I came to the realization journaling today that, as part of my end to emotional cutting, I can stop blaming myself. It’s been a liberating realization thus far.
In my previous post I’d mentioned how my dad used to spend hours in the bathroom during my time at his house. As I got older and learned the reason for my mom and dad’s separation and ultimate divorce, lots of things became clear.
Aside from my dad being a controlling alcoholic, he was also a hoarder and compulsive caller of phone sex lines. When I was older, I remembered there was always an ash tray full of cigarettes when he was done in the bathroom, and he was always on the phone while in there.
This epiphany came over a decade after I came across one of his hoarding treasuries.
My dad kept the phone and answering machine in his bedroom. Any time he listened to messages or used the phone, he would either go all the way in the bedroom and shut the door behind him or stand halfway in and halfway out between the half-closed door. If he did the latter and I got close, he wouldn’t let me in.
At about age 7, bored and grown-out of the toys I had at his house, I mischievously decided I was going to sneak in my dad’s bedroom. The opportunity came while he was having one of his several hour-long car wash sessions in the backyard. I checked to see that he remained outside, kept an ear for the hose running on the car, opened the bedroom door and quietly creeped in.
Stacked in piles that went up to my knees and higher sat pornographic magazines. I don’t remember having much of a reaction, but I recall feeling confusion and disgust. It wasn’t long until my dad walked in.
“I didn’t see anything!” I whined rather guiltily. I knew I had seen more than I ever wanted to see.
His response was simply, “Some things are private and we don’t tell people.” In other words, You are going to keep this a secret. And, with the exception of a few close friends, my mom and Bill, I have.
Do I think his secret is something for me to share? No. Do I know that this is a necessity as part of my healing so that I can move on with my life and become the confident woman I see myself becoming? Absofuckinglutely.
No, it’s not my fault that my dad was irresponsible with his pornography stash. It’s also not my fault that I was alienated and alone and didn’t tell my mom about this until my mid-20s. She knew he had this issue, but other than the phone sex line compulsion I’m not sure how the pornographic magazines manifested themselves when they were married–maybe he kept them in the closet (literally and figuratively). Also, my dad’s house had only one phone line, so I sure couldn’t call her when he had the phone with him in the bathroom (not that I’d really want to do that anyway, because I often didn’t want to worry her).
It’s not my fault that I was an innocent, curious child with nothing to do but read books (which I wouldn’t have chosen to do since I wasn’t fond of reading at that time).
It’s not my fault that my dad expected me, a child, to act like an adult. That was an unrealistic expectation.
Overall, I’m not responsible for the errors my parents made in their raising me.
I’m only responsible for my willful pursuit to heal as an adult. I’m sure this is just the beginning, but I’m willing and pursuing.
May good things come to you always.