Monday, January 25, 2010


Life seems to be measured best in approximates currently.  I have a difficult time explaining that I am fine, sad, good, grieving, angry, or relieved.  Approximate values, however, can be assigned to the various feelings. 

Approximating allows me to change.  To fluctuate.  To estimate something that may change at a later time.  This works because I am nearly every conflicting feeling all rolled into one.  Conflicted is perhaps the only feeling that is consistent.  Conflicted is my stalwart feeling.  My rock.  It is always there.  No matter what.

I love him.  I hate him.

I need him.  I do not want him.

I trust him.  He hurts me.

conflict.  Conflict.  CONFLICT. 

No matter how you shape it, spell it, or write it; it is there.

Chances are, it is him.  In my gut I feel it.  And from that feeling I know that death is  the worst feeling a stomach can own.  With each moment of decay, that rotting feeling in my own body grows.  His decay is my decay.  I cannot eat, drink, or sleep.  I am terrified that in my sleep I will not wake up and in that time we will meet.

More alive than ever before; he is in my nightmares.  His rotting flesh makes my own creep with fear.  His missing fingers I have found.  They are in my sleep and reaching towards me.

Once awake I am sad.  And I am guilty.  I survived and I fear I did not do enough to save him.  I did not make him a better father.  A better husband.  Nor a better human.  That one more chance I withheld.  Buried beneath my fears, his chance died an unnatural death.

Could I have done something more? 

Loved him better?

Loved him differently?

Hated him completely?

My head and my heart are conflicted.  And my memories are conflicted too. 

I remember the man who bought me a treasured doll.  I remember the man who brought me ice cream home from the store.  I remember a man that patted me on the head.  I remember the man who gave me my love of reading.  I remember the man who gave me my first dog. 

And then...

I remember that same man who destroyed my favorite doll.  Who starved me for doing wrong.  Who brutally raped me.  Who tore up my favorite books.  Who killed my beloved dog.

And then I am conflicted.  And I hurt.


Leigh Hall said...

Hi there. I hadn't visited your blog in a while, so I just read about your father. I am so sorry for what you are going through... Someone wrote in the comments (of another post) about grieving the possibilities, and that was exactly what was going through my mind. My mother has attempted suicide many times (always blaming the circumstances on me) and I've often wondered how I would react if she were ever successful. I think I've gotten to the place where I would recognize the false guilt for what it is and know without question that the state of our relationship is entirely her doing. She is broken and she has broken our relationship. I have responded in the only way possible in order to honor my mental and emotional well-being. I've left the door open for her, should she ever come to me sincerely seeking change and restoration. One of my life scriptures is popping into my mind right now... "As much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18. This DOES NOT mean to turn yourself inside out in order to make a relationship work. It means to do YOUR HALF --- be loving, welcoming, honest, forgiving, patient, kind --- but to maintain healthy boundaries and expectations for the relationship. If they blow it, THEY BLOW IT - not you. Relationships are a two-way street. I wrote a post today about false guilt. Check it out if you feel you need a reminder of what's your responsibility and what's someone else's. I will be praying for you.

Deborah said...

Take a good look at your daughter, Jennifer. Is she responsible for who you are? For how you behave? For the decisions you make? Is it in any way her role to make you a better or different person?

I'm sure I know what your answer is.

And it is not now, nor was it ever your role to take responsibility for what your father is, was and did. Not at any time nor for any reason.

You know how classic it is for children to blame themselves, and you also know, as a mother, how incorrect that is.

Your father was a very ill man. Mentally ill. Whoever might have helped him, it wasn't you. As for your conflict, that much is utterly understandable, but please do not, for one moment longer, think that you could or should have done something differently.

Midnitefyrfly said...

I think all of the conflicted questions you have are healthy to at least process. Looking for the answers is a way to sort through what you know and what can not be understood. I think that a person in a place of trust that carries out unspeakable evils is indeed a very sick person, and for the one in the position that you were in his life, it must be so hard to comprehend.

The beauty is that you cannot understand because you do not walk in those same shoes and you choose to break free of those abusive patterns and live your life with meaning and purpose without a need to hurt the ones you love. I hope time continues to bring you questions with answers, peace and healing. (((HUGS)))

There is an award for you at my blog.

Journal of Healing said...

Shattered, this reminds me of a post i left. I want to leave the link here.

Because, good moments are supposed to happen. They don't cancel out the bad. I know you know this...but i find that 100% of me does not yet embrace this truth. I am sure that is the same with you...based on some posts you have written.
I also have a few songs for you. If you are interested, feel free to look them up. I find that songs can say more than I ever could.

once again, offering the idea of a cyber hug if you want one. sometimes even the idea of touch can make my skin crawl, so instead if you would rather see a smile, that's ok. too.

:) ang

Ruth said...

I really like what midnitefyrfly wrote, that it's beautiful that you can't understand your father's behavior because you walk a different path. I find great comfort in that, for your sake - for all our sakes.

Friko said...

Read again what Deborah said. And take it to heart.

Children are never responsible for their parents' character, wellbeing, or progress through life. Your father is entirely responsible for the man he was.

My father often said to me "if only you hadn't done so and so, hadn't left, had done as I said, we/I could....". It was totally oppressive and stifling; I carried guilt around with me for many years. I actually believed that I had caused his/their unhappiness - they were middle-aged at the time, not ancients who needed looking after - that it drove me into another abusive relationship, so I could be punished for my misdeeds all over again. It took years and much pain before I freed myself.

There is a very well-known English poet, Philip Larkin, who wrote an equally well-known poem, entitled "They fuck you up, your Mum and Dad.....

maggie said...

Oh the overwhelm and inner conflict sound so great. I feel for you.

Whenever I am in emotional turmoil I know it is because I have opposing thoughts going on causing an internal battle. For me writing helps me put these fighting thoughts on paper and ask for another way, a new perspective because the one I have is too painful.
I sit there and wait for 'another way' and having done this often enough, I trust another way of looking at this will present itself, and it does.

It gives me great peace to recognize that the opposing thoughts that are overwhelming me are based on SHOULDS, RULES that are not working for me so I am more willing to let them go.

I know somewhere within you is an inner knowing that you were the child, you did the best you knew how and you are innocent.

I feel sorry for your dad that he missed out on a rich full life with you. Blessings.

sarah said...

I've felt the conflicts too - guilty for even thinking bad thoughts about him...then remembering what he did...reading your conflicts...I remember my own. Maybe having these conflicts is that healthy part of us. And as I read your post...I had this great're working through the conflicts right here with us. Pretty neat. Sarah

Just Be Real said...

Thank you for sharing here on this subject. You have a lot of good responses here and I chime right in with them! Blessings dear one.

Shattered said...

"As much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

Leigh, I had never considered this verse. It makes a lot of sense...

I think that I did all I could when it came to my parents. Nothing with them was ever easy and yet I'm still sad about how this all turned out. I suppose the sadness comes from me knowing that it's over and it has ended with nothing ever improved.

Shattered said...

Deborah, I know in my mind that I am not responsible for him and his actions. It's my heart and emotions that struggle. It is really sinking in that he was bad all the way around and I am really fighting the feeling that I am bad because of him.

Shattered said...

"The beauty is that you cannot understand because you do not walk in those same shoes and you choose to break free of those abusive patterns and live your life with meaning and purpose without a need to hurt the ones you love."

Midnite, that makes a lot of sense. I had never really considered WHY I have not been able to understand. I still wonder how I managed to be the way I am but I suppose some things I will just never know...

Thank you for reading and your encouragement.

Shattered said...

Ang, thank you for the link and the songs. You are right, music often says everything we cannot. A cyber-hug is OK, BTW. Thank you. :)

Shattered said...

Ruth, you are right, there is comfort knowing that I took a different path and that is why I don't get him. Or her for that matter.

Shattered said...

Friko, your last sentence made me smile. A lot. :)

I know what all you ladies are saying is true; I am not responsible, he is. I know this... it is my heart that struggles and lags behind in understanding. But I'm trying...

Shattered said...

"I feel sorry for your dad that he missed out on a rich full life with you. Blessings."

Maggie, thank you. This brought tears to my eyes. I think a lot of times, people miss this part and jump straight to his evil. And not that that is not understandable because evil is hard to overlook. But it does hurt me to miss this acknowledgement because it helps me to know that I AM good and he missed that.

I hope that made sense...

Journal of Healing said...

someone once said to me...I'm so sorry your mom was so emotionally sick she couldn't love you the way you were supposed to be loved. Been working hard on believing that it was her issue that inhibited her ability to love me. Thanks for your comment on my post. i responded to it. hang tight, Shattered. this too shall pass, you will survive, because that is what we know how to do best. and not only will you survive, but once again, the flowers will look lovely, the air will smell fresh and sweet, and your head will shake free from the cobwebs. You WILL be able to declare...the Daffodils look LOVELY today.

cyber hugs...ang

Shattered said...

"Maybe having these conflicts is that healthy part of us. And as I read your post...I had this great're working through the conflicts right here with us. Pretty neat."

Sarah, you're right, it is pretty neat. It is so nice to have this place to write and sort out things. And the feedback I get is pretty amazing too.

Shattered said...

Just Be Real, thanks for reading and commenting. :)

Shattered said...

Ang, I agree, it is hard to believe it is their issue and not our's. Thank you for the encouragement; I do hope that one day things will be clearer, better, and that the cobwebs will be gone.

VICKI IN AZ said...

This post really cuts to the core of the conflict which I get stuck in often. How could this happen when there was the other? The good. Thank you for sharing.