That’s the thing with being a victim, in my case one of physical and emotional abuse and neglect. I spent my childhood being overwhelmed with feelings of fear, hurt, betrayal, blame, confusion and uncertainty. So if, say, your mom came to you and told you she was raped, impregnated and made to marry your dad to keep him from being drafted, what the hell are you supposed to do with that?
I couldn’t fathom it even though I’d seen my dad kick and punch my sister, startled at him slapping me in the face. I didn’t have the room or resources to fully grasp her trauma too. I was too busy loving and hating my dad. I see now I’d forgiven him each assault, but not myself for being unlovable and failing to protect my sister. My mom’s revelation upset me enough to where I became her compatriot in anger and bitterness at the world for our suffering, but not enough to truly help her.
We spoke to others of our close relationship, which automatically pinned Jill and Dad together and against us, but we spent most of our time reopening wounds. It was unhealthy and unsustainable. As time went by, I had the sneaking suspicion we’d swapped roles, me as “mom,” she as “daughter.”