The most severe form of punishment my parents used was what is commonly called whooping. (see my post M.T. Elementary for an in depth description of my experience with being whooped) I was threatened with it, and it was constantly held over my head. My mother kept a second belt in the van to remind me I could get hit with it even if we were away from home. My parents expected me to do what they said immediately without any rebuttal. If I disagree or tried to stand up for myself it was deemed disrespectful. Many times when I tried to reason with them I was completely shut down by either bible verses or being reminded that they are the parents and they make the rules and I have no say. I was not allowed to be angry, I was not allowed to be annoyed, I was not allowed to show any indication that I was anything other than subservient.
The thing about corporal punishment is that it really gives you no choice but to do what you’re told. I was conditioned to obey. This resulted in low confidence, self-doubt, lack of social and worldly skills, the inability to say no, and vulnerability to being both impressionable and controllable.
When I left my parents’ home at 17 to attend college on the east coast, I was ill equipped to deal with conflict, bullying, friend drama, relationships, break ups, manipulation, sexual harassment/assault, and people who did not have my best interest in mind. (They kept my bubble so small, I was not allowed to hang out with kids they didn’t know. Naturally, since they didn’t go to school with me, practically everyone I knew, they didn’t know. It was not a fair rule.) When I got to college, I was too trusting, naïve, and I truly believed that no one would bring me harm, especially if they called themselves my friend or someone that had romantic or sexual interest in me. I also didn’t know that romance and lust can be separate. I learned the hard way that this was not the case. In high school I had no experience with dating and was afraid to converse with boys for the most part. I had no insight into dating or any problems I could potentially run into with the opposite sex. At one point, I told my mother I wanted to transfer schools. I didn’t know how to go about this and she either may not have known either, or didn’t take my request seriously. I had to stay.
Undergrad was hell. I was a sheep without a shepherd living amongst monsters. I suffered immensely, but graduated with flying colors and never looked back. It was there that I was forced to learn all the life skills I should have learned during my high school years. (Hell, in high school I didn’t actually believe that teenagers drank and did drugs, I was so green) My time in that place resulted in me becoming more informed, and more equipped to deal with life, but I left behind a trail of blood.
Graduate school was ten times better. I had a good friend and no major drama from my cohort. I did have to navigate racism and microaggressions, but I had support from friends and family.