Not sure which group to post this in, as it relates to many things. I am an incest survivor and my early childhood was very traumatic. My father was the perpetrator. My mother, a victim herself. I am still angry with my father, for the many things he has done; there was so much trauma in early childhood, it can feel overwhelming and I don’t even know where to start or what to work on. Recently, I have been feeling angry, so, I need to look at the cause of that anger.
I have a vindictive ex. He has been saying and doing things meant to push me mentally and emotionally; he’s tried to break me, but he will not succeed. Nonetheless, I have been injured. I feel like I’ve been too trusting; I see an evil, vindictive side to him that I failed to see before. Crisis can bring out the good in people, but in others, it creates fear and it stirs up the worst in them. Our break-up and the custody battle the preceded it certainly brought out the worst in him.
He’s hurt me every way he can; making me fear for my child, my home, my career, my reputation. He’s told lies about me; he tells lies to me. He constantly looks for anything he can use against me. He’s mentally ill and unstable, and he threatens our child’s security by trying to make me look like I am someone I am not. And I’m sooo angry! Which is what he wants. He wants to be able to do this, to push every button I have and then point his finger and say, “look at that rage.”
But, he’s right. I do feel rage. Why is it so intense?
It’s because he reminds me of my father. When I was a young girl, my mother had a nervous breakdown (20 years of being in an abusive marriage will do that to you). She was hospitalized and received psychiatric care, and as she worked though her problems, she came to realize that, if she wanted to get better, she had to leave my father. Now, this was the 80’s, in a Catholic family, and she was a housewife. He was sexually, emotionally, and mentally abusive. There was physical abuse also, but it stopped sooner that the other forms of abuse, so I don’t recall a lot of that. He was, by far, the most manipulative person I have ever known. He was intelligent and tricky; he convinced others that he was benevolent, but he was sick, twisted, and cruel.
My mother was making plans to leave him. She reached out to her father for help, but she never told the whole truth (as far as I know) and he encouraged her to work things out. She couldn’t. I recall that she told me we would be moving. I know she planned to take us with her, but my dad had another plan. He was desperate and willing to do cruel things to try to make her stay. He told her that she had a mental illness, that she was delusional, that her allegations of abuse where “delusions.” And he fed our minds with lies, trying to turn us away from her. He told us she was delusional. I don’t recall all that he said, but I recall what was happening. At one point in time, my sisters were plotting to kill my mother. One pulled a knife on her, she locked he out of the house. She was angry and scared and believed my dad’s lies.
And my poor mother, she watched this happening. She knew what he was doing. She watched her children turn against her. I remember her angerly telling my father, “you are brainwashing my children!” I’m so empathic, I felt her pain as if it were my own. I still feel it in my body, to this day. That is how he finally broke her. My older siblings did not want to go with her. She was so hurt. She struggled with the situation for about a year or so, and then, she finally left on her own.
And it destroyed her. She was never again the same person she once was. The loving, caring, and protective mother I once had, was cold and unfeeling. She rejected me, moved far away, and made no contact for several years. It’s the worst pain I ever endured, far worse than anything he did to me physically or directly. It’s his fault I grew up without a mother. All that suffering I experienced, because of what happened. He destroyed the most important person in my life and lied about what he did.
And what really makes me angry… He blamed her. Nothing was ever his fault. He kept up the lie, pretending that he was a caring man and that his wife had a terrible mental illness that caused her to have all these delusional thoughts about him. He took credit for raising his children on his own (he neglected us). People continued to believe he was a decent human being.
He was an alcoholic, but quit drinking when I was in middle school. I was convinced he was a better person for it. I guess he was in some ways. It said in his obituary that he, “went out of his way to help fellow members.” He did, vulnerable women who he would later take advantage of sexually. He was fucking so many different woman, many of them alcoholics.
My mother never received justice. She has lived on the streets for the last 30 years and it’s been nearly 20 since she has made any contact with me. It’s so sad to me that she has never healed, never recognized as the victim. Just a mentally ill, homeless woman, who abandoned her kids… And he died with respect, having raped and otherwise victimized several woman; having molested and terrorized children. Still, I hear people tell me what a “great guy” my father was. He was a charade; he was a terrible human being who pretended to care about others only so he could have influence and take advantage of others. He was not what he seemed.
And here I am, coming to realize that my ex was not the man I believed he was. That I saw what I wanted to see and denied his darkness. And I’m so scared; I’m downright paranoid in relationships with men. I expect them to hide their demons. I fear that if I trust, I may be a victim. That I may end up like my mother, trapped in a terrible relationship, wrought with mental abuse, and broken down mentally beyond what I can bare. Obviously, I fear winding up like my mother.
And yet, despite my fears, I trust and get burnt. My ex is not the villain my father was, but he is mentally and emotionally abusive and resembles my father because of that. What he has been doing to me has been very triggering. I’m working on trying to control my anger about the situation, but what is sticking out in my mind right now, is this feeling that I will never fully trust a man. I will always think there is darkness hiding underneath, whatever he appears to be on the surface. How can I ever trust when I know how deeply deceptive people can be?
It’s just no wonder I have trust issues… Having experienced this, how will I ever feel differently? Add to that fear of abandoment. I crave intimacy and conenction with others, but I'm a cripple when it comes to relationships.