Part 2 — a brief history of the beginnings of my own personal dysfunction
I grew up in a home with alot of anger. It sounds weird to say it now but the things I have seen and the things my siblings and I have experienced were far from normal. I dont know whether it was denial or ignorance but before the age of 18 I really didn't think anything was substantially harmful for the future me. I realize at 16 I may have thought my home living was out of whack, but what 16 year old doesn't? — This part is dedicated to opening a window into my past (reluctantly) for further explanation of my future parts.
Before going forward with this part I think that I should make a point of mentioning that this is very personal and not easy to put down and publish. Vulnerability and I do not mix. Even though you don't know me personally, to me it’s worse than than being dropped off in the middle of a large crowd .. naked.
My dad has always had a drinking problem, this didn't mix too well with his own personal demons and terror filled memories that haunted him. He was suffering until the day he died two and a half years ago. He was, on one hand, the most loving; hardworking, caring and determined man that I have ever known. He worked very hard to provide us with everything and anything that he could. Everything he did was to better our situation and let us experience the things he never did as a child. He taught us to work hard, take pride in the work we did and to be proud of who we were. On the other hand he was; angry, tough, impatient, and troubled. His childhood consisted of sexual abuse amongst physical and mental abuse. But he was my dad, the ‘punisher’, the ‘law’ and the ‘asshole’ with an awkward sense of humour whom I am grateful to have had.
My mom had a big heart that always seem to get her in trouble. She gave more than she could afford (in more than one sense) and guarded us with her life (sometimes quite literally) She had, and still does, have a beautiful soul that always means well. She, like my father, also worked countless hours to provide for us children. She taught us the difference between right and wrong and made sure she was there for us if we happened to choose the wrong path. She was our cushion that we cried on when things got scary and she dug us out of the holes we would always seem to get ourselves into. At times we didn't get along too well (I was daddys girl and got whatever I wanted), but somehow still ended up with each other as best friends.
As a young me, I recall many arguments and loud nights. My parents, even though they seemed in love throughout the day, after we were tucked into bed, would awaken us with very loud disagreements (and I say disagreements, because I was way too young to recognize what was actually going on) There are countless memories in which my mom, or the cops, would be tossing my dad out in the middle of the night due to an escalated argument that got way too out of hand. There was (not going into specifics) alcohol and drug abuse, physical and mental abuse, accusations and affairs, and too many tears to count. As we grew every year, the same things happened, and my parents would break up and get back together not months later. This continued until my little sister was nearing her 20 in which they separated for good after my mom found emails to another women on my dads computer. Their excuse for staying with each other was for us, the kids.
In all honesty, I think I would have been better off if they would have split and found love and happiness elsewhere, or so I thought.
Thinking back on it now, I think that many people would have thought that my family was the ‘cool’ family with the ‘cool’ parents who let their children and their friends hang out in the basement and drink. We always had a place to hang out or a ride to get us to and from parties if needed. Outside looking in I would have to agree, we got away with alot of things we wouldn't have gotten away with at anyone else’s house. It was their way of making sure we stayed out of trouble while keeping a close eye on us.
On the inside looking out, I did not want to be apart of my family. I wanted to live in a normal world with normal people who eat dinner together at the dining room table as a family and have normal arguments about school work or what movie to watch for family night. In reality, we all ate separately, dad in his room, some one in the kitchen, one of us in our rooms, one of us out getting into trouble and the other watching TV in the living room. With two separate dinners most nights because dad liked what he liked and that was that. When my brother and I argued the entire family was in chaos. Dad would stick up for one, Mom would stick up for the other, they would fight with each other and bring up old unresolved issues and my sister (who never seemed to get in trouble) would be trying to make everything better. (and for that I am forever sorry that she felt, at a young age, she had to be the family mediator)
(To be continued…)