Very personal post incoming. It’ll also be very long. You have been warned lol.
When I was in 6th or 7th grade, I remember coming home to a very unfamiliar atmosphere. My grandma was there and my mom was laying in bed too drunk to even notice I came home. I have never seen my mom drunk and that was the one and only time I witnessed it. I don’t remember where my siblings were but I remember my dad wasn’t home. I also don’t remember what was exactly spoken at the time. All I remember is that I had never seen my mom in such a state. When I grew a little older and had gotten into high school, I was told the truth about what happened. My mom had her heart broken and didn’t know where to go and so resorted to the bottle. I found out my dad had been cheating on her and the fights at home were probably more common than in any other healthy relationship. Sadly, that was what my siblings and I were taught through witnessing it over several years. The lesson that excessive fighting in a relationship is normal. It’s not, we know that now but we still think it’s weird family members and friends hug. Expressing feelings any other than anger is weird to us.
I remember my dad once brought my sister and I over to a friend of his on his day off. It was just a normal day and he said this friend had a daughter around our age that we could play with. We didn’t think much of it and tagged along. I still remember where she lived. She was a single mom with a little daughter named Shelley (not sure I spelled it right though). Again, we didn’t think much of it and probably thought it was nice to play with another kid. What didn’t occur to us was that our dad just walked in like it was his home and straight into the bedroom. I remember the adults leaving us in the living room. I don’t remember exactly how old I was at the time, but I was old enough to babysit for one kid. There I was, with two kids. Of course, we eventually got into a fight and we had to leave. It never occurred to me that this was the woman my dad was with while being married to my mom.
Many years after and up until the day my grandmother passed away, I was asked frequently by my grandmother if my dad was still “fiddling on the side”. I didn’t know, and I made sure to say so. My grandmother kept telling me I have siblings somewhere out there as a result of my dad’s affair. I know I resented my dad for doing that, for not being brave enough to face an end with my mom and move on. I absolutely despised it and it showed during my high school years. I know for sure my mom never forgave my dad for it and in all honesty, who would?
Sometime during my first year of high school, when the fights were most intense, my parents spoke of divorce. I didn’t fully understand at the time, it was all beyond me and I was a confused teenager. I do remember choosing to be with my mom because it made no sense to me to live with my dad because of various reasons. He’d yell at us kids for no apparent reason and was in a really dark place himself drowning in alcohol. To this day, I still have a hard time hearing the sound of a can opening because it brings back horrible memories. Violent memories. I still hate being unable to open a bathroom door. If a bathroom door lock doesn’t open, I’d panic. No amount of therapy has gotten me over it and sometimes I hate it. Most the time I think of it as a scar that is there to remind me never to repeat that to anyone in my proximity and to always be alert of such unnecessary behavior. If anything, it has made me wiser. The talks of divorce died and it all settled down. That year, my parents stopped sharing the same bedroom.
Let’s fast forward to this year. My mom decides she wants to live up to a promise she made to my cousin about attending said cousin’s wedding. The small issue is that the wedding is in Vietnam and my mom is first reluctant to go but us kids persuade her to go. She needs the vacation and what would be more fitting than to attend my cousin’s wedding and be with people that would cater her every need? She, if anyone, deserved it. My mom finally makes the decision to go and suddenly, my dad wants to tag along. Reluctantly, my mom agrees and I tell her to be careful because when dad is hangry, I kid you not, he would murder a cow. Nervously, I take them to the airport and see them off.
Three weeks go by and as I talk to my mother everyday (as per normal), I notice her increasing anxiety. I go to pick them up at the same airport I saw them off at and I pick up one anxious parent and a very angry parent. I try my best to coordinate and we make it back to their apartment. This was in May. Since, the fights have picked up like they did when I was in high school. This time, they actually managed to get worse. Threats were thrown left and right. Threats of humiliation and violence. It’s abusive and I ask my mom and brother to leave, even if temporary to just get out for a little while. They declined and things just got worse.
Finally, a new proposal of a divorce got on the table. I have, from day one, said that I will not believe it this time unless I see them both sign it and I’ll post the damn thing myself. Today, I am doing that. It feels good but there’s this part of me that keeps thinking. I’m a very emphatic person and at times, it’s difficult to handle. I’d rather just be sympathetic instead but it is what it is. For all that is going on, I’m once again with my mom on this. I don’t mean to paint my dad as the culprit here, even if he’s done many things wrong. I’m sure, that like the first time, I am missing out on a lot of the full story. However, I can’t bring myself to forgive what he has done, not in the past and not in the present. I actually want a genuine apology but I know that is not likely to happen because my dad is a very proud and righteous man. He’d never admit fault, ever. Despite knowing this and knowing that he won’t ever change his stupid and deranged vision of “my way or the highway” (the highway meaning being on the receiving end of his abuse), I still care. I still fucking care. I worry that he might not make it on his own. He doesn’t know how to pay bills. He doesn’t know where to go if he’s really injured or sick. I worry that he might not be able to care for himself having instant noodles for dinner, shoving it down with beer. It’s destructive, not only for him but for the people around him. I know that. I know his behavior is destructive, yet I care. I bloody care. I hate that. The voice in my head keeps telling me it makes me a better person for caring but then there’s another, smaller voice that tells me that I shouldn’t because in the end, letting such a destructive person have greater influence of your life is horrible. It’s a bad move. I’ve done it before and I’ve gotten burned several times. Yet I still care. I still fucking care.
//c_Cae; making sense of this emotional turmoil.