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OT - mourning an abusive parent

Aniki's picture

I know there are members who had abusive parents. While I know that not all are Jewish AND that the abuse the writer suffered pales in comparison to some, it is an interesting article. 

https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/289231/mourning-an-ab...

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ESMOD's picture

Reading through the article.. it struck me that her father was suffering from depression.. and that his daughter likely inherited that trait as well.. and it burdened them both.  Some of what she described as abuse.. didn't seem to necessarily be intended to be cruel.. but when colored with the mental illness of both of them.. the results were not great.

I think we often think of our parents through a particular lens with particular expectations and forget that they are human and are subject to human conditions.  My own father, I believe, suffers from some depression.  In fact, his mother killed herself when he was young.  I don't doubt that some of his rages/moods were direct results of that.. cold comfort to the small child riding out the storm.. but as an adult.. I can gain some perspective.

Aniki's picture

I agree with you about the depression and his treatment does sound (IMO) somewhat abusive. Certainly not to the extreme like some have suffered. I know someone whose father beat him with a 2x4 when he was a teenager. He hated his father for that, but was able to forgive many years later when his father was dying. 

One of my closest friend's mother suffered from depression and took her own life. My friend and her youngest brother suffer from depression and her brother is an absolute trainwreck. He's an alcoholic - the last thing he needs. :(

SacrificialLamb's picture

I am one of those with an emotionally abusive upbringing due to my father. He is still living. I've always hated Fathers day and trying to find the most generic, unemotional card the store had. He later admitted he was a horrible father, and we have actually built a decent relationship in his old age in spite of this.

Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to be a daddy's princess like some of the SD's we have to deal with. But that was not in the cards for me. I am grateful that I was able to find emotional stability as an adult.

Aniki's picture

I'm sorry, Lambie. I hope his admission had some meaning for you. xoxo

Finding generic, unemotional cards is as difficult as finding a loving anniversary card for a senior couple married only 3 years. Gah.

I was certainly NOT a princess. However, the older I got, the more I realized how blessed I was to have the kind of parents I did.

Kes's picture

I had emotionally neglectful parents who are both dead (in 1999 and 2010).  I had to have counselling after the death of my mother who was the worse of the two.  I wish now that I had had better boundaries with her, and maybe gone no contact, but it is obviously a moot point now.   I will never recover fully from the abuse, I have accepted that.  

Aniki's picture

I'm so sorry, Kes. xoxo

Not having closure of ANY sort can be difficult. My Mom had Alzheimer's and - looking back - her memory problems began when I was a teenager. There are things that happened I could never discuss with her or get closure from and have had to try to reconcile myself to that. Was it really how she felt? Was it the disease?? I know it cannot compare, but think I have an inkling. 

Iamwoman's picture

I've never been good enough for my father. My DH was the one to point out to me that my father belittles or negates everything I say. My DH can say the same exact thing to my father, and it's accepted as sage.

That being said, I now know from being a parent (DD16, SS14, SS10), that sometimes there is just a parent / child disconnect where neither understands the other.

Also, if there is at least one INSANELY difficult child in the household, this causes extreme stress on the parents, who can't help but feel as if they are going crazy and unleash on all children.

Finally, I have also learned that households with multiple children, and with at least one evil or manipulative child will have that same effect due to the "good" child or children being blamed for things they never did by the evil/manipulative child. This makes the parents think that all of their children are capable of being jerks.

As an addition, if the mother happens to favor the bad child, the father will face manipulation from both his wife and the bad child to turn him against the good child. Neither father nor good child stand a chance in this scenario.

I have forgiven my parents, 

As parents, we do the best we can the best way we know how. We aren't perfect.

I have not forgiven my brother for being the main stressor in my childhood family.

I have also not forgiven my sister for being manipulative and turning both my mother and father against me.

I was a good child being raised alongside two bad apples. Because of that, my parents never got to know me for who I really am. Depsite then being basically good parents, I have many traumatic memories of receiving undeserved corporal punishment or verbal beratement due to being set up as the fall guy by my sister. Then reaping extreme punishment from parents who have been pushed to the brink of insanity by my brother.

My parents are just as much victims as I am. I'm the only one who knows or is willing to accept this as the truth though.

Aniki's picture

That sucks, Iamwoman. In more ways than one. I'm sorry. {{hugs}}

While it in no way compares, I was the youngest of five and grew up in the shadow of "aren't you 1, 2, 3, 4's little sister?!" Yes, dammit. Not only did I NOT 'get away with' much, I got blamed for things I did NOT do. Because some 'friend' of Mom's 'saw' me doing whatever. I reached a point where I no longer cared and told her that. "As long as I know I didn't do it, I'm good." Went over like a lead balloon... 

My oldest brother was jealous of me. Being "Daddy's Girl" ain't all it's cracked up to be. He's the reason I have severe claustrophobia (locked me in a trunk).  No one tattled on him for fear of retaliation. He has never apologized for terrorizing me.