As my lack of posts may indicate, my life hasn’t recently been eventful. That’s a good thing. Some things happened, but nothing I deemed worth posting about. Unfortunately, yesterday, I found something to rant about.
Yes, “unfortunately”. That’s why it’s a rant. But it’s a topic that boiled me.
I talked about the childfree subreddit two years ago, and why I’m done with it. However, I’m still part of Reddit, and every so often, that sub comes up. Today, a post (that has since been deleted, but is still viewable) was made that a clear reminder of why that sub is deserving of the immense hate it receives in other places.
I can’t tell you why I chose to write about this, of all things. Maybe I’m too sensitive. Speaking of which, I will give a warning for sensitive material. Please read no further if the subjects of narcissism and abuse are a trigger for you, or if you recently ate.
So, I’ve been a part of this community for awhile, mostly lurking. The stories make me feel validated about my own choices in a lot of ways. Every now and then I comment and try to be supportive.
A community that attracts a hateful group makes a self-proclaimed monster feel valid about his poor life choices? Color me shocked.
But here’s the thing. I feel like an impostor. I feel like a fake childfree. I really do.
Because, I have a son. I’m not in his life at all. I’m not a real parent, or a breeder. But without having had a son, I wouldn’t have ever realized that being childfree was the right call for me.
There are ways to figure this out without harming a defenseless, innocent person.
Before my experiences, I always assumed I’d have kids eventually. I never questioned the life script. I was just like, yeah, eventually, probably. If I ever meet the right person. Yeah, that’s right, I used to bingo myself, in my own head.
I can sympathize with and relate to this because I went through it. I think most people who are seen as unusual by society’s standards experience this feeling.
So, here’s my story. Maybe some of it will be valuable to some of you.
For just a bit of background, just so you all know who I am and what I’m about, let me just say, that one of the only aspirations I’ve ever had for my life, was (and still somewhat is) romantic love. Like, monogamous, committed relationship, soulmate shit. It’s one of the only things I’ve ever truly cared about, one of the only things that I’ve ever wanted for myself, one of the only things that ever felt like it truly mattered. So perhaps, with that context, what happened to me will make a little more sense.
Translation: Blinded by love. Again, something many of us experience. It happens. But it only goes so far as an excuse.
So, I’ve always been kind of a fuckup. Not much in my life has gone well.
Get to the back of the line, dude. You’re not special.
Dropped out of high school, had a hard time holding down a job, never really found anywhere I felt like I fit in, trouble relating to others, all that sort of thing. I inherited a whole can of various mental illnesses through genetics, but I didn’t really realize there was anything wrong with me until later. I always just sort of assumed I was some kind of eccentric, and I figured that was fine. I grew up heavily immersed in books, TV, pop culture, and the narrative was always that eccentrics can usually overspecialize in something and turn out fine. So, until my life fell apart, I never really considered the possibility that I needed professional help.
So, yeah. I had a single mother, grew up on welfare, got taken away from her at an early age, grew up in foster care. By the time I hit “adulthood”, I was just, kinda fucked. Never really developed any real life skills, didn’t have a high school diploma, and really just relied on the charity of friends to get by. My mother didn’t model anything that was of any value, so my early childhood was fuckin’ useless. Never learned work ethic, never learned good communication skills. Just, fuckin’ useless all the way down. I had a useless, incompetent mother, and grew up to be a useless, incompetent human. What else was I gonna be?
I bolded the last sentence because this is where, in my opinion, this guy becomes unsympathetic. We are not responsible for our backgrounds, for where we come from. No person has the capability to ask to be born. I’ve said many times I’d have opted not to if the choice was mine. But when you can recognize why you’re the way you are, it’s then your choice to stay that way.
I had incompetent parents. One abusive and one a deadbeat, the latter of whom was raised by a man who was simultaneously both due to also being a marriage-long cheater. No one in my family is a role model for adulthood or anything healthy. The abuse and poverty in my family goes back no less than two generations. Breaking generational cycles is not easy in the slightest. Pulling out a tight tooth with a doorknob is easier. But it can be done and, in my opinion, it’s worth it. I decided as a teenager the abuse cycle ended with me. Should I change my mind about having children, I would not do it until I underwent extensive therapy. Yes, I know parenthood is intense and nothing can fully prepare you for it. That doesn’t mean I can’t work on what I know are my worst areas.
No, it’s not fair we’re responsible for fixing ourselves when we didn’t do the breaking. But it’s either that or become part of the cycle. The latter isn’t fair to the next victim.
And, naturally, with all of this, I clearly never really did well with women.
So, one of my friends had a girlfriend, and I met one of her friends, and we hit it off. Which was a rarity for me. And of course, I fell for her hard. Keep in mind, I was 19. Young and dumb. That’s important context. So, I married her. After like, six months of dating. Because after all, who would notice me? At the time, I was staying on a friend’s couch. She noticed me anyway.
If not for the remainder of this tale, this would be cute. Too bad it’s not.
And then she forgot her pill one day, and she got pregnant. Understand that this is where things go off the rails in a pretty significant way, and I completely understand if any of you think less of me.
Already achieved that with deciding you couldn’t be anything more than a repeat of your mother, dude.
(I’m breaking up the following because it’s a huge wall of text.)
My first thoughts were like… we can’t do this. We’re too young, too broke. I’m applying EVERYWHERE, and I’m not even getting callbacks 99% of the time. The few interviews I did get, didn’t go well, I was too socially awkward. So, I floated the usual possibilities. Abortion or adoption.
(Keep in mind that, I had recently converted to Christianity, got baptized and everything, and so, I was a Christian that was asking a woman to get an abortion. This is something I often still hate myself for. I feel like a monster. And, no, this isn’t some grand “Christianity is wrong, become atheist” revelation. I’m still Christian, I still believe in God. God didn’t fuck up, I did. This one’s on me. I don’t consider myself pro-life, for obvious reasons given my experiences, but I can’t imagine God looks too kindly on the whole thing. But, I have some life experience that other Christians don’t, so I don’t judge people who get abortions. Sometimes they’re really fuckin’ necessary. It’s probably a sin, but fuck, sometimes you have to sin. Sometimes you don’t have another choice. I get it, I really do. Still pro-Roe v. Wade, don’t worry, you haven’t been infiltrated by a secret pro-lifer.)
I personally rather preferred the idea of adoption over abortion, but, she didn’t like either of ’em. She wanted to keep it. Fuck. We really shouldn’t. But, understand, I loved her so goddamn much, I didn’t want to lose her, so I was like “fuck it, we’ll do this, I’ll try to be there for you”. I redoubled my efforts to find a job. Still kinda got nowhere. Decided to go to college. Flunked out on a math class. Fuckin’ math, fucked me again. Was always my weakest subject in school. And the deal was, if I got even one F, I was out, I lost financial aid. So I fucked myself out of college, too.
Understand that when I say I’ve always been a fuckup, I’m really not exaggerating. I really cannot seem to do anything right. But, my wife was pregnant, and I loved her, and I couldn’t lose her. So I had to try. Eventually we both just gave the fuck up and went and got on welfare. Fuck it. It was the only way we were really gonna be able to live.
Do what you got to do to get by. I have always believed in that. I am an atheist, so I can’t comment on the religious views.
I will agree with this guy on one thing: screw math. I’m relearning that on Khan Academy, and mental math is hard, let me tell you. And I’m in the elementary school levels! Once I get to fractions, I’m useless. Darn math!
The social awkwardness, the struggle to be capable, the desperate attempts to improve while getting nowhere. Yeah, I understand it all. I didn’t get my first job until I was 22, and I’m still socially awkward in my late 20s, though I somehow manage to have some friends. I fully admit I can’t imagine the pressure having a child on the way adds to the already immense stress.
Now, I had always felt uncomfortable around children. I wouldn’t describe it as hatred, I’d describe it as more of a fear response. I’ve always been pretty sound-sensitive, especially to noises in higher pitches, so screaming children was not good for me. I also like to keep a pretty tight ship in terms of like, organizing my property, and so naturally I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of some little screaming cunt running around and throwing my stuff, drooling on shit, all that kind of thing. Just, extreme discomfort all around.
They’re children, dude. You’re the cunt.
But then, I took really bad advice. A lot of really bad advice. Her family, her friends. They all told me like “trust us, we know, you don’t like kids, but when it’s yours, it’s different!” And I fucking believed them. Not the only bad decision I’ve made in the course of events. Again, young and dumb. But, I did believe them. I was like “oh, they’re probably right, of course I’ll love my own kid!” Spoiler alert: I didn’t.
I hate that as much as the next person. I agree this is extremely bad advice. My reply to this has always been it’s different because you can’t undo it. I have a niece I adore and love spending time with, but when she gets difficult and I can’t handle it, I send her back to her grandparents (parents are out of the picture). I hate this is such common advice and I indeed wish it would die outs.
So you know, eventually you have to… eventually the thing’s gotta be born. I was in the hospital room (I didn’t see any of the, uh… event. She had to do C-section, so they put up a sheet and kept me next to her head.) and they put the kid in my arms, and, in that moment, I felt immediate betrayal. They lied to me. Her parents lied to me, her fucking grandparents lied to me, her piece of shit cousins lied to me. I felt nothing. Just, did not give a shit. But, I made my promise to her. So, I did in fact stick around.
I agree he was lied to, but children are not “things”!
And then it got worse. I made it about six months in. I really did try, y’all. I did my best. But every day, just, this little screaming fuckhead. And then the fucker learned to WALK. Was toddling around, grabbing shit… ugh. Don’t touch my stuff, you little fuck. Slapped his hand away a few times. Abusive? Maybe. And ofc I was sleep deprived, and diapers are the most horrifying shit (literally) I’ve ever seen up-close in my fuckin’ life. It was a waking nightmare. I have never been as miserable as I was during that time in my life. (Note: I am not clear on the timeline. I don’t know how old the kid was. I don’t know what age kids walk. I do know that he could walk, there at the end, before the shit went wrong. But I was having a really rough time, just, could not handle it, so my memories of that time are very scattered. I mostly just remember misery, and stress, and hating this little fuck that ruined my life.)
So one night, this little fuck just would not shut the fuck up. Needy bastard. We had decided he was old enough to be in his own room, so we set up that situation, and he did not take it well. I was fucking exhausted, and just, from the other room, an unholy screeching that made The Omen look like a fun family romp. I fuckin’ snapped. This is rough, it’s bad, I’m a bad person, but I slapped that fucker around pretty good. I get it, it’s not a good look. But, it’s true, it’s what happened. It’s important to be honest and admit your own flaws. Tired of holier-than-thou fuckers who walk around and act like they’ve never done wrong shit. I’ve done plenty of wrong shit. I’m a fuckin’ monster. So yeah, anyhow, they called it a nervous breakdown, I ended up getting institutionalized for a stretch (not jail, mental hospital).
I’ve done plenty of wrong things too, but I can say with honesty I have never laid my hands on a child in any harmful way! I have never abused a child, and I have never let a child be a victim of my anger and stress. I will not, under any circumstances whatsoever, do harm to a person a third of my size who cannot protect themselves. And there are parents who can say the same. The bolded is where this guy lost any and all sympathy possible. The way he describes what he did makes it clear he doesn’t regret it and is proud of it. And yeah, small children are needy. They’re children! That’s all they can be in the early ages.
Your child didn’t ruin your life. You did! And you ruined his.
This jackass can’t bother to call the kid a kid. And yes, the childfree subreddit had sympathy for him. Because, of course, they would. I think it’s obvious now why this story touched all my freaking nerves.
And, when I got out, my wife decided to leave me, and take the kid. Fair enough. It’s been long enough now that I can admit, she was right. She made the right decision. Don’t get me wrong, it fuckin’ destroyed me at the time, and I hated her for awhile, but… she was right. That kid was not safe around me, and I should not have been trusted with a kid in the first fuckin’ place. It’s insane to me that just literally anyone is allowed to reproduce. You should need like, classes, and a license. I certainly shouldn’t have been allowed. I wasn’t qualified.
You’re not qualified to be part of society, let alone the guardian of any dependent living being!
The one right decision that I did make in that time, was, my ex pointed out that I did not deserve custody, and she was right, and I admitted she was right. So, I signed my rights away. It’s the only part of that whole situation that I handled correctly. And while yes, technically I am a “deadbeat dad”, the document that I signed absolved me of all current and future financial responsibility. So before you jump at me to be like “well you better be paying your child support, you sack of shit!”, just know, that legally, I am not liable anymore. I still have a copy of the document around somewhere. Fuck, I hope I didn’t lose it. I think I still have it. I should go look for it after I finish writing this up. Anyhow, she knew the deal, she knew that signing my rights away meant that she’d assume full responsibility, and she agreed to it. She’s the one that wanted to keep the fucker. I tried. I wanted to get rid of it. But she wanted to keep it, so, full responsibility’s the least she can fuckin’ do. So, as emotionally wrecked as I was, I did have the good sense to make one right choice. Signing my rights away was the only good move. That poor kid would have absolutely worse off with me around. I made the right choice. It’s the ONLY thing I did right.
But you’re still blaming everyone else for your choices, including the child for being a child. That’s not admitting your flaws.
So, there’s the basics of my story. It’s pretty long, but it could have been longer. I cut a fair bit out, for brevity’s sake. YMMV on whether that actually worked or not.
A couple small points before I close out. First off, I get it. I’m not a real childfree. I did have a kid. I was an abusive father and am now a deadbeat dad. I get it. I’m an impostor in this community. I still don’t feel like I belong, because I didn’t do it right.
Second, let me point out, that I feel awful for the poor kid I created. None of this was his fault. He didn’t ask to exist (aside from wishing I hadn’t been born myself, this is a big reason why I lean antinatalist now. It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t ask for any of this. He wasn’t consulted). Not only that, but he might have inherited the can of mental issues and health problems from my side of the family, and he didn’t deserve any of that. I can’t imagine a more awful fate. My family is the fucking worst. I’m a monster, true, but I’m also descended from monsters. Everything I am, I learned from them. And inherited from them, genetically. It was my responsibility to make sure the bloodline ended with me, and I fuckin’ failed. I’ve never really been able to do anything in life right. It was my ONE JOB. To make sure the bloodline died with me. My piece of shit genetics don’t deserve, and shouldn’t have been allowed, to continue to exist. My one fuckin’ job, and I failed.
Descending from monsters does not justify remaining as one.
Lastly, I get it if you hate me. Just know, that whatever spur of the moment horseshit you’ve got to attack me with, if you’re so inclined, trust that I’ve said much, much worse to myself. I hesitated for a long time to share my story, and then I remembered, oh, yeah, the Internet doesn’t scare me actually, because whatever insults they’ve got absolutely pale in comparison to the absolute brutality of my inner monologue. I don’t fear the truth anymore, I don’t fear sharing the truth, and I don’t fear the consequences. So, you hate me? You think I’m a bad person? That’s neat. I hate myself more than you do. I’ve been doing it longer, and I’m better at it. You started hating me five minutes ago, I’ve been doing it for YEARS. You’re new to the game. You can’t show up, first day at a new job, and act like you’re better at it than the guy who’s been there for 20 years. The disgust, shame, and hatred I feel towards myself on a daily basis, cannot be overstated. I’m a fuckin’ monster. I am disgusting.
Self-hate and self-loathing are not punishments for abusing a child.
Apologies for the length, but all of this has been eating at me for a very long time and I felt like it was important to finally get the truth out there. I learned, the hard way, that I cannot and should not have children. I can’t be trusted with children. Children are not safe around me, and my mental state is not safe or secure around children. I still maintain that I don’t hate them, but it’s a very strong fear and revulsion that I’ll never be able to shake. I’m not childfree by choice, I’m childfree by necessity.
Yet, this guy was immediately defensive when called out outside of the childfree subreddit for how he still ultimately blames all his faults in life on everyone except himself. I still don’t know how I read through this, and typed this post, without vomiting.
Interestingly, all of this user’s comments are deleted, so it’s possible his account was banned from the website entirely. His post was removed from the childfree subreddit prior, which is shocking because they’ve allowed other similar posts. Maybe this one getting the attention it did bothered them and they didn’t want to seem supportive of a child abuser (but they support the irrational hatred of children?). I really can’t guess.