Monday, September 2, 2013

Closet Beasties (Everyones Got Them)

Sorry guy's this is a complete family type of post... this is essentially the big drama in my life. I'm writing this mainly for my little sister.

There is a secret in my family, it's surreal, hard to tell and who would guess. Is it that bad? No... it is not that bad.

It has to do with abuse, and it goes back, back, back several generations and who knows where it started or where it will end.

Some of its alcoholism, addiction, leaving it's traces even after the alcohol has dried up and is not in the blood of the current abuser.

Grandpa carried around scars, scars from World War II, scars from his dad (I don't know).

Grandpa was a drinker, I've seen pictures of everyone sitting around drinking alcohol. Down stairs at my parents house (the house my Dad grew up in) is a room with red carpet and a pink elephant (a light switch cover) - a celebration of Spirits. He was also a smoker... he gave these up (as well as coffee) when he joined the LDS church, but the attitude still stayed.

He had a way, of being right. So right that whatever you have done wrong (even things out of your control sometimes) shows your complete lack of a brain, your sheer stupidity.

He had a way of being indifferent to your successes, a depressing attitude that stole your happiness away.

How do I know, because it is a niggling little beastie that lives inside my Dad and it rears its ugly head, right at the apex of some success or happiness that you want to feel good about.

Some of it's betrayal, betrayal that has left its scars and has left its dependant behavior behind.

My Grandpa (My moms Dad) left, he was a trucker and so not there a lot anyway. He left my Grandma with 9 kids and married another lady.

My mom and all of her brothers and sisters still have scars from this. They didn't see him much, but when they did he would line them all up and hit them with a belt... for anything that they "might" have done while he was gone. He too was a drinker, and a smoker.

My mom has not gotten over it. She has talked about all of the terrible things that have happened to her ever since I can remember. It effects her every day, it creates an enabling personality, it just makes me sad.

She's always been depressed, never really there. She's worked since I was about 5 or 6 so I was a latch key kid. She might think I blame her for working... that is not the problem. It was not being there when she was there, constantly reading a book (now listening to a book and she's always exercising).

I don't blame her!! She's a good person and I love her with my whole heart. I just wish that the gaping hole that leaves her vulnerable could somehow be filled so that she could fill our needs, her children.

I wish I could somehow pull out the healing balm of Gilead to fill up her wounds.

It has left a mark on me, as bad as a slap except the mark will not go away. It is lessening with time, as I talk with more positive people, but it is a silent saboteur of self confidence, of happiness. It messes with my mind at the most unexpected moments.

The sad thing is, who do you blame? It is a living entity this monster called abuse and I for one am trying to kill it. I am trying to be happy despite it all, I fight the battles with the self doubt monsters in my mind all the time.

I just wish they could be fought all around... one of the biggest talents in my family is "not" talking.

We can have congenial conversations about ridiculous things (sometimes really fun and a bit strange) but there is no substance to them. We do not deal with things, issues stand as silent gremlins on the table over Sunday dinner and we make jokes about selling cans of air, or nothing in a box.

I had a dream, when I was really little. I walked down the basement stairs at the home I lived in for the first four or so years of my life, the home my mother grew up in and which my aunt lives in now. They are steep stairs, with unfinished drywall sheets hanging for walls.

My Uncle Chip drew a devilish figure on one of the sheets at some point and this particular basement always freaked me out.

So when I got to the bottom of the stairs I found that there was hot lava everywhere, and you had to step on the stone path way to cross over to the other side (out the back door I guess, over to freedom).

This is a game I played with my cousins I suppose since their basement was always dirty with clothing and other things strewn from the bottom of the stairs to the back door, perfect for hopping on.

But in my dream it was literally Hot Lava. I remember trying to lead my family. But my parents went their own way, my older brother listened and went the right way and my younger brother Daniel sat down on a rock and wouldn't move.

No amount of cajoling, no present I offered would get him to move. The lava was closing in around me and I wept as I thought about leaving him behind. Then I woke up, my heart pounding, because I couldn't deal with it...

It freaked me out and I tried really hard, as in my dream to help Daniel. He has gotten the brunt of my Dads abuse over the years, especially our early years. Dad was really down right terrible sometimes, blamed Daniel for everything.

I tried to write Daniel letters, encourage him, poured my heart out to try and heal his wounds. But I gave that roll over to his wife when he got married, but he's ruined that... moved back home messing the family dynamics even more.

Now Dad has a more general spread of negativity. He usually sulks, not saying anything (but somehow conveying his disapproval). I know he's tried to work on it, but sometimes the negative, though usually "right," monster comes out (like I guess it did tonight... I gather from my sisters blog).

I think about this, I think... "it's not up to me to "save" everyone." But that is how I feel sometimes, how I felt in the past.

But I had to let go and move on because the hot lava will scorch me, ruin everything in my life if I stay on that rock.

I am just sad that my little sister (mainly, I guess my little brother Evan as well, though he's in Evan land I don't even know what he's doing most of the time), but my sister... man she's stuck there.

All of this... is what I had to deal with when I made a bad choice at 16, got married had a baby (then another), I put all this stress on my family. So I felt guilty about it, in the past... but I don't anymore, I can see the big picture now.

Even after saying all of this, I must say how much I love my Dad!! I love him!! He helps out other people all of the time, he helps and doesn't ask for anything in return, he is generally a great guy!! Just wish the mean little monster that hangs around with him would go away.


Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I feel you beautiful Strawberry Girl. My family is much the same. We love to pretend that something is not happening in our family. That way, if we don't say it out loud, it can't be true right?
We've struggled with addiction, alcoholism and abuse as well over the years. The scars never go away truly do they?
What a lovely post my dear :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Gordon said...

Strawberry Girl, I feel a lot of pain in your post. It is a carbon copy of much that is in my past. Abuse (no matte what it is) and alcoholism is like a chain. I was raised by an aunt and uncle because of many of the family problems that you mentioned. They took me in, I believe, for the monthly check from the government. From the time I went to live with them at six years old until I left for BYU at eighteen, never once did they hug me or say. "I love you." My biological parents were worse.
I tell you all of this because I did finally come to grips with it all. I determined that I would do what I had to to break the chain. I loved my children and tried to do the best I could with them. (I made some mistakes. We all do. But, I can look at therm, today, and feel that the chain of abuse is finally broken.
Do everything you can to help your siblings. I took in a younger sister when she was 15 to get her away from her living environment.
You have it within you to create heaven on earth for your children. Just break the chain. It is the greatest thing you can do on this earth.
I'm sorry. I probably should not give you un-asked-for advice. You just touched a sensitive chord.
Walk With Faith

Strawberry Girl said...

Thank you Reggie Girl.

Gordon, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me as well. What you've shared sounds similar to what my husband went through (except his mom died and his uncles beat him) Good for you on breaking the chain that has hurt you and not passing it on.

I wasn't quite sure if I should bring out the "family skeletons" so to speak, it is a difficult subject. I felt though that I had, had enough of silence. That the abuse was going to continue festering until I identified it.

It is hard to not pass it on. I don't (well hardly ever) say anything to my kids to make them feel stupid, I don't allow it in my home. But I can identify times when I have had a rather empty response to my kids enthusiastic joy over something (I am working on being better). I can see times when I do passive, enabling things as well (when my husband gets angry). I am determined to at least lessen the effect of the past abuse, to try and erase it. Then hopefully my kids will be able to have clean lives (though they've already had there share of hurt, my husbands dealing with stuff from his past as well).

I am so thankful for your support. :)