Posted by: Judy | January 14, 2015

Observing the disconnect…

Yesterday morning, I listened to my parents chatting. They laughed and made plans for the day. This actually isn’t new or different. It simply happened to be a good day. This happened when I was a child, too.

It is these “golden” moments that I held to growing up. It is these golden moments that made it so difficult to embrace the truth. It is these golden moments that left me wondering time and again what was wrong with me.

I enjoyed listening… eavesdropping.

A realization: I think I can say I’ve forgiven them. I didn’t want to take away those precious moments. I’m glad they have them. I’m sorry there aren’t a lot more.

What a relief to know I didn’t need to spoil the happy moment or dismiss it or pretend it didn’t exist in order to continue to embrace the truth of the abuse I grew up in.

It helped me recognize why it took me so long to come to terms with the truth. It’s these moments that had me questioning my own experience. They could be happy, so maybe the problem really was me.

No. I know now that the happy moments happened but didn’t cancel out the pain. I think that’s actually what they believe: Happy moments cancel out misery, not proportionally, of course. The happy moments somehow outweighed the belittling, the abuse, the insanity.

The truth is: There weren’t a lot of happy moments for me growing up. There was always an underlying fear. No one needed to tell me that the good times didn’t last. I already knew. There’s a reason why abuse survivors all recognize the analogy: Walking on eggshells.

Inconsistency doesn’t mean anything to those who practice it. In their own mind, they are consistent. Whatever they deem consistent is consistent. It cannot be pointed out to them because they’ve created their own reality in their mind. A complete and total disconnect.

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Responses

  1. I think your summation is right on. They don’t know they are being inconsistent or, in many cases, emotionally abusive. And they are oblivious to what the inconsistancy is doing to the child. Gaining that perspective as an adult is important, and once gained, so is moving on. From one who has been that child, I wish you peace.

    • Thank you. It feels a little more possible now.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Judy. It really helped me with the disconnect that I’ve been struggling with in my own family. I just couldn’t reconcile how they all seemed so “happy” while I was so miserable. What you’ve written makes a lot of sense to me.

    • I’m so glad I could help, Jessie. Sometimes it really does make a difference to see it in someone else’s family. Maybe because there isn’t the emotional involvement. Keep fighting for you!

  3. You aren’t your parents; you don’t need to rain on someone else’s’ parade to feel better about yourself. My parents think they have this perfect little world — I was the one that inadvertently ruined it from time to time by not always buying into the fantasy. I smiled for the camera, therefore the photos are proof I was a happy child.

    There really is a disconnect. And while I don’t want to stir the pot between my parents, I do really hate that their symbiosis is so dysfunctional. There wasn’t room for an authentic me in their fabricated world, so I left it.

    • You’re right. We aren’t our parents. We’ve made different choices, healthier choices. Not perfect by any means, but I’m attempting to embrace the truth every day.

  4. It’s sometimes harder for me to apply this linear thinking to the way I grew up (other than obviously connecting with the whole “walking on eggshells” way of living … constantly on guard, and constantly in danger). Without getting too specific, I can say that my father’s idea of acceptable behavior versus horrendous abuse was one that he hung on to for a very long time.

    If they can somehow convince themselves that their actions are acceptable, based on their version of reality, then they can easily convince themselves that you are the only one with a problem. Of course, the catch is that sometimes, especially with younger children, they become so effective at maintaining this version of reality that young children are taught exactly that – YOU are the problem.

    Obviously, now with some time and education and a differing perspective, it’s good that you are able to see that inconsistency has no meaning for them, nor will they likely be willing to admit or see how it shapes their ideas. Finding a way to focus more on the golden moments can help in slowly changing your own perspective. Or, at least, that’s what I like to believe.

    In my case, the passage of time, and the ability to view them as flawed humans, and accepting that what I needed from them, they were unable to provide, has all helped me keep moving forward. The golden moments become signposts of a momentary respite from the usual. The more of them that accumulate in our memory, the more we are able to forget.

    • I’m not forgetting how those golden moments were used against me. I am beginning to forget my need to hold onto the need for revenge.

  5. This is wonderfully healthy. To be able to see something in its entirety. xx

    • ((TR))


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