Moral Ambiguity: Are children the priority?

Posted: November 7, 2012 in Uncategorized
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My father sacrificed his children.

There is no doubt that my siblings and I are all pretty fucked up. My mother is the reason.

There is also no doubt that my father constantly chose the welfare of my mother over ours. Because placating her always held a life or death significance; the slightest misstep sent her careening towards another suicide attempt while the kids always lived to see another day.

In effect, my father stood by as she emotionally tore us apart, siding with her in almost every argument He constantly told us to just go along with her. He told us to just sit through it. He told us to not get mad at her.

A young child sat, small and scared, cornered in her closet, listening to the person she loved the most scream horrible things to her. The child was fat, even though you could count her ribs. The child’s curly hair was atrocious she’d never be liked. The child was such a horrible person that her mother claimed to want to kill herself rather than be her parent. The child was uncoordinated – she should just give up already on her passion of volleyball! The child was useless, stupid, and a waste of space. The child’s naturally friendly demeanor and kind outreach to others was embarrassing and socially unacceptable. The child was obviously plotting against the mother, trying to make her life miserable. The child was a lazy piece of shit. Despite the fact that the child had countless friends, her mother considered her a socially awkward failure; in reality the child just feared displaying her social life in front of her mother: another vulnerability to be used as ammo. The mother tore apart her child’s character on a daily basis.

The child sat in silence, no emotion passed her face. No tear escaped her impassive front. She tried to erase any feelings from her mind as well. Quite simply, she was not allowed to have feelings, for having feelings meant killing her mother. Having feelings meant causing problems for the family. The young girl never once complained and almost never mentioned it to her father, even when things got physical. It would only cause him stress and produce no results. It was the responsibility of the young girl as a mentally sound member of the family to control her mind where her mother could not, to sacrifice herself.

By the time I was eleven years old, my mother had convinced me that the world would be better if I was dead.

And through it all the father either was not present or only chose to stop the proceedings when they threatened to get violent. Sometimes when he could really see how much pain his kids were in, he would step up and send them upstairs, taking the anger himself. I always understood why he made the choices he did. I never once blamed him even though it often made me sad. I even relied on his prioritization of my mother above us. It meant that even though I generally chose to protect my sister, I didn’t have to worry about my mom dying because when things were that serious he would usually be there to take care of her. It knocked a burden off of my shoulders and in a way, I think we both viewed this unspoken division of responsibility as teamwork. I understood that his choices were life or death for my mother. I understood that without us, she would probably kill herself within a few days and if she managed to live, she would never find people to love or anybody who loved her. She was, quite simply, too bat-shit crazy and would be doomed to live out the rest of her life without the basic human need of affection and interaction. Sad and forever alone.

When I was seventeen, I finally found a choice of my father’s that I didn’t understand. I was a senior in high school, looking at colleges and dreading the day I might leave my sister with nobody there to help her, take care of her, and protect her. I presented many ideas to my father on alternate living situations for my sister. He shot down every single one of them, and although he pointed out valid flaws, they were something to work with. He gave me vague agreements when I declared the current situation intolerable. Though I gave him plenty of time, he never contributed a single idea. When I confronted him about this, the man showed his true colors.

“I know things aren’t great here but she is only fifteen and still needs her parents.”

With this, he showed his fear to change the status quo. His inability to take action. His self-delusion that we really were a happy family. He showed that he was too worn down to save us, much less himself. He was pitiful. And he proved me wrong. I had always thought that if I ever actually asked him for help, or anything really, he would be there for me since I had always been there for him, never once complaining. His own children were crying out for a safe living environment and he wouldn’t even step up to the plate. Isn’t that a basic human right? One that he deprived his kids of, for he was the only one with the power to provide it. My sister didn’t need a mother who would verbally abuse her on a daily basis and a father that would allow it to happen. To my sister, I represented her mother figure and her best friend. Our ‘parents’ were never such.

I love my father with all my heart. In this morally gray life we live, I can’t tell you the difference between right and wrong. Is the life of the mother more important than the mental health of her spawn?

  1. Bupe Rose says:

    Thanks for sharing your haunting and difficult lifestory. I pray your family can find healing, peace, and forgiveness. You certainly deserve it. Blessings!

    • Thank you for your kindness. It means a lot that you would go out of your way to say that. Somehow we have stuck together all these years and I have faith that we each will find our way. Also your post about smiling at everyone you meet really struck a chord with me so thank you for writing that

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