I really don’t want it to seem as though I hold any ill will toward my mother. She is what she is and no one need apologize for staying true to what they believe. She was abusive and she beat us… no amount of apologies or explanations will change any of it. My belief, even from a very early age, was to accept it, not to question it or expend any energy wishing things were different. Those experiences affected each of my brothers and I in different ways, but the end result is that we are what we are because of those experiences. My brothers may feel differently about those experiences, but I like who I am and can’t be bothered to wonder if I would have been different, in either a good or bad way.
Too many people of my generation tend to blame their parents for who they are. The truth is that human beings are resilient and we possess free will. As such, we can CHOOSE to have our experiences either make us better people or weaker people. I chose to use my experiences in a beneficial way. That isn’t to say I haven’t been self destructive at times in my life, but I’ve found better ways to channel that behavior over time.
By the time I was 8 years old, who I wanted to be and who I was were pretty much the same. I made choices based solely on rational thought and not emotion. This tended to be met with really odd behavior from adults, especially those in my grade school. I was often taken out of class and had sessions with the school district shrink. They never came right out and said it, but I think they believed I would grow up to be a serial killer by the amount of time and effort that was made to figure me out.
For the most part, the sessions consisted of the shrink asking me questions about how I “felt” about certain images. They would show me pictures of different things like a baby crying, or a sad old woman, or young man screaming in anger. Since my “feeling” was indifference to the images, they believed that I had some kind of problem with my ability to both feel and express emotion. The truth is I felt nothing not because I was emotionally stunted, but because the images were of people I neither knew nor cared about. Their emotions meant nothing to me, ergo I felt nothing about them. I still have a really difficult time mustering up any empathy for people I don’t know. Hell, I have a hard time mustering up empathy for people I do know.
Had they shown me pictures of my family things might have gone differently. Not that there would be emotion there, but at least I would be able to express my thoughts more correctly.
To be continued…