I think it's time to relieve the pressure valve, and see if it makes the situation better or not. At the very worst, I will have indulged in a fatal and humiliating case of Over-Sharing. Oh well. get ready for The Big One.
* * *
It would not be an exaggeration to say that my sister and I had a difficult childhood. Our parents settled on a custody arrangement when they divorced, wherein my sister and I were obliged to pack all our belongings and move between houses every single month. We never felt a sense of home or "belonging." We knew that as soon as we got comfortable, we'd have to start all over again. I don't think my our feelings were taken into consideration when this plan was made. This scheme, no doubt, sprung from my mother's refusal to ever compromise or "lose."
My mother is a singularly combative person. If my sister and I didn't keep the house as tidy as she wanted, she would beat the crap out of us. If we cooked any food for ourselves that left any discern able odor, she would beat the crap out of us. She beat us with metal spatulas and pots and pans. When she broke a saucepan on my neck, it only made her angrier, and when that beating left permanent welts on my body she bullied me into lying to the pediatrician about the source of my scars. When she realized that I *wasn't* sexually active in high school she beat me for being a "freak." My sister and I used to dread Thursday evenings, which was the day she saw her therapists. I have no idea what went on at these sessions, but she always came home horribly riled up, and usually found reasons to beat the crap out of us.
My mother made it painfully clear that she blamed my sister and me for all the unhappiness in her life. She told me, on numerous occasions, that she wished she had aborted us, because her life would have been so much better had we never been born. This is a heavy, heavy burden to lay upon a young person.
I believe that my mother is a sadist. I really believe that she got a sense of power by terrorizing those less powerful than herself. She seemed to relish any opportunity to point out our failings, or to humiliate us. We were kids, and we had no way of fighting back. The really strange this is that both my sister and I remember our earliest childhood very fondly. My mother was amazing, and then one day, a switch was thrown. She lost interest in being a mother, and we became a hated burden
My mother is also amazingly skilled in shielding that part of herself away from view. I doubt anyone every suspected that the Teacher of the Year had inflicted so much damage on her own children. I'm sure nobody suspected the source of our lack of self-confidence.
I look back on my childhood with awe. Back in those days, domestic violence was considered nobody's business. I ran away from home, repeatedly. Of course, there was nowhere for me to go to escape my situation. In fact, my mother had me dragged down the the police station and "arrested." I now suspect that this was a charade that she orchestrated, to scare me into behaving.
At times, my sister and I did not stay at the same home. Some time, my sister would be with my father, while I would be at my mother's house. Sometimes my father would take my sister on vacation, and I would stay with my mother. Often, my mother would not come home for days on end. She would spend the night at a boyfriend's house, and I would have no idea how to contact her. One time, I came down with a very serious fever. I was so sick that I literally crawled from my bedroom to the kitchen, and then passed out inside the open refrigerator. I was sick for five days, and I never heard from my mother during this time. It was the policy in my school to penalize a student one letter grade for every unexcused absence from class. When I asked my mother for the standard note, explaining my absence from school, she got horribly angry and refused to help me out. Without a note, I would automatically fail every single one of my classes. I cringe when I recall the humiliation of having to tell all of my teachers that my mother, who I hadn't seen for over a week, refused to believe that I had been sick. I had to beg my teachers to accept my story. All these years later, I still get sweaty and shaky when I think of that afternoon.
What amazes me in retrospect is how my my sister and I remained in my mother's custody. I hope that if this had happened today, some child welfare system would have intervened. I hope that teachers would take some action in situations of this kind.
My mother used to send me to a psychiatrist, in an attempt to "cure" me of my obstinacy. After many confusing and humiliating sessions, the doctor told me something that totally changed my life. She said that the time would come, when I would move out on my own, and that I would be free from all of this.
That turned out to be true, and it didn't.
I grew up. I formed my own little family. I moved three thousand miles away from where I spent my childhood.
A few years back, my sister bravely got the idea that there should be some kind of reconciliation. She wanted to make peace with the past. And, amazingly, my mother denied that any of it ever happened. She denied this to both me and my sister. She remembers being being a perfect parent and refuses to acknowledge or discuss any of the rest of it.
So, I've just had to shove the past into a box, and push it as far out of view as I possibly can. I don't live with this on a daily basis, really.
Except that I'm painfully shy, and totally lacking in self confidence. And the curse of the introvert is that extroverts see you as either aloof or totally invisible. I wish that I had had a nurturing life, where I was able to develop a strong sense of self. Instead, I was taught that I was a useless person, and that the world would be a better place without me.
No matter how many success I have, or how well I do things, I know that the demons of negativity are strongest. Doubt and sadness are always able to overshadow happiness and joy. I'm a freak, and I always will be.