My life is like an old photograph, chipped and creased from years of wear and tear. I can’t tell you exactly when it became this way, only show you what it is. None of this happened overnight.
Our parents were too busy nursing their own bruised egos to realize what they were doing to us.
I remember when we were kids our mother used to pretend to leave if we didn’t behave. She would take her bag and walk outside and we would run to the gate and beg her to come back promising her that we would be good. I also remember the day I realized she wasn’t really leaving and refused to come with you, even though you kept begging me to. I couldn’t have been more than 5 and you not more than 3. I couldn’t explain it to you then because I couldn’t quite understand it myself at the time, the concept of manipulation, and that it was a thing adults did to each other to get their way. It was selfish and cowardly and wrong and we fell for it because we weren’t expected to know any better.
I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood but this one is vivid because I think of it a lot when I wonder why I have so much trouble letting her in.
The rest of our childhood can be summed up as a series of shouting matches and having to listen to both of them tell us terrible stories about each other hoping to win their own war by elimination and our affection by default.
The result, unfortunately, was the exact opposite. It took us further away from both of them. We were filled with poison where it should have been filled with love. We will spend the rest of our lives trying find ‘normal’ without even knowing what that means.
I don’t think they realized what they were doing though. They are being childish and blind (but mostly childish) so I can’t hold any of this against them and my heart continues to find a way to make itself love them. It would be a much easier fight if they had just been evil and my monsters were not such a foggy blur of an image.
I know your story. I understand the reasons you are angry but they loved you and I think you should know that. They just had a crappy way of showing it sometimes.