Editor’s Note: I really can be quite humorous at times but lately, as you might have noticed, things have not been going well at all. I write the way I feel and I write, not on a schedule, but when so moved. Sometimes I write an entire piece and then deep six it because while the feeling and emotion is authentic, the piece itself is not written well enough to be clearly understood.
Tomorrow, I will have my yearly review at work. I expect it to be an issue. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to write anything about it tomorrow if I’m too bad an emotional state. There is another issue festering today that will have to be handled delicately, but it has rocked my world to the core.
This all started with my last trip to my therapist where she wanted me specifically to talk about my family and my childhood. What happened this time was different from the last time I spoke about my father to a therapist. This time, everything about my father and my family came out; that is, all of the demons came out to play.
And I had a very negative reaction to it. Those of us with mental conditions understand that recounting a series of incidents connected to the past can cause the person telling them to mentally be right back into the mindset you were at the time these things happened. It wasn’t the telling of one thing in isolation – it was pretty much the ‘Worst Hits of my Childhood’ – and it wasn’t even all of it.
I yelled, I cried, I made grand gestures with my hands and arms. My therapist was quite pleased with me and said that I looked much more in control of myself than the last visit. I reminded her that in the last visit I was coming from work.
I came home and wrote my last blog entry to try to person a quick exorcism of the feels. It didn’t work. I’ve been carrying the shakes since then and my sleep has been disturbed, I have not had the strength to work out, and my behavior at work has also raised eyebrows, yet again.
What I have to conclude is this: despite referring to these incidents in passing as trials that had to be endured to reach adulthood, it is clear that my childhood relations with my family has a much more severe effect on my life than I had ever been willing to admit.
You see, I grew up in an environment in which people my father’s age literally bragged about how much their old man ‘beat the crap out of them’ and that they deserved it and it made them the men they are today.
There has also been a blistering debate in America about the effectiveness of corporal punishment (from spanking to being beat with a belt) in which many on the right have derided those who oppose capital punishment as ‘snowflakes’ who are going to raise a bunch of girlie men who will not be able to fight the hoard of (name a stereotyped group the right hates here) and America will fall. Or at least not be ‘great again,’ whatever the Hell that means.
And finally there is the mentality that young people in these kinds of families adopt – that of normalization. My thinking was that most families were like mine. Sure, there were ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ and ‘Brady Bunch’ types of families, but they were on TV. Having a tyrannical father, an emasculating mother and a hateful sibling, mixed up with generous doses of violence or threatened violence and other aberrant behavior, had to be how many if not most people grew up. It had to be because most of my father’s friends’ families seemed to operate the same way.
I looked at our high school football team and imagined that their fathers probably knocked them around a lot to make them as tough as they were. My father just didn’t do it right or enough or I was just too much of a girlie man to be a football player.
And now on the eve of my 55th birthday, this shit just erupts out of the pits of seven deep hells and I’m walking around like someone hit me over the head with a cartoon mallet. The devils are riding brain weasels all around my noggin.
So can this be the final cleansing? Hardly: there is so much more to unpack before my shrink and I can deal with it. And, quite frankly, I have a real fear now that I won’t be able to handle it with spending time in the bedroom with a lot of Scotch and pills. Walking around with the brain weasels is getting to be a liability for me at work and home now.
To quote Neo in The Matrix, I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin.
I can only hope to come out in one piece at the end.