Grasping At A Self Of Person
Running, terrified. Am I in hell? I told my parents to get a divorce, to sell their holiday house and farm. Now I have no money, no prospects. All signs of sanity have gone. This is what happened in 1986.
It’s a very sad and sobering aspect of my life that I must acknowledge the cruel and unbalanced way in which I have commonly been treated by both my mother and sister. However, to distort the facts and to try and gloss over some of the most painful events of my life would not only be dishonest, but in a way an act of almost acknowledging that abusive behavior, and harmful mental patterns are in some way acceptable, when clearly, they are not, no matter who they are coming from or directed towards.
It is the case that both my mother Grace, and sister Lucy have both convinced themselves absolutely that they are totally within their rights to act in a continuously deceptive, dishonest and profoundly harmful way towards me, simply because I am a daughter and sister. They have both decided that because I am a close relative, that leaves the door wide open for them to do whatever they can to destroy whatever amount of happiness I manage to create.
As far as they are concerned, once they act to destroy the happiness I may create, in the form of a friendship with others, for example, they have no hesitation in covering up their harmful actions by simply lying to others, and distorting the facts about what really took place.
To their minds, when something degenerates into a he said, she said situation, they are confident that the ignorance in humans in general, will do its job in confusing their listeners enough so they are unable to discern just who did the wrong thing in the first place. Therefore, their acts of aggression, hatred, jealousy and greed go unrecognized by the majority, creating a free environment for them to continue on in their efforts to isolate me from the rest of the world and to ensure that their abuse has the most destructive impact and effect.
There was a time, during my HSC year, after I had managed to befriend many of the girls who once used to bully me because I was a high achieving student that I would be regularly asked to stay over at a school friends’ house on a Saturday night. We would usually go to some party, or perhaps just gather a group of friends to watch a video together, as most young people enjoy doing.
On this particular Saturday, I was asked to stay over at Sarah’s house, and my mother agreed that this would be OK. I said I would spend the Sunday morning doing some homework at Sarah’s house, before returning home after lunch to continue on with my studies. As this was the arrangement, I left feeling happy that I could avoid being part of the tense and stressed environment that constantly pervaded my time at home with my mother and sister. Mother was now firmly entrenched in the pattern of breaking down in tears on a regular basis and had the habit of criticizing me for any manner of things, simply because she was buckling under the pressure of her impending divorce with father.
On this occasion, I had a reasonably settled time away, and the next day, on the Sunday, just after lunch, there was a phone call at Sarah’s house. Sarah answered the phone and soon informed me that Mrs. Wong, the mother of another friend of mine at school, wanted to speak to me. I answered the phone, a little curious as to why she would be calling.
Mrs. Wong, “how are you,” I said.
“Listen to me, you disgraceful child,” seethed Mrs. Wong on the other end of the phone.
“How dare you run away for the night without informing your mother of your intention to leave. You have made her worried sick. She has been on the phone crying hysterically to me all morning. What sort of a daughter are you, that you could do such a thing to your mother?”
I was aghast. “But Mrs. Wong, I told Mum yesterday I was staying at Sarah’s. She agreed that it was OK for me to do this. She knew I wasn’t coming home til after lunch today.”
“Don’t lie to me,” screamed Mrs. Wong. “You get yourself home immediately young girl. I never want to hear of you doing such a thing like this to your mother again.”
“But I’m not lying,” I cried, now on the verge of tears myself. “I told mother what I was doing, I promise.” I was so shocked by the anger Mrs. Wong was directing towards me, a feeling of having the wind knocked out of me soon prevailed.
Mrs. Wong snapped. “I can’t believe you are now trying to lie about this, Oceané.”
Mrs. Wong refused to accept my version of events, and I quickly realized that mother had managed to convince her of my guilt, even though the reality was that I had done everything I was supposed to do as a responsible daughter in this situation.
I got off the phone. I turned to face Sarah, but my heart sank further into despair as I immediately saw that she too had been sucked in by the drama. Glaring at me with a rising temper, she said. “You’d better get yourself home, Oceané. I can’t believe what you have done.”
Shocked by the rapid change in atmosphere, I looked upon Sarah in disbelief, sickened, feeling totally isolated and confused.
“How can you believe that I would do such a thing,” I responded, the words barely audible as they passed through my lips. “I am telling you all the truth. It is mother who for whatever reason doesn’t appear to remember or want to acknowledge what really happened. She is very confused at the moment because of the divorce. Didn’t you know since her nervous breakdown she rarely makes any sense?”
“Just go,” snapped Sarah with blind irrationality. “Go and get your bags and get yourself home before any more damage is done.”
I left knowing full well that things were only going to get much, much worse for me once I arrived home. There, I knew I would be greeted by a mentally unbalanced and aggressive mother, and an equally unbalanced and jealous sister, whose only interest would be to further deepen the divide between me, my friends and whatever fragment of a family that remained, further intensifying the heartache and pain, and virtually destroying any opportunity for reconciliation and peace.
Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019
Regular offerings appreciated. Thank you for supporting this community orientated project.
Thank you for supporting this community friendly Buddhist project. We appreciate your interest and support.
Please support our dharma practice. We appreciate ongoing support.