I always swore that I’d never do, to any child I had, what my parents had done to the kids they’d had. I worked very carefully not to marry my father. Instead, I ended up marrying my mother. Which may be worse.
I worked so hard at my marriage, trying to help my husband succeed, to feel good about himself, to be happy (or at least maybe not always so angry). I didn’t marry him the way he is now. But somehow, over the years, as he became more and more distant, more and more angry, more and more critical, I slid slowly back into the patterns of my childhood. Instead of being an emotional punching bag for my parents, I became the punching bag for him.
It was hardly how I’d meant for things to end up; I didn’t chose this end. But I got there anyway. And along the way, I tolerated way too much that was way too bad, and for way too long.
How much damage have I done to my son? What has he unknowingly internalized about how to treat women in general, intimates in particular? About how to treat family? About how to stand up for himself in a healthy way? Or will he suppress and erupt instead?
Have I passed down my family’s craziness to another generation?