Anyone who is at odds with this belief can hold considerable amounts of self-blame. If our relationship with our parents was abusive, it can lead some of us to believe that we are the bad ones and even deserving of the abuse.
Often, we will make excuses for their behaviour and find ourselves secretly wondering, “was it all that bad?” or “maybe my behaviour deserved it – perhaps I instigated the anger and violence”.
Other people can assure us, “we are not to blame” as often as they like, but somehow it makes little difference. We need to arrive at that conclusion through a long process of self-searching and psychotherapy. I am still striving for that peace.
Even after my sister and I left home, Mum would always interfere. If we stood our ground – now fearless of violence – she adopted a new tactic, passive aggressiveness. We were always to blame for her unhappiness. Little did she realise, but her new tactic would come back and bite her right on the arse!
When I moved 500 miles, I began to see the situation for what it really was. The extraordinary painful memories of an abusive upbringing came flooding back. Rather than “absence make the heart grow fonder”, the distance created tremendous anger and resentments.
Before long, the decision finally came to lose contact with them altogether. This was remarkably easy to do. Our parents believe that it is our responsibility to make contact and visit them. When Mum didn’t hear from me for a couple of weeks, she enters another passive aggressive mode. This is when it bites her ass…
I welcomed Mum’s passive aggressiveness for the next 10 long years! She had also heard my mental health was at an all time low. If it wasn’t about her, she normally didn’t want to know. The great divide started
When you go against the grain of “Honouring thy Father and Mother”, most people frown. Immediately they assumed it must be something wrong with me. Not only did I sacrifice a relationship with my parents, but that decision also affected relations with my aunt and sister.
I did feel incredibly guilty, but stood my ground. I needed time to claim my own life. It was a time of self-acceptance, of acknowledging that the abuse really did happen. Finally, I could see that my parents were responsible for what they created.
About two years ago, my sister started making contact. We were always close as children and while she does hold the same beliefs as I do, she would never dare challenge our parent’s behaviour.
This is where the current inner conflict originates. Yes, I am glad we are in touch again. There are healthy boundaries. Our contact is occasional and always via text. The incredible guilt I carried no longer exists. I will always keep them at arm’s length. It might not be what some would recommend, but it is me who needs to live with it. I do not want to be bitter and abusive as they were to me. Limited/distance contact keeps me in the right. Underneath that anger I have for them, there is a peace of mind that I’m doing the right thing.
I have not seen or talked to my Dad for over 13 years. The strangest part is that my family do not think this is unusual. To be truthful, I don’t even consider it strange. This is just Dad. He is a man of few words and no emotions. I do not know anything about him or his family. That is just the way it is. Very odd!
After all these years, it still feels blasphemous to admit, I do not like my parents. They are extremely judgemental people who truly believe that they are better than everyone else is. “Fur coat, no knickers” comes to mind.
Over the years, they seem to have developed a belief that they were model parents, “we came from a good loving home”. I felt like punching them the day I heard this. They are upstanding members of the community, with big responsibilities within their Christian church.
I cannot see what other people see. I am furious at their delusional parental beliefs. Their company is repressive and extremely boring. Time spent with them always results in deep depression. They are almost 80 years old. Talking to them about any of this is out of the question. Apart from their age, it would not achieve anything. That is not where I will find inner peace.
This is the longest post I have written. It is one of those that doesn’t feel quite right; maybe one that should not be published. It is full of repressed rage. A resignation of the intense hurt and anger that I need to work through when therapy begins in the autumn.