“You will not turn out like your brother.”

 “In depression, the childhood violence that had been leveled against the boy-whether psychological or physical, active or passive-takes up permanent habitation within him.[i] dad with emil

The title of this post is something my dad said to me once.  I remember we were in our house and it was right after my brother had been disciplined for some transgression that 11 year old boys did.   I leave it for the reader to figure out what my dad was trying to do. But this post is about the violence that gets perpetrated against children, in my case, a boy. Since my father has now passed I know that what I say won’t embarrass him.

Screen-Shot-2014-08-15-at-5.32.15-AMWhat I feel comfortable about is, a couple of weeks before he died, I had a wonderful six-hour experience with him that gave me as much closure about my childhood as did  hours  and hours of therapy. My dad owned how much he hurt me, he made his amends to me for it and we moved on. I forgave my Dad for what he did, I cry as I write those words, and I pray that he got some relief from his actions before he died.  What I have learned is that even though we make amends and amends are  made to us, it doesn’t remove the emotional attachment to events that affected us,  but it does as my friend Mike B. says, it “takes the sting out,” of them.

Mystic_mountainddddThere are a few things that I have done very well. One  that gives me pride is that I never struck a child.

“One minute you’re right there, then something slips.” [ii] I can now say that I understand what happened for my dad. Because there have been times in my life where even though I was angry, I felt like I was under control, then I would snap. The lyrics at the start of this paragraph are about veterans with PTSD. I believe that childhood victims of violence have the same characteristics of those who have PTSD. My Dad certainly was.

Bruce_Springsteen_01“Poison snake bites you, you’re poison too.”[iv] I now realize that my father had depression also. I remember when I was a child he was grumpy or angry most of the time. The only time he wasn’t grumpy or angry is when he was drinking. When I was taking care of him right before he died I was looking at them one day and I noticed he had lost almost all of his eyebrows. A doctor friend of mine told me that’s a common characteristic of men  who have depression. [v]

IMG00851“ Not spoiling’ a child means trying to break that child’s spirit.” [iii] Therefore since my Dad  didn’t have his spirit he couldn’t allow me to have mine.

“What is it that constrains the individual to fear his neighbor, to think and act like a member of the herd, and have no joy in himself?[vi]  In my case, it was PTSD. If you understand the writing above, you  hopefully can understand why.

 [i] Terrence Real  I Dont Want to Talk About It. pg. 204 [ii] Bruce Springsteen Brothers Under the Bridge. [iii]Dorothy Rowe [iv] Bruce Springsteen Gave It a Name. [v]I’m not saying that I agree with that as I haven’t done enough research to either support that position or not support that position. [vi] Fredrich Nietzsche Untimely Meditationswolf yosemite (The rose below came from the site  http://radiatingblossom.wordpress.com )

It is better to seek forgiveness than it is permission.

This was originally posted in April of 2013.  It is timely today.



One thought on ““You will not turn out like your brother.”

  1. There is an ocean of difference between rationalising a relationship in a therapy scenario, and bringing it to an equilibrium with the other person. There is a lesson for us all in your final experience with your father.

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