September 23, 2009
Can You Fathom A Family?
Whenever I speak of my "family" of origin, that's what I do: I put the word family in quotation marks. I don't consider myself as a person who had a family growing up.
Whenever there was some strife or "upset" at a holiday gathering or the "family" dinner table (which inevitably there almost always was), my mother liked to lament, "Can't we just be a family?" So surprised you have the nerve to even ask that question, dear old mom. But it's a good one. I don't know. Can we be a family? What makes for a family anyway?
What Is a Family? by Marj aka Thriver on Polyvore.com
Let's see. Do you make a family by getting Grandma to buy frilly, fancy clothes for your children and then parading them around to the homes of relatives to sit still and proper, with their mouths shut and their hands folded in their laps? Hhmmmm...I think that's called "keeping up appearances." No, that doesn't quite seem to be enough to cut it to me.
Maybe you make a strong family by neglecting to get proper medical treatment for your children when they are deathly ill or have been severely injured. Nope. Don't think that's it, either. How 'bout calling your child "bad, dirty and evil" after you allow their father to have sex with them? Nah! Don't think so. Prostituting your daughters out to other men? That definitely doesn't work. I know! Claiming a child as a dependent on your taxes after they've been working to earn their own money since they were 11 years old and completely on their own (so they can't file their own income tax)! No, that doesn't define a family either.
Do I sound angry? I hope so! You may have noticed--if you've been reading my blog for a while--that I was able to sneak in a new detail there that is quite heinous. It's something I've been working my butt off on in therapy lately. I'm quite motivated to resolve this hideous, new area of retrieved memories so that maybe, some day, I can relax during the fall months and not freak out in dissociative dysfunction every year. Yeah, I deserve to feel my feelings of anger. I never deserved to be treated this way as a helpless, innocent child.
Do I sound sad? Probably so. I am doing a lot of necessary grieving. I certainly grieve over the childhood and the family I never had.
But, I am also happy and rather proud that I have the chance--and I am taking it--to break the multi-generational cycle of abuse. I can end the legacy I was born into. I've been able to create my own family with my husband and my beloved son.
I am not like my own parents who, at best, saw children as a bother and a burden. I can remember it like it was, literally, yesterday: The day I brought my tiny bundle of joy home from the hospital was one of the happiest days of my life. I don't remember being any more elated on any day before or since that time. It was a time of pure joy that I was able to claim because of my commitment to break the cycle of child abuse.
Has it been easy--trying to fathom a family and forming one--with no positive role models of my own to follow? No, it hasn't been easy. I would be lying to you if I said it was. All three of the members of this family are in therapy. I don't think there's any other way, when the person in the mother role has a severe dissociative disorder.
But, we are facing our issues and challenges, not just keeping up appearances. We love each other and we strive every day to show it and to keep our family communication open. My son will be 13 on his next birthday. But, he still asks me for hugs. The insightful bugger even said to me, just the other day: "You've made great progress on your disability. I'm proud of you, Mom." My heart swells. Yes, we are a family. I get to say that because of the commitment I made even before my child was conceived. We get to claim that because of the love we share, the words we use, and the action we take to be a family.
Oh. Wow. Yeah, so with you. So horribly, totally with you, hun. And yes, the angry is good. The angry is great, even. It's progress and it's sooo much better than the numb, hideous void.
*also with the big, safe hugs*
Cripes! There's always the anger issue, isn't there? Haven't plumbed that one myself. Maybe you can give a clue or two as to how to tap into that fury?
Anyway, give yourself a huge pat on the back for rising above the foulness (is that a word?) of your childhood. You're so right: you didn't deserve any of that. And you're so much more than the abuses perpetrated on you when you were just an innocent.
This is just perfectly said. You are my hero. I need to let my words out, thank you for showing the way.
Also thanks for all of the support over at polyvore. I am beginning to see why you like it so much and I am so happy to see that your computer is doing better!!! YEAH!!
I ♥ You Marj,
You are on an amazing journey my friend and it's awesome to see the growth that's happening.
Jade: Thanks so much for your kind words and those cyber hugs. I'd like to give you a hug IRL as well!
Eli: Thanks for reading and leaving a comment today. I'm glad it wasn't triggering for you (actually I neglected to put up a trigger warning for this post--oops!) I went to your blog and i was very touched by the way you express your insights and experience. I hope you write some more.
Thank you for taking the time to post. This post is such a great example! Your words are hitting the spot gently. Blessings and hugs to you!
It's good to let it out, all of it. We survivors can thrive - and we can give that gift to our own children.
You did sound angry - and rightly so (I felt angry too as I read) - and I'm so glad that you've been able to do the necessary therapy work to get to this place.
Your son is rightly proud. :)
Keep on keeping on....
I am sure you do.
Thanks, Prochaskas, for visiting and leaving a comment. It's always nice to meet a blogger who is new to me.
JIP: Yes, I will e-mail you today.
JIP: I'm not sure exactly what "buggery" is, but I think I'm with ya there, for the most part.
Ana: Hi! So nice to "see" you. Thanks so much for the award! Now, if I can only get it to load. Please don't be insulted if I can't get my cyber-klutzy self to figure it out. I only seem to be able to load those on my sidebar about 50% of the time. Pooey!
Thanks for being an advocate!
you do sound angry. but not in an out of control way or scary way. you sound angry in a healthy way. appropriate and justified anger. it sounds like you've dealt with so much and continue to do so. recovering new memories, and being brave enough to shed light on them by telling.
i'm so happy to have found your blog. thank you for writing.
safe hugs to you~~