every time I decided to not engage them and show them the other side of life.
It is a healthy self-assessment, even when it comes late, to realize that for every abuse or abuser, is someone who was in a position to counter it with another sort of behavior, but didn’t.
I know it was just Mothers’ Day and all, but for a long time I have felt that many of the basic interpersonal crises we see going on all around, can be traced back to a widespread over-elevating of and excessive deference to the role of motherhood. Throughout the natural order, motherhood is a temporary and highly efficient function, of preparing the young to be adults in their own right, of encouraging and even requiring autonomy rather than restricting it. But human mothers all too often are allowed to do the exact opposite: to prolong childhood indefinitely, to protect excessively and far beyond the time when the young ought to be able to protect themselves.
And, given today’s hostile gender climate toward all things male, and even beginning in an ObGyn ward or even during pre-natal classroom settings, the notion that pregnancy and childbirth are things a man has perpetrated on a woman is all too commonplace. I have seen more often than not where a new mother will immediately begin to act toward a father as if he himself embodies the biggest threat to both her and her children, and I call this a trained set of behaviors, and as unnatural as it gets.
Consequently what is known in post-divorce situations as “parental alienation” is actually the tip of a much bigger iceberg, where even among married families and two-parent households, the position of the mother is made a kind of absolute authority (which, like all tyrannies, corrupts absolutely), and that of the father is little more than a secondary, and disposable one of assistant parent. The idea that a father has anything to offer children other than to do whatever Mommy says, is even seen as an abusive one in itself.
And, too many fathers can read that writing on the wall, and realize that their bad set of choices is between: being made the lowest-ranked member of his own household but allowed to remain in it; or, to try and assert himself as a proper father, and end up explaining himself to a judge while social workers who spent ten minutes interviewing him dominate the proceedings with narratives about the Duluth Wheel and cliches about “the vast majority of victims are women.” Any man who gets to the point of being a father, will have seen this happen to other men many times over by then, and will know full well on which side his bread is buttered, which is to obey, or be discarded.
It is painful to watch the fear and hesitancy in fathers, as compared to the knowitall swagger of mothers; sometimes I think that many such two-parent households are actually even more harmful to children’s futures, than the ones where a father is just a symbolic absentee villain.