…I wish some day things will get better
I’ve been trapped in this black hole for too long
Can’t understand a word of what you say
I never bother to listen anyway
And I know some day things will get better
I’ve been trapped in this black hole for too long
“Trapped In”, Division Of Laura Lee; ‘Black City’, 2003
At this point it feels like I’m just barely surviving my family.
A couple of weeks ago my grandmother asked me a series of vile, disgusting questions about my girlfriend and our baby.
She asked why I hadn’t insisted on an abortion, she demanded I have a DNA test to find out if I’m the father, and, among other things, she insinuated I wasn’t providing for the baby because I was waiting for my grandfather to die so I could collect the inheritance.
Then she asked if I could help her with a writing project.
I told her to go fuck herself.
My mother cried while I told her. After I was finished she felt it necessary to explain to me the possible causes for my grandmother’s behaviour. My mom talked about senility and the loss of control my grandmother was experiencing due to prescriptions and being 87-years old.
None of her explanations were correct. My grandmother is poison. She’s toxic. She’s been a cancer in the blood of my family for sixty years. We all know this, this is not a secret. I could stand up at the next family dinner and say “my grandmother has done nothing good for this family”, and my family would nod and say “tsk, that’s right”.
But nothing would change. No one would shun her, no one would turn their back on her. There would be no consequences.
She abused my mother for her entire childhood, that abuse was the reason my mother ended up being abused for ten years by my father.
As my mother tried to explain away the disgusting things my grandmother said, all I could think of was the absurdity of the abused trying to defend the abuser.
I understand it, I understand how someone can be beaten — my mother wasn’t — and still desperately seek the approval and love of the person with the stick. Or how someone can be called “useless” and denied the love of their mother, only to later on defend their mother even while their mother was calling their son “useless”.
I get it. But it’s still absurd, and more absurd is when it’s an entire family being abused by one member. Even more absurd is when the abuse is so open, so violent, so disgusting and so focused, and the reaction from the chronically abused is to gather around the abuser and explain away her behaviour.
My grandmother has COPD. She’s 87-years old. She occasionally walks with a cane. But she’s not feeble. She’s not losing her mind. She wrote down a series of questions, and asked them all.
Since I originally told my mother what happened, she has twice tried to rationalize my grandmother’s behaviour.
My grandfather, who only knows my grandmother did something spectacularly bad, and that I haven’t returned any of her phone calls, called me this week to try and mend the fence his wife of 60-years burned down.
He told me “I’ve had to live with her for sixty years, I know it can take a lot to ignore the things she does.”
They want me to understand her behaviour, to look past the insult to see a frail and dying relative.
“How dare you bring a child into this world.” That’s what my grandmother said to me, and everyone around me is saying “tsk” and shaking their heads, and telling me to “take the high road”.
She’ll be dead soon, so lets not make this difficult. Fuck that. There have to be consequences. People still visit her, show her respect, treat her as a valued member of the family. Because it’s easier to accept the abuser, and ignore the continuing abuse, than it is to tell them how fucking evil they’ve been and how many people they’ve crippled.
Having my grandmother insult myself, my girlfriend and my infant son has been very difficult on me. Since it happened I’ve been depressed, my chest hurts, I haven’t been thinking clearly, my head hurts, I’ve been distracted, and things aren’t getting better.
In fact, it’s getting worse because every time someone tries to explain away my grandmother’s behaviour, I feel like I have to defend myself from them — “but… but, she said…”. Like they’re attacking me as well.
So, as everyone seems to be waiting for her to drop dead, I feel as though I’m being boxed out of the family, like what she said wasn’t important, like the waggons are being circled around my bitch of a grandmother.
This is what’s going to happen… there’ll be a family event, Easter dinner, and she’ll be invited to be there. When I don’t show up, when I don’t bring my girlfriend or our son to dinner with the woman who wanted him aborted, it’ll be me who broke protocol.
And they’ll keep inviting her — at least they’ll not un-invite her, and I’ll keep not showing up.
Over the past two weeks I’ve felt increasingly abandoned, like the trust I had given to specific people in my life is being shattered in slow motion… like I just don’t want to be around these people any more, because I’m having a really hard time looking them in the eye.