Thursday, December 17, 2015

survivors matter more than abusers. behave accordingly.

Today would have been my dead mother's 57th birthday (oops! 59th! Clearly I'm mostly fine since I no longer exactly remember) if she hadn't loved cigarettes more than anything else (her words). I'm actually fine. But damn are people full of terrible things to say to people who've gone no contact with parents.

I see the sympathy when I talk about my parents. I hear you say the platitudes. In theory, all the right words (not necessarily the right words for me, but the words a book would tell you are the right ones). You get uncomfortable because you should. But then comes the part where you start screwing up. Then come the 'buts'.

"But you'll miss her when she's dead."
"But she was doing her best."
"Honor your father and mother."
"Well maybe your stepdad was abusing her too, have some sympathy."
"You may not regret cutting her off now, but you will."
"What if someone felt they needed to cut you off for their safety? Would that be fair?"
"She's your mother."

These are at best misguided awkward things people who want everything to be peachy and shiny say. At worst they are intentional barbs. But they are not the right thing to say.

No, I don't miss her. I am profoundly relieved. I don't care if she was doing her best--if that was her best it wasn't good enough. If I am "doing my best" and drop a kid on their head, it wasn't good enough, but a lifetime subscription to Nightmare of the Week Club from the C-PTSD guild needs to be forgiven because of genetics? No.

Don't preach the bible at me because it is not my book & you will not get me to allow abusers to be close to me because of a supernatural being I don't believe in & wouldn't worship if that's what it wanted. I don't care if my stepdad was abusing her too, displacement isn't the answer. Owning your shit is. If someone cuts me out, okay that's fine, it isn't about fair, it's about people need to be able to do what they need to do. It doesn't matter that she's my mother because she's also an abuser & utterly unsafe.

So. Don't say these things to people who have cut parents out of their lives. We've heard them before. I will cheerily, and I do mean with a big grin, tell you to go fuck your sanctimonious self & go about my day, because I am at that place. Not everyone is.

These statements are gas lighting survivors about our self knowledge to keep ourselves safe. This is, again, an area in which I can tell you to fuck off. But other people? It could send them to months of nightmares. It could set off yet another cycle of "trying to get along with mom--mom is a piece of shit--get too beaten down to extricate". You could be guilting someone into spending a holiday with someone who wants to, has tried to, and may succeed at killing them.

Don't think about our abusers' feelings before you opine. Think about ours. Think about how we are probably downplaying it to you. Think about how we are the person you are saying it to. We have been the wronged party, and often had that twisted and turned by people who think us having boundaries is wronging them. We are taught that self preservation is wronging people.

Think about that. Don't undermine survivors' hard-won safety mechanisms. If you can't help yourself, you need to go be not around survivors because you, too, are not safe. And need to fuck off.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

100% on your side.

Blood doesn't make family. Love and respect do. Parents can be shitty people, and shitty people make shitty parents. They deserve our love until they betray us. If they don't fix it, they don't get it back - end of story.

And that "they did their best" line is BS. Narcissistic people DON'T do their best for anyone but themselves, regardless of their position in the family unit.