Saturday, September 01, 2007


My wife and I are back from two weeks away from home. The first week we spent with my parents. We helped them celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. I made them a nice photo album to celebrate their years together. They liked the album. They enjoyed the celebration we put on for them. I enjoyed seeing them happy.

But I also had many difficult times during that week. My father still speaks so negatively about people. He still criticizes my mother and controls her, part of his marriage-long abuse. Partway through the week I found myself sitting in their living room with my head down, my wife nearby. I looked at her with pain in my eyes, hoping she could understand how I was feeling. I felt grungy. I think I felt the most uncomfortable I ever have listening to Dad. I love him. But he has caused Mom and me, and in different ways my brothers, deep pain. It hurt listening to him being so negative, talking about others, criticizing people, not living joyfully. I think I felt it so deeply because I have been working at removing my own scar tissue for years now, scar tissue which grew to help protect me when I was younger and had no one else to protect me, scar tissue which kept me from having as good relationships with others as I craved. Now I feel more fully and sometimes it feels so good, like when I'm playing with our grandchildren, or when our children tell me, "Dad, I love you," at the end of a phone chat. And sometimes it feels bad, when there is something painful going on.

It was such a relief to leave. I told my wife partway through the week that I hoped I could make it to the end of our time with my parents. I did. I did well, actually. I drove them around. We took them to two restaurant meals. When we left I told them I loved them both.

But it still hurts. And it still feels good to get away from all that negativity, which is connected to the physical and verbal abuse which has been going on in that house for almost my entire lifetime. I think there may have been two or three years after I was born before it started.

Grungy is not a good feeling. Maybe I'm grieving the grunge.


Blogger butterfly said...

i was this... all i can say right now.


2:56 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Yes, we all must grieve the grunge. I'm glad you are safely back home now.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Kathy Mansfield said...

I can totally understand. I DREADED going home to see my parents. I wanted so badly to see my Mom, but I had to put up with Dad in order to do that. And sometimes I would get mad at Mom for putting up with Dad. I was always glad to leave. Dad died 5 years ago, and I LOVE going home to see Mom now. We never talk about Dad. Mom would bring him up a few times after his death, but I refused to talk about him -- I was too glad he was gone. Now she never mentions him to me.

8:55 AM  

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