Not mine to own

This is the hardest blog I’ve had to write, because it brings understanding and finality on something I’ve had to work on and find out for myself for as long as I have been and that’s never easy.

And where our memories act as a reminder, sometimes those memories aren’t ours to own; like when I found out I had Cerebral Palsy and having to ask my father why he didn’t tell me and him coming straight out with the answer I wasn’t expecting to hear.

That memory remains ingrained, because not only was it a memory I didn’t need to hear or expect, it finally explained and confirmed my father’s mind and actions for all those years where I was kept in the dark without a diagnosis. For him, it was still business as usual; going out for walks, with him walking behind me telling me to pick my foot up, heal toe and to stop dragging my leg.

Although it’s not an excuse, when any parent is damaged, they will expose their children to protect themselves. By blanking their issues out they get to sleep at night. Although my mum could have spoken to me in confidence about my diagnosis, it was a gamble she wasn’t prepared to risk.

And where you have one parent who can’t emotionally help and the other parent can, the buck passes solely back to the parent who can; the one who is capable, the one who can, but chooses not to. Where someone is broken, but not badly broken, where they’re aware they can act and choose not to, they will always act with selfish intent.

When at the age of 46, I finally found out and was able to discuss with my father why I wasn’t told about my diagnosis and he said he didn’t want to know, it will never make that time right or put my life right, but knowing now about why, for me goes some way to explain the bigger picture on why he failed to protect, support and tell me about my diagnosis.

My voice of reason understands, but my voice of reason also tells me the buck doesn’t stop with me. That we must rationale and reconcile these things for ourselves, in all circumstances. That this isn’t mine to own.

11 Aug, 2017

8 thoughts on “Not mine to own

  1. Yes, that was pretty much the attitude my parents had about what had happened to us as kids, that they just didn’t want to know.

    Neither one came right out and said it, but looking back it was pretty obvious what their mindset was about, taking responsibility for their actions.

    They always blamed each other for what we went through, but there wasn’t really any excuse they could ever have used that would justify the hell that they put us through.

    The other kids managed to escape as soon as they were old enough, but I was left behind to get the full brunt of my mother’s madness in her attempt to ensure that I wouldn’t ever abandon her.

    People always thought she was this sweet little lady, who actually turned into a shrieking harpy behind closed doors. The reality is that they both tried burying me under a mountain of guilt, shame and remorse, of which 90% wasn’t mine to deal with.

    Both of my parents had their demons to contend with, which would have been okay, if they would have actually dealt with them. My mother had extremely debilitating unaddressed mental health issues, along with mental retardation and the mentality of a 10 year old, which we didn’t know about, until it was too late to help her.

    My dad was an alcoholic, with extreme bouts of depression who could have probably been helped if he had believed in the medications that he should have been taking. Both sides of the families should have saved us, but neither one seemed really interested, so we got left being thrown to the wolves and learned how to survive the hard way.

    My only wish for them was for them to deal with their own issues and leave us be to deal with our own.

    1. Thanks Randy. Given your mother’s mental health issues particularly, it’s really sad and not altogether surprising you had the life you had.

      It’s easy to see how you and your siblings got caught up the issues of both your parents. I think it also sad that where both sides of your family could have helped your parents and you and your siblings, they didn’t.

      There is no excuse, but given your mother’s mental issues, it would have been left up to your father. I think sometimes, unbeknown to the children, parents often have issues that somehow get covered up; until we’re at an age, where we begin to understand for ourselves.

      Your parents’ issues weren’t and are not yours to own. I am sure you know that now, but back then it will have been difficult to understand. Hopefully now you can move on and begin to build your confidence and your life back up.

      There is never a day go by that I’m not thinking about something that changes the way I see my own past. Although I also went through some very dark times, I believe our inner thoughts can help us shine the light on our circumstances.

      And as painful as it is, we just have to let ourselves work through the process.

  2. Your blogs don’t get much bigger than this one, but I hope that the processes involved in writing it, has helped you to draw a line under it and accept this was all down to your parents and not you; you just happened to get caught up in their emotional issues.

    The memory of those times and those conversations will always be with you, but you have moved any responsibility back where it belongs, on them and not you. It never was yours but theirs and I suspect they know that now.

    They had choices as we all do and they had their reasons and unfortunately you got caught up in those, as they would rather expose you than protect you. It has been one hell of a lesson!

    1. Thank you, absolutely. Yes it’s taken too many years for me to get to this blog. The truth be known I unconsciously never thought it would happen, but never gave up hope that one day it would.

      I’m not sure about the lessons I needed to learn. From a very small child, I understood a lot about my life and my blogs are testament to that. I think a lot of the lessons you talk about were not mine to learn, but that of my parents.

      Given how long it took for me to find out, I’m not sure they were lessons learned. I’m hoping the other side of life, they’re aware and now understand exactly what they failed to help and support me with.

      I try not to dwell on the negativity around my life and how I got to this place, but through my site I have something more than a diagnosis.

  3. I just finished wiping my eyes with my sleeve, visualizing the abuse you carried while dragging your foot in front of your father. But Unbeknownst to him, you dragged your foot until you flew away; I wish you knew how much that means to me.

    All you needed was a hug, a kiss and the truth, not that lopsided explanation he gave you; no wonder hurt has been tugging at you for so long.

    But I love how you placed that hurt on a hook and moved forward.

    1. Thanks Tim. I’m sorry my blog upset you. I have to say, it’s both a release and a breath of fresh air to hear you say ALL those words. I know how much it means.

      I’m happy to leave this one with you.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. While I had an entirely opposite experience regarding diagnosis, I can relate to your post regarding treatment and intervention; my parents being fearful of surgery and medications and not considering them.

    And then eventually those were pursued and very helpful for my Cerebral Palsy, but largely from my own assertiveness as I became older.

    1. Thanks LeAnna. I think you bring up a fair and valid point; although it wouldn’t have changed the outcome for me. Often it is the fear of the unknown that can force parents to back off.

      Although Cerebral Palsy isn’t easy to navigate and I feel for anyone having to deal with it, but however scared we are, the needs of the child must always come first.

      Through your assertiveness (and all credit to you) you got to be where you wanted to be. As both of our cases have shown LeAnna, it’s important we do what we have to do.

      I know in my heart of hearts, this wasn’t something I could easily ignore; but the timing had to be right.

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Ilana x