sat posted: Sat 2018-02-10 09:10:16 tags: n/a
All. The. Thrifts. Plus "At Home"

In telling my "story" as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic / Dysfunctional Family, time and again I have juxtaposed the adages about personal responsibility and choice against my own experience. In capsule, the addict alone bears responsibility for their addiction, so it's not fair to say "Dad drove Mom to drink"... but (drumroll) he sure kept the engine running. (rim shot)

Confronted with reality-checks, Dad will deflect, characteristically of narcissism - "yeah well Mom had problems too". No doubt, but her "problems" did not consist of sexual coercing, financial subjugation, bragging about cheating, or the temper that at least once landed Dad handcuffed in the back of a patrol car at a routine traffic stop. Maybe Mom would have had "problems" married to someone gentler and more stable than Dad but I kind of doubt it. And if not, the logical conclusion is her "problems" stemmed from Dad's sickness, which she couldn't fix and didn't know how to escape.

Which is not to say Mom never rubbed anyone else the wrong way. For example, Mom had this infuriating habit of relating my vocabulary or pronunciation mistakes as some kind of "cute" vignette. Would you go to lunch with two friends and have a chuckle with Adrian, recalling Beatrice's earlier mistake of using the word "pacific" in place of "specific"? You think Beatrice might feel embarrassed, humiliated, betrayed? So why the FUCK would you do that to your child. Mom did this repeatedly enough that it's part of "our story". When I protested, she brushed it off as "cute". Hey, Mom, so how bout that time you measured wrong and ruined Thanksgiving dessert, that was sooo "cute". Wtf?

The pacific/specific mistake is by way of example, not a mistake I ever personally made. One real example of an incident Mom retold, to my consistent embarrassment, was where I was trying to explain why a fellow classmate was in speech therapy with me: "he says his 'urrrs' [Rs] like his 'wuhs' [Ws]". [I.e. my classmate had rhotacism - the inability to correctly produce the sound of the letter R.] I was in early first grade; what I uttered no doubt felt intuitively clear, concise, valid. Why not just make fun of the lisp that put me in speech therapy alongside my rhotacistic classmate in the first place. Why would that be any meaner?

Conciseness was probably a premium skill for me, because Mom also had a tendency to interrupt me. So I probably often felt that if I didn't quickly spit out whatever I was trying to convey, I might likely not get to finish.