We've got teenage girls going sideways all over the place here in the Casa de Vanci. Sometimes the ride is so fast and steep that I feel like I should be popping dramamine. Mostly it's what I would consider 'normal' teenage drama. Some of it's long delayed reaction to abuse stuff. Some of it I can't even quantify yet.
We're dealing. We're coping. We're working through it and we're talking, talking, talking (so much that I find myself fantasizing about afternoons spent in quiet libraries and silent museums.) I know that the talking is what's keeping our various heads above water, and that keeping communication channels open is the best thing in the whole wide world for helping these young ladies to find their paths out of the different issues they're mired in, but lordy is it tiring.
Tonight I had an in depth conversation with one of the DD's, and we made a lot of progress. Many words were used. Many tissues were used. Many issues were brought to light. Good, we're developing a plan. This is good.
In reflecting on the conversation after the fact, I had one of those weird connections to my own youth in the form of opposites regarding the language that I use with my children as opposed to the language that was used with me by the Abusers when I was a child (and adolescent.)
"We're going to figure this out."
"We're going to find a way to make this work."
"We're going to keep thinking about this and talking about this until we can come up with a plan."
"We're going to find a way to help."
"We're going to be okay."
"We're going to reestablish the trust that was lost."
"We're going to keep trying."
"We'll always be here for you."
"We'll always love you for exactly who you are."
"You're not doing it right."
"You're making bad choices."
"You're being selfish."
"You're not carrying your weight."
"You've messed this up for all of us."
"You're hurting us by being _______ (insert Vanci's current state of being here.)"
"Look at what you're putting us through."
"You're being vindictive."
"You've always been difficult."
It's interesting to me that the Abusers of my NFOO spend so much time and energy making sure that everyone in their lives knows that Family Is Important To Them. They should wear sandwich boards for all the ruckus they make about it. "We're a Happy Family!" they'd declare, or "Look at How Perfect We Are!" Of course, it's all sham, a con game, a ruse, a false front. But it's very important to them that people who aren't in their family know how very family-centric they are.
It was particularly important when ENF was still slamming the holy book into those pulpits on Sunday, while NM pounded out all the hymns about forgiveness on the piano. The sham was at Von Trapp Family levels at that point in time. We could have had a freeking production team.
What a lot of wasted energy.
But when I was young and hurting (who doesn't? Hormones suck. School often sucks. Other kids and teenagers are MEAN! A lot of teachers (no offense intended, mulderfan,) are deeply unhappy people looking to exert control over those 'lesser' than them in order to feel better about their own shortcomings, and that truly sucks for those under their pretense of power, throw a lifetime of abuse in there and you've got one hurtin' unit of a teenager!) when I was fragile and vulnerable and self conscious, well, there was never any of that energy put into helping me to feel like I was a part of a family. They never told me that we'd work through it.
They told me that they were sure I'd figure out a way.
Or, they'd say you've made your own bed, missy.
Maybe you should hit your knees.
I don't understand why you make things so difficult for yourself.
They never spoke to me in the inclusive, we're all in this together, we're all pulling for you, we're going to work it out and we love you, love you, love you language that is my natural way of conversing with my daughters. I know why they didn't speak to me this way - because none of that support existed, yet another abuse they perpetrated. When the goal is to get as much out of you as they can and to make themselves feel/look/sound/act/be perceived as "good," regardless of what it does to you, well, I was never more than a supporting role, a day player, maybe the chick who pulls the curtain open or moves the sets around between acts. I wasn't invited into the Union.
I'm struck, though, that this is one more area where they didn't and never will get a piece of me. I grew up with the Family Finger of Blame pointed permanently at my forehead. My daughters are growing up with the constant input that they're part of, included in, supported by and accepted as wonderful by this little family unit around them. That they'll always have a home in our hearts and our heads and our home. That they are never, ever, ever alone and that we will always be just that: We.
When I do speak to them in direct address; You, it sounds like this:
"You are so special/smart/kind/beautiful."
"You are so loved."
"You are so funny."
"You can always come to me."
"You are wonderful, exactly the way that you are."
I'm so glad that I can see this for what it is; one more piece of the legacy of abuse that I was handed that I've chosen not to pass on.