I guess it’s time for another serious post, isn’t it?
Getting so close to 200 followers here, it’s interesting to wonder why they are all here. I write about so many different things, I think it’s hard to get a sense of what this blog is about.
That being said, I’ve been thinking about my dad again lately. I tend to get reminded of him a lot, with all the Webtoons I’ve been reading, abuse and dysfunction are very common elements in a Webtoon. I could only count a handful out of the dozens I’ve read that didn’t feature it.
I guess because it’s a part of so many people’s lives, especially the ones that want to escape into the world of Webtoons, I don’t know many happy people who feel the end to immerse themselves in that kind of fiction. Oh, a happy person might enjoy it still, but binging and obsessing over it, that’s for the sad or discontented among us. Sometimes, the quietly hopeful that our lives will get better.
Which means I am admitting to myself that my life is still not what I want it to be. Well, I think I’ve heard learning content is an art from somewhere, if that’s not a saying it should be.
One of the big things that was a problem while I was miserable was feeling angry at my dad for all he seemed to have caused in my life.
It’s funny how fast you can go from not blaming one person for anything they do, to blaming them for stuff that they didn’t do.
Some extremely defensive people are ones who recovered from abuse only part of the way, enough to know not to take all the blame, but not enough to take criticism maturely. I have trouble with this still, but then again, it has only been a year.
I still remember so many humiliation experiences. People talk about the pain of abuse, but sometimes we forget it is humiliating. The abuser often uses their lack of shame against their victims who still have a sense of shame.
My dad was not ashamed to discuss our personal arguments with random strangers at their homes when we worked for them, I’m sure some of those poor people were embarrassed on their part. I was mortified, all I could do with stay silent and look the other way. I suppose he thought it would make me too ashamed to keep arguing with him–that didn’t work.
So, taking criticisms is a bit of a sore subject for me, and anger over that is still something I deal with. Still, I can’t blame it all on him.
At this point, it is impossible to say if I am naturally obstinate and incorrigible, or if my dad made me rebellious by his unfair treatment my entire life. I can say I got much more resistant as I got more fed up with how he talked to me.
My dad has strange psychological issues, when I was about 11 he told us all he would quite gaming, and doing a bunch oft other stuff, ad he wanted us to hold him to that. I wasn’t sure why playing his War Games was so bad, but I took him at his word. At that age, I didn’t realize how much my dad lied. I had not been exposed to it the way my mom had. I later learned the same behaviors had continued since they were first married. Him deceiving her, swearing he’d give up the stuff he was addicted to, and then years or months later, getting back into it.
I was also too young to know addictions can’t be broken by sheer willpower. I called my dad out on it when he went back to games. My dad was diagnosed with ADD, playing video games can be almost the same as drugs for him, it’s too stimulating. I had a similar problem at first, but I worked hard to control it once I noticed the tenancy, and now I can play a game without getting too hooked, but I mostly avoid gaming at all now just so I won’t be tempted. I stopped before I was actually an addict, partly because my mom wouldn’t let me play all night like he did.
My sisters and I all have fond memories of our father screaming profanities at the computer in the wee hours of the morning when we were suppose to be asleep. If we told him not to, he’d yell at us. Once, he flung me out of the computer chair because I was still using the computer when he wanted to be on it. Mostly, he just threatened us till we got up.
It was scary. I confronted him on it, and on other stuff he said we should call him out on. To my shock, he told me I shouldn’t be correcting him, that is was disrespectful, and I was too critical of him. He’d tell me he didn’t need the added stress of me arguing with him. But he had no problem criticizing me, I can’t even tell you for what anymore. Any little thing would set him off. If I told him I didn’t want to hear the same story again, he’d come down on me and say I was ‘unteachable.” Later, he’d often exclude me from a family video session or devotion by saying “We don’t try to teach (Natasha) any more in this house.” Unbelievably petty, I know.
I’m usr some of you are seeing your story in this. There is no pyological tomern quite like malicious hypocirsy is there. Both scary and infuriating.
As you can imagine, I retaliated by defending myself, to no avail. Then I learned to shut up and ignore it, but I’d hold my ground. It hurt, but it seemed better to do as I wished than to give in to that kind of pressure. Somehow I knew it was wrong, even if no one ever told me it was.
My life coach told me when he father hit her, she’d leave the room, and say “That’s wrong, don’t hit me” and defend herself. We both agreed we’re the rare person who gets abused and still retains any sense of the injustice of it. Most victims know deep down it’s wrong, but believe they somehow deserve it and can’t get out.
I tell you all this now, not because I wish to dwell on it, but because, when talking about anger, it can be so easy to forget. I don’t have a victim mentality. Which means that I can’t always get angry ad whiny when I am treated unfairly. I just have to deal with it. Not perfectly, I do complain more than i should, but I try not to put myself on a weird pedestal and say everyone else is always at fault. But because I choose not to blame my father for it all, it can be easy to slip back into the deception of thinking he really wasn’t so bad.
All these behaviors were what I was used to after all, it was just how he was, compared to worse people, is he really all that bad? He himself would say not. His sister would say it was not his fault only, he has trouble understanding other people.
But my dad has no issue understanding people outside our family, I’ve heard him quite accurately discern the issues in other people’s lives, he is not incapable of understanding feelings. His blindness to ours was willing.
And that does make me angry, but, that anger is not as bad as it once was. Now that I am feeling better, and doing more things I enjoy, and the dark haze over my life has almost lifted completely, I don’t feel a need to be angry.
I was angry because it seemed he really could reach even from a distance and ruin my life, but the longer I am away from him, the less power I feel like he has. it takes awhile for any victim to feel safe, but bit by bit I am starting to.
I read something last week, in the latest free episode of my favorite Webtoon, that resonated with me quite deeply on this issue, and I think it’s worth sharing here:
“I know I’m not in any position to say this… but maybe you need to let go of this grudge against your brother. Not because I think you should forgive him. But holding onto anger is like poison you think you’re offering the other person. Only you’re the one who drinks it. He stole your past already. Are you going to let him have your future too? And look… one day he might be gone for real and then this resentment is all you’ll have left of him.”–Kym Ladell, Purple Hyacinth.
I have to credit the authors for how amazing this speech is. It’s not dramatic, but it is simple truth. Something someone who’s been through the difficult process of recovery would have discovered at some point.
The prominent theme of PH is truth. And how the truth is often harder to accept than lies, or ignorance. The truth can be ugly in a way, it can change how you look at people you loved, it can change how you look at yourself.
Minor spoilers ahead (I won’t reveal the plot, but a few key events may be slightly spoiled for you if you care to read the comic):
When Kieren hears from Lauren that what he does is terrible and he’s a monster, the truth of that is too much for him and he lashes out at her. He embraces the truth of his terrible deeds, but rejects the truth that he feels regret for them or was ever not the way he is now because that is too painful for him to accept while he still does what he does.
When Lauren learns some truths about her family, she is conflicted, she is not sure how she should feel about herself now, or her quest for justice. When Kieren confronts her about her more selfish motivations for their partnership, and hypocrisy, she is not sure if she is a good person anymore.
When Will is confronted with truth about his family, he is not sure how to feel. If he can ever let it go.
That is when Kym gives him this advice. She’s had some stuff happen that she’s still getting over, but unlike the other three, Kym has a slightly easier time admitting she has issues with what happened. She has realized that the truth about people is not always simple. Sure, they do bad things, they may even be bad people, but the way we handle it is not going to b simple. A simplistic solution, like resentment, just ruins your life.
Healing is harder, it takes a long time, and there are anyt imes along the road you will feel like giving up, and like you will never be whole.
Whether Kym is an optimist because she’s had better influences, or because she’s had help even from Will himself and Lauren to give her more hope, she seems to understand that she can’t keep sitting in the past, anymore than they can keep sitting in the cold snow that his scene takes place in. You have to get up and get moving eventually.
Healing and Peace are not a place, as the Oh Hellos said in “Theseus”, so much as they are a way. Coping mechanisms are not solutions, they are supposed to be temporary, people who park there are not healing, they are just surviving. you have to keep moving form one thing to another. My biggest obstacle to wholeness has been monotony. Stuck with the same thoughts, places, people, and problems for months, it’s like being in prison.
One way I coped was finding new shows and stories to read and watch, breaking up the sameness, but even that sameness became a part of the problem. Now I am changing it up with more social events, and going out and doing other things, if I really need to. So far, I’ve only tried it once, but even once was enough because now I know I can.
As I’ve changed, my anger has ebbed away. I no longer feel my dad is strangling me, or trapping me. I still face obstacles because of him. I wonder how long my trust issues will stay with me.
But I am starting to see how God is healing me and changing me, and more importantly, I have learned to say to myself sometimes “I don’t have to be healed all at once, it might take a few years, but that’s to be expected. It’s okay if it takes longer than this.”
I want to be ready for things like dating, working, and adventuring out into the world, but I am still preparing for that. I get tired of waiting, but the point is, I know I am waiting. This is not a permanent state of being.
Really, I’ve found even people who resign themselves to a mediocre life of sameness never get to keep it. Changes happen. Usually very suddenly. Trouble happens, or you are forced to step into a role you didn’t expect. Whether it take 1 year or 30, change comes to every life. Both World Wars interrupted the complacency of the 20th century. Awakenings can be quite rude. As last year proved to us all.
But we must wait actively. “Be ready in season and out of season” as the Bible says. If you are living a quiet life right now, still do as much as you can. I don’t want to be in college for the rest of my life, or doing nanny work, though I enjoy it. I have bigger dreams. I don’t want to be in therapy forever.
But while I am doing those things, I want to do them well, and get the most out of it that I can.
I reread some of my posts from a few months ago, and I was amazed at the world of hurt I was in. I wouldn’t change them, they were raw, but they were honest. That is my goal. But I am glad I do not feel the same way now.
It’s easier to feel happy when you feel good, but I think what I consider feeling bad has also changed as I no longer hyper-focus on it all the time. Turns out, it’s not so unbearable when I’m not having anxiety attacks over it.
I did have a bit of an anxiety attack last week. Much lighter than before, no breathing short. I got that tunnel vision thing where all negative outcomes seem the most real, and you can’t seem to shake the sense of foreboding or discouragement for the rest o the day, but it passed, and I stayed calmer than I had in the past. I hope soon I will no longer have them at all.
I now think not all of this was about the abuse itself so much as what the abuse made me fear about my life. I actually think most of the long term effects of abuse are probably far more about fear of repeating it than about what actually happened. Difficult experiences pass, but fear can last for years. Just like you don’t experience the pain of getting injured for longer than a few months usually, but the fear of the injury can prevent you from ever doing what led to it again. That’s good if what you did was stupid. If you get in a bad relationship by ignoring red flags, hopefully getting hurt will lead to wiser decisions in the future…but if you refuse then to get into a healthy relationship for the same reason, that’s Fear.
I’ve learned something since last year. I’ve learned that there area people who are what they are because of their issues, and there are people who are who they are despite their issues. And that difference is how you can tell a healthy person who’s trying to heal and grow, from one who refuses to change.
Also, everyone has issues. even people with good families have issues. Issues are part of being sinful humans. That’s why acknowledging them is so important, and it takes humility. I am growing in being able to do that.
With all this, my anger is so much weaker, I hope it will be all gone soon.
I have faith the Lord will guide me out of it, and out of any lingering fear or depression, because already, I feel I see so much clearer than before. But, that feeling may be the biggest sign I have a long way to go, often realizing it’s not the way you thought is just the first tiny step to true understanding.
With that, I think I will close this post, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.