Decades on after my own encounter with that hate masquerading as love, I’ve started thinking back on the two (or was it three?) times I had that encounter with my mother, and the kindest thing I can think is that she hated that I’d felt free to write or talk about feelings and thoughts that she’d barely dared to keep locked up tight within herself. That if she took her own thoughts and realisations seriously, it would negate devastating swathes of what she’d been taught, indoctrinated, to believe and think and feel. She was a strong woman in many ways, but she wasn’t strong that way; she knew it, and she wasn’t even going to think about trying to be.
Abby’s writing was powerful, visceral. Yours strikes me as how any compassionate, thinking adult, having survived their own childhood, would react.
Has anyone noticed that the emotional hurt seems to be done by mothers far more often than by fathers? Fathers in my family, over the generations, have earned a reputation for being strict, gruff men; dispensers of blistering physical and verbal discipline. But being chewed out at length with creativity and passion, or being whipped enough that one remembers every stroke a half-century on, doesn’t damage you nearly as much as one small action or a half-dozen words that, remembered, still bring tears to eyes and fear and humiliation to the spirit.