Generational abuse.

It’s been a weird sort of day. I was talking to my mom, and she was depressed because apparently her dad died when she was seventeen on new year’s eve. Go figure. That was news!

Both of my grandfathers died, and both of my grandmothers remarried, before I was born. I’d always been glad that I didn’t meet my maternal grandfather. I’d heard that he was an abusive drunk, and after hearing that much, I quit asking questions and thanked God that I’d dodged a bullet. I grew up with enough abuse in my life.

But today my mom said he was a very nice person when he was sane. (Apparently, I alone inherited all of his mental illnesses that he was believed to have after the fact: bipolar, schizophrenia, and on and on; but at the time, there was no understanding or treatment and you were just “weird”, as my mom put it. “Weird, in a bad way,” were her exact words, I think.)

So my mom went on and on about how he spent quality time with her and taught her to play Checkers, and it was odd, because I’d always written him off as someone I was glad not to meet.

I still wouldn’t want to meet him, though. Checkers is a fun game, but he was physically abusive, and he beat the crap out of my aunt for reasons that might have to go into my non-memoir. (Scandalous stuff.) But I’ve had enough fun forgiving my parents for being physically abusive to me. Why would I want to do it for a grandparent, too?

Well, technically, both of my grandmothers spanked me, but not to a level I’d call abusive. (This doesn’t count things I think I’ve blocked out of my memory.) (Also, to be clear, I’m 100% against spanking under any circumstances. The only exception being that you might want to slap your kid’s hand if he’s about to touch the stovetop.) But my dead grandfather could’ve been abusive to me also, because he was capable of it. I wouldn’t want to risk it, so I’m glad he died before I was born.

It’s hard living in a family where I constantly have to tolerate past abusers and accept them. But anyway, my mom said that her brother wanted to go skating that day, so their dad took him into town. Then he came back and felt unwell, so he asked my mom to take him to the doctor. But then a distant family member showed up, and he took my mom’s dad to the doctor, and he had a heart attack there and died at the age of 44, which is actually how old I am. He had a lot of stress as a farmer.

I don’t blame myself for dehumanizing him over the years. I’m more upset that he was abusive than I am that I inherited a slew of mental illnesses from him. Mental illness is okay. Abuse needs to be stamped out. I don’t care how mentally ill he was; there’s no excuse. It’s a hard dichotomy for me because my parents were both abusers, and yet I’m very close to them. I don’t think that’s wrong of me, but it does make it seem as if I condone their abuse, which I don’t; and it often makes me take my anger out on unrelated people because I’m close to my parents and don’t feel like lashing out at them (although I could if I wanted to).

I’m not sure what the point is, but with what my dad did to me, I finally realized that it can’t be forgiven because it’s unforgivable, in and of itself; and that’s on my dad, not me, so it shouldn’t be my burden to forgive the unforgivable. I mean, I don’t hold a grudge (except for when I’m triggered), but some things are truly unforgivable, and it was a relief when I realized that because then I knew that it wasn’t on me to forgive the unthinkable. I’ve been quite happier ever since.

It’s like when the Titanic sank. If you experience something like that, there’s no way back from it but forward. What I mean is, you can’t make sense of it, and you shouldn’t try too hard, no matter how many bad therapists try to get you to see it differently. I think that’s why Old Rose says in the movie, “Afterward, the seven hundred people in the boats had nothing to but wait. Wait to die, wait to live. Wait for an absolution that would never come.”

So while it’s nice to know that my grandfather was a nice person, I’m still glad I never met him. That’s because, though, as a child I was vulnerable and mistreated by a lot of people. I wouldn’t mind to meet him now, as an adult. And since I believe in the spirit world, maybe one day I’ll meet him.

Gee, aren’t there any nice people in my family? Like, non-abusers? Oh well. It’s why I refuse to have kids. There’s no other way to guarantee that the abuse stops here. However, my sister had a kid, and now she’s due to give birth to a second soon. Both my brother and I are afraid to meet her kids for fear that we’ll care about them and be unable to protect them from her. It’s easier just not knowing her kids, because then there’s no attachment. My dad promises me, though, that her kids have a huge extended paternal family that’s bound to keep my sister’s abusive tendencies in check. Here’s hoping. Oh! Happy new year!

2 thoughts on “Generational abuse.

    1. So true, thanks! The complexity is almost painful! Thanks for understanding!! I keep wondering if there’s a message in the complexity, but I’m not sure I’ve found it yet! At any rate, I’ve found it very edifying to be working on my non-memoir novel!! YAY!

      Liked by 1 person

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