Narcissistic Parents

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obligation

There was a time when I hated my parents.

Then, for the longest time, I was indifferent.

Now, all I feel for them is pity …

and a great deal of nothing.

In recent email with Ed concerning my sister’s current crisis, I have realized a few things – and when I say realized, I mean not only a certain recognition, but also a deep understanding …

He has no idea how to be a father.

I don’t even think he knows what it means to be a father.

He does things – always the wrong things, that would never even occur to me … or anyone else who has even the most basic idea of how this, I am a parent, thing works.

When Rhonda emailed him several years ago, during my emotional breakdown, to let him know not only that I was very sick, but that it was all his fault (along with Pat) I was sick, he did not respond in any way; no call, no visit, no email reply.  Nothing.

When told Elizabeth was ill, his response has been two fold;  “I hope Pat does something to help her.”  was his first response …

and it was followed by his telling me that if she is a threat to herself or others, I can call Adult Protective Services.  He then explained that because he has had no contact with his daughter himself, he cannot make this call.

Seriously, I just had to shake my head.

His child is sick, and in crisis, and he knows exactly why she is sick … knows and acknowledges that his abuse (along with Pat’s) when she was a child is to blame for her state of mental health, and what does he do?

He sends her an email!  He hasn’t seen her in more that thirty five years, she is mentally ill and in crisis, and he emails her!

When I pointed out that this might not have been the best way to approach her, he agreed with me.

If it weren’t so damn tragic, it would be funny.  How can anyone be this daft?

It is his mess.

She is his child.

And still he does not take responsibility …

still he refuses to fix, or even attempt to fix, what he broke.

He lives in a world where nothing that happened prior to his marrying Marie matters;

nothing before 1985 is relevant:

Ed did not abuse his children.

Ed did not rape his daughter’s fourteen year old friend.

Ed did not fail to live up to even the most basic of obligations to his children.

He has hidden and lied for so long he actually believes he is good.

His children create cognitive dissonance – we are a stark, cold reality – a reminder that he isn’t who and what he believes himself to be.

I get it.  I do.

As sick as he made his children …

he has made himself even sicker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Narcissistic Parents

The target of the narcissistic mother is treated with disdain within the family. No one believes her/him:

 

Although I didn’t tell anyone all of what went on in my parent’s house as a child, it was occasionally noticed; bruises from Ed’s beatings were not always easy to hide.  When I was asked, by a teacher or my grandmother, where the bruises came from, I was truthful, but I also took the blame by stating I had deserved it … after all, he told me I did.

My mother was very good at both psychological and literal abandonment of her children.

When the truth came out, I was middle-aged … but I was lucky; almost everyone believed me.  The only family member who did not was one of my father’s sisters, an aunt whose denial of the multi-generational abuse rampant in the Shockley family is foundational to her very being.

I think my sister has suffered more from the disbelief of others than have I.  A lot of this may have to do with her illness(es); she is prone to intensity of emotion and reaction, therefore she overstates reality; she embellishes …

in the case of Pat and Ed, the truth itself is more than enough.

People don’t seem to have a problem believing Elizabeth where Ed is concerned – she kicked him to the curb, rightfully, when she was very young, but having kept Pat in her life for as long as she did made it difficult for some to believe and understand the truth about Pat when she finally dared to share it …

Pat beat her.

Pat manipulated her.

Pat abandoned her.

Pat verbally and emotionally tortured her.

Pat is not now who she pretends to be …

and never has been.

 

Pat, a Narcissist?

Her pathology is classic – and so is Ed’s for that matter.

I used to wonder how their marriage lasted as long as it did, now I wonder why they broke up …

they are perfect for each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coping With What They Broke

“If you want to keep a secret, you must hide it from yourself.” — George Orwell

My sister’s current circumstances have me thinking a great deal about self-delusion.  As a child, self-delusion was a tool of survival for her, and as she grew up, she seemed to integrate certain aspects of reality into her life, but she also left many others in the shadows.  She has told me our father molested her, she has told me that our mother knew it was happening, and she has told me that both of our parents beat her mercilessly – the last part, the beatings, I actually witnessed, but the molestation I did not see first hand.

She, unlike me with either parent, allowed our mother a place in her adult life; she hasn’t spoken to our father since just after he went to jail for raping her best friend when she was fourteen years old. My estrangement from both parents came in my early twenties, but Elizabeth never fully closed the door on our mother.  When we spoke of this, briefly, she told me she was afraid to walk away from Pat – afraid if she did that she would someday be left with no one.  This statement left me unbelievably sad for my sister given all our mother had done to her, and all she had allowed our father to do; to believe she was somehow better off with Pat in her life was inconceivable to me.

Ed is also adept at keeping secrets from himself.  He has told me the past reveals itself to him in dreams – dreams from which he awakens tearful and badly shaken.  He has moments now, waking moments, when he is near his young step-grandsons, moments which leave him in a state of saddened and shocked disbelief at what he is capable of doing; these very young children are currently about the same age I was when he was cruelly and brutally beating me with his belt.  The past is dark and full of terrors …

it is easier to keep some secrets, especially from ourselves.

Pat’s recollections of the past are less known to me today than are those of Ed and Elizabeth, but she was always skilled at putting her own spin on life.  I don’t think she is delusional though, I think she knows exactly what she is doing, and has done.  She keeps secrets from others, and always has, and she may even want to believe the lies she has told others herself, but her biggest issue is a life-long lack of empathy and compassion – and perhaps a misconception of events and circumstances as they actually occurred.

And me?  I buried the past deep within and hoped it would never again see the light of day. I walked away, created a life for myself, found happiness and never looked back.  I didn’t forget, I didn’t repress, I didn’t deny, and I didn’t keep secrets from myself – I just got very good at not remembering – not allowing myself to remember … and when, despite my resolve, dark memories would occasionally find their way into my consciousness, I would ignore any and all feelings associated with them.  I set myself up for an inevitable breakdown, but it was the only way to survive.

I understand a lot now – and I have answers I never thought I would have, but there are still questions …

and I’m sure I will never know all of what my sister experienced in childhood …

She, like our parents, is very good at keeping secrets …

and hiding things from everyone, including herself.

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

A Word of Caution

Although it is true that the people in our lives remain who and what they are to us, it is foolish to close our eyes to who and what they have been to others.

Objectionable character cannot, and should not, be overlooked.

If one has the capacity to sexually, physically and emotionally abuse their children, or to rape a young girl, or to turn their back on their child – or all three of them …

their character is tainted, despite who they pretend to be in your life.

I have zero tolerance for child abuse;  a man, or woman, who could hurt their own child is vile …

and has no place in the life of decent people.

So, Dear Friends and Family of Pat and Ed,

please remember that the next time you are faced with their righteous indignation at what you have read here, because …

Every.  Word.  Is.  True.

The Legacy Continues …

“Healing from childhood abuse is not going mad, it is going sane.

Jan Hawkins

It seems my sister is drinking again – not that she had stopped really, but there had been no crisis of which I was aware for several months.  Last weekend, that changed.

The text message my aunt Bev sent Rhonda asking if we had heard from Elizabeth was ominous; I never know quite how to feel where Elizabeth is concerned, and hearing from her can mean a myriad of things, most of which are not good.

It seems Elizabeth needed a place to detox for seventy-two hours so that she could admit herself to rehab.

This is her latest cry for help; over the years there have been dozens.  Suicide attempts which began in adolescence, alcoholism, misuse of prescription drugs, unsafe and risky behavior, sexual promiscuity as far back as high school – I could go on and on.

And now, she has lost everyone she ever truly loved – her husband and only child.  This was the ultimate cost of her refusal to face and deal with her childhood …

If I – or our aunt Bev, believed she would stay at our house for seventy-two hours and detox, then enter rehab and do the work she must do to get well, we’d have both been there for her in a heartbeat …

but we’ve heard it all before – many, many times.

It’s sad – no, it’s tragic.  I know why she is as she is – I lived the same childhood nightmare she did.

My aunt advised Elizabeth to call her mother, and I understand this; she should be able to call her mother, and find help there.  But Pat was never a mother …

Or Ed, Elizabeth should call her father …

I guess I think Pat and Ed should call her – she is what they made her.  Only and exactly what they made her.  She needs them …

but that doesn’t matter and it never did – if it had, Elizabeth wouldn’t be where she is now.

Yes, she is an adult, and she has to take responsibility for her life, but Pat and Ed alone are to blame for her illness(s).

And in the end, every child should be able to call his/her mother and father and find emotional support, and a soft place to land …

and heal.

After all this time, they – Pat and Ed, continue to fail as parents, and as human beings.

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

I’ve thought a lot, in recent weeks, about the direction my blog will take now that the detour chronicling attempt at reconciliation with Ed has reached its inevitable conclusion.  I don’t know what I was thinking in giving him the chance I gave him.  Still, a lot of questions were answered, and that is priceless.

I am well and stable and my life is content, satisfying and drama free; not sure it gets better than that.

I received a Thanksgiving card from my sister yesterday, but have no idea where she’ll be spending the holiday or who she’ll be spending it with.

On what would have been my grandmother’s birthday – 101, my aunt sent my sister and I a text message in which she expressed wonder at what her mother would have thought about the way it has all turned out …

I have no idea.

I think about my own children and my hopes for their future; I want them to know real and sustained happiness.  I want them to feel successful; to know success defined by their own rubric.  I want them to have empathy and respect for all others, and I want them to always treat their family and friends with honor, dignity and integrity.  I want them to truly live; to discover who they are and courageously walk their own path.

I don’t know if my parents ever gave thought to how they hoped it would all turn out, and I don’t know if their parents did either, but I suspect many of my hopes for my children are Universal.

The holidays and sentimental moments, such as remembering your mother on what would have been her 101st birthday, make us all think – I suspect even Pat and Ed may stop to ponder over all they have lost on such occasions …

but the time to consider and contemplate the direction you will go in as parent and child – forever, is before your children are born.

And so, this Thanksgiving …

I am thankful I understood that long before I ever considered becoming a father.

 

 

 

Integrity and Accountablity

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Personal responsibility and accountability are important to me; in fact, integrity is all.

Although not fair or well reasoned, what society accepts as right is subject to the prevailing beliefs of the times we live in; Walt Disney, by today’s standard, would be thought of as misogynistic – in 1960 he was merely a man of his time.  In the 1970s very few gave any thought at all to the use of physical discipline when raising a child, we now recognize that hitting a child cannot be construed as “discipline,” ever.  And most recently, thanks to Bill Cosby and a campaign of public service announcements defining rape in clear and straight forward terms, we’ve all come to see, understand, believe and accept that any non-consensual sexual act is, in fact, rape.

Should women have been seen as equal to men in the eyes of society in 1960?  Yes.  Should parents in decades past have known that hitting their children was cruel, and a poor way to teach and guide?  Absolutely.  And as for non-consensual sex, come on – right and wrong on this point should always have been a no-brainer.

What society accepts, and what is right, aren’t the same thing.  If your actions create a victim – someone who will suffer the consequences of your actions, what you did was wrong.  It is that simple.

The guilt I have felt over what I did when I was sick is unbearable at times – but good people feel guilt and remorse when they’ve hurt someone, or done something wrong.

It has nothing to do with what society will accept, and everything to do with what I will accept from myself; personal integrity matters.

And this is where I struggle with Ed.  I fight my own internal war against him – because he is lacking in personal integrity and holds himself accountable for nothing.

He raped — and we are going to call it rape because it was, by his own admission, non-consensual — a fourteen year old girl.  He went to jail for a short time, where he wrote me letters about the “de-humanization” he was forced to endure, as though he were being wronged in some heinous way by being there; as though he was the victim. This woman carries the scars of his actions to this day.  I spoke to her two years ago – her life has been a living hell because of what he did, and when he speaks of this incident it is sterile and unfeeling; no guilt, no remorse, no personal accountability, but he is very quick to tell you how he suffered because of jail time …

Perhaps he has to divorce himself of feeling and emotion for his victims – his children, whom he so cruelly abused emotionally and physically, and an innocent young girl he sexually assaulted – in order to live with himself, but if you ask me that is the very essence of cowardice and weakness … he left a wake of destruction he will not face, or own.

I live with the scars of having been his son every day of my life, yet he was never a father in any sense of the word; he didn’t live up to a single obligation inherent to the role, not a single one … there was no emotional support, no guidance, no encouragement, no financial support — Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.  He failed universally as a man, and a father.

And now what I feel is complicated.  He speaks of his step-son’s children as though they are his grandchildren, something they aren’t and can’t ever be.  His grandchildren had to be kept away from him for their own well-being because of what he did to their parents.  Family isn’t replaceable, or interchangeable – Ed shouldn’t get to feel, or even pretend to feel, warm and fuzzy for sharing Tales Of The Arabian Nights with James and Garrett as though they were Wesley and Nicholas … he lost the privilege of getting to tell stories to his grandsons when he beat their father.

But Ed has no sense of integrity, or personal accountability — society and legality be damned, so he doesn’t understand this.

He just doesn’t get it.  He threw his children away, and his new family cloaks his sins; the ultimate cover-up for a mis-lead life. It is bizarre, and all of my friends and family see clearly what he cannot begin to process …

“Do you believe he actually feels anything for anyone?”  Is a question my therapist asked me of my father; my answer was not definitive:

“I don’t know if he just expresses what he feels badly, or if he has merely learned how to make people believe he can feel so they accept him.”

Reading bedtime stories to beloved grandsons is something an old man is supposed to do, is supposed to want to do – he grabs at feeling and emotion like a lifeline … but it isn’t genuine, or heartfelt.  It feels foreign to him, and coming from him.

He doesn’t seem to understand there is no substitute for what he threw away, and by living as though there can be or is, he merely confirms what I’ve always known;  I was never important to him, and being a father meant nothing.

“And so,”  my therapist began, “how, in your father’s shoes, would you make amends to you children?”

I firmly believe that a man should not be defined by his mistakes, but by what he does to make them right.  Ed can’t make this right until he confronts himself with what he has done – he’s already apologized to me, but it lacks depth and meaning because he hasn’t felt my pain; he hasn’t held himself accountable for what he did, or for where it led.  Talk – spoken apologies are important, but they are merely words – a place to start.

I don’t want anything from Ed now – he could never give back what he took from me, but I would very much like to know he has confronted the monster he is.

Then maybe, just maybe, I could find in him some redeeming value …

and integrity.

Untitled: A Letter To My Parents

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Pat and Ed,

It is sometimes difficult to remember that your treatment of me was never about me, and always about you.  You so often told me I was bad I believed it myself.  And because I was bad, I deserved every act of abuse you levied against me. Today I see clearly just how fucked up you were – and still are, but as a child I took responsibility for everything you did to me.

I was twenty years old when I began dating Rhonda, and she was the first person I ever told about the beatings and other abuse.  I was ashamed to tell anyone; by then I knew what you had done was wrong, but it was humiliating to speak of. I was conflicted emotionally, and I didn’t yet understand the abuse viscerally, so I kept it all inside.

When I say Rhonda was the first person I told, I mean she was the first person I told other than Lois (my maternal grandmother) who questioned me about the bruises I had on my ass and legs when she was giving me a bath one night – I may have been four or five; “Daddy spanked me,” was the answer; she expressed her disgust – her hatred of Ed, but nothing more than that.  And then there was the gym teacher who questioned why I could hardly walk after the beating Ed gave me with the tree branch – I told him my father had spanked me a little too hard, but that I had deserved it. I actually took responsibility for that violent, rage inspired beating; I protected you, Ed.  It was years later, when I was an adult and had access to my CUM folder from my school years, that I realized exactly how many people knew you abused your children – and, of course, exactly how reviled they were by you.

It was a different world then – you could get away with abusing your children.  Most people believed that unless a child was in danger of losing his life, he belonged with his parents.  No one yet understood that the assumption of love inherent to that belief – a blind faith that all parents love their children and would never knowingly cause them harm – was fallacious in many cases.  No one was ready to face the stark, cold and bleak reality that for some children, parental love is nonexistent. Love in our home was a concept –  a word we used, but a feeling and emotion none of us knew or understood.

Ed, you speak of your affinity for Janet in a way that borders on unhealthy obsession – and you beat Elizabeth and I without feeling or remorse.  There is so much contradiction and conflict in this picture of your character I have no idea where to begin; it troubles me to the very core of my being.  When you speak of how you felt when we left Janet in institutional care – how difficult that was for you emotionally, I cannot feel empathy for you because you are the same father who tortured your other children.  How am I supposed to reconcile this?  It makes no sense.  If you actually did feel a deep connection to Janet, why did it not extend to Elizabeth and I – were we not your children, too?  Did we not deserve to know a kind, loving and compassionate father?

And Pat, even to this day you deny, so you haven’t stopped abusing.  You blame much of the content of this blog on my having Bipolar Disorder, which is despicable even for you.  I’m told you may be sick, and if you are sick, I’m sure you believe the cause to be your broken life – the stress and pain you have endured along the way.  I’m in no position to dispute the truth in that belief; I know all too well there are limits on what one can endure, and what happens when we’re taken past the point of no return.  Odd to think that maybe – perhaps, we’re in the same metaphorical boat – and you actually put yourself here too. If you are suffering the effects of what you have done, and those effects have manifested in illness, you and you alone bear the responsibility.  I did not write this story, Pat, I’m just telling it; you have always been unfeeling – incapable of empathy or remorse, love or affection – motivated only by what is best for yourself; I pity you, I always have.

You were young, and you  had no business having children.  Your marriage was less than ideal, and built on a shaky foundation.  You had an ill child and no money.  I understand all of that, but it does not excuse anything you did to Janet, Elizabeth and I – it never has and it never will.  At the end of the day, you destroyed your own children.  I have grieved for who I was meant to be – the boy you killed, who never got the chance to exist – the man he would have become.  I have mourned the absence of a mother and father throughout my life – all I had were tormentors who, in the end, were too stupid or blind or self-deluded to understand why I left and never came back.  And I have walked through hell and back to save myself after you made it crystal clear in my childhood that I couldn’t count on anyone else, least of all you, for love and support, or even a family and a soft place to land.

I would love to be able to say in honesty, “I’m over it; I have no desire to hurt back, no need for hatred or vengeance or retribution, but I can’t; it will have to be enough to say in honesty,”I will never avail myself of hatred or vengeance or retribution.”  Although all are owed, deserved, and ordained by the principle of Karma – I will not be that force.

I look at my children and know they are, quite simply, the best part of who I am.  There is nothing I would not do for them, no lengths I would not go to ensure their happiness and well being.  My life – my marriage, the kind of father I am and will always be, is what is supposed to be, what is meant to be.  If you fail your children, you have failed at life itself. What right do you have to a happy life if you betray and harm your child?

But, I will not be that Karmic force in your life, no matter how much I may want to be, because I will not be that man in the eyes of my children.  

Tim