In 2012, I started to read books on child abuse, and the only time that I had read anything like this before was in 2009, when I read the book ‘Toxic Parents’ by Susan Forward. So, up until this point, I had primarily been reading books on self-development.
As far as I knew, I just lacked confidence, my emotions were often out of control, and didn’t really know what was going on with my life. It then seemed as though I just happened to be this way and that I simply needed to increase my confidence.
However, I was always questioning things and open to new information, so it was inevitable that I would gradually get to this point. Perhaps I needed to lay down a few foundations before I was ready to face up to what really happened.
At the same time, I could see that my family wasn’t healthy and that I hadn’t always been treated with respect and as though I had value. But while I was aware of this, it wasn’t until I started to read books on child abuse that it all fell into place.
A Brick Wall
Before I started to read these books, I would often speak to my mother about what her childhood was like. This was generally a waste of time, though, as I would rarely get very far.
At times, she would talk about different experiences that proved that her early years were not very functional and, at others, she would say that her childhood was fine. Also, her father (my grandfather) would often talk about how his father called him “a good-for, a good-for-nothing”, and he would also say how great he was.
It Didn’t Add Up
While this was going on, my mother would often talk about how nasty his father was. From what I had heard about him and how my grandfather often behaved, I came to the conclusion that his father was a tyrant, and my mother often behaved like one too.
There were moments when he was kind and then there were moments when he was extremely cold. I remember there being a time when I didn’t do something and my granddad said that my mother should “chuck him out”.
It All Made Sense
I came to understand that there was a reason why it was so hard to get through to my mother, and that she was this way out of her need to protect herself. Creating an idealised version of her parents stopped her from having to face her own pain and it stopped her from having to get in touch with the fears that she had of her own parents.
If she had let go off all these illusions, it probably would have be too much for her to handle. Yet, even though she generally acted as though her childhood was perfect, there were so many signs that it wasn’t.
There was, of course, how she had treated my sister and I when we were growing up, and my father was often on the receiving end of verbal and emotional abuse. She was also very closed hearted and emotionally unstable.
Her relationship with her parents was also full of drama, and it was clear that there was a lot of conflict between them. My mother wasn’t interested in reality; she as too caught up in how she believed things were.
An Extreme Reaction
Also, her brother lived in Australia, and this was somewhere where he went during the beginning of his life. Now, this could be somewhere where he just wanted to go; then again, maybe he felt the need to go to the other side of the planet to get away from all the family drama.
When someone can’t handle how they feel, they can try to avoid how they feel by running away. How they feel can be seen as being caused by another person and getting away from that person, by cutting them out of their life, can then be a way for them to feel different – this is often described as emotional cut-off.
What also backs this up is that he also just happened to end up with a nasty woman while he was there. While my mother, grandfather and grandmother would talk about how nasty she was, I thought that this woman had a hell of a lot in common with my mother and grandmother.
It was then not that he just randomly ended up with a woman like this; this was something that was destined to happen. One way of looking at it would be to say that he ended up with a woman who reminded him of the women that he was trying to run away from, or to be more accurate, the women that lived within them.
I knew that I had to face up to what happened and to keep going no matter how I felt. I tried to get my mother to open up and to acknowledge what happened, but I gradually came to see that I was wasting my time and energy.
Before my father passed away, we had the chance to talk about these things and he expressed his remorse. After a lot of healing, I no longer needed my mother to face up to what happened.