As part of healing, I’ve been looking at certain events from a different perspective. In some cases, for the first time, I’ve been able to feel anger and sadness at the way I was treated. A friend & I were discussing the estrangement and he asked me if what I’d said which led to the estrangement was the truth or hurling insults. I answered honestly that it was both.I don’t feel particularly proud about the insults. That’s what led me to seek therapy and that’s how I found out about scapegoating. One of the things which freaked me out about it is I sounded like my mother in one of her full on rages. And that’s not behavior I want to emulate.
But as I was thinking it over this weekend, my brother chose not to continue a relationship with me because of an outburst of rage. Yet, in order to keep the relationship with him and my SIL, I’m supposed to forgive & forget all of the rages of yesteryear and not get upset over present day rages.
Not to mention, most of the rages took place when I was a child or teenager and had nowhere to go and no way to escape them. I was not taught the skills and tools to defend and/or protect myself from her and her rages.
I can actually say I feel sorry for and angry on behalf of that girl. She didn’t deserve it and she tried to cope the best way she could. Despite it all, she/I learned to set boundaries as I tried to do with a civil, but distant relationship with my mother. It’s sad and disgusting that no one in my family of origin backed me up and instead punished me for doing so. More importantly, for the most part, I learned not to copy the behavior. I’m very proud of that.
For me, it was scary that my temper, after a long series of provocations got the better of me. It reminded me of the U2 Peace on Earth lyrics, “And you become a monster So the monster will not break you”
I didn’t want to become the monster. It’s something I’ve consciously avoided doing. But the one time I did, I was rejected where my mother is apparently welcome to do so on a fairly regularly basis. Of course, it helps that most of her rages were directed at me, so they didn’t have to deal with them. They find a grown woman who did that regularly to a child acceptable. The find a mother who continues to rage at that child when she’s a grown woman acceptable. But when the woman who grew up being raged at rages back a little, it’s all of the sudden an offense worthy of cut off? How about a little consistency & fairness? Oh that’s right, those things don’t exist in my family of origin, no sense expecting them.
I try not to obsess too much on what things are like with them now as it doesn’t really serve any purpose. But it’s been my experience that when a bully scapegoats, they eventually find another target. I wonder who her’s is. I just hope it isn’t my niece.