I’ve read Susan Forward’s book on toxic parens a few years ago. Everything she speaks about, I found to be true for my own rearing. The emotional blackmailing, the being made feel inferior, even physical punishment for the most basic physical expression like panting from running. In retrospect, the scope of the abuse was enormous and to the point that has me think: Why did they bother having kids in the first place? Telling from what I know about those times, they probably did, because it was the thing to do or because someone else told them so. The latter I actually know for a fact, as my mother would later share this with me as one of the therapeutic suggestions in regards to my father’s recovery from adolescent psychosis. Wow! There’s a proof of love! You’re here, because our doc told us so. Fabulous, ain’t it? Makes you feel like a million bucks, doesn’t it? And with it the associated fact that your genes are those of someone having gone crazy. Another wowzer. To this day they claim I’m a love child, but holly crap – I wouldn’t know what to derive that from given the early abandonment and later abuse. Love my ass!
There were times I afforded myself visualizations of going on a killing spree to retaliate all the pain they had instilled in me to last me until I die. I still shudder at some of the ideas that came forward, for the most part released from overindulging on booze at the time and missing the culturally agreed on inhibition in the aftermath about a number of things that are considered no-no’s in our societies. Like killing someone in the first place. And certainly killing in as horrible a way as some of my splatter-type-b-movie scenes in my head produced. I am really grateful for the ridiculous amounts of impulse control I’ve practiced and exercised over the years that kept me from committing potentially irreversible actions (which I would have deeply regretted and felt sorry about practically in the act of committing them or right after…). After all, two – or more – wrongs don’t make it right, right? Right. What would have been the point of messing up things even more than they already are, whether they were conscious of them or not (I’d like to think they were not in order to give them some credit and enable me to come to terms with all this as much as possible – I guess, finding acceptance is the word here). So, all in all, I think I’m safe to say that I’ve managed to keep myself within bounds for the most part. At least in such a way that I haven’t done anything far out and – like I said – potentially irreversible.
But I swear to God – little scenes like just moments ago really put all this hard work I put in to the test. The context? My aunt, whom is the only person I ever felt a real connection with in my family, is terminally ill with several agonizing illnesses that have her wither away like decaying perishable products… with her mind and heart staying intact so she “gets” to experience this nightmare until the bitter end. Her “choices” are between suffocating to death from COPD, kidney failure or some other organ failure from polyneuropathy that also has her muscles atrophy and is slowly eating away at the neuronal paths in all of her body…. And her largely failed vertebrae surgery some 13 years back has been killing her all along. I am and have been devastated over hearing this and it drives me up and down the wall to know of her infinite pain and the painful, slow death she faces next to being a full blown nursing case now and remaining to be until she draws her very last breath. I mean – it is so unfair, especially with her, who has been a good soul throughout her life and supported anyone coming her way in the best way she ever could. Tended to her own father when he became a nursing case, moved in with him, gave up her career in order to be there for him and stayed with him till the end. It’s one of these giant-sized unfairnesses in life that I’ve never been too good to deal with, let alone accept.
Since I can’t go visit her at the moment, but will do so in about a week after she got transferred to the nursing home, I called her on the phone, whenever the meds would have her in a condition to speak (she’s had chemotherapy recently, which had her constantly fatigued along with the dialysis every other day for 4.5 hours). It’s an ordeal of epic proportions and I’m thinking of her a lot. So I call her yesterday and we talk for as long as I thought she’d be able and willing to. I send an email to my folks letting them know about this. Today, I get a call from them referring to my email and the fact that I talked to my aunt. Right after the initial boilerplate courtesy formulae and a brief “you available to talk?”, something I made them check upon before speaking with me, she – Mrs. Mother – gets right into her own feelings about this, about her own infection with a bout of gastric flu and barrels on, never asking about my feelings, how I was coping with this or in general. I mean, come on! Even a total stranger would do better here, wouldn’t they? I guess, I can pride myself in having made progress as I won’t allow something like this to throw me off and bother me as strongly and as long as it used to. I’ve basically understood – and try to be accepting of – that she is just a giant klutz when it comes to anyone’s feelings but her own. Been like that forever plus abusive with anyone, who wouldn’t exactly abide by whatever she had in mind for them in earlier years. Toxic, toxic, toxic to the point, where you’d like to stamp “bio hazard” on her forehead to warn other people of such a person.
I afforded myself the illusion that there might be some potential for growth, for establishing something new altogether, something beautiful that would eventually outshine the grim past I come from. Oh, delusional sappy me! Just what the fuck was I thinking?
And here I go, talking to strangers in public, because there is no other place or means for me to vent than in this way. Wow. There is now a new quality to the panic attacks I’ve been suffering from and it is at the thought of the enormity of the fate I’m left (alone) to deal with. I’m a communicative person by nature and got born into an environment where communication is impossible, both on account of very limited cognitive capacity – to put it mildly – and an incapability to express emotions as well as on account of disregard, disrespect and neglect in my years of rearing. If there was such a thing as karma – and I largely reject the idea much like “original sin” and similar ones – I must have skinned babies in a former life or something along those lines to find myself making up for it in this life and this way. The emotional solitude and agony is … barely expressable. And can only be shared with those, who come from similar backgrounds. “Normal” is unlikely to happen for me ever again. I give my 3rd “wow” on this.
But…. the winter sun is shining brightly outside, the snow is glistening, I got the car back, healthy feet to walk on, a photo camera to tote and I am determined not to let this little fucked-up “checking-in” call ruin my day. If I could have a “thumbs up” on coping well done, doc? Thatta man! 😛