I wrote about the abuse and neglect that I suffered at the hands of my parents. It is interesting; I never really considered my experiences to be eventful or harmful and, in many ways, I still do not. I guess I knew no other way, but I also suspect that my wiring leaves me relatively unconcerned with the damage that was dealt. It seemed mundane to be beaten for misadventures in toilet training or for any number of other minor transgressions against my father. Likewise, being left utterly to myself for extended periods of time was not necessarily unwelcome, but I have been told that such is not considered prime parenting skills. I have a disconnect between my feeling state toward my childhood and the objective view that others have toward it.
Honestly, aside from the moment that the beatings would occur, I never would think about it much. They were never so much a deterrent from doing whatever irked my father but rather were a reminder that I needed to be better about not getting caught. I don’t want to paint a picture where I was doing anything terribly mischievous during those times, but I would quickly learn that certain actions yielded certain reactions from him. Even when he threatened to set all of my toys on fire in a drunken rage, the terror only lasted in the moment. When he nearly set the terrace on fire, it dawned on me – I would always have to take care of myself. By age 10, I realized that there simply was no one that I could trust to be invested in my well-being. Moving in with my grandparents and my aunt provided some modicum of support, but even then I had to have full control; I felt compelled to be the only voice in my own growth.
It would not be until many years later – age twenty-six or twenty-seven – that I realized that what I went through as a child was considered abuse and neglect by those outside the family. I remember vividly the face of my mental health professional as we ran down the usual childhood background information roundup that is, more or less, required of any long term professional therapeutic relationship. I remember being utterly and totally confused at her look of horror as I described my childhood. Were not such events par for any kid’s life? If I didn’t feel emotion recollecting the events, did they really matter?
Intellectually, I realized I had what would be a turbulent and unfortunate childhood. There is simply no emotion to go with that knowledge, however. I am in a state of disconnect.