about I am right. This is the life and God allows you to be the man that you want to be and repent your mistakes. However, some think emotional mistakes of a man sometimes are unforgivable. For example, when a man’s emotions cause him to physically or emotionally abuse his wife and children. Sometimes that is unforgivable by his family even though he has searched and received forgiveness from God. Life after death may lead you to heaven but its hell on earth for your emotional choices.
I left my father’s house not to simply go to college but to escape him. He is being judge as failure by his children because he missed all the important moments in his children life. Forgiving my father is even harder because these were emotional choices and not choices of circumstance. Yes he worked hard but his income wasn’t spent on building his house or taking care of his family; instead it took care of other women and their children. As a child you shouldn’t have to beg your parent for help and assistance. Your parent should invest in you because one day you may have to take care of them. My father made the choice to invest his time and money elsewhere. The irony is during the last recession he lost his job and was struggling to make ends meet. The people who he turned his back on us for couldn’t do anything to help him. He asked for help and we made the choice to help him financially. With the emotional part there was a detachment because the reality of it was we weren’t doing it for him but doing it for my mother and younger siblings. This is the monster that emotional abuse can create. Your not soul-less or careless but your emotional detached from people. Love becomes something abnormal. I can say my mother loved me but we never said it to each other. So it’s hard to believe it when you hear it but it’s easy to see.
When I return home to visit, it’s easy to see that my father loves but it’s hard to attach to his love. He holds his head down and tries not to remember the damage that his past behaviors caused; however as men it’s hard not to see the influence. In my own relationships there has been an emotional imbalance which has caused communication issues and trust. You know the person loves you but do you trust their love? That question plays in your mind like a schizophrenic.