I had one half of a very difficult conversation today. It was one I hadn’t really been looking forward to since starting therapy, but at least I had the easier half today, when it felt like many of my normal support structures are busy looking for their own support structures.
I told my mother that I’d come to the conclusion (with some help) that my childhood had been abusive. She was surprised. I gave examples. She didn’t remember most of them.
It seemed like a light clicked on for her, though, explaining my strange (to her) estrangement and deep-seated anger towards my father. She’d been trying to figure it out so that she wouldn’t have the same results with my little sister. After my revelation, she felt as though she hadn’t protected me enough through the years.
It was so very unbelievably difficult to tell my mother that she had a hand in raising me sub-optimally, that I remember the times she wasn’t aware of what my father’s anger and sickness was doing to me and that I remember when she didn’t step in to stop him. Her lack of memory of these events might hurt even more.
This may be one of the hardest post-birthday-days I’ve ever had.
I consoled her (and myself) with a memory of a scene from God, the Devil, and Bob: when Bob complains about his father’s abusiveness, god asks him to imagine a line of fathers from Adam (of Adam and Eve fame) to his own father, each having to pass along a punch from father to son. The job, according to god, is to pass along a softer punch. My father did.
As to why this was only one half of the difficult conversation: I have nightmares imagining my father’s scornful laugh (or scornful thoughts, if he’s in a cheerful mood) when I have a similar conversation with him. If I ever do.