Several months of recent correspondence, as well as occasional visits during this time, have given me a very good understanding of who Ed is today; the same man he has always been – a child abuser, coward, rapist. He is also, in my informed opinion, a narcissist who suffers from cognitive dissonance and self-aggrandizing delusions. He has not changed, but he has become adept at hiding who he really is, rendering him capable of surviving among the good and decent people in his life today. He, in some ways, is the luckiest man alive; the Teflon-Man nothing ever sticks to, and he is so good at selling himself; there is a different version of Ed for every man, woman and child in his world – past and present.
On the other hand, I haven’t seen or spoken to Pat since early 1983; she attended my wedding in 1986, but the only exchange we had that day was her telling me that she approved of the new me – whatever that meant. I kept my distance; I didn’t want to know her anymore.
There was a time when I knew her far better than anyone else, and despite our lack of communication for more than three decades, this, I have found, is still true. In fact, I actually know her – I don’t think many other people do …
Kind, thinking, good people assume we all share basic values, and our understanding of mothers comes from the precept that all mothers love their children. We believe that every mother is dedicated to nurturing and guiding her young children, and is desirous of a solid, affectionate relationship with her children when they are grown. Mothers who do not reflect this archetype are virtually inconceivable to the rest of us.
When my aunt contacted me after decades of estrangement, she was excited to share with her sister that I had responded to her message wishing me a happy birthday. My aunt thought my mother would be happy and excited too – she thought perhaps this might give my mother hope that one day I would speak to her as well.
My aunt didn’t understand then that my mother is the antitheses of the mother archetype. She didn’t love and nurture when I was little, and she damn sure didn’t want a relationship with her grown up son who had lived the truth she had lied about for almost three decades.
When my aunt came back into my life, Pat simply shut her sister out of her life.
I may not have recent personal communication with my mother to offer as support, but the evidence is pretty compelling; she is the same abusive, narcissistic drama queen she has always been.
I used to wonder how Pat could possibly be happy, given everyone she has hurt, but now I understand that she never cared to begin with. She put on a passable face, said the right things for a time, behaved like people she knew who actually did love and care for their family, but it was never real for her – and her love was never, ever genuine. It’s easy to be happy, despite the pain and damage you have caused, when you never cared about anyone other than yourself to begin with.