… that moment you’re in the middle of what should have been a happy family text about the first-class, luxury vacation he had offered to send us all away on, but instead, you are cold-cocked in the face with the reality that it wasn’t just “dear ole Dad” who was the primary poisoner and “root cause” of the damage to your family tree. I mean, I’d always known that she, too, played her part in our family’s disintegration, but it wasn’t until tonight that I really understood the depth of that damage:
Mom, I’m going to say something and then shut my phone off for the day because I am REALLY upset about what you just did to Dad on that “family text”. It triggered me back to my childhood AND early adulthood when you would constantly say things like: “Just stop feeling sorry for yourself.” “Other people have it worse than you.” “There are children STARVING in Biafra.” “Think about all the people who have no arms and legs.” “You should be ashamed of yourself for all that self-pity.”
No more! It’s gross! It was emotionally abusive, invalidating, ABUSIVE, and a good part of the reason I started torturing myself both mentally and physically because I couldn’t just “be grateful enough” to NOT be devastated by all the REAL trauma I have gone through. You sent a subliminal message to me that I wasn’t allowed to “feel too bad” about ANYTHING because “others had it worse”. Meanwhile, you have ALSO been doing that to Dad literally ALL the years I can remember, and I can’t even begin to count all the times I heard you tell HIM: “Oh, stop feeling sorry for yourself! Just look at your beautiful family.” Trauma shaming and trauma comparing are cruel, Mom. Can’t you understand that?
Yes, I know that we have ALL had “beautiful houses, cars, clothes, and plenty of food to eat”, but that doesn’t erase all the HELL some of us have been through. That includes Dad, too. How would YOU like it if EVERY single time you let us know how badly your RA is making you feel, we said, “Just get the fuck over yourself, mom! There are children starving in Africa!” Does the fact that there are, indeed, “starving, homeless, sick people in the world” change the fact that your illness REALLY does make your body ache? No, it doesn’t! Both things can be true at the same time.
What upsets me the most about that text this morning is that here he FINALLY is after all these years REALLY trying to do something nice for this family, but you had to go and bitch slap him and shame him that way – AND – it was for NOTHING – because he wasn’t being self-pitiful, he was making a JOKE! That was pretty gross, mom. You should probably think about that for a minute. What the hell is wrong with you? “Virtue signaling” is a sign of narcissism, you do know that, right? From now on, when you tell us ANYTHING about your disease, we should all accuse you of self-pity? No! No, we shouldn’t.
Please don’t do that to ANY of us anymore. We’ve all had about enough of your “holier than thought” GUILTING and SHAMING us for having REAL feelings for our various trips to “hell”. It caused me a lot of psychological damage over the years, and probably Dad, too. IT’S ENOUGH!
I think I’ve finally had enough of this! I didn’t come this far to have to keep on choking and burning on ashes I never asked to rise above. For God’s sake, people, it really isn’t a competition, and YES, we’ve ALL been broken. Haven’t we suffered enough yet? It’s time to heal? Can’t we all just lay down the guns and calm this fire that never seems to stop burning? Even a phoenix has its limits and gets tired of choking on ashes!
CALM THE FIRE
Calm the fire. Do not fight anymore. They don’t know what they’re saying. They don’t know anything at all. For all that matters is you know that this is not their fault. There are places we should never go. Lost between the cracks something wicked waits below, and all I’m saying there are some things better left unseen at all. It’s been so long, it’s tearing me apart. I cannot understand or comprehend where we went wrong. Now we’ve come so far … the madness in our hearts will never end … ’cause I’ve seen it all. I can’t fight it anymore. If fire burns forevermore, is there nothing left to save, ’cause now more than ever, what we need is love to replace all the obscene. Something good, and something beautiful. If only we could see that now more than ever what we need is a little love. Is there no more? Have we gone too far? There’s nothing I can do to make you sway … to see the blood running through our hearts … no different from the blood we’ve come to hate. (Alter Bridge)