Generations of Abuse

by BDLheart
I felt anger towards my grandmother as she lay dying in the nursing home waiting for the inevitable.  Mentally, I was unable to handle it.  I’d drive to the place in which I grew up and my mind began to splinter.

Soon I see everything in tunnel vision.  All I see is the small car in front of me.  I feel like I can’t drive.  Hands white-knuckle the steering wheel, the same fear and paranoia of the past takes over.

Grandma died some months past and it triggered many things in my body and mind.  When I was young I could only see my grandparents as my salvation.  I’ve come to understand grandma’s abusive behavior toward my aunt and mother.  As a kid I was trained on my own survival.  Plus it was my normal.  As and adult I understand there was abuse, but I’m still processing it.  I’m not at the point of forgiveness.  I’ve let myself grieve her death.  This is my farewell to a woman who loved me, yet harmed others.  It may take years to put these two images together, into one coherent piece.  Yet the little girl in me needs to say goodbye, you were loved grandma.  I will never forget the fresh apple pie you baked.  Each apple came from a tree that is now close to death.  Last season my uncle said very few apples grew.  This season one side of the tree hangs low with juicy red apples. I was inspired by the poetry I’ve found on several of your blogs

                        Farewell Grandma

Sweet sticky apples




apple pie

One leaning tree

Hollow broken trunk

Still apples grow

Grandma’s ghost lingers.

The little girl swings.

5 thoughts on “Generations of Abuse

  1. neighsayer says:

    ahhh . . . old folks look calm and sane, compared to still active parents. We wanna blame our own parents – well we NEED to, no question about it, not blaming our parents is just blaming ourselves. And we should. For us, it was them, and healing and understanding, surviving, that has to be about us. Hell, at some point, something has to be for us, about us, right? So we need to think in terms of one generation at a time, to help ourselves. Let your mother deal with Grandma, that’s her part of the story, and let Grandma deal with her own mother, ad infinitum. Still – there’s a SYSTEM that also needs to change.

    Good stuff here. Carry on.

  2. bdlheart says:

    Yes there is definitely a system. Thanks for the advice.

  3. Alaina says:

    This is so… poignant. Very good writing.

    I love what neighsayer said, too.

    Lately I have been researching my family’s genealogy on Find a Grave and other websites. What a shock it was to realize, from looking at the online memorials, that my dad’s mother lost her own mother when she was just eight years old. The date of her mother’s death is actually the day before my paternal grandmother’s 8th birthday.

    I never knew anything about my grandmother’s life, only that she was mean to my dad and, to a much lesser degree, mean to me. I was also told that my paternal grandmother spent some time on a psychiatric ward, off and on, as an adult.

    Now, thanks to the information I’ve gleaned from the internet, I know that when my grandmother lost her mom on the eve of her 8th birthday, she had a baby brother who was just one month old, and another brother who was one year old. As the only girl in the family, I have no doubt that my paternal grandmother was made to be a “second mother” to her baby brothers, just as I had to do when my four younger siblings were born into my crazy dysfunctional family between my 7th and 11th birthdays..

    I wish my grandmother were still living, so I could ask her what her childhood was like.

    From stories written on Find a Grave, I have learned that on my mother’s side of the family, we had pilgrim ancestors who lived in Plymouth Colony in the 1600s. They had come over on the third ship after the Mayflower, in landing on Plymouth Rock in 1623. One of my great (times 9 or 10) grandfather’s,t he grandson of the first couple on that side of my family to immigrate from England, left his pregnant wife and all their young children to run off with a neighbor’s wife, who also left her children behind. Later when they were caught in Boston, the adulterous neighbor’s wife was flogged in the street and fined 5 pounds. Her husband divorced her, and around that time my ancestor’s pregnant wife, who was also my ancestor, died, presumably in childbirth. When my cheating ancestor married the divorced woman, HIS father took all of his grandchildren to raise, because he was so disgusted by his son’s behavior.

    The saga didn’t end there… but I will. 🙂

    Yes, I like what neighsayer said. We can get lost in the generational drama if we aren’t careful.

    • bdlheart says:

      It is difficult, but I work so I don’t get sucked into the old patterns. Before I worked recovery a few years ago, I’d began to slip into the drama without realizing it. Now I can almost smell it a mile away. I run screaming in the other direction.

      • Alaina says:

        Good grief. I am going through your blog, looking for posts I haven’t yet read, and I came across this one with my crazy long comment… How embarrassing. I was trying a “natural supplement” back in February that is supposed to give you more energy. After several weeks of taking it, I finally figured out that it was making me grouchy and anxious and it even caused a lot of my hair to fall out. When I searched online for possible negative side effects to the supplement, hair loss was one, along with all the negative emotions I was experiencing. Now, looking at my rambling comment, I think I was also manic. And I’m not even bipolar. Dhea is not a safe supplement!

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