Originally Posted by nop169
I must admit I have been addicted to this thread and couldn't resist posting again... Just a couple of thoughts.... The sheer amount of support & understanding presented here has uplifted my soul. A few thoughts for each of you to ponder... First and foremost - What is Truth? Truth is subjective. As I have grown older & raised my own children - I have increased my knowledge & experience to be able to understand my parent's twisted concepts & possible reasons that they acted in the way they did - financial, emotional & physical stress all contributed to the cycle I am sure - but the difference is that I chose a different way to deal with these distractions - a way that did not adversely affect my children. Understand that I am not defending their actions but I did have to analyse and try to come to some sort of understanding as to their actions in order to realize that it was not just me - that truely I was not the problem. I was also raised (deep south) with the mentality that it was not discussed - you were expected to remain silent ... you were their property & they could do as they pleased and you were to take it. Your presented a unified front to the rest of the world regardless of what was happening. l think we have to acknowledge that Truth is defined by the perceiver. My perceptions as a child were limited but that did not change the fact that I was beaten severly and emotionally tormented. That was my truth. My parents may justify their actions and that may define their truth. Which is THE TRUTH? For me the truth is my perception and knowing the full extent of the truth has been a gradual process that has taken me into their childhoods & insecurities in order to understand them. I needed to do this to justify that I wasn't the problem - that I truely am not unloveable, although I was unwanted.
As to the person who ask why discuss this thing of the past - as LauraJean & others have mentioned - it is not the past for those of us who are survivors... it is the present - for those who have never experienced this type of abuse the effect is not apparent perhaps.... but for those of us brought up in such dysfunctional, painful homes this defines who we are. I was taught to be silent & one of my sins is that I "betrayed" the family by telling. I left home at 17 - lived in my car for two years and almost starved to death. Finished high school & worked two jobs. It almost killed me. I felt I could not go to anyone else because in my experience I was not believed. People accomadated themselves as people do. At that time I had no need to cover anymore - when asked why I left home - I told. Of course, the "Leave it to Beaver" family who showed no dysfunction to the world claimed I was wild.... I was an alcoholic.... I was a whore hopper.... I was gay.... I lied.... SO as a 17 year old boy who left home - who do you think the public believed? It was hard living this way - hard to be judged by people when I did none of these things- but better that than living at that home. SILENCE perpetuated the crime & allowed it to continue for my younger siblings. I WILL NOT BE SILENT... I will take responsibility for my life & choices from the time I left home but I HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE for the hell we were exposed to. Silence is a tool of the abuser.
I am 42 now as mentioned earlier - and although I understand much more now than I did then - I still ache for acknowledgement, for belonging and for TRUTH to be brought into the light. But it is what has made me who I am - both the positive & negetive aspects that I have experienced colors the person I am today. My empathy, honor, loyalty, my perception of who is family, how I raised my children, what I believe in my God, who I see when I look in the mirror - all of these things have a direct relation to the past. It never goes away - the ugliness rears its head throughout life whether by dream, flashback, situation and even sometimes by smell. All I can do is take the ugliness & search my heart & soul and try to learn from it. I truely believe that the path choosen for us is to burn away the dross - the paths we take & choices we make help to scour away the things that cloud our minds and allow us to eventually shine. It is a process - one that most likely will continue throughout our lifetime - but for those of us who question, who search for the truth & understanding it is a necessary path. We chose to stop the cycle.
I did as many of you and totally cut off communication from my birth family years ago. I have even posted on BYC of certain events such as my mother showing up at my home on my birthday yet does not acknowledge me, my spouse or God forbid my biracial youngest child at any other time or in public. Yes it hurts, no it doesn't ever go away but I believe God uses these things to help me become the man I should be. You may disagree - but to me - why would these things be allowed and why would we question unless their is some higher purpose? That is how I manage - introspection. That is the only way it makes sense to me. This allows me to turn hurt into something else - something that drives me to be better as a husband, father & friend.
There are many aspects that this type of upbringing brings out into one's life.... but I encourage you to protect yourself & your true family. I encourage you to tell the TRUTH - YOUR TRUTH and not to become an accesory by remaining silent. I encourage you to search, to feel, to confront when necessary & to let go of those who emotionally hurt you. And KNOW - eventually you WILL find peace.
Edited by Laurajean - 6/20/11 at 10:46am
That was just beautiful. Truly well said. I second everything you spoke of. And forgive my occasional references to "daughters", because this most certainly applies to sons as well, and you are not the only man here to speak up, and I am grateful for that, since not a lot of men do speak up. Your general points made me think of the thread title "Sometimes we are born into the wrong families..." I keep meaning and keep forgetting to say that I do not think we are born into the wrong families. Although I wouldn't wish my childhood pain (and adulthood pain) upon anyone, I do believe that things happen for a reason, and I do KNOW that I am exactly who I am today because of my particular family experiences. I am extremely compassionate, loving and caring. I'm very thoughtful. When people compliment me on who I have become, or that I "must have been raised well", I sometimes say (if the conversation is appropriate) "Thank you, I am this way despite my mother, I raised myself to be this way". She is not compassionate, thoughtful or caring. And so I learned to be this way by defying the very nature of her, determined to do better, to be better. I try to treat others the way I wish I had been treated. My brother, much like the OP's sister, took a different path. He became just like my mother, if not worse. And the two of them have a very close bond and think the rest of us who "escaped" are crazy. That's fine. They can live in their safety bubble of denial, and I will strive, like you, to analyze, understand, practice being better. I too have always had a great need to understand, and to analyze. I can look at my mother and recognize certain factors, for example: Her extreme need to "be a victim", even if it means lying about her own children, most likely stems at least in part because she was the youngest of seven children, with a single mother, who was also detached and preoccupied with the poverty that faced them in those years. I have gathered that she was greatly ignored. In fact, she was molested as a teen, and SHE was sent away to live with an aunt, while the offender was allowed to remain in the home. I know that these things damaged her, increased her need for the attention that she too genuinely deserved. I can sympathize, but that simply does not excuse it, or make her treatment of me okay. I can't simply say, "Oh, poor Ma, she had it bad, it's not her fault" because she COULD have done better. I know this because I did.
So while I do a lot of analyzing about *why* things were the way they were, it still does not excuse it in my mind, only helps me to understand exactly what you said nop169, which is that it's not ME. I didn't do anything wrong. I was good. I should have been loved and treated well, not grossly neglected and emotionally tortured by my mother. And also like you, I will talk about it as long as I feel the need. I don't go out of my way to call up others and badmouth her. To the contrary, I remain civil and usually do not bring it up with relatives because there is no need to involve them in my issues. But in a scenario such as this, when someone needs to talk, or if I need to share? Absolutely. I stood by my mother for the first 30 years of my life, silently, even trying to make her look good to others. I am done with all that now. I'm almost 40. I have a life to live, and it's going to be a proud, honest and open life. I will not be her scape goat anymore. I'm proud and happy for you and all of us who strive to do better despite our pain. And yes, just because we aren't in touch with these relatives doesn't mean the pain is gone of course. I too have my triggers, random memories, etc. But for me, talking about this with other like-minded individuals is extremely comforting.