I’m kind of pissy, so let’s get into this.
My apologies though: it’s kind of scattered.

Family support?
For @Root? Fucking never.

Maybe if I wanted to be a business major my mother might have cared. Maybe the other one (whom I call Dick because fuck him, and because it’s accurate) would have cared if I suddenly wanted to become a mechanic. But in both cases, I really doubt it. I’d probably just have been berated for not being perfect, or better at their respective fields than they were at 3x my age.

Support being a dev?
Not even a little.

I had hand-me-down computers that were outmoded when they originally bought them: cutting-edge discount resale tech like Win95, 33/66mhz, 404mb hd. It wouldn’t even play an MP3 without stuttering.

(The only time I had a decent one is when I built one for myself while in high school. They couldn’t believe I spent so much money on what they saw as a silly toy.)

Using a computer for anything other than email or “real world” work was bad in their eyes. Whenever I was on the computer, they accused me of playing games, and constantly yelled at me for wasting my time, for rotting in my room, etc. We moved so often I never had any friends, and they were simply awful to be around, so what was my alternative? I also got into trouble for reading too much (seriously), and with computers I could at least make things.

If they got mad at me for any (real or imagined) reason (which happened almost every other day) they would steal my things, throw them out, or get mad and destroy them. Desk, books, decorations, posters, jewelry, perfume, containers, my chair, etc. Sometimes they would just steal my power cables or network cables. If they left the house, they would sometimes unplug the internet altogether, and claim they didn’t know why it was down. (Stealing/unplugging cables continued until I was 16.) If they found my game CDs, those would disappear, too. They would go through my room, my backpack and its notes/binders/folders/assignments, my closet, my drawers, my journals (of course my journals), and my computer, too. And if they found anything at all they didn’t like, they would confront me about it, and often would bring it up for months telling me how wrong/bad I was. Related: I got all A’s and a B one year in high school, and didn’t hear the end of it for the entire summer vacation.

It got to the point that I invented my own language with its own vocabulary, grammar, and alphabet just so I could have just a little bit of privacy. (I’m still fluent in it.) I would only store everything important from my computer on my only Zip disk so that I could take it to school with me every day and keep it out of their hands. I was terrified of losing all of my work, and carrying a Zip disk around in my backpack (with no backups) was safer than leaving it at home.

I continued to experiment and learn whatever I could about computers and programming, and also started taking CS classes when I reached high school. Amusingly, I didn’t even like computers despite all of this — they were simply an escape.

Around the same time (freshman in high school) I was a decent enough dev to actually write useful software, and made a little bit of money doing that. I also made some for my parents, both for personal use and for their businesses. They never trusted it, and continually trashtalked it. They would only begrudgingly use the business software because the alternatives were many thousands of dollars. And, despite never ever having a problem with any of it, they insisted I accompany them every time, and these were often at 3am. Instead of being thankful, they would be sarcastically amazed when nothing went wrong for the nth time. Two of the larger projects I made for them were: an inventory management system that interfaced with hand scanners (VB), and another inventory management system for government facility audits (Access). Several websites, too. I actually got paid for the Access application thanks to a contract!

To put this into perspective, I was selected to work on a government software project about a year later, while still in high school. That didn’t impress them, either.

They continued to see computers as a useless waste of time, and kept telling me that I would be unemployable, and end up alone.

When they learned I was dating someone long-distance, and that it was a she, they simply took my computer and didn’t let me use it again for six months. Really freaking hard to do senior projects without a computer. They begrudgingly allowed me to use theirs for schoolwork, but it had a fraction of the specs — and some projects required Flash, which the computer could barely run.

Between the constant insults, yelling, abuse (not mentioned here), total lack of privacy, and the theft, destruction, etc. I still managed to teach myself about computers and programming.

In short, I am a dev despite my parents’ best efforts to the contrary.

  • 35
    Excellent rage condensate. It's hard to accept when your parents are imbeciles, but so liberating when you finally do.

    A kind perspective would say that their response to your defying their expectations was derived from fear for your quality of life. Given the context though, it seems far more likely that the overreaction was the standard attempt to shield what remained of their ego from their crushing insecurity.

    Here's to hoping you're better off now 🍻
  • 17
    I can totally relate to this

    one of my funny experiences was when I tried learning arduino, as i never got support from them i saved my feeding money for months, i was sent to a kinda reasonable school where you had to spend an average of 300 to 500 naira to buy a proper meal but my parents sent me to school with 150 naira, I had to make money off lazy students once in a while. I saved this chicken change to buy an arduino from this online website that added a lot of useless expenses and the rest. look and behold, my baby arrived after a month of anxiety which I had to deal with alone, I played with it throughout the night and went to school the next day. I came back and couldn't find it anymore. I cried silently for days and asked my parents in the most innocent ways as possible. they all denied.

    few years later I found the data cable in my moms room, I searched more and found the arduino but it was rusted and the gpio pins were either bent or broken.

    I didn't cry anymore.
  • 21
    Fuck that type of parents that does not know that trust is and is practising mental abuse.
  • 8
    I hope you are NOT in touch with them, they sound (and I think you agree about this with me) like total assholes.

    U G H.
  • 7
    that's a bloody shame. do you still have contact to your parents?

    and it's a shame that some people don't consider working in IT, Dev or Ops, real work.

    if our guild would stop working for, let's say .. mhh.. 2 weeks? I think the chances, that people would beg us to come back to work and fix their tiny little world's.. the downside of this, it could (I'm not saying, that it will) cause so many trouble to us (in tasks), that it wouldn't be worth it.
  • 7
    After reading through this @Root I have total respect for you, hope you are way better in life than your parents ever hope for you to be. We gotta rise above the naysayers and the negativity in our life, I think that is true in your case. Good luck!!
  • 9
    I sincerely hope this breed of people will not exist from millennials onward.

    I see a coding and gaming as mandatory subjects for my little spawned girl, in the same way as learning to cook, managing finances or keeping her room a bit ordered.

    If she chooses to become an artist selling oil paintings I'll be fucking proud of her, even if she has to clean toilets on the side to make it work financially.

    But any 2020 high-schooler should have a few hello worlds and todo apps under their belt.

    I've wasted many hours on games like Diablo II and Counter Strike -- but a significant part of my worldly knowledge has also been seeded by games. I've spent many hours on wiki binges looking up historical events because of Assassin's Creed games. I think 99% of the people currently maintaining Java spring backends are ex-minecraft modding kids.

    So that's the part I hope modern parents will foster: Let your kid play and discover, and encourage them to learn from their inspirations.
  • 7
    Looks like a very abusive childhood and adolescent life

    I'm glad you won against all the odds! We are proud of you
  • 2
    What were the specs of the pc you built in high school though? Got any pics?
  • 3
    Its the same where my project never interested anybody ... But when i see my salary now hoo the speak change
  • 7
    Look, root, if I ever meet you irl, I'll give ya a hug. Even though my parents aren't strict even a fraction of that, I still understand you.

    You may hate my puns, but I still @Root for you, so please keep being awesome :)
  • 6
    @root seriously much respect for first of all letting all that out, and second for persevering OVER their BS bullying abusive obstacles—that just shows how bad ass you are.

    I had a similar up bringing with parents stealing my stuff, destroying it & blaming me for my behavior problems but failing to see that it was a response to their constant abuse!!
    Anyway I feel your pain and I am proud that you transformed your pain I to anger to fuel your success!

    I’m still working on finding my anger after having to suppress it since I can remember. Anger is good! It drives & energizes!

    So proud of you and inspired!!!
  • 7
    Strict parents raise only good liars.

    You can guide, but you can't change the person you create, and this is a great testament to that.

    Let every dollar you make by programming further fuel your success story.
  • 1
    @AlgoRythm hahahaha
    You deserved a ++ bomb
  • 11
    @ilechuks73 I can relate. Screw them!

    @Linux Physical, too. I didn’t want to get into it (still don’t) and didn’t have room.

    @OmerFlame @rootofskynet I am not. I disowned Dick on Father’s Day, and stopped talking to my mother 2-3 years ago; we had some minimal contact since, but nothing more. They apparently moved, and I don’t even know where! It’s great. I no longer have to worry about randomly running into them at the grocery store — which has happened.

    @inhamul Thanks! I am in a better place. I actually feel happy much of the time (except while working, ofc) and I’m around people who respect me, and even seem to like me! I still find it incredibly strange.

    @bittersweet Gaming and coding are definitely required subjects. And you’re absolutely right about having a lot of knowledge because of games. That’s how I became a game dev, actually, and how i learned most of what I know about development. I also learned a lot from looking up random topics or things mentioned offhand in games/shows. Also: getting lost on research benders is totally the best.

    @asgs Thanks! πŸ’›

    @electrineer I have absolutely no idea.

    @melezorus34 Whenever I tell people stories about my parents, they act shocked, and it after awhile it made me realize that maybe it isn’t normal. Those that are close to me are continually amazed that I always seem to have new ones. (Me too, honestly, as I’ve blocked out most of my childhood.) Thanks for the support 😊 And you’re right, I do kind of hate bad puns...

    @EDragon Anger can be scary, too. Keeping it in check isn’t always easy. And :( every time i hear someone had gone through something similar, it’s a little relieving, but i also totally feel guilt at that, too. I’m sorry. It took me a very long time to stop feeling beaten down and useless, and to start standing up for myself out of spite. I still fight with that every day, and it’s anything but easy.

    @AlgoRythm That is really motivating, thanks! πŸ’™
  • 2
    @Root d i s o w n e d
  • 3

    Yeah I understood it actually, it typically comes toghether with such behavior.
  • 6
    Btw, I grew up in a similar environment, but with religion as a "bonus".
    I can relate to everything you wrote.
  • 3

    I still struggle with many of the things you mentioned (screaming, verbal abuse etc) but hopefully one day I'll be in a better place like you are now.

    Thanks for the "story" and bit of hope, I really needed it.
  • 4
    @Root what can I say. Reading this made a knot in my stomach. Virtual hugs (dunno if you like physical ones, but I guess an imaginary one won't hurt)
  • 3
    @Ten91 Thanks! πŸ’›
  • 4
    It hurts to read this kind of history, because how and why can it come to this? You were a child!

    I really hope this is your history now, not still your current story. I'm sure this childhood had scarred you, but I wish that now you 'only' have the scars and that, even though they still hurt, you won't hurt anyone else.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Btw, very cool that you have your own language!
  • 3
    Way to go Harry Potter ❣️
  • 3
    @500P3R-B414 😊!

    @eeee Thanks! It’s no longer my story, but there are still flashbacks, and plenty of story references I can’t help but catch. Examples: seeing Dick’s birthday on the clock, remembering not to stop three feet from gold because my mother always would, often worrying I’m acting like they did, or dissociating for hours every time I hit my head on something. I’m glad it’s all over, but sadly I can’t stop remembering it or worry that I’m becoming them.

    Numb by Linkin Park comes to mind.
  • 1
    about the last sentence: it seems that you're still a functional human being that is alive, despite your parent's best efforts to the contrary...
  • 2
    @bonegarden πŸ˜’πŸ€—
  • 3
    @bonegarden I used to have those same dreams. I would wake up crying about half the time, and depressed the other half.

    But you know what?
    I don’t live there anymore, and they only have as much impact on my life as i allow them to. Exactly as much as I allow, and no more. So I don’t allow them any ☺️

    As for making something of yourself: It’s never too late until you give up!
  • 1
    great read much props :)
  • 0
    I can’t say that I can relate but I also can imagine how liberating it must’ve felt to rid yourself of that situation
  • 0
    Nice. Now you can write a spicy biography and have your own Ted talk.
Add Comment