In December I wrote this message to my family—
I am trying to integrate what I’ve learned, to treat you as parts of myself.
But I’m lost. Not in a bad way. I just find that we have gone our separate ways, or most probably that we have been only finely connected this whole time.
I foolishly thought we (as a family, as pairs within that family) were that we because we shared a set of common values—that is obviously not the case. Please forgive me for it having taken me so long to realize this. I held you too close—and lost.
Leaving out my catalogue of complaints (which I know you are aware of) I wanted to say (because I am communicative and a participator and this is what I do) that this is the end, for me. This is the final snip, and there won’t be any more.
I do love you. I wish you the best in your lives.
My dad wrote this back to me—
I love you too.
Yesterday (four months later) I replied—
Dad, you wrote back “I love you” and I’ve been waking up in the night thinking about it.
I have to ask you to rescind your I love you—you forced me to clean my shit off of my underwear with my hands when I was potty training. You deny this saying it’s a feature of my illness—it’s not. It’s a specific memory I have had since childhood, that I’ve been remembering since childhood, and it happened. All of you doubt it and swish it under the rug, but it happened—how would you treat a woman who was making accusations of rape? Deny that what she said was the truth?
(The real kicker is that my whole life I never knew that his behavior was problematic. I just happened to mention it to a psychiatrist at 32 and she was like, “Whoah.” That act has messed with my concepts of authority in harmful ways.)
The rest of you, by continuing with your lives as though I never told you this, are complicit. I can’t deal with you because if I did, I would be reminding you of this every second, because until it was dealt with I couldn’t move on. So this, your complicity with this one of many Dad’s crimes against me, is why I have to frankly slam the door in your face and run.
Even if you eschew all responsibility, please take this as a suggestion that you view my behavior with compassion. Did your dad angrily force you to clean shit off your panties when you were two years old?—Mine did. How do you think such an event might affect you? Sexually? In other ways? Have some compassion!
Please let me have the last word here. I know you all disagree with me. Don’t insult me with another I love you—or any text. What is done is done. I’m no longer listening to any of you. This is just me saying my part.
PS—By the way, I have written about this over the last decade in three separate memoirs (freely available on the web)—which apparently none of you have read.
Does anyone else have anything to say?