How do you mean, to trust yourself? Does it make you distance yourself from others? Well emotionally I mean. I'd say I would have thought in this family member's case it would have made them distant physically too but that's not the case, they actively get involved with people and have a lot of social interaction, but when it comes to me, their first child, I am kept at a greater distance than just about any of the others. I wondered if this was for my own protection or something, but I don't know. How would you relate to someone who had similar experiences to you? Is there, as I suspect in my case, there just nothing much to say or that can be added or gained by going near the subject? They call me cold and uncaring too, yet it's the exact treatment I feel I had.
It's difficult for me to act like a normal party in this situation. I have most of the same issues as they do, and more I think, particularly issues of trust and emotional trust. They didn't tell me what happened in this event, but I have events too that could be considered traumatic... how does one person with a definition of trauma relate to another with a different one... or is it even possible. In this case if they were abused systematically, as I was systematically terrified by them as a kid, I'd have expected they would "understand", or at least attempt to understand that I have feelings, but all they continually do is call me selfish for the instinctive behavior they've instilled in me by way of their actions. I too am not affected by most things, which is why they broke down on the phone and I waited in silence, unsure of what to say or if I even said anything whether it would be sincere.
I suppose it's an impasse caused by automatic defensiveness. In this case though, they had a choice to admit or not admit this truth, and they wanted to when they could easily have denied me this information... if I didn't know how independent and rejecting of help they always are I would guess to tell someone would be to ask for help, but in this situation I don't even know what it means for them to be telling me. Maybe it's just an affirmation of greater brokenness, or just despair or defeat. If this were not my parent, and were someone else unrelated speaking to me I think I could be more sympathetic or empathetic, but it's complicated by the fact their suffering has translated directly to mine and my anger and grudge about it is seen as selfishness, when to me it's entirely justified in context.
There's also the unfortunate fact they only ever physically/verbally abused people under the influence, they don't even remember most of what they've done.
@pwhodges (sorry it won't let me quote you directly now... )
I don't know why they're saying it to me. I know my lack of expression of affection and distance is a problem for them, and prompted all of this to come out eventually in the conversation we had on the phone. I get the feeling that love and respect is expected of me, yet I blame them openly for being traumatized. This is justified to me though, because I was also raised by them to respect others' feelings and personal space, but... 50% of the time they were sober and nice to me, and 50% they were nasty as hell to everyone (drunk)... I'm not sure what they expect, unless of course they have almost no memory or idea of how they did affect everyone around them. I've told them, and they feel I'm exaggerating events. (Like they seem to have no memory at all of physically abusing anyone, but kids remember that shit like it's burned into the back of their brain). I've tried to explain that a parent with two drastically different sides can't have the sort of love and trust they want, they can have my respect for their other qualities and achievements, but they'll never have adoration, even if they claim to have it for me.
Could be to one-up me, could be an expression of frustration because I refuse to show emotion and affection or to "drop" the past. Could be a call for help, could be anything. I probably won't know because they said it and in the same sentence told me never to mention it again. How I'm supposed to digest and handle it, or what to make of it I don't know. I mean, they never dropped their past and their suffering if they had a sort of breakdown just admitting it to me, but I'm... expected to drop mine.
Yeah, I can't help but feel this is slightly manipulative too. But, manipulation only works if you've got something to hold someone to ransom with. I've got nothing, they've got nothing. I feel bad for them of course, I feel bad that it happened to them, I feel like whoever did it to them will never face any kind of justice (as usual), and so on. But I also feel like it cannot be used as any kind of excuse.
WHERE'S PAUL VERHOEVEN WHEN YOU NEED HIM