Growing up, my father at parties often announced to everyone about my having failed an exam. He would stand me next to him, talk about me doing horrible, when I'd simply gotten a 75 or an 80, because that was never good enough. But it wasn't just that he would announce it and talk about me in front of other family members, but he'd then turn to me and say: "Tell them, tell them why you failed the test. Go ahead, tell them. Go ahead, tell them how much you didn't study!" Of course, this made me feel completely and utterly like a failure.
He would then later say to us, "I did that, so next time you'll study harder. You don't see them telling us about your cousins doing bad, do you? That's because unlike you, they're always studying, doing what they have to do!" Meanwhile, so did I. It was just that I didn't understand the material and if I went to him, he would yell and get angry when I couldn't understand the way he was describing something. So he would describe it in the same manner, as if that was any help at all. He continued treating me like this, with any failure, never once telling them how proud he was of me when I actually had achieved something. He did this from elementary school up until junior high. He did this thinking this would make me study more, so that he wouldn't do this to me again in public; instead it made me truly not want to care about doing the work. So by junior high, I gave up doing everything right, homework, studying, etc. Because by then, I was fed up with not reaching his impossible standards of acing every exam.
In junior high, because I began to slack off out of anger and mere frustration at my father's idea of an A+ student, I began to receive letters from teachers about me not handing in homework. He then began to monitor everything I did. I was like a bug under his magnifying glass. I'd come home, and he'd be sitting there waiting, and he'd ask to see my book. He would then look over my homework list, and demand to see it once it was finished. If there were any eraser marks or words scribbled out, he demanded it be done over until he deemed it presentable. He would force me to read chapters of a text book and then quiz me later, even if it wasn't what we were learning in class. He would yell and shout at me to return to my room to read it over if I didn't get things right. We were constantly at odds.
Years later when I reached high school, I began to do better. Not because of him, but because I was tired of dealing with his dictatorship. So I studied harder, I did better, 10 times better. I really turned it around. I was sometimes average, sometimes above. It truly depended on the subject. If we'd (my sister and I) done well, passed exams and finished our homework, reports or projects, our father still wouldn't let us go out. He would list every reason from chores (we completed) to studying more (when we didn't even have an exam to study for), every excuse to get us to not go. We'd argue for an hour or two before one of our friends had to step in to tell him that we were doing amazing in school and that it won't kill us to hang out for one night. For her, he budged, but for us he would yell at us for as long as it took for us to give up.
We never did anything bad. We never cut school, got into fights, etc. because we were constantly afraid he would find out about it (Now it wasn't just words he used to discipline us growing up. He used his hands and his belt). By my junior year when I was looking for colleges, he once said to me: "We have to make sure you can even get in to college!" Basically, he was spitting all of my hard work into my face, as if no college would even consider me. So I wound up not applying to many colleges, simply because from a young age he'd already instilled in me the fear of not being good enough.
All this still affects me to this day. Whenever someone compliments me about something, I don't feel that what I did was good enough to receive a compliment for. I don't feel that I'm good enough, or that I'll ever excel at what I love because he constantly downgraded every dream I ever had, from art to writing to singing (all things I've always excelled at). Granted, people don't always make a living off of these things. But I feel if he'd been one of those parents who were constantly telling me to always do my best, to never stop doing what I love that maybe I'd be filled with this great ambition. Maybe I wouldn't feel constantly afraid of taking any risk for fear that I won't be good enough. I constantly hold myself back, because I feel like I'll never be good enough at anything.
All of this has hindered me, in my work, in my social life and in my love life (lack of one) because I feel I have nothing of value to offer to anyone.