Yesterday’s Email

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Hi Tim,

I guess because it is Christmas ir [sic] Hanukkah – Jewish annual doy [sic] of atonement- that I’m reaching out to you.

First may you Rhonda rachael,[sic] Nicholas and wesley [sic] all have a blessed and joyfull [sic] Christmas and New year.

Next in tune with Hanukka [sic] I want to say I’m sorry for all the angry feeling I’ve had toward you this year and want to apologise [sic] for any of those that have hurt you.

This may sound conrtite [sic] or strange but in listening to a Jewish psycologist [sic]  friend of mine explain the purpose for Hannukka [sic] and its asking for forgiveness, as he explaind [sic] forgiveness blesses both the forgiven in that the guilt and pain is expunged and the forgiver in that forgivness [sic] is the beginning of healing.

And I hope both of these for you.

My reply:

 

 

Ed,

The Jewish Day of Atonement is not Hanukkah, it is Yom Kippur.   Known as the Jewish “Day of Atonement”, Yom Kippur begins on the evening of 11 October. It falls each year on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, ten days after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur is a day to reflect on the past year and ask for forgiveness for any sins. Rosh Hashanah extends to asking forgiveness of God.

 

 

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights in December. This holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

 

 

I’m an atheist because I’ve studied religions.

 

 

Forgiveness.  Although is can be said that we will all have need for the gift of forgiveness – both as forgiver and forgiven at some point in our lives, it is far more complicated than the assigned rhetoric or dogma will have you believe.  It is not a single act, but a sustained and ongoing process dependent upon the sincere and devout works of the transgressor, which in turn allows for an open-heart in those he has wounded.

 

 

Forgiveness can only be the beginning of healing when the transgressor admits his wrongdoing, assumes all responsibility for what he did as well as for what it caused, and then endeavors to make it right — whatever that takes, for as long as it takes. Without this, forgiveness is a fallacy; meaningless and empty for both parties.

 

Anger is not a primary emotion, it is secondary – a choice we make, and it is seldom, if ever, valid. Anger provides a surge of energy and makes us feel temporarily in control … and it is far more comfortable to feel in the moment than our true emotions – usually sadness, defeat, fear, anxiety, dread, vulnerability.  You, Ed, have always chosen anger.  The father I remember was always mad.  Always.  Nothing has changed.

 

I do not care that you were angry with me this year, that was your choice.  Everything – from beginning to end, was and is on you; all I did was tell my story.  If you wanted the ending to be different, you should have taken greater care while writing it.

 

And, if you wanted forgiveness for what you’ve done, you’d have taken a far different tactic when you felt threatened and confronted — you’d have remembered that you are the source for all that has come to pass, and held yourself accountable.  You chose anger.

 

I think you may need a reminder; I am not like those in your life now, I know who and what you really are.  I am not fooled by your false wisdom or attempts at intellect, I won’t fall for that calm placating voice and the manipulations of others it affords you – I am the son you cruelly and brutally abused.  I’ve seen and lived your darkness; there is no light or goodness in you that I can find.

 

 

 

Tim

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I Will Tell My Story

“Violators cannot live with the truth: survivors cannot live without it. There are those who still, once again, are poised to invalidate and deny us. If we don’t assert our truth, it may again be relegated to fantasy. But the truth won’t go away. It will keep surfacing until it is recognized. Truth will outlast any campaigns mounted against it, no matter how mighty, clever, or long. It is invincible. It’s only a matter of which generation is willing to face it and, in so doing, protect future generations from abuse.”
Christine Oksana

I will not go back to silence, to a time when not proclaiming my truth made me complicit in Pat and Ed’s lies.  I. Will. Not.

This blog has given me catharsis and solace – and an unmitigated view of the events that shaped my young life and led to a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.  It is my story, and I will tell it.

For others – the perpetrators of abuse, this blog is a stark, cold, bleak mirror reflecting the darkness of their soul. It has led to embarrassment, shame, and even confession. It has brought fervent denial, offered in vain; disbelieved by those who matter most.  It has exposed character flaws and vile, repellent acts committed only by the cruel and depraved. It has shined a light on generations of abuse; morally bereft parenting practices that have led to estrangement, alienation and mental illness.

It has brought me peace.

I have been fully well for a long time now; my thoughts clear, my feelings and emotions tempered only by what is real and true – it is good, so good.

I do not do this out of a need for revenge – nothing I could ever do would be enough anyway.  I do this because it is right, and it is true.  I offer no apology to those who would be far more comfortable with my silence – I did not ask to be Pat and Ed’s child.

“So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault & responsibility of the adult. I was—and am—innocent.”

The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis 

When we give shelter to those who have abused and tortured, when we cloak their sins and embrace their lies, can we really believe in our own goodness and integrity?

My Character and Breaking the Cycle of Abuse

All this talk of Ed’s character has me considering not only my own character, but the principles that have shaped and defined it.  I often feel like an anomaly – no one taught me to be who I am, I decided to be who I am.  It isn’t like I felt a pull to become like my parents, quite the opposite in fact – always, but I didn’t know much about decent, good people from experience either, so I had to learn as a young adult what most people seemed to have known since kindergarten.

I’ve realized that my own character is founded on philosophical truth, and adopting the traits of a handful of people whose respect I wanted to earn.  To a degree, I imagine this to be true for everyone, but it was all I had; my parents may have been a shining example of what not to do, but that still left me to figure out what to do …

I was twenty-nine when my first child was born – and I was scared to death.  The morning my wife and I arrived at the hospital for his birth was surreal; we got there, I parked the car — and neither of us moved, we just sat there in silence.  We wanted this baby, he was planned and already dearly loved, but knowing that we were about to become responsible for another life – a delicate, fragile life we could easily screw-up was, in that moment, over-whelming.

So many people assumed that his birth would lead me back to my parents – I never understood this; having a child was the best reason of all to stay away from Ed and Pat.  I had to protect him, not only from physical harm, but from the flawed thinking that rules their lives.  These are not people who should be allowed to influence a child.

I understand the importance of family – let me amend that;  I understand the importance of family that functions as it should.  No family is perfect, that’s a given, but there has to be a standard.  There has to be compassion and good intent.  Motivation should be steeped in what is right, not in what is easy or what has always been.  Nothing will ever be more rewarding to me than knowing I broke the cycle of abuse.

Raising children is hard, but it is also crazy fun!  I have memories I wouldn’t trade for anything – I’ve even found a way to make peace with the memory of having stepped barefoot on Legos  many, many times  …  and I did not pummel the kid, now 21, who recently admitted to having left the evil things, on purpose, where he knew my feet would find them when I woke him up for school in the morning!  To be fair, I was a bit obnoxious in awakening him – cheerily, extremely cheerily [and loudly] proclaiming that he should wake up because it was a “bright, sunny glorious new day!”

I was the dad who coached T-ball and took his daughter for ice cream after her gymnastics lessons.  I’ve sat through more recitals, more performance and academic competitions than I can even remember.  I’ve surprised children with trips to Europe and Walt Disney World.  I stayed awake all night with babies, despite the fact that I had to work the next morning, because I wanted my time alone with them.  I listened to and validated their argument even when the answer had to be, no.  I taught them to walk and talk and swim and drive and to live up to their potential.  I taught them to love and to live …

And when I think about all of that, and everything being their father has given me, then, and only then, do I pity Ed and Pat who will never know the joy of being someone’s father or mother … or the comfort that comes from being part of a real, loving, caring, nurturing family they created.