I grew up being told I was wrong, that what I saw or thought or felt wasn’t real or right or true. I remember my mother telling me one day, as I was crying to her about my Dad yelling at me, that in fact my father was not yelling at me, he just had a loud voice. I knew at that moment, at the age of 7, that I would one day write my memoirs and I would entitle this brilliant tome, “Your Father’s Not Yelling at You, He Just Has a Loud Voice.”
My mother was a beautiful and kind woman. She only wanted to preserve the peace she worked so hard to achieve. She grew up in an alcoholic household. Her father was a drunk and her mother I am sure was only steps behind, her own drinking labeled “social” or “expected” when compared to her husband’s.
I do not fault my mother or my father…it is too late in the day to place blame on anyone else for my failures as an adult. People do their best and inevitably falter and fall. My mother wanted nothing but security for her children and a place to call home. My father gave her that and more. But she was accustomed to walking on egg shells and quietly trying to control the burgeoning anger steeping beneath my father’s heavy footsteps and muttered criticisms. No doubt it all reminded her of her own youth and her vain attempts to fix the relationship between her own parents.
She admitted to me, one day, in my kitchen, that by staying with my father she did the right thing for her children…except for me. I was too intuitive and knew something was wrong. Despite her denials and scoffs, I saw everything for what it really was. I looked behind the curtain and the emperor was indeed naked as a jaybird. This sixth sense is as natural to me as breathing in and out, yet I deny it and question it as one would a third arm.
And now, when my husband tells me no, that I am wrong, that he is not doing those things I say he is, I feel again like I am 7 years old. I have tears in my eyes, my tiny fists balled in rage and fear. I desperately want a trusted soul to say, you are right, what you see is real, trust your voice, and speak your truth. But that never comes and I am left with the shame and the self-loathing and the wish that the voice inside me would just shut up.