Thursday, May 15, 2008

Being A Man

As far as I am concerned, the only requisite for being man is having the physical/biological attributes that delineate sex.

I once said to a bully who was asking me why I had 'women's dogs' (he was with a Stafford) , That 'I did not need a dog to tell me I am a man'. It worked and he went away.

Anyway, my father never thought I was man enough. It would appear though that his definition of manliness was being able to bully, frighten, and hit young boys. I was very well aware from the earliest age that I was not what my father considered enough. Not masculine enough, too sensitive, not obedient enough. Unquestioning obedience was what he wanted and expected and when he didn't get it, he flipped and bashed one silly. Oh, he was not a spanker. Nothing so bad as that! No he used his fists and he like to throttle. He also thought a good hard clout to the head was a sure way to gain respect. He didn't gain mine. In fact the more he treated me thus, the less respect I had for him.

When I was about 10, he threw a case of books at me. Why? Probably because I didn't jump high enough or quick enough. Not that I did, but even if I had told him to f**k himself, there was no excuse to justify what he did.

This book case (like a small suitcase which we used for school) hit one side of my head, smashing the other side of my head into the head of an ornate bird head which graced the corner of the coffee table. I was stunned. Literally. My mother laid me down on the settee and put a cold compress to me head, soothing me and telling me how bad I was and that if I behaved, he wouldn't do such things.

At that point, I knew I was on my own here. I knew they didn't love me. What I didn't know was that they didn't love me because of what was wrong with them, not because of what was wrong with me. I was fine as I was. They just couldn't accept that. They wanted a different child. My not understanding that it was them and not me casued somuch suffering to me. I spent most of my life until now trying to someone different, someone worthy of their love. I don't think that now, at the deepest level, I know I was always loveable. I also know it is they who do not deserve mine.They have it anyway in that I wish only peace for them.I just don't wnat them near me for they are the same toxic people they always were.

This incident was one of many-all around the same time. I know it was the same time frame because of the country we lived in at the time. My memories are anchored by where we we were living at the time. Another time, he screamed and bullied and hit me whilst he was helping me with my math homework. I was too stupid, of course, to understand the math, hence his hitting and screaming and bullying. This of course was a very effective way of teaching math to children. I was just too stupid to get it. The more he hit and shouted the more stupid I became. The fact I might be very stressed and upset at this bullying and gross mistreatment which is why I was having difficulty absorbing the math would not have entered y father's head. My father has always been right. Never ever wrong. 'Sorry' or 'I was wrong' are a foreign language to him.

During this same time frame he lost it with me at the dinner table.He was so angry he broke his own dinner plate? Why? I didn't like what my mother had made. A very rare thing as I adore food, always did, and still do. This one dish I found detestable-the rice had the look and texture of maggots. He forced me to eat it. Eating disorder, anyone?

The night of the day he the the bookcase at me, I stopped kissing him goodnight. The fool took this as sign that I was becoming 'a man'. It was no such thing, but he wouldn't have known that because he hadn't done anything wrong had he? To this day, this man seems to think I ought to love him and respect him and be thankful I had such a good upbringing. Dream on.

I have never felt hatred. Nor malice. I have been very very angry, rageful, but I don't wish anyone any harm. In fact the opposite-I wish nothing but peace for anyone regardless. My family, the paedophiles, the teachers and pupils of my high school in Oz who bullied me mercilessly. My nick name there was 'shit'. I hated school. To this day, I cannot walk past a school without fear. On the days I can walk, I walk the dogs and am sure to not be doing so at break time during term.

Anyway, back to my point about hatred. I have not only not felt it but never seen the point of it. I knew that to feel such would make me as bad as those who objectified me and treated me so badly. My younger brother says he wished for me to have a painful death and that he would go and dance and spit on my grave. I was shocked. Not hurt. Just shocked that he would harbour such vileness. When you consider that his feelings are misplaced, meaning he blames the wrong person. Such is the nature of denial and self preservation. He can't face the real the source of his pain so he displaces it onto someone else, me, an object, who doesn't have feelings and doesn't matter.

All I have ever wanted was an acknowledgement of the pain and suffering I endured at the hands of my family. Nothing else. What possible good would revenge bring? How would revenge be even possible? No the only 'justice' that makes any sense to me is that they find peace and that can only come with the truth. That would make me very happy. Their suffering would bring me nothing.

Ultimately, my lack of hatred and or malice is selfish. Neither will bring me peace. Someone said that to hate is to drink poison and expect someone else to die. Of course as a child I did not know these things, yet still I didn't hate. Another reason for me to have scorn heaped upon me.

Among the things my younger brother accuses me of(violence toward him is one-which is true) is that I 'showed him pornography'. I was 16 and he 14. I had no access to such things then. It transpires that he got hold of my copy of Fear Of Flying by Erica Jong-a boring big hit of 70's which was about casual sex but was not porn. This accusation of abuse is so desperate as to be laughable. What did I do? Tie him up and make him listen as I read to him? Did I hover over him
and force him to read it, whilst holding a dagger to his heart?

The violence was real enough.I was violent toward him.This was druing the years that he told me I was not worthy of God's love, that as a homosexual I was evil and possessed by demons.The onslaught of his words was never ending. He'd quote me stuff from The Watch Tower and the Jehovah's Witness version of the Bible, all confirming that I was wikced and no good. I htink what really really got to him was when I flipped and believed I was possessed by demons and flew in terror to the Kingdom Hall and burst threw the doors, interupting their meeting and begging them to release me from the demons. This must have mortified him.To this day he does not see how he brought this about and how he also brought about the violence. I was not an adult, I was highly disturbed.Evemn when i wa solder, an adult in years, late tenns, I wa sunder th influence of neuroleptics whcih made my beahviour even mor volatile and erratic and increased my suffering a hundred fold. They are vile drugs. Vile. The side effects are awful It is why they are used to troture people by wicked regimes. I deeply regret the violence, of course I do.

Me thinks my brother is trying very hard to hang on to his story of our past, which puts me in the role of the Devil. Good luck to him. I wonder if the incongruity of his treatment of me, his vile words expressed in emails, and his position as a family healing guru ever strikes him? It would seem not.

I know his suffering has been enormous s has that of my older borther. I am not responsible for it.

You know, I have never felt so free. Now I know that they are reading, or have read, this blog, I have lost the inhibition I felt. Our family motto was 'never tell anyone what goes on at home'. I can tell my story in it's entirety and I shall. In bits though otherwise these posts would be very long. Too long for me to write and to long for anyone to read.

6 comments:

Iris said...

Your family's motto is very similar to my husband's family's motto: "It's none of their business what we do." Maybe this helps me understand my husband a bit better.

His upbringing was nothing as bad as yours, but he got his fair share of clops in the chops, spankings with wire coat hanger and locking in the attic (which terrified him).

Your struggles have inspired me. Thank you for sharing.

mad angel said...

Our family's motto was "we take care of our own."

[shudder]

I am faced right now with my mother failing mentally, and today I must go and take her car away from her. It seems that in the last 6 months she has deteriorated rapidly. We have never got on well and she has never really had anything but venom to spew about me, at me, to my face. Yet I feel it's important not to return evil for evil, if for no other reason than being able to live with myself after she's gone.

Sometimes I feel like she is going to outlive me. Not that I have any life-threatening condition I'm aware of, now that I have a CPAP machine and not only has it stopped my snoring, it also seems to have stopped my reflux problems. Seriously, a couple of times in the past, I really thought that was what would take me out one of these days -- being too soundly asleep to notice what was creeping up my esophagus and into my lungs. Yuck!

But on bad days (and there have been quite a few of those lately), the only tape that plays in my head is, "It would be just my luck." And, "I'm going to die before she does, and if I don't, the way the economy is going, I might as well be dead, and I am never going to get to Maine for my retirement."

I try not to be a gloomy person, but sometimes I get stuck in that rut. And my mother never was much of a mother, and I didn't have a pleasant childhood. Nothing as bad as you experienced, Colin, but still it was miserable in its own right. Now I feel like she is going to rob me of a decent middle age, too. But this is one of those Bad Days. It's gloomy out, so I feel gloomy inside. C'est la guerre.

It bolstered my strength some, today, to catch up with your blog. Thank you. Maybe today I won't have to leave my station at work to go blub in the bathroom. That would be an improvement!

I am now going to spin on my wheel before I have to leave, and that, too, will help. I am working on a gorgeous orange/gold blend of cormo and kid mohair. It looks like a bag full of sunshine, which is a good thing when the sky outside looks like it's going to open up and vomit on the world any second.

Bless you, dearie, and thank you again.

Kerry said...

You're more of a man than your father will obviously ever be.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Kerry - you are more of a man than your father or brother will ever be.

kshotz said...

This reminds me to keep the promise I made to myself when my own children were born: to tell them I'm sorry when I mess up. My mother has never once said she was wrong or sorry for anything to her children. I don't understand this mentality at all. We are all human, thus we are all fallible. I don't think my role as a parent is diminished by admitting my mistakes and asking for forgiveness. Apparently not all people share that opinion and you and I have been witnesses to that.

Your comment about hatred being a poison you drink and then expect someone else to die hit me in a poignant way. Thank you!

Kim

Yarnhog said...

A man doesn't hurt people who are weaker than he is.

I find it heartbreaking to read about your childhood, and yet I can't stop. I wish I could go back and give the little boy you were a big hug and find him some help--a way out. It makes me wonder how many of the children I know and see every week are facing bad situations at home that no one knows about, and whether there is anything I can do for them.