One of the reasons I really like having speaking engagements, interviews and the like is because I often get asked a question that really makes me think. One question asked by a student at a local college has stuck with me since the day she asked it. I wrote one entry and touched on it but the question has been in the back of my mind because I’m not certain I entirely answered it. I may not see that young lady again and she may never get to hear my answer nor may she ever understand the importance of her asking it.
The young woman with a Caribbean (?) accent asked why I’m so angry with my mother if it was the bulk of my family that abused me. Originally I said that it was because she made me available to other family members to abuse. I explained that she was the only reason I was abused by them, she took me to them knowing full well what would happen. I acknowledged that I have social expectations of my mother and felt she should have protected me, been a good mother and all that society demands of mothers and accepts as deficient in fathers. But there’s another reason, she puts a face to my anger.
You know how many abuse survivors have a tendency to become angry with an entire race of people or gender because their abuser was white, black, Hispanic, male or female? They see the abuser’s outward appearance. Anything that looks like that abuser is now offensive to them. A man abused a child, that child now sees men as abusers. A heavy set white woman abused a child, that child now has major issues with heavy set white women because that was what was in her face day in and day out. Appearance became part of their association with the abuse. This is what I’m getting at, my mother symbolized abuse for me. She may not have always been the one hurting me but it was her face I saw day in and day out and therefore her shoulders that the brunt of my anger has gone to.
My grandparents are pretty much an enigma. I know their heritage but not necessarily them. They are abstract human beings to me. I have distinct memories of spending time with them (much of it was unpleasant) but I don’t have a lot of memories of them as individuals. It’s the same with my aunts. I know some about them but they are a mystery to me. I know some of their likes and dislikes but in my mind they remain one dimensional, almost faceless. I know more about my mother. I know her moods, her quarks and what drives her. My mother isn’t a mystery to me nor is she one dimensional. She is concrete which makes her a lot easier to me angry with.
A Face to My Anger Pt1 – Saturday, December 24, 2011
A Face to My Anger Pt2 – Saturday, December 24, 2011