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Growing Up Dysfuctional

Posted on Feb 1, 2011 by in Uncategorized | 9 comments

I’ve been thinking. And yes, you probably should be scared.

Scott is starting a series today about his things that have happened to him. Today’s post was about when he left home. At 13.  I’d commented to him that I should follow his lead and tell some stories in February. He followed Karla’s lead, telling how she was betrayed by Alli Worthington, the founder of the blogging conference, Blissdom.

And if you remember, I started to tell my story awhile ago.  Remember these from October?

In the first (long) series:

Sometimes Things Don’t Turn Out As I Planned
Shepherds Aren’t Always Nice
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 1
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 2
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 3
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 4
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 5
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 6

Then there was this one in January, about my Toxic Family.


None of this is for pity or popularity (can you imagine? Hey! My dad beat me and my great grandfather sexually abused me while my grandmother drank herself to a big bloody mess on her basement stairs and my uncle killed himself–make me popular! Ugh.)  No. That’s not what it’s about.

Sometimes, there aren’t easy answers.  I tried therapy and the shrink wanted to drug me. I don’t need drugs. I need some resolution. I need to say these things because from what I can tell, most of my family acts like this stuff doesn’t exist, like it never happened. And I’m kinda sick of pretending. I’ve never been good at it.

One of the hardest parts is deciding where to start. With my mom’s father? The tabu subject. The man who had an affair with his sister-in-law. Not just an affair, but fathered two children and committed bigamy (married his sister-in-law while still being married to his wife, my grandma.)  Or with my mom’s mom who threatened on a regular basis to stick her head in the oven and said daily, “I just wish I was dead.”

Or maybe with my dad’s mom who, upon his return from Vietnam, spit on him on the doorstep of their family home?

Or maybe with my dad’s PTSD from Vietnam combined with being bipolar (or did the PTSD cause him to become bipolar?) Maybe when he started calling me a slut? Or maybe when he held the crossbow to me and threatened, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out!”

The pieces of the story that would make things complete are missing from most of these stories. In the last 5 years, a lot of people have died in my life.  So I have memories. Some of which may be spot on, some of which may be skewed by a scared little girl’s emotions or warped by an angry teenaged-girl’s fight or flight instinct.

If you are part of my family and are reading this…it is what it is. It’s what I remember.

The residue of which I have carried to this place.

I’m putting it down starting this second.

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  1. As I sit here i’m crying… Our childhoods were very similar… Thanks for being so brave to put it all out there…

  2. Love you, Mich. And I’m proud of you for taking this journey. I know it is not easy.

  3. D E E P.

  4. You need to read this, right now:

    See, it’s NOT about whether you can remember those things or not, it’s about how you find yourself reacting to the very act of remembering these things. That hitch in your throat that plunging feeling of growing fear… THOSE are the true proof of childhood abuse.

  5. ditto to what Michelle said.

    m in nj

  6. So many of us had to grow up in dysfunctional homes. I don’t mind telling people at all about mine. I think it helps me more to accept and to spread the word that these issues should not be kept secret. It’s good that you have found your outlet for your traumas through writing. It’s very consoling and cheaper than a doctors bill and better than a pill!

    I was adopted into a dysfunctional family… talk about double dysfunction! And yet in the end I ended up loving my mother and father more than most would. Given their lives and their mental capacity they did the best that the could. I forgave them, especially my father. His guilt carried him to his grave. That was his cross to bear in life. I certainly wasn’t capable of hating him more than he did himself anyway.

    God bless you and your wisdom.

  7. I have met some amazing women on Twitter, but you, my friend, are one of the strongest. Good for you for owning your story and putting it out there for YOURSELF.



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