Author Topic: S/O of Parental Criticism Thread: Were you criticized for being a bluestocking?  (Read 8009 times)

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Thipu1

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There certainly is a big difference between being educated and being intelligent.

  Some of the most clueless people I've known have held multiple PhDs.  One firmly believed that the X-Files were documentaries.  Another thought it would be a good idea to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on an afternoon when a hurricane was expected to hit. 

The world's smartest garbage man in Dilbert isn't far from the truth.

twiggy

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My mother used to punish me by removing the books from my room. Once I got too many books to remove, she would just tape cardboard over the bookcases so I couldn't get to them.  I learned at a very young age how to hide books in my wardrobe just in case I got in trouble :)

I remember the first time my stepfather sent me to my room and told me I couldn't watch TV for a week.  I think I just shrugged and went to my room.  He got mad because he thought I was playing it cool.  My mother had to say...no, she just doesn't care about watching TV.

Oh, yes, the dreaded "Go to your room...Wait, you're not allowed to read."  It took my mother and step-father until junior high to realize that was the real punishment.

I had a book or two stashed under my mattress at all times :)

But my favorite story is the time that my mom wanted us to watch some crazy movie. All I remember is an old guy drove his riding lawnmower cross country to see his brother one last time before the brother died. It was strange, and boring, and I grabbed a book I had stashed under the couch, hid behind said couch and read it while pretending to watch the movie. When Mom saw me, she made me sit in a folding chair in the center of the living room so that she could watch me watch the movie. ::) ::)

She says that we were "making memories" and when the story comes up now, she says, "well, you remember it, don't you?"
In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children.  The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted.  The result is unruly children and childish adults.  ~Thomas Szasz

GlitterIsMyDrug

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My mother used to punish me by removing the books from my room. Once I got too many books to remove, she would just tape cardboard over the bookcases so I couldn't get to them.  I learned at a very young age how to hide books in my wardrobe just in case I got in trouble :)

I remember the first time my stepfather sent me to my room and told me I couldn't watch TV for a week.  I think I just shrugged and went to my room.  He got mad because he thought I was playing it cool.  My mother had to say...no, she just doesn't care about watching TV.

Oh, yes, the dreaded "Go to your room...Wait, you're not allowed to read."  It took my mother and step-father until junior high to realize that was the real punishment.

My mom would ban the TV (because I did like watching TV), then she'd ban books, and then I'd still be happy to just sit and let my mind wander. Finally she quit taking things away and loaned me out as free labor to her friends when I broke the few rules I had. Of course then I started liking the physical labor and learning new skills, so finally she just decided we'd have talks. Long, on going, never ending, talks. I followed the rule very carefully.

jmarvellous

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My mother used to punish me by removing the books from my room. Once I got too many books to remove, she would just tape cardboard over the bookcases so I couldn't get to them.  I learned at a very young age how to hide books in my wardrobe just in case I got in trouble :)

I remember the first time my stepfather sent me to my room and told me I couldn't watch TV for a week.  I think I just shrugged and went to my room.  He got mad because he thought I was playing it cool.  My mother had to say...no, she just doesn't care about watching TV.

Oh, yes, the dreaded "Go to your room...Wait, you're not allowed to read."  It took my mother and step-father until junior high to realize that was the real punishment.

I had a book or two stashed under my mattress at all times :)

But my favorite story is the time that my mom wanted us to watch some crazy movie. All I remember is an old guy drove his riding lawnmower cross country to see his brother one last time before the brother died. It was strange, and boring, and I grabbed a book I had stashed under the couch, hid behind said couch and read it while pretending to watch the movie. When Mom saw me, she made me sit in a folding chair in the center of the living room so that she could watch me watch the movie. ::) ::)

She says that we were "making memories" and when the story comes up now, she says, "well, you remember it, don't you?"

That movie is legendary in our home, too. My mom rented it at the library, and we all sat around, bored out of our brains, until someone cracked a joke (probably 10 minutes in), and it was a massive mocking session thereafter. I don't remember what it's called, but "Lawnmower Man" (which may or may not be the title) is synonymous with drudgery in our home.

That said, my parents did tease me a lot about reading all the time. They tried to make me play with other kids outside, but I'd almost always rather have been reading. They weren't sure what was going on, but framed it as concern about my physical health. I was skinny and did fine in gym class, but I didn't want to deal with the rules and physical contact of neighborhood sports most of the time. (It didn't help that most of the kids playing were boys 1-3 years older than me!)

mime

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My parents were great-- always encouraging me in school. Grandparents were not so good. They were worried I'd become one of those "(expletive omitted) intellectual broads". When I graduated from college, they gave me a sewing machine to make clothes for our yet-to-be children because, after all, I was just in college to get my "MRS degree", right? A woman in the family working was, and still is, a source of embarassment for my grandmother.

I was never very interested in reading, but did well in English, Lit, Social Sciences anyway. Math and Science were my ground, though. When my HS Physics teacher heard I was going to study chemical engineering, he suggested I *not* go to the nearby university because it was #1 in the country and I wouldn't get in. Wrong. I got in. Along with honors program acceptance and scholarships. He then said I'd probably succeed in engineering because of affirmative action and I "have the right plumbing".

I had a Spanish teacher who saw me upstage a male classmate one day in an oral assignment in class. He went on a tirade in front of the class about how shameful it is to be outdone by a female.

HS boyfriend was smart, but always a bit behind me. I didn't talk much about my grades, but if anyone else brought it up he was horribly defensive about his scores and always trying to explain my grades as somehow less valid than his. This got worse as we went into college; he tried to spin things to sound like the honors program at the university was somehow a less-intelligent choice.

Now:
Mom & Dad are proud of me.
Grandpa even bragged about me (before he died).
I guess I did get the "MRS degree" as I met DH in our Analog Circuit Design class.
Physics teacher was wrong: I did not go on to a successful career in engineering, but chose to become a very successful mathematician instead.  :D  I am now surrounded by men and women who had similar experiences to my own, which is nice. I also get to do math all the time. I was made for math.
Somehow the Spanish teacher came around: by the end of my senior year one of my honors at graduation was the "top honor" medal for Spanish, for which he recommended me, and personally presented.
My DH is very smart and we remember fondly how we spent one of our first dates telling Physics jokes. We fight over who gets to fix things. : )
As for HS boyfriend: Don't know. Don't care.


Amanita

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I'm just smart enough to be dissastisfied with my own lack of achievement sometimes.  Above average intelligence coupled with a lack of ambition is it's own trial. 

The story of my life! I heard a lot of things like this thrown at me growing up:
"For somebody so smart, how could you do something so stupid!?"

Seriously, I got that a lot as a kid- my mother expected me to "just know" a lot of things, and when I didn't and messed up, Gods help me.
I got leather sneakers soaking wet? I should have known better, according to my mom. Never mind that nobody had told me that water was bad for leather.

And yes, count me in as another who's VERY dissatisfied with her life. The amount of self hatred and loathing I feel at myself for not doing better, for not knowing how to "do better" is unreal. Seriously, I hate myself for the fact that a minimum wage, dead end job is the best I've been able to do so far. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I know I'm not cut out for the corporate world and culture of conformity. But I can't keep going on like this- I can't even afford my own place, and after ten years of working the job I have, I am beginning to wonder if I can even handle anything more mentally taxing, or being in a workplace with lots of other people. (Such is the nature of my job that I spend a lot of time alone)

Outdoor Girl

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The story of my life! I heard a lot of things like this thrown at me growing up:
"For somebody so smart, how could you do something so stupid!?"

My mother's expression was, 'If clues were shoes, you'd go barefoot.'
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

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The story of my life! I heard a lot of things like this thrown at me growing up:
"For somebody so smart, how could you do something so stupid!?"

My mother's expression was, 'If clues were shoes, you'd go barefoot.'

Oh, yes, while my mother took a public pride in my reading abilities it was also a weapon.  Sitting quietly on the couch reading I was told I was conceited because I read well. I was in 5th grade. 

I was always in remedial math.  (It wasn't until my DSs struggled that I discovered that I have dyscalculia.)  I was convinced I wasn't smart enough to go to college.  Thank goodness for the Army.  I failed the ASVAB the first time but my scores the second time were usually the highest in several offices.  I was told I was smart and HAD to take college classes by one first sergeant. 

One Side Story: DH is a nurse anesthetist and often his peers in the Army were men.  DS1's pediatrician was a woman and the anesthesiologist while we were at Ft. Dix was a woman.  When he was 3 years, DS1 met a male surgeon.  DS1 declared he couldn't be a doctor because only women are doctors and men are nurses.  The surgeon, from a country that has sometimes outlawed female eucation, didn't think it was funny.  The rest of the OR staff loved it.

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flickan

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I'm just smart enough to be dissastisfied with my own lack of achievement sometimes.  Above average intelligence coupled with a lack of ambition is it's own trial. 

The story of my life! I heard a lot of things like this thrown at me growing up:
"For somebody so smart, how could you do something so stupid!?"

Seriously, I got that a lot as a kid- my mother expected me to "just know" a lot of things, and when I didn't and messed up, Gods help me.
I got leather sneakers soaking wet? I should have known better, according to my mom. Never mind that nobody had told me that water was bad for leather.

And yes, count me in as another who's VERY dissatisfied with her life. The amount of self hatred and loathing I feel at myself for not doing better, for not knowing how to "do better" is unreal. Seriously, I hate myself for the fact that a minimum wage, dead end job is the best I've been able to do so far. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I know I'm not cut out for the corporate world and culture of conformity. But I can't keep going on like this- I can't even afford my own place, and after ten years of working the job I have, I am beginning to wonder if I can even handle anything more mentally taxing, or being in a workplace with lots of other people. (Such is the nature of my job that I spend a lot of time alone)

From one who's asocial tendencies prevents job advancement, you have my heartfelt sympathy.  But you don't have to do better to be happy.  I've spent the past couple of years learning to tune out the noise from those who say I'm smart enough to achieve much more.      I feel like any unhappiness that comes with failing to live to potential could be negated if I could just find a good place to be at.  So far so good.  Learning to be okay with the fact that I don't like being around other people was a huge hurdle but it's much easier now than it has been at any other time of my life.  Once you find a niche hold on tight to it.  It's harder to be successful when you can't lead and you won't follow.  But self-acceptance is 100% internal.  You can definitely achieve it.

WolfWay

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That movie is legendary in our home, too. My mom rented it at the library, and we all sat around, bored out of our brains, until someone cracked a joke (probably 10 minutes in), and it was a massive mocking session thereafter. I don't remember what it's called, but "Lawnmower Man" (which may or may not be the title) is synonymous with drudgery in our home.


I think you might be looking for "The Straight Story" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0166896/)?

"Lawnmower Man" is a horror movie about virtual reality (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104692/), which I only know because I loved it when I was 12. I watched it because it was written by Stephen King, and I was a strange child.

It's best to love your family as you would a Siberian Tiger - from a distance, preferably separated by bars . -- Pearls Before Swine (16-May-2009)

Cherry91

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In HS - classmates didn't tease me. They threatened to beat me senseless because I "blew the curve" in an "easy curve" class. (I and another freshman got 100  on a test. the next highest grade was a 60. If we had earned similar grades the teacher would have added 40 points to everyone's grades in a "straight curve" not a bell curve) This big intimidating senior football player told us to stay put at dismissal. He explained to the teacher why announcing we had earned 100's was a bad idea. Then he walked me to the pick up area and waited till Mom got there and drove the boy home. Word on high came down that he would "take care" of anyone that tried to harm either one of us.  We didn't have any more problems and that teacher stopped curving grades and expected people to be able to score high on her test.

*Standing ovation for the footballer for subverting stereotypes and restoring faith in humanity.*

The thing is, I've never had a problem dating. I managed to follow John Green's advice before I even heard it.


I had to quote this, I adore John Green's vlogs. Yet oddly I have yet to read any of his books (I'm more interested in his process of writing than his writing, I can't help it, the Vlogbrothers are so interesting...)

I think it's definitely becoming more "acceptable" (by which I mean less likely to be mocked) to be smart, nerdy or geeky than it used to be. When we were kids, my cousin used to tease me for always having my head in a book or studying. She's now working towards a business degree. Best victory ever - I get proven right and she benefits from it too.

cicero

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I was never criticized for being smart, but I always felt stupid and did horrifically badly in school. It was only on my second college attempt when I was in my 40s that I went to a prof to ask him to explain something to me and he said " you are much smarter than you think you are, you have to start giving yourself more credit". That caused me to change a lot about mysekf and respect myself more.

ETA - now that i thought about it a little bit, i think that there probably WAS an underlying message of "you're a girl, you don't have to be so smart, just be pretty, get married, and have children". To my parents way of thinking, girls got "jobs" that were mostly "fill ins" until they got to their "real" job which was being a mom.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 06:25:54 AM by cicero »

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Venus193

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I was never criticized for being smart, but I always felt stupid and did horrifically badly in school. It was only on my second college attempt when I was in my 40s that I went to a prof to ask him to explain something to me and he said " you are much smarter than you think you are, you have to start giving yourself more credit". That caused me to change a lot about mysekf and respect myself more.

ETA - now that i thought about it a little bit, i think that there probably WAS an underlying message of "you're a girl, you don't have to be so smart, just be pretty, get married, and have children". To my parents way of thinking, girls got "jobs" that were mostly "fill ins" until they got to their "real" job which was being a mom.

This is what a friend of mine was taught and to an extent she fell for it.  To this day she believes that her biggest failure in life is being divorced and never having had children, not even not becoming a success in the theatre (which is my biggest failure).

Amanita

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From one who's asocial tendencies prevents job advancement, you have my heartfelt sympathy.  But you don't have to do better to be happy.  I've spent the past couple of years learning to tune out the noise from those who say I'm smart enough to achieve much more.      I feel like any unhappiness that comes with failing to live to potential could be negated if I could just find a good place to be at.  So far so good.  Learning to be okay with the fact that I don't like being around other people was a huge hurdle but it's much easier now than it has been at any other time of my life.  Once you find a niche hold on tight to it.  It's harder to be successful when you can't lead and you won't follow.  But self-acceptance is 100% internal.  You can definitely achieve it.

Actually, I DO have to do better. I can't afford to move out of my parent's house. Paying rent and all the other associated expenses would take virtually ALL of my pay. Which means everything else in my life that keeps me from being completely miserable would go away. No money anything but expenses. I've done that before and it sucks. And thanks to some seriously bad experiences, I won't take a stranger as a roommate. Not after what I (and the rest of the household) went through in Toronto.
Even here at home, things kind of suck sometimes. My mother is environmentally sensitive, so whenever she catches a whiff of something, I get blamed. "Are you using something?" I get that even when I'm sitting at the kitchen table with nothing more noxious than a pencil. On top of that, we live in the sub-suburbs, and I'm a non driver. Even if I knew how to drive, I can't afford a car, insurance, and gas on what I make. So I'm largely stuck here, as public transit is useless to everyone except those who keep office worker's hours.

demarco

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I was definitely a Melanie.  Reading and studying was very important to me.   I was mostly praised for it by family members and encouraged by my teachers (with a few memorable exceptions).  I married a man who is also bookish and who appreciates that trait in me.   We have commented to each other more than once, "Wouldn't it have been awful if we were married to people who didn't love to read?" 

But... I have lately come to the realization that my life would have been better and I would have had more success professionally and personally had I spent more time developing a Scarlet side.  The ability to solve problems and the invaluable skill of being able to work a room and have everyone in your thrall  open a lot of doors and keep them open.  They make life easier.  I wish I had recognized this a long time ago.