Elizabeth,

Where to begin …

As children, we were not close.  Your memories of me as your protector are foreign; I was occasionally your tormentor, as you were mine, but that is as close to normal sibling interaction as we ever had.  How could I be your protector?  I couldn’t even protect myself. I survived our childhood, somehow, but I was aloof and I did it alone — I never felt a connection to you, or our parents.  We were raised by narcissists, we never had a hope in hell of learning to care about each other.  In that house, as you well know, it was every man, woman or child for him/herself.

When you contacted me after twenty-seven years of estrangement, asking if we could talk, my first reaction was, no … No way in hell to be more accurate.  I didn’t want your drama in my life.  I was struggling with my own stability at the time; you were the last thing in the world I needed to contend with.

But Rhonda said, ‘give her a chance, people do grow up.’ And so I did.  You only got farther than our initial lunch date because in you that day I saw a devoted wife, mother and teacher.  I saw a woman who had, despite all the odds stacked wildly against her, succeeded in creating a life she could be proud of and enjoy.  But the thing I admired most about you, the thing that actually made me want to know you in the here and now, was your love for, and devotion to, your daughter.

Being a good father, after everything Pat and Ed did to us, is the single most important part of my life – nothing I ever do will matter more.  I felt like we had our sincere dedication to our children in common, Elizabeth.  I believed you had broken the cycle of abuse, as I had.

When your crisis – for lack of a better word, hit you, I was there for you.  I came to the hospital and sat by your side, even when you were unconscious.  I supported you before you tried to kill yourself – would have done anything I could to get you the help you so desperately needed, but you didn’t have time.   You didn’t want help.  Didn’t need help.

You took a non-issue and used it to destroy your life.  I cautioned you – told you from the moment you came to me – you were going to lose everything if you didn’t get help.  You thought I was against you – thought I had taken a side; as I told you then, there were no sides, except in your very troubled mind.  The truth is this: I saw what was happening for what it was, because I had been there myself.

You were going to lose you mind, no one whose childhood is what yours was is going to get through life without some sort of breakdown.  You used the circumstances of your life in that moment in time – made them your catalyst when, in fact, there was nothing what-so-ever wrong with your current life; you had a husband who loved you – admired you for your strength, and a child – a happy, healthy child who any mother on the planet would be proud to call her own. You had no insurmountable problems in that moment; again, there was nothing wrong with your current life.  There was, however, a million things wrong with your childhood and your past, neither of which you had ever come to terms with. Neither of which you had ever honestly and openly shared with your husband and child.

Your stability was an illusion, it was not real, and you cannot sustain an illusion forever; no one, not even you, has infinite emotional resources to allocate to a fantasy life.  Your breakdown was inevitable …  and it had absolutely nothing to do with anything you so vehemently attributed it to.

You haven’t emailed or spoken to me since the holidays, I suppose you didn’t like that we spent the Sunday after Thanksgiving with Jim and Jac – oh well, Dear Sister.  I do not say that to hurt you, but I will not be sucked into your ridiculous, petty, self-pitying drama.

Last Mother’s Day, you contacted me terribly upset because someone in your life compared you to Ed.  Made the statement that what you’ve done to Jac is no different than what Ed did to you.  At the time, I thought this was harsh – Ed was a depraved monster, but the abuse comparison was valid — you are a different kind of Abuser, but make no mistake, you are an Abuser.

And none of it had to be.  You had the love and support of a family who was willing to stand by you every step of the way to wellness … and you just threw that away.

Who does that?  You tell me, what sane, rational person does this?

You drink to mask the pain of being who you are.  You have become an alcoholic rather than face the horror of your childhood.  You self-medicate, and you have lost everything.  Everything.  Alcoholism is merely a symptom – you know this, and I know this; you have far deeper issues.

It was a walk through hell to confront what Pat and Ed did to me, and I fought having to for a long, long time.  Did everything I could to avoid thinking about them … I know how hard all of this is for you, you know I do.

But Elizabeth, the pain of losing your family has to be worse than confronting the horror of the past ever could have been.

Maybe I don’t know everything Pat and Ed did to you; I know they both beat you – violently, cruelly and with clear intent to hurt you.  I know they neglected you, abandoned you, humiliated you.  I know they were never there for you emotionally.  And I now believe Ed did molest you, and know Pat failed to protect you, even from that … is there more?

The thing is: even if there is more, it is time to stop blaming others for what you have done; I ask if there is more with all the compassion I can muster …

but I fully believe that you are where you are today because of choices you and you alone made.  You bear all the responsibility and you should be held accountable to those you have hurt.

Why matters …

only because you need to face the why to get well.

As always, I am here for you when you are civil, kind, sober and decent.  I am here if you want to do the work you need to do to get well, but you must understand that I have fought too long and too hard for my own peace of mind to allow you to bring your toxic drama into my life.  And I deal with our childhood in light of the truth, all of it – ugly as that is, and will remind you that you’d do well to do the same …

You were no one’s Golden Child, and I was not the poor misbegotten brother who existed in the shadow of Pat and Ed’s pride and admiration in you — our parents were equal opportunity abusers, Elizabeth; neither of us was wanted, loved, valued or Golden.  I understand your need to create that fantasy world;  it was a little girl’s coping tool, and it got you through a nightmare childhood, but you are a grown-up now …

and there is no salvation in your delusions.

Tim

Terrible Legacy

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My father’s mother insisted that her grandchildren address her as, “Grandma Dear.”  Yes, I am serious – and this was long before Mommie Dearest was written or published.

This woman was lots of things, warm and dear nowhere among them.  Growing up, I was never permitted in the back portion or her house.  I can’t recall ever even seeing the bathroom, only the living room and kitchen.  She once told me, sternly, that she did not believe in coddling children, and the only reason she participated in my school fund-raiser was because she actually needed what I was selling; I could not have been more than six or seven.

Thankfully, we weren’t around Grandma Dear much – she and Pat were adversarial and my father himself didn’t have much of a relationship with her as I was growing up.  I remember her being pushy, demanding and obnoxious.

About the time I was to graduate from high school,  Ed won the use of a condominium on Maui for a week and he invited me to accompany him as my graduation gift – the trip ended up being a family reunion for Grandma Dear and her surviving children; I was the only family member of my generation in attendance.

Her children were beyond respectful of her as their mother – they revered her; acted toward her with a kind of sentiment usually reserved for a deity in religious worship. She demanded, they jumped.  She whined, they soothed.  Her every wish was granted, her every whim indulged. She was pampered and exalted, praised and adored.  She was not grateful for their efforts, or even kind to them – and there was no reciprocity of affection; it was surreal. I spent a lot of the week observing, and was appalled by what I saw – from her as well as my father and his siblings.  Her children drew no lines for her behavior; they had no personal limits of any kind – and she displayed no outward respect for them what-so-ever.

One afternoon, we all piled into a rented vehicle for a drive around the island.  Somehow, accidentally, I locked the keys in the trunk when we stopped for lunch.  Grandma Dear ranted and raved and raged at me for more than two hours because of this; it was an emotionally abusive, uncomfortable scene – and it largely ruined the entire trip for me.

After that day, I did my best never to see my grandmother again.  I saw her briefly at Ed’s apartment once – she was whining and carrying on because he had nothing in the refrigerator to drink.  Actually, he had several beverage options, but when he left to go to the market to appease her, I took my leave as well – and that was the last time I saw her.  I did not attend her funeral.

I know she was an abusive mother – Ed has told me that much about his childhood, but he, like so many abuse survivors do of the their abusive parents, makes excuses for her now.  His father was absentee, and he squandered the family’s money leaving her with worries and a house full of children to care for on her own.  From what I saw, her abuse never stopped, and he never drew lines for what he would and would not tolerate from her as an adult.

As far as Shockleys go, I’m unique; I see things as they really are.   I refuse to make excuses for the beatings my father gave me; he had a choice, and he chose wrong.  The same can be said of his mother — no matter what she was dealing with personally, beating her children was wrong.  She was an Abuser, and at least three of her children went on to abuse their own children.  The Shockley legacy is not Dear, it is nothing other than shameful, morally bereft and disgusting …

there is never justification for beating your child.

.

Own Your Truth, All Of It

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The other day, in response to this post, my aunt Bev sent my wife the following message:

“Holy cow! I just read Tim’s blog.  Guess you can’t change the spots on a leopard, after all.  I can’t believe what an ignorant so-and-so Ed is.  Oh, wait a minute, yes I can!  I still can’t get the sound of Tim’s screams out of my head as he was beating him.  I don’t remember it happening every time I was there, but it happened a lot!”

My aunt is about ten years older than I am, and she was very often at our house when I was growing up – her support in recent months has meant a lot to me, and my family.

I’m coming to understand more and more Ed’s self-denial.   It isn’t that he’s denied beating me – he knows he did, but his recall is extremely limited.  My therapist thinks this is due to his unwillingness – ardent, decided refusal – to face the trauma of his own childhood, coupled with the fact that he beat me so often the events themselves have all run together in his mind.  There is also some serious cognitive dissonance: the man he sees himself as now is antithetical to the man he was in my childhood, and we are talking about his acceptance of the fact that he was an Abuser – a heinously bad father and human being.  Whatever the problem is, it is his to solve.

I’ve tried to be as kind as I can – tried to understand how hard it must be for him after all these years to be faced with an angry adult child who needs for him to revisit a past he has spent decades trying to deny.  But his alternate reality isn’t reality, and his rewriting of the story – to make it partly a work of fiction to ease his own mind, doesn’t work for me.  I have struggled and fought too hard to recover from my childhood to accept half measures – or anything less than total recall, from him now.  What he is doing is offensive, and it is insulting.

It really is puzzling to me — everyone who knew my immediate family – friends, extended family, teachers – even school administrators – knew he beat me.  And they all understand he was an abuser – it didn’t happen once, or even twice – he violently and cruelly beat me, often.

It is as though he takes some sort of refuge in not recognizing how frequently he hit me; to his way of thinking its easier to reconcile isolated events because those he can see as mistakes; the truth exposes him to be a monster – a man he just cannot admit to being. Or maybe he is just a  Stubborn, pig-headed Shockley.    If stubborn pride is the case, I can’t mean much to him …

And then there is the real possibility he made the attempt to reconcile – to the extent that he has, to appease the people in his life now. It wouldn’t look good at all – after they read this blog, or were informed of its content, for him not to reach out to me.  Was I a fool to give him this chance?  Perhaps …

what he does now will define him forever in my mind.

I Am Not Like Them

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I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve heard,  “the Shockleys are pig-headed, stubborn, obstinate or hard-headed,” — from Shockleys!  They wear this trait, this character flaw, like a badge of honor; it’s disgusting really – especially when we’re talking about their refusal to see and understand things as they really are.

They are arrogant – when few have any right even to be proud. Their legacy is abuse, denial and a refusal to see and understand themselves as they truly are.

I’m pretty upset today – I received an unsettling message from my cousin this morning – her sister, a survivor of heinous physical and emotional abuse at the hands of  their father – my Shockley uncle, had to quit her job because her depression had become so severe she couldn’t even get out of bed; she spends days at a time in bed now, lacking the ability even to shower or attend her most basic needs.

My father’s cruelty is well-detailed on the pages of this blog – he was no prize, but if given the choice between Ed and my uncle – who once locked his four year old daughter outside in the snow with no coat and no shoes for an extended period of time, I’d have to keep Ed.  I don’t recall my mother, as my cousin does of her own mother, ever telling my father to stop beating me because he was in danger of killing me, and Ed never beat my mother so badly she ended up in the hospital as a result — I also have no memory, again as my cousin does, of being directly told by my parents they didn’t love me and that I’d never amount to anything.  Yep!  In this case, I’ll stick to the devil I know – and that’s saying A LOT considering I grew up with Ed as a father.

My Shockley aunt has actually verbally assaulted my daughter, then she resorted to illegal measures to continue her assault when we blocked her initial barrage – this is the same aunt who believes her son with Bipolar Disorder has False Memories of her abusing him. Need I say more here?

Yes, the Shockleys are quite a clan; pig-headed, stubborn, hard-headed and let’s not forget abusive, vile, repugnant, cruel and generally not concerned with the feelings, needs or well-being of their children.

My wife refused to take my name when we got married, now I wish I had taken her’s.

Reconciliation: A Step Back

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Ed,

Just so we’re clear — my ability to communicate effectively isn’t altered due to Bipolar Disorder; you and I just think in fundamentally different ways.  I teach, I write, I perform a highly technical and complex job and I interact with friends, colleagues and family with no glitches at all – my cognition isn’t different from anyone else’s, nor is it in any way impaired.  (psychosis not withstanding, but you haven’t known me in a psychotic state, or anything even close to a psychotic state) Be careful assigning your failure to properly communicate with me to my having Bipolar Disorder – to make such a ludicrous assumption would be to display your ignorance and bias.

Here’s the issue:  I don’t understand how it is – how it can possibly be, that you don’t understand the story, or that you are unable to get it. You wrote the story for the first two decades of my life; you beat me, Ed.  You were an asshole – not just one day, but every day.  My memories are clear and vivid and real, so please don’t try to exonerate yourself by oh so ignorantly asserting that my memory is impaired, or my cognition faulty, due to Bipolar Disorder. If the fault lies in memory impairment, or cognition, you’re the one with the problem.

I didn’t write the letter about mental illness to give you an excuse for poorly communicating with me, I wrote it to give you some background; if you can say “happiness is a fickle virtue,” of Elizabeth not being able find real happiness, after all I had shared with you, you obviously don’t understand all she deals with because of your reprehensible parenting.  If what you got out of that letter was a belief that my responses to you are different than you expect because I have Bipolar Disorder, I can’t help you understand — no one can, you see ONLY what you want to see.  You don’t get it because you don’t want to – you cannot face yourself.

The fact is, during the first twenty-two years of my life, you failed Universally; as a father and as a man.  That is the story, that is all there is to it.  And after the ball game, when you went into the bathroom through the exit – presumably so you didn’t have to wait in line, I was appalled.  Where is the kindness and consideration you want me to believe is so much a part of you today?  Where is the integrity?  That was an asshole move.  Now, if there is something I don’t know – if you went in and waited in line, or if you are incontinent due to having had prostate cancer, I will amend my sentiments, but if it is nothing more than it appeared to be, the move speaks to your character and I don’t like what it says.

Regarding the bet YOU made.  What I felt when reading your texts was two-fold: one, you had to address something – meaning I could just wait in your opinion, without even the consideration of your telling me you had to end our conversation for the time being, and two; you were attempting to weasel out of your bet.  Perhaps I don’t get your sense of humor, I don’t think I ever did, actually, but you came across badly and that is on you, not on me, so it has nothing to do with Bipolar Disorder. I understood exactly what you said, and what you implied.

It should be fairly obvious to you by now I am still angry – I didn’t really think I was, but the bathroom incident at the ballgame, followed by the bet text, followed by your most recent email to me has shown me that I am, and rightfully so.  I’ve let a lot go, but not everything and I don’t think I can do that until you get honest with yourself, and with me, about the monster I knew you to be when I was a child.

You want me to detail every beating so you can share my pain — they all look just like the ones you’re willing to recall.  There were dozens of them, Ed.  I begged you for mercy, which you never gave.  You humiliated me time and time again.  The self-admitted asshole you were the day of the church picnic IS THE MAN WHO RAISED ME – HE IS THE ONLY FATHER I REMEMBER.  I cannot make this anymore clear.  You were a miserable bastard, a complete and utter failure, and your failure led to some pretty dire consequences; I’m reminded every single day when I take Risperdal, Wellbutrin and Lithium of the father you were.

But I am not unable to communicate properly because of that man – you are.  Read what I write, listen to what I say — and take it as gospel, don’t spin it, don’t see it through your eyes.  I am not a hard-headed, stubborn Shockley, I abhor that trait, that kind of person – I am able to see and feel and process the pain of others, even when doing so makes me understand myself to be a miserable human being. Sometimes it’s necessary to see ourselves through another’s eyes to truly know ourselves.

When you can do that, when you’re ready to do that, please let me know.  Until then, enjoy your trip, don’t drink too much bourbon, and we’ll see you and Marie for Catch Me If You Can and dinner to follow on June 12th.

Tim

Simple Conclusions

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I have spent most of my adult life trying to understand the terrible things terrible people do; glad to know that means I’m not one of them.

But I don’t think they understand either; in my experience, terrible people seldom realize they are, indeed, terrible.

They are disingenuous and phony; they fake their feelings – especially emotions such as love, regret, compassion and remorse.  They know they are different from others, but they don’t recognize or acknowledge the depth of their own darkness.

And that leaves the rest of us scratching out heads in wonder at the malevolent things they do and say.

Worst of all is Evil that masquerades as Benevolence.

Even in my childhood home, where abuse was the norm, Pat and Ed were occasionally warm.  I can remember bedtime stories, and sitting close to him on the couch watching TV — and she, though never nurturing, tried to soften the pain of a skinned knee with a bandaid and a pat on the head – the itch and discomfort of Chicken Pox with a baking soda bath …

But these acts of human kindness were confusing to me — so contradictory were they to the fear, pain and humiliation I’d come to anticipate and expect, that I didn’t understand them, didn’t know how to understand them.  How is my parents could be kind in certain moments, and cruel and dis-compassionate in so many others – most others?

It makes no sense to me still, and as a child it was its own form of abuse – emotional and gut-wrenching.

Time and time again they pulled the rug out from under me, time and time again they taught me not to trust them, not to believe them – kindness would become pain again soon enough.

I don’t have to wonder how it is I got sick, the miracle would have been if I hadn’t.

From what I understand, child abuse is multi-generational in my family, as it is in most where it exists.  It breaks the child, who later breaks his own child, and so it goes on and on and on.

It is important to talk about.  It is important to remember, especially how you felt if it happened to you …

It is in knowing how we felt that we are able to stop the cycle – to love and nurture our own children so they will be whole and able to do the same for their children someday.

Ed once said he couldn’t recall ever having beaten me with a wire coat hanger – he remembered how much those hurt when he’d been beaten with them as a child and had told himself he’d never use a wire coat hanger to beat his own child.

He used belts and sticks, what is the difference?

It was OK for his parents to beat him, just not with a wire coat hanger?

NO!  It wasn’t OK for them to hit him EVER, with anything!

And it wasn’t OK for him to hit me EVER, with anything!

Guess I was the first member of my family to think this abuse thing through to its logical conclusion, the only correct conclusion.

My mother, too, was subject to humiliating, painful and abusive ‘spankings.’ She was also shunned by her parents for getting pregnant out of wedlock at seventeen, which leads me to believe she may have incurred other forms of emotional abuse in her childhood.  She, my sister and maternal grandmother are, and always have been, so much alike …

and still I cannot fathom doing the things my parents have done – to anyone, much less my own children.

Terrible people perpetuate the cycle.

It is, to my mind, that simple.

Understanding

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My therapist has suggested small, targeted, facilitated group therapy for my continued care – I’ll still see her PRN, but this group addresses aspects of my life that can lead, when not successfully managed, to stress and relapse.

The first session was on Forgiveness.  Interesting timing as I have been actively trying to forgive my father …

In our situation, I put reconciliation before forgiveness – it usually works the other way around.  I had to know him today to determine if forgiveness is even possible – the man he was in my childhood didn’t deserve consideration from me.

Come to find out, forgiveness was never for him to start with – not that he doesn’t want it or need it – but for me.  I know, lots of you tried to tell me this, but it didn’t make sense – forgive him for my peace of mind?  Really?  I kind of see it now.

Here’s the thing:  he is trying really, really hard – and I appreciate that.  I see his effort – it is tangible, palpable and sincere. And that effort, that feeling that comes from knowing we are both striving to rebuild and reconnect in a new, healthy, positive way is what allows me to say – I want to forgive my father.

Yet there are times when my anger with him is just below the surface; I am not as patient with him as I would like to be – as I know I should be.  The past cannot simply be erased, and it does have an impact on the here and now.  None of this is easy – my wife says I make it look easy, at least most of the time, but it takes concerted effort in certain moments to remain calm and centered, focused only on today – and sometimes my struggle is  obvious.

I work diligently to control Bipolar anger and rage, and I know Ed has battled anger and rage issues of his own throughout his life – for the common ground you’d think this might provide, it doesn’t …

I have never once raged at my children.  I have never lost control and hit my children.  I have never hurt them, and I damn sure haven’t ever beaten them …

So anger and rage, which might be seen by Ed and I as a common enemy, actually leaves me feeling in all ways superior to him – as a human being, as a man, and most importantly as a father.

Ed doesn’t know how to be a father – based on what I experienced as a child, and what I still see today, fatherhood is utterly foreign to him. He tries now, and that means a lot, so I remind myself that I can’t hold him accountable for not understanding that which he lacks the innate ability to understand …

I was, and still am, an emotionally connected father – my respect, love and admiration for my children knows no bounds.  I built relationships with them that began the moment they were born.  I was never punitive or authoritarian – I taught by example and I explained right and wrong over and over and over again, patiently.  I wanted them to like who I am, to respect – not fear me, and to love me genuinely, not merely because I am their father.  I knew all of this, somehow I just knew it …

and Ed didn’t.

So I am choosing to forgive, because it is right for both of us.

At some point, I hope the residual anger dissipates …

and I hope my feelings of superiority melt into a true sense of friendship and equality, because I really am committed to having a new and meaningful relationship with  my father.

It’s Complicated Even Though it Should be Simple

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When I was in my second year of college, I was in a car accident – the driver of the other car died.  I was speeding, and she ran a stop sign.

My injuries were serious, but not life threatening.  During my stay in the hospital, I was questioned by the police – and I told them the truth; I was speeding to an excessive degree.  My mother was with me at the time, and when the police left, she was upset because I had told them the truth – she told me I was honest to a fault, and berated me for not lying.

At the time, I didn’t think too much about my mother’s anger and disappointment with my honesty, but I have thought about it occasionally since then.

I have lived my life openly and honestly, and as a result my regrets are few.  I didn’t realize though, until I began this blog, exactly how important being a decent, honest person can be.   Aside from one family member on my father’s side, no one has questioned the truth in my story …

and accepting what is written here for the truth that it is has been costly;  I don’t think my mother will ever speak to my aunt again.

I don’t know which is more painful for Bev, being disowned by her big sister, or having to face the fact that her big sister isn’t who she believed her to be.  Either way, the last few months have been a painful chapter in my aunt’s life, and I care about that, even if Pat does not.

People who do not guard their integrity, who shout to the heavens, ‘I have no integrity,’ in the things they do, will be left with very little recourse when the truth comes out, and eventually it does come out.

The way in which my mother has lived her life only confirms the truth in my words – a truth she is too weak and cowardly to acknowledge …

Pat turned her back on her own sister because she couldn’t deal with Bev knowing the truth.  Pat seems to think out of sight is out of mind, and she also seems to think it is morally sound to apply this inane principle to people!

I don’t want admissions and apologies from my mother – I’ve said for the last thirty years I’d never be able to find sincerity in them even if they were offered.  I’d question her motivation and wonder what she was hoping to gain.  Sadly, this is the reaction she conditioned me to have …

My father said this blog is good, it opens people’s eyes to the horror of child abuse, shows them where it can lead and the pain it causes – not just for a moment, but for a life time.

My wife, who is also my editor, has come to an incredibly deep understanding through reading here.   It has been cathartic for her as well as for me …

so I know Silence Shattered is positive – a force for Good, and Truth …

but I also  know Good and Truth can be complicated, especially when you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t have the first clue what either of those words mean.

Understanding Today

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I’ve gone back and read much of this blog in its entirety – the last time I did this was before I reconciled with my father.

I feel something – not sure what to call it; it is less than regret, but more than bad, for my part in thirty years of estrangement.  I had to do what I did to know the wonderful life I have known, and thankfully he understands that, but I am still feeling that indefinable something.  

When I stop to consider, I realize what I feel is connected to all he lost – and what is lost to time is irretrievable.

He missed my wedding, the birth and childhood of my children, holidays, birthdays, graduations, family vacations; I missed being there for him when my oldest sister died … the list goes on and on, and it staggers me – humbles me.

The past several months, since talking to my father  has brought me a more complete understanding of my childhood, I’ve compiled a mental list of wrongs committed by mother.  I did not intend for this to happen, did not set out to accomplish this task, but I realized as I read back through the pages of Silence Shattered I have done just that.

It’s odd because I don’t have a need to assign blame – I never have.  My need is, and has always been, to simply understand.

My mother assailed my childhood, left me devoid of a connection to my family for years and years, made me believe things that are untrue, led me to question my father’s intentions, integrity and sense of morality, turned her back on all three of her children  … and she now uses the fact that I have Bipolar Disorder, a disorder she gave me, in an attempt to exonerate herself – to support her denial.

She feels no shame, no sense of remorse.  She accepts no responsibility for the lives she has complicated or destroyed, feels no sorrow in knowing the unbearable pain she has caused.  In her own words:

” I will take this opportunity to just bow out and save myself the headache of dealing with it.”  

That’s what she does, she wrecks havoc with people’s lives and then she walks away – from everyone.  A woman who can turn her back on her children is a cold-hearted bitch who is capable of ANYTHING.

There, I said it.  I’m not proud of myself for expressing my pain and anger in such a crass way, but there it is – and it is appropriate; I, her only son, am a ‘headache,’ not to be dealt with.  Cold-hearted bitch.  She is truly vile and despicable.

My need was to understand:

but I am incapable of understanding a mother who is devoid of love for her own children.

Incapable of understanding hatred so deep and all-consuming she would destroy her own children in order to hurt the man she was once married to.

I can’t remember if she ever mattered to me at all;

I think she must have, because I feel betrayed …

She did not win, did not succeed.  I love – intensely, deeply and forever.  I am not like her.  I cannot understand her.

My father, for all his mistakes, loves too.  Loves his children, all three of us – and his grandchildren, those he has met and those he has yet to meet . He forgave my need to walk away, even comprehends why it was necessary.  In the end, my mother didn’t get what she set out to get – and she lost ALL in trying.   She condemned herself.

If not for the pain she caused my father, me, Elizabeth (and by extension our spouses and children, her grandchildren) and Janet, I’d feel vindicated in my final understanding, but …

there can be no real satisfaction when so much was taken from my father, my sisters and I.

It is, however, freeing and cathartic to know that ultimately …

she, Evil Incarnate, did not win.

For now, that’s enough.

Black Heart

alt

Reconciliation with my father is going well, in fact it’s going really well.  Oddly enough, that has me contemplating my mother a great deal …

not contemplating a reconciliation, but pondering, understanding, and accepting exactly why that will never be possible.

Without my mother’s influence – her self-serving and purpose driven exploitation of my father’s mistakes, which made me fear him tremendously as a child, and question his judgement, intentions, integrity and morality as an adult, reconciling with my father would likely have come a long time ago.  As I have said before, I made the decision to walk away from him, and that is on me, but my mother certainly designed and engineered that outcome.

If, as the theory of False Memories goes, an unscrupulous therapist can cause an adult patient to remember things incorrectly – or even recall things that never actually happened, what is a morally bankrupt parent able to convince her child of?

I have clear memories of my father beating me, it happened.  He knows that, I know that – everyone who lived in our house knows that.  But I also have vivid memories of my mother using those beatings to make me afraid  of him every minute of every day.  She made me believe he could, at any moment, lose his temper and hurt me.  This is how she controlled my behavior as a child.  She ‘spanked’ me so much so he wouldn’t have to beat me, she told me this.  She also told me that my father had to beat me every month or so, despite her ‘efforts’ to make me well behaved, because I was just a bad kid who didn’t understand anything other than a beating.

And as terrible as what she did to me is, what she did to my sister is far, far worse.  She convinced Elizabeth that our father molested her.  She used the fact that my father had beaten me to make me fear him, and she used the fact that Ed was guilty of sexual misconduct to convince my sister that our father had molested her.

Both my sister and I have deep seated abandonment issues, issues our  mother worked day and night to create and develop.  When a child intensely fears being abandoned by her mother, her mother is all-powerful …

Elizabeth believed, or  has pretended to believe for decades, everything our mother told her about our father – in either scenario the outcome is unfavorable for Elizabeth …

If Pat was telling the truth, Elizabeth had repressed memories of being sexually abused by our father – and has had to live with all that entails.

If Pat was lying, which she was, Elizabeth had to pretend to believe her, and shun our father, or risk being abandoned by Pat.

Our parents were divorced, something Elizabeth never came to terms with; in her young mind, our father had already left her – it happened the day he moved out of our house.  So intense was Elizabeth’s  fear of abandonment by that point, she lacked the ability to understand their divorce logically and rationally.  She was never going to risk Pat’s abandonment, too … so she chose to believe Pat’s allegations, or at least pretend she did.

And now, today, Elizabeth either believes she was molested by our father – which is so far from the truth it would be ridiculous to even consider if the outcome weren’t so tragic …

or, she carries more than three decades of guilt for falsely believing/accusing our father of something so heinous.

And worst of all for Elizabeth — her mother did all of this to her.

Pat wanted us to hate our father, and this predates their divorce – I was very young when she so effectively began to make me as fearful of him as I was … she made Elizabeth very afraid of him, too — all the while she was playing our protector, twisting our thoughts, feelings and emotions according to her purpose.

As their marriage deteriorated, and Pat’s bitterness and resentment and loathing of Ed reached an apex, it all got much, much worse. Pat’s melodrama, which had always disturbed me, became a nightly show for Elizabeth and I as she sat on the couch drinking cheap wine through a straw directly from the bottle — something she told us she did so she could face having to sleep in the same bed with our father.

I could go on and on – she assassinated his character and did everything in her power to discredit him in our eyes.

What kind of mother does this to her children?

Sure, she was hurting Ed, the object of her disdain, but she was destroying her children in the process … her children, and she did not care …

There can be only one conclusion here:

She never loved us to begin with.

In fact,

Pat has no idea how to love anyone …

except herself.

I have no clue who is in Pat’s life today – she has thrown her children away and turned her back on her sister.  I know it sounds cavalier to say, ‘oh well, we’re all better off without her,’ but it is true.  Tragic and sad, but true.

Concern and compassion goes to those who are still trapped in her web, unable to discern who and what she really is.