My father called my mother to explain why he said what he said on our last phone call. He said it was specifically to get me angry, so that I could express my anger towards him, and then move past it. Well, I think it was a particularly shitty plan. It doesn’t work to make somebody angry about fictional issues in order to express anger about actual events. Events that he denied anyway. But he asked to see me again, and I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he meant well and try to continue our relationship. So, I went to see him today.
He hasn’t moved on, and he can’t leave the past behind. He keeps asking me to let it go, but he is the one who keeps bringing it all up. And worse, he continues to deny any wrong doing on his part. He tried to claim that my emotions were faulty, and that I was lying about growing up terrified of him, claiming that if I truly was terrified of him, I would never have approached him on that final day when I was 11 years old. I would have never come out of my room, he says. So, by his logic, I can’t have been afraid of him. And to continue that thread, there was nothing to be afraid of. Meaning he never did anything for us to be afraid of him. For what it’s worth, I didn’t approach him that day. I was taking the opportunity to return my mother’s hairbrush while he was out of the room. He came in as I was leaving, and slapped me in the face. No provocation. But he believed I provoked him. But that’s the way it always was with him. He had paranoid delusions.
That was the final straw, the day my mother took us away. I tried to explain this, but he has his memory of that day, and as long as mine doesn’t match his, he won’t accept it. But then, I can’t accept his, so we found ourselves at an impasse.
I tried to say, “let’s not talk about it then, because we will never agree. All we can do is try to let it go and move forward; just talk about what is happening in our lives now”. But he was like a dog with a bone. I got up to leave, saying I can’t do this anymore. He started to cry. “But I’m a victim too! My brothers raped me as a child, so I can’t help it!” Like that made his reign of terror acceptable. It wasn’t us who did that to him. But he won’t accept any responsibility, because, he was a victim of his troubled childhood.
I’m disappointed that it doesn’t seem like a relationship with him is possible. I do feel a lot of empathy for him. I can see that having lost his family for 22 years would have been excruciatingly painful. And I feel sympathetic towards him for what he went through in his own childhood. But that is no excuse for his actions when I was a child. I can see that. And I can apply this to myself, too.
That is why I don’t feel like this has been all for nothing. I recognise now that my childhood is no excuse for treating my previous partners badly. I can’t lash out and then say, “but I’m a victim, so it’s okay for me to act like this!” Because then, when does it ever end? Everyone will end up a victim, and then use that as justification for treating other people badly. At some point we have to work out a way to break this cycle.
Everyone can claim being a victim to one thing or another in their lives. And it can’t ever be used as an excuse to treat others poorly. I’m sorry for the way I have been in the past. I’m ready to start moving on. I’m not unique in that I’ve had hard times in my life.
I know change won’t be easy, but I feel like I’m finally gaining access to the tools that will help me get there. I just need to practice using them now.