In the few minutes between taking Boxnoggin out for his first morning loo break and settling to absorb some caffeine while doing the usual blog post, fog moved in. The little cat feet were quick and soundless, and now I can barely see the trees across the cul-de-sac behind us.
Of course, if the cedars were still there I wouldn’t see anything else, but that’s a wholly different issue. Ah well.
I’ve been reading this morning about a letter Kafka sent to his domineering, abusive, narcissistic father. So much of it is familiar, though Kafka didn’t have some of the psych terminology we do today. It’s fascinating to read how he narrated what is, to some of us, very sadly familiar. It made me grateful for going no-contact lo these many years (decades, now) ago.
It’s all right to prioritize your own health and safety. It’s totally fine not to answer bad-faith questions, and it’s absolutely reasonable to protect yourself from sadistic people even if they were responsible for raising you. My particular culture doesn’t venerate parents to the extent some others do, but still when I am forced to mention that I don’t speak to my childhood abusers many people will spout well-meaning platitudes like, “You’ll regret it if you don’t forgive,” and “They did the best they could.” The first is manifestly untrue in my experience and the second is a matter no stranger could possibly have the information to judge, so most of the time I give such expostulations (and the other little nuggets of busybodies’ so-called wisdom) precisely the weight they merit.
Still…it’s irritating, a pinch on a scar which used to be sore. Some days I simply don’t have the emotional energy, so I disengage and don’t speak to that person again. It’s perfectly okay to walk away in the middle of someone’s sentence. I wish I would have absorbed this fact on a cellular level decades ago, but it took a lot of therapy and time under the bridge (to mix a metaphor) before I could.
Honestly the best thing for this has been reaching my mid-forties. Society considers a woman of my age little better than disposable, being otherwise obsessed with young, malleable, abuse-able girls. Once an older woman stops giving a fuck she’s labeled as dangerous, ugly, unstable, awful, rude, how dare.
Becoming a bog witch holds a great deal attraction at that point, but if one can’t retreat to the swamps (or a chicken-legged hut) the next best thing is silently regarding a well-meaning busybody with a direct stare for a little over four seconds, then turning around and walking away. There’s a great deal of power in that, and naturally some privilege in when one can deploy the maneuver. Even being able to do it once or twice is a massively healing experience. It gets the point across and removes one from the situation, which is all one can hope for.
I felt nothing but relief when one of my major childhood abusers recently passed away. I thought I would feel some kind of guilt, or that things were left unfinished. I didn’t; there was nothing left to say, because I had already mourned the relationship I wish I would’ve had with them–the relationship child-me was desperate for, would (and did) do almost anything for. Like any child, I wanted to love my caregivers. They made it impossible–that was a choice on their part, whereas I had none. Raising my own children was deeply illuminating, because it drove home just how insane so much of my own early life was. I could never treat my kids the way I was treated. It was utterly foreign to me, on the deepest of levels, to be so cruel to tiny, dependent, helpless beings.
I’m glad Kafka got to write his letter. It may not have had the effect he wanted, but there’s still a lancing of the wound in telling the truth about abusive dickwads. Going no-contact with those society called my parents (not to mention other toxic people since then) was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself; applying four seconds of silence and walking away is one of the most self-protective skills I’ve ever had the opportunity to learn. As Captain Awkward so often notes, it’s okay to let things be uncomfortable for toxic people. If they didn’t want discomfort, they should learn not to behave like total douches.
Now I need brekkie, and Boxnoggin needs walkies. No doubt he’ll find all sorts of interesting smells in the fog. Life is so much better now; every day I’m grateful for the space and peace created by choosing not to give nasty toxic people any more than the absolute minimum of time and attention. (Sometimes that minimum is negative, a happy occasion indeed.)
See you around, beloveds.