Today I found myself saying this to my sister in law(sister). Regarding my feelings towards my father.
I don’t know how to do being at peace with this. It is profoundly troubling for me basically all the time. It’s just how far down I have it shoved and lidded.
Some backstory, if I can do this without being confusing is that I had a wonderful relationship with my father as long as I metaphorically sat at his knee and did not contradict anything he said.
When my parents were in the final death throes of their marriage, the crux of the issue was that my dad’s behavior over time changes. But is not less abusive now than when he was chasing my younger brother down the hall hitting him or when he was storming into the bathroom screaming about how one or the other of my brothers had to get out so he could have a bath only to realize it was me or my mother in there and apologize and back out.
The behavior of a man that used ragw and aggression to solve whatever problems came his way, and saw you as the problem if you came to him with a problem… Well.That never really troubled my imaginative self as I sat there and told myself I knew the real man who was my father because I could sit and have deep discussions with him about the world. This dude losing his shit like a child? Well obviously if family member X had not done objectionable action that clearly I would never do Y he wouldn’t be acting like this.
My dad had me in on his lie that nothing was his fault for twenty seven years.
I didn’t support my younger brother when he called out my dad’s behavior for what it was because I knew ‘that wasn’t the way to get it across to him.’ And I thought if I could just milk him up to the answer I could get it across to him that his behavior then wasn’t OK. And how it informs his behavior now isn’t either. He needed wholistic life change. And the help of a counselor to rationalize the fact that he threw down and took the easy way out (losing his shit) almost every fucking time.
But for the fact that he wasn’t doing it daily, and was quite vocal about the fact that he deserved prise and back stroking because he wasn’t beating his family. He did hit every one of us at one point. And the threats of violence were so common if took me a long time to realize this was not normal behavior.
I am plagued by the fact that I could be so stupid as to believe the lies he told me and make up an even better version of him than that and hold it to my soul for so long. Deaf to the actual experience I lived.
I am profoundly disturbed by this. All the time.
But I am also a trauma survivor that has neatly learned enough about the lives of the bullies that plagued her, and learned enough valuable lessons about myself that I am grateful for the experience.
I have little guilt surrounding my experience being so bullied I very nearly killed myself when I was young.
I have inalieable and indescribable guilt for believing so hard in my fantasy that I didn’t help my younger brother. Who did not have the experience I did in school. And had no rose coloured glasses with which to view our family life.
I have a rage inside me that the issue plaguing my mother for years is something I would have been able to understand and explain and help her with when I was younger if I had only ever known.
My father died in my eyes the night he blithely explained he has no clue, never had a clue and isn’t interested in having a clue as to what the issue is between him and my mother. Let alone my brother and I with him.
As surely as if he hooded the man who raised me and put a bullet in his head.
I can have no illusions about this petty, empathy deficient but who expects empathy and knows when he is not getting it… This man who trained me to hate hypocrites who was the ultimate hypocrite in my life.
This man who sums up the eloquent pleas for him to understand me and listen to me as ‘she’s brainwashed by her mother.’
What can I learn from this?
- Hypocrisy is dangerous, possibly inescapable and only possible to deal with in the light of open communication.
- If someone has told me their reality. I have to look in mine to see how it might have affected theirs and not only explain it. But attempt to rectify the situation.
- I always had those ideals. What can I LEARN from this….
- That I have the ability to completely create a personality that doesn’t exist based on someone’s best qualities and no reality is safe for me ever again.
- Hm. This is not going well.
- What can I take away from this that isn’t a horribly toxic message?
I have both created illusions and shattered them. Reality is mine to define and parse as I will.