A good number of people wonder why.
Why would anyone do this? Why would anyone dig up past history and make it public? It all happened in the past, so it really shouldn’t matter to someone after the fact. Besides, don’t we know that doing things like this shows everyone how ungrateful we are, how we have little to no respect for our parents and all that they did for us? How could we be so cruel? Shouldn’t we just stop making mountains out of mole hills?
There’s a few problems with that way of thinking.
First off, most of these are silencing techniques, which effectively shut down the conversation. Telling someone that they’re bitter or that they’re misremembering any abuse that may have occurred does not help them at all. Rather, it strips the victim of their voice and makes them feel just as powerless. As an abuse victim myself I can tell you, it is difficult enough to broach the subject and harder still to have anyone believe me. My mother put up a very good front: to most, she looked like a concerned parent. No one knew what went on behind closed doors. No one knew how she actually treated me. From a distance, everything looked perfect. Beneath that facade, things were very different. That needs to be brought to the light.
But the main reason why I do this is simple: I want to educate others. When I was younger, I honestly thought that I was alone in the world. No one else could ever understand what I was going through. I knew something was wrong in my family but I didn’t know what. I want others who might be in a similar situation to realize that no, they are not alone. No, they are not crazy. No, this isn’t simply in their heads.
I’ll be the first to admit: this isn’t easy. I’ve tried it before and been shot down. I started peeling back the layers from my childhood once before only to have someone shut me up using her own silencing techniques. It hurt, especially since this was a person I had known since high school and had seen some of the things that had happened in my home. So for a while I backed off. Maybe it was just best if I left it all alone and tried to forget.
There’s one tiny problem with that line of reasoning: I can’t forget.
But it goes beyond that; if I don’t bring this to the light, no one else will learn from the mistakes my mother made. No one will realize that maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t strike a child while angry or threaten to take their pets to the pound so that they can be put to sleep. If I stay silent about this, no one will understand that breaking a clipboard out of frustration isn’t a good form of discipline. If I don’t say anything about my childhood, no one might question how detrimental forcing a child to be completely obedient might be.
If I’m silent, this will continue. Maybe not in my own home but in others. That needs to stop.