When I first started this blog, I had a black-and-white world in my mind. I was horrified at what I'd discovered about my father, and idealized my poor dead mother - although I could feel and remember very little about her.
Then I started remembering some things slowly. Now I feel the need to reassess some of the things I'd written before.
I remembered that, contrary to what I said in The Torture Chamber for Babies,
my mother never took that incriminating comic - in which babies were
being brutally beaten and whipped to teach them not to cry - to her
colleagues. My poor brain imagined that one.
what happened: I drew it while I was at her work. I remember that
distinctly now. I suppose I felt safe enough, at a public place full of
psychologists, to create a cry for help, however veiled. The scene that I
remembered came after this: slightly concerned looks, and complimenting
my drawing abilities - and that was that. I'd given my mother too much
credit. Of course she wouldn't have shown this voluntarily to anyone.
When my father slapped me repeatedly for "offending" him when I was 8 - and the physical part of it was actually minimal: the look of disgust, hatred, and contempt that was behind the dropped mask was the scary part - I told my mother "Now I love you more." I guess it was a plea: "Please accept me, please be on my side, I realize he's insane, won't you show to me that you do too?" She rejected this plea. She looked scared, anxious, guilty. Later, I heard her feebly say to him "You may have gone too far," and he just told her to shut up. And that was that.
She betrayed me. She showed me I could never count on her, I was always to be on my own.
And when I was 20 or so, and she said to me "You're growing up to be a really decent person" - well, that wasn't the whole scene. I censored it the first time I wrote it down. She said: "I was so worried for you, but you're actually growing up to be a really decent person after all." I had no idea what that meant, but it made me uncomfortable at the time. Why was she worried? Because she knew I was growing up amid dysfunction? Or because I drank a lot as a teen - she complained about this to my aunt at the time, worried about me? And how did she know I was becoming a decent person? That also made me uncomfortable at that moment. What did she know about me, apart from the fact that my grade average was good and I was the student representative? Nothing.
Right now, I'm angrier at her than at my father. She Saw something was wrong, but was too weak to protect me. Instead, she sacrificed me and used me as a shield.
She told a colleague I'd "saved" her from having to visit her awful MIL every night, and she was happy my father, her husband, now finally seemed more interested in his FOC.
I wasn't born to save anyone or any marriage.
I wasn't born to live silently on a shelf at home and perform for others in public as the happy, vivacious, spoiled rotten child. No wonder I was sometimes too loud and sometimes too shy - I had no idea what was expected of me and how to accomplish just that.
I was born to live.