I was just nine years old, showering and getting ready for school one day, when a wave of fear overtook me–I suddenly realized that when the day came for me to support myself financially, rather than having my parents do so, I would likely be homeless, because I felt I was worthless. Again, I was just nine years old.
Why would a nine-year-old boy from an affluent family with a pretty decent I.Q. (according to my elementary school’s administrative staff) feel such despair and despondence about his future life prospects?
It was because my father told me–almost daily–that I ‘wasn’t good enough,’ ‘smart enough,’ or ‘outgoing enough’ to ever be anything in life that mattered. At nine years old, I believed the criticisms by my father were God’s honest truth. I worried day and night about how I was going to ever become a normal and self-sufficient member of society.
Perhaps you could argue that the upside to such daily verbal abuse is that it could make a kid try that much harder to prove him or herself. This side ‘benefit’ did apply to me, as I worked day and night to prove myself, eventually becoming the head of marketing for a global investment firm, NATIXIS Global Associates.
However, even after I achieved such success, the pain of thinking I was worthless never really went away. It shows up in my day-to-day interactions with friends, colleagues and, God forbid, any possible personal relationship (I’m single).
I spill this personal history because everytime I hear Donald Trump verbally abuse a crowd, a person or a group, I feel like that little 9-year-old boy who felt completely worthless. Is this the message we want to send America’s kids, who are America’s future? Absolutely not.