Autobiographical Confession Letters
Thanks for another somewhat futile academic discussion yesterday. I like you as my foil, although am unused long-term to breaking through, having never yet done so given 30 years of trying. I demand (asking politely, and for your own good, if you are not to merely be considered an 'ivory tower' bluffer resting on your laurels - as opposed to a functioning scientific mind) that you recognise humility.
It does not seem to have worked so far when I have, in any other words, tried this communication with you. I have often wondered over the years if you are word-blind (we can leave the anti-emotional 'autism' out of it). You also find it hard with metaphors, analogies, and abstracts. This is the failing of pure reason-based rhetoric. Rhetoric alone does not seem to bypass natural cognitive biases. Much as I hate, reject, debunk, and cannot take seriously any of the subsequent theories Freud developed in psychoanalysis, observing them as terrifyingly callous and destructive, there may be something of wisdom in his base id/ego/superego framework. The instinctive, the reflexive self-love, and the 'moral policeman'. That's what I mean when I say you're still Christian in your moral values, even though, quite thankfully, you are a fellow atheist.
I have experienced you life-long as an arrogant pedagogue more than a loving father and, beyond your common 'catch-phrases' laden reasoning heuristic (closer to long-term rationalization) of "it's very complicated", or "it's more complicated than that, in a complex system", or "it's all labels", or variations off "look you fool, you're being like this child, or that child" with your conviction that these children, as with all the children you see, also know nothing until you tell them every detail and keep them on track, all you are really doing semantically here, on linguistic analysis is going "this is this is this is this and I'm right and this is this is this is this, and you're wrong, because this is this is this is..." etc.
Please argue (for once) properly - as opposing to just telling me as if I should believe you off the bat - why this is not the pathological deflection behaviour of a pathological liar with a weak, quite mildly self-embarrassing argument, and no other way to continue but to storm through his suspicious, suspicion-inducing interlocutor(s) from birth until death with a wall of steady sound that brokers no true interpersonal communication. I have established that you are very good at maths, hence your software engineering success, yes. Regardless of your disciplinary focus, you have the mentality of a teacher though. A teacher of all, it seems. Evidentially, though you retain some logical possibility of knowledge left to learn for yourself before the vast universe, in relation to me, and my own knowledge, you quite evidently – and so very much evidentially by now – consider yourself infallible academically, and impervious to anything I could ever say to you on an academic front. I am as intellectual as you, and we like talking on sensible topics. Can you see the problem? Everything is very clear to you, even all the things you do not know. I find that odd.
Here is a YouTube research presentation for you about old-age and acquired wisdom. As you will note, there is no necessary correlation. Also, if you are waiting for someone of your own age to pop up, to be more likely to you to match your knowledge fairly in your eyes, given the level of argument you are quite likely to put to him, you will be vindicated by your death before you will realise that you have been disproved. I don’t expect you know what being disproved is. You don’t have any firm proof yourself even.
What you had was your base knowledge. At some point though, you have switched off from the pursuit of truth and the attainment of wisdom and continued then to merely supplant your base university-time knowledge of the world into every non-mathematical, non-scientific, often painfully unscientific discipline that takes your natural fancy. Having been working since then full-time and contract-by-contract until retirement, you will not have had very much time to read outside of work-materials. Evenings and weekends, maybe, or a lunchbreak here and there. It seems you have literally filled-in your knowledge with newspapers, popular magazines, and their popular recommendations in the interim.
Every day of the week, having woken at 6.20am and roused myself from bed by 6.30am, I read from 6.45am until just after 12 noon. Following a break to water the garden or to pop into town to pick something up, or to make a fresh curry or a bowl of soup, I read solidly from 2pm until after 7pm. I take a half hour for my dinner, and scan media resources and videos for a while. By 9pm I read, and write a little, and have concluded both activities around midnight. Winding down by perusing the work of others, double checked against my 6.40am email/blog refreshers, I fall asleep around 1am to 1.30am. Periodically, through all this, I interact, often without much choice on my part, with my family. I have been roughly following this current reading habit for at least 6 years now. In the past year the routine has been as if concrete, bar the hiccups of madness.
You will be aware that I read for pleasure before at times, in coffee-shops and pubs and on park benches in London, although I was naturally hampered by distractions, and by my then problematic drinking habit. My home library is quite extensive by now, and I have many book in STEM academia, and archaeological, psychological, anthropological, historical, philosophical, aesthetic, and classical Roman and Greek, and some works of great literature, and accounts of exploration. No, they're not all popular choice crowd-pleasers. Discoveries in science, as in all knowledge, have generally arisen in the unpopular few, scorned and ostracised by their fellow scientists, and before an ignorant crowd of wannabee non-scientists pelting stones, from safety in numbers, listening to the big guys like rock festival groupies, trying to be as cool.
I get your unspoken logic. At world-shaping global level, you want to make everyone a scientist collectively, an in unison, like a propaganda repeater or a nudge unit of one, day in day out, so as to elevate their consciousness, having decided for yourself that the matter (all matters, in some sense) is settled, and that every scientist ever agrees, or they are not a scientist. The shift from Medieval Theology to Galileo's revolutionary recognition of heliocentrism was not because his torturers were correct, though they were already all in an agreed line, across the West of Europe, having 'known' that way for centuries. The shift from Newton to Einstein did not occur because scientists agreed.
You damn well know that, by its own prime disciplinary axiom, there is no conclusion to science, and there is never a temporary near consensus that can be declared "full consensus", for this sake of sheer lazy convenience and arrogance. Nothing in science is immune to revision. Nothing is holy and sacred and off-limits for re-evaluation. That - that! - is what makes science valuable over dogmatic fundamentalism and dogmatism. All you are putting to me with your life is a desperate, scared, haughty rush, blazing through it, from my earliest toddler memories, trying to fill in all the gaps, convinced (more than convinced! That's the part that I notice as pathological; that holy zeal, as if you were your idol Einstein yourself, in better form, with all we know now, akin to God-form).
I am afraid you will have to test your convictions against more than people who agree with you. They may be a lot of people who agree with you. They may be very smart, with high intelligence, good research departments, a decent budget, a good motivation and optimism, lovely press, and a genius level mean IQ. It's unlikely to be such though, given that most people are more stupid than me, from my observations and interactions over the years (hence my grumpiness generally, and extremely short temper, and lifelong trauma-inducing disappointment at them and what they do to me), and you certainly like putting to me how much of a fool I am.
What's better for you? To self-define who you think are smart people based on them agreeing with you, and then to promote them (and them alone) to everyone else, applauding their popular spread, applauding their complacent conformist popularity, hoping everyone else takes them on board too, in some utopian idealism that has long sacrificed any empirical realism on the altar of utilitarian success-at-all-costs. Or to be humble now, somehow, if (or iff, to my firm acknowledgement in horror) possible by you own psyche and test your conviction against those few - manifestly disappointing to you - stragglers who do not, really, by consent - do not - agree with you. Which is better? To wipe them out for convenience, brushed under the rug for the sake of a still-stupid, exponentially rising majority and for the scientists on your tier who you idolize, or to read their arguments, and their data, and to comprehensively check to equal rigour as that which you have read your own in.
You evidently started with your solid theory, and at length, long before the theories you discovered in joy were presented to you in your education. A long solid theory has a lot more chance to contain a lot of assumptions. Trying to match that life-time mental register 'document' to everything you like outside that fits it, by now surely extensive, seems to suggest in some way Dad that, beyond your mathematic speciality, you were never too different to the rest of these average scholars and general public amateur average scholars if you consider it in logical chronology.
Genuinely, I think you have confused science for megalomania, and are merely hanging onto your old-age self-respect, as you have always hung onto this self-respect when talking to me (from far before my revolutionary political science considerations emerged, whatever political label you would like to give them), not acting like a scientist, merely preaching to me like a non-stop reply-overriding feedback loop, a blank repeater, displaying a mentality no different to any of the 'left wing' totalitarians of the 20th Century. Explain to me, somehow, why you are not akin to a Bolshevik radical. You are, by observable reality, a totalitarian, with the scolding put-downs and incessant advising and moral outrage of a pre-enlightenment fundamentalist, full of puritan indignation at those you do not agree with. I see a witch-hunter in you, and an inquisitor. The enlightenment is behind you though. I would suggest that you are not a liberal either. You are, at least, closer to a Christian than a scientist. Atheism and metaphysics are for days off. No matter the fantastic creative language, the supernaturally obsessed and the inventively spiritual strike me as geeky. Does it really matter like that, explored by a metaphysician or a transcendentalist, and not a scientist’s physical cosmology?
It would be better to judge the internal logic of my perspective by the perspective itself rather than by dismissing it from the undefeatable (by force) internal logic of your own perspective alone. Learn from my literature, before you leap in to continue dismissing it solely from yours'. Otherwise, you are partisan in your science, and your rigour is compromised by conflicting interests, and, frankly, a great deal of cognitive bias. No amount of bio-reductionist neuroscience readings on the brain, or on robotics and neural networks and artificial intelligence is going to work as your 'deus ex machina' failsafe against error. Yes, very good, you learn all this. You have, life-long, so far failed to learn what I am learning though. That indicates you don't find it interesting. That itself indicates that you may have less patience with it if presented with a separate instance. Knowing you, you didn't have much natural patience to begin with, even before your school years. Naturally, this suggests that you will be more likely to misinterpret it, or to reject it, or to lose concentration and mis-remember later, even before you can engage your brain in actual thought.
The gauntlet is down for you. You're aware that you haven't really wanted to be a father to me as much as a forced sole moral adviser/utopian-science educator. You treat my cruelly, and have done so long-term, beyond my often-obliged money requests, when I remind you each fresh time that I am in poverty. You have no patience with me, take no particular genuine interest in anything I'm up to beyond pleasantries or a "well done"/"good job"/"interesting work" non-committal irreverence, and have never done much personally to comfort me when I've been hideously upset, ranging from the abject sadness, and the brutal self-hate I experienced alongside your regular and systemic acts to condition this self-esteem denial, to the devastating betrayal of your conditional 'love' in a terrible uncaring society of greed, avarice, and laziness, a system of careless policies and hysteria and contempt, designed to wound and to equivocate until everything is equally shoddy, and with no outliers then left to raise it beyond that coruscating shoddiness. It would take a dispassionate lesser man to do that to science.
I will never understand you, and it is not for want of trying, as I have personally reflected on this for a great while. There's an element of desperate escapism to you. Hence the astronomy and cosmology directions in some ways. If I told you about my perspectives in astrophysics and string theory, I have no doubt whatsoever that you'd do exactly what you always do, and breeze past denying me on those too. A steady stream of "no, no, no!" my entire life. A small son subjected to that could come to think, after a while, that there was absolutely nothing they could do right, seeing as everything they thought was pronounced wrong – and by their father that they should love the most! – and to truly believe that they were worthless, and useless, and knew nothing.
Beyond any labels that adults use, really, it's bullying. Remind me of a few examples where you've ever acknowledged to my face that I am right on something irrespective of anything you think from your internal "theory of all" conviction that, in all of reality, I'm right on. Tell me if you've ever noticed anything you think I'm right on that differs from what you think, given that not once have you ever said to me "whoops! I didn't think of that! Gosh, sorry. I'm wrong. What I was thinking made no sense. You're right!" I have a very long visual memory, and do not forget things of such deep importance to me as father to son pain transference, and I write regular progress diaries and study journals and a plethora of email letters across the world as later reference documents to supplement my long memory.
If you ignore this email, I shall hand-copy it out on paper and post it to you as a letter. At least you can't say that you didn't check your email then or pretend you were too busy or forgetful, although I don't deny you might not open it, or might pile it on your coffee table under the latest edition of The Guardian. That’s what I send is to you – all worthless. Too worthless to match a regular pattern to regarding your requirement to remember that I like my words being read, at least.
I emailed Mum a letter recently. That is for her. This is for you. I follow the self-healing therapeutic advice of Susan Forward's marvellous and compassionate recovery guidebook, titled "Toxic Parents", although I have added an academic slant to your letter. If everyone is equal to you, and equally worthy of your gift of knowledge, then you have no son. Everyone is, by your perspective's very logic, your son (although I notice you prefer raising girls as they are slightly more credulous, and different biologically, and perceived sweeter to some people). Since all you are really offering is this knowledge, and never anything of true help or warmth (just advice and direction, always unsolicited by me), there is nothing to mark me out as your son. I see it in you, and I have felt it in you forever. I love you unconditionally, though I do not forgive you for your conditional bitter schoolmaster approximations of fatherly support, your rapacious pride and over-confidence, and your lack of respect for the voluntary, or for consent.
I take it you did not really know your father. I also note that you did not get on with my grandmother on account of her bullying "try harder!" rejection at times. I weather your narcissism beyond that, as I know that you are mine, and I do know you. Too well, really. I know myself by now, after all this pain, better than you know yourself, and better than you know anything I know, much as you know my behaviour well. You see with wide-open eyes, blinded inside, completely irrevocably wrong. Focusing always out on me. Unable to take criticism. Unable to take critical truth if it wounds your ego. A life mission to escape, and escape leaving me behind, and your only constant dependability being a finely-honed ability to fob me off, time and again, with immense cruelty, and, really, from the eyes of the outside world, to get completely away with it. I see you the way I would see a serial killer or a war criminal, and you have done your everything to kill my soul. You remain my father though, and thus I love you, as you are my family. I can do what you can't do. I don't forgive you. I thought you would require this before you pass on into death. I have enough honour as a son to write it for you, in genuine love, at least.
The times move on. Born in 1945, you are in the very final year of the Silent Generation. The last of the war babies, before the generational gap in thought that encouraged the crass, selfish baby boomers to economically wreak the Western residue of European civilization. It's a feigned residue. Children do not have to think like their parents. Locked in in alignment with them, always, any fatal errors, or axiomatic assumptions, or flaws in logic would be locked in with them if that were the case, and, given an exponentially gathering threat to our planet (or indeed due to the law of entropy anyway, and the Sun's fusion reactions in virial theorem releasing the gravitational potential energy exponential necessary to nature’s very end for us, with no water, with no life-support for the Earth, with a red giant more than 5 billion years beyond us, a mere halfway through its main-sequence, beyond real compare to consider the thermal pressure shrinkage of its core now, given we have a billion years left to address this rather than worry) were that planet to be in danger in other ways too, more pressing ones than the monocausal hysteria directed at man-made climate change), it is thus good to have a little disagreement, just in case.
I believe the term for the resentment and disappointment parents feel at the inexplicable, seemingly ridiculous or imprudent actions of their offspring under different historical conditions and societal shifts is indeed known as "the generational gap". Anomie, ostracism, scapegoating, projection, transference of anger to secondary targets, and, ultimately, alienation, is the history of our previous 100 years, in the contextual history of the last 1700. Ideally, those offspring could surpass the achievements of their parents, given the dynamic changes in the conditions of a complex system, as historic conditions are accounted for, and, somehow, we live to find the time is right, rendering new options available. If those offspring aren't protected to do that, dying by neglect, or by bloody suicide, or by madness at the death of self-esteem, and the division of the core self, or otherwise wantonly impeded in any way, then the future of this planet is more likely to be already f**ked.
That's a conclusion for you. It's not too different to what Stephen Emmott's “10 Billion” student told him. If you're out in the dark looking up at the stars, up and thinking out at the furthest, and the biggest, and the most magnificent, you'll miss the ground in front of your feet, and you will be more likely, in your enthusiasm, and distraction, and haste, to step on the small child passing in front of you across your road home. You can hope you didn't kill them, or at least break an arm. Ultimately, your choices led to your mistake though and the responsibility for your error is yours alone. Thank you for reading this.
Now, the prior (email only) letter to my mother:
Never email me again. You had the damn cheek to email me, a full three days after you mentioned to me on the phone that you were going to send me a message - a message that you should have sent to me months ago. When I received your doubly late message, you devote two single sentences to my huge, impassioned, specific, emotionally distraught email. You wrote: "I have read some of it and will read more later. It is interesting but needs time to digest."
So, you only read some of my email, given that you've had 6 months to read it since the date I sent it. You'll read more later? When, 5 minutes before you're dead? You tell me it is "interesting", as if that was an appropriate thing to say, as if one was blankly scanning a curious news article, or a piece of art, or, quite frankly, any single new fact on anything. You don't even say why it's "interesting". You tell me nothing else. No aid, No agreement. No concern. No sadness. No support. Absolutely f**king nothing. If I'm in desperate worry, in a specific incident, I need immediate on the ball practical help.
Then you go on to tell me information, gossiping, as you usually always do, about your life. Light-hearted in places. Flippant.
So what if you "love me very much"? You do not show it. Your words mean absolutely nothing to me, and have not for quite a few years, increasingly so. When you say to me on the phone "I love you", it means nothing. You, as a person, have not acted to show that you love me in quite a while, although you have said it repeatedly, insistently.
You mention Dad's illness. I am aware of it. You use Dad's illness though, as you always do, as a concern to 'compete with', and overpower anything I raise.
You admonish me gently by writing "It might be better if you both do not have any of those high powered intellectual discussions at the moment because of his health but just talk about light-hearted subjects."
I am tired of putting to you that this makes no difference to Dad. I could be talking about domestic subjects, or I could be talking about day-to-day feelings, or indeed I could genuinely be talking about academic topics. As you know, academic topics don't stress me out. As you should know - and do know though you don't admit it - the stress arises from Dad refusing to discuss topics with me without putting me down, humiliating me, and insisting that everything (everything!) that I think is wrong if it does not match what he thinks. He's not prepared for the back and forth of arguments and counter-arguments and refuses to listen to anything that he doesn't like, or doesn't think already, and not just on the world outside. True, he's not shouting as I do - although can be snappy, smug and condescending - but he's still causing outrageous levels of shaming, bullying, and offence-giving. He's done this my entire life. You have never stopped him doing this. All you have ever done is tried to avoid the situation or continued brushing it under the rug. Telling me by email or by phone or face-to-face to 'calm-down' and, depending on what point in life this was, to 'consider Dad's illness/stressed from work/tired out/depressed/whatever'.
So what? Stop making excuses for him. He is no crankier on account of this illness than he ever has been. Maybe he is crankier to you. I assure you, he's as cranky to me now as he was when I was 15. He is cranky to you now. He was always cranky to me. Cranky is the wrong term for how he has been to me. The correct term is "abusive". Dad has emotionally abused me to a severe degree since my mid-teens. You have been aware of this the entire time as you have both seen it, heard it, and heard me report it to you, as much as seeing the consequences for my psychological health. You are aware. Since you have not prevented this happening, beyond passing the buck, or asking us 'both' to consider our actions (though in practice saying this only to me), you are, logically, absolutely, complicit in this abuse. This is more than Dad in a bad mood, or Dad being less helpful, this is Dad as a deeply abusive man. He's not abusive to you. He's not abusive to Abby. He is abusive to me. What you are in effect saying is "he has an ever-present excuse, let him get away with acting however he wants towards you". I've had illness, and I've had pain, and my life has been wrecked in a way yours and Dad's have not. That's never stopped you acting like this towards me though.
It has been over 20 years since I entered the mental health system. I went in for depression. As you are aware now, that depression came about on account of repressed traumatic feelings over severe sexual abuse, as much as all-round bullying, at school. What I experience now in no way resembles what I entered the system for. All the time, that entire twenty years, Dad has continued to be snappy, insulting, and stubbornly insensitive towards me, hurting me feelings, over and over and over again, never apologising, never changing his attitudes towards me, never learning, never changing, never acknowledging his actions, never acknowledging the pain he has caused and is causing, much as humiliation has been heaped on time and again as doctors praised him, and took his side, and took his opinion. Between you and Dad and the doctors, and Abby, you have conditioned me into total annihilation. I wouldn't expect Abby automatically to have to side with me. I'd expect you and Dad to though.
Only today he called me a "fool" on the phone because I questioned the sincerity of a government claim to give extra money to benefit claimants, not because I didn't believe that this was the case, but because in general the government does not as a standard provide a very good quality living experience, having destroying British society top to bottom, and, on the whole, brought historical Western civilization to its knees. Every single modern trend and attitude is a result of the radical thinking of the 1960's carried to full conclusion atop 1800 years of ignorant misery prior to that. The very act of suggesting cons as much as pros, or looking for a catch, or unspoken background strategy over this incentive, was enough for Dad to insult me. Disagree - that's how one can discuss. If someone resorts to snapping at a person and calling them a fool, or a moron, or any insulting term, then they have no right to go on to take moral outrage and call the other person rude if they begin to shout. Yes, shouting is not a good thing. Neither is calling someone a fool. Neither is constantly putting them down if they disagree. I lose count of the number of times I've been told not to shout. I cannot think of a single time anyone apart from me has ever been brought up on charges of rudeness though. Again, logically, I can say that you don't care that Dad insults me, you just want me to take it, and not shout, and not cause a scene. Since he sprays insulting words out at the drop of a hat, and sneers at me, and dismisses me with such arrogant vitriol in every single conversation of more than a few lines, laden with sly jabs, leaping in to 'correct me' and to respond before I've even explained what I think, or what has happened, it's unpleasant that you have never brought him up about this.
You've failed me Mum, long term. I've just been too self-defeating, too weary, and too polite to say. Dad has literally mechanically systematically destroyed me, that's a given. Your weakness and complacency, and need for keeping up appearances, has added to that though. You never protected me from him them. You don't protect me from him now. You cover for him. In a way, though you're not directly doing what Dad's always done to me, you're equally abusive.
Do I expect you'll ever accept this off me? No. Do I expect you'll be willing to literally acknowledge that you've both done this to me, in your own ways, and to change? No. Do I expect you'll read this promptly and respond properly, as an adult, as a mother, with full effort, and with emotion, and with decent, ethical, moral, loving care? No.
I have felt low and humiliated in all my dealings with you for decades now. Your insistence on brushing everything under the rug has led to you gaslighting me long-term, and wrought a terrible toll on my health, my stress-levels, and, ultimately, my sanity. Yes, I was majorly depressed as a teenager and early adult. I wasn't insane though. More and more time spent around you from my mid-twenties onwards was what finally undid my sanity, to the point that now and again, following particularly stressful exchanges with you (or shortly afterwards), I've been known to have psychotic breaks. My personal belief is that, regardless of the sexual abuse and the school bullying, I would still have had these psychotic breaks now as you are like this as people. I just wouldn't have had the heavy depression in the same way. I might have been able to recover enough to have escaped you at the time, before you did the final damage. The psychosis started in the first place once I moved back from London. You will not find it in my medical records before then. You'll find depression, and you'll find suicide attempts, and you'll find self-harm, but you won't find psychosis until later. I think it's criminal that you conflate it all together, as if it was one big "condition" providing loads of symptoms. As if there physically something different in my brain. As if you weren't continuing to be unhelpful towards me, and cruel, and unpleasant. I've never seen you reflect on it from the understanding that it's a traumatic stress-response to how you behave towards me, conditioned again and again, worse each time. That's what trauma conditioning is - a long-term reaction to consistently applied poor treatment. Since that poor treatment has never relented, a person is methodically broken down over time until they are completely insane.
At least I have to good grace to tell you the absolute truth, unblemished, hard as it is. You have never awarded me to same favour. Truth? Lying? Being moral? Being a good person? All the things you drilled into me when I was growing up? All the Christian morality. All the moral panic and moral outrage! You're a liar. All you can do is tell me you're not, insisting you're not. But the moral standard of your preaching does not match up to your behaviour towards me. Nothing you can say now can alter this. Nothing you can write now can alter this. You cannot worm your way out of responsibility for this.
All the "I'm sorry you think that", "I'm sorry you say that", "That upsets me that you think that", "That upsets me that you say that", "That upsets me to know that", expressions that you've given me over the years, time and time again show your reluctance to deal with this problem. Never "What you say is correct. I'll make sure it never happens again", followed by you doing something to make sure it never happens again. No. What you are is all words. And they're all words to get you off the hook psychologically and get Dad off the hook for acting abusively towards me.
You are directly toxic to my health. Your actions towards me directly wound my psyche, and damage me to soul depth. Long-term. You are consistently abusive in this, and you refuse to change.
Thus, I'm not going to write to you any more or speak to you anymore. It is too late. Too much has been done. You have both hurt me too much, and you have ignored, or dismissed every prompt I have ever made to you not to hurt me. You do not give me the time of day and you do not take me seriously.
I am not going to list every single example as that would take months to compile, and - frankly - if I have to write a book-length set of reports atop a life-time of emails and face to face complaints to convince you that you have legitimately hurt me very badly, not once, but hundreds of times, thousands probably, then I am put under even more stress. You are not blind to any of this. You are in total denial, and it is wilful denial. You are denying this, to the limit, and you are not telling the truth. Even if I did write that detailed book - every nuance, every detail, every single last example - you wouldn't read it. You would not let yourself believe it. I do not need to go that far. No bitterly hurt person reasonably needs to go that far. A liar would deny regardless. I have sent you email after email on different aspects of my hurt, and each time you react as if the knowledge is new, and always on your terms, always from your angle, and always when you can be bothered.
Beyond the worries of sexual abuse and bullying, which admittedly do cause some limited mental scarring, the main destructor of my life has been Dad's attitude towards me, and your covering over of that, and, to be honest, the latter two points have hurt me more. Crippled me psychologically. Crippled my self-esteem. Crippled my enthusiasm and self-confidence. Hugely inflated my stress. Left me sad and broken. At times even driven me into psychosis as my mind complete implodes unable to discern truth from lies anymore in the face of barrages of insults and dismissals from stubborn liars. Losing all faith in myself, and all ways to generate any self-love.
No, you don't love me. You can say it, to yourself, or to me, as often as you like or can. But your actions do not match your empty words. I'll repeat that: your actions do not match your sentiment.
Do not write to me again. I will never speak to you again. I will never see you again. I don't believe in Heaven either. You should have paid your attention to your life, and to your family, and to the world you are alive in. As you do believe in it, you can wait there for me, if you're correct yourself. I’d hate that selfish place if I thought it was as real as I once thought Hell was.
For the record, all I wanted, in gist, from that email I sent 6 months ago was for you to back me up, and to act that I'm your son, and to put me first. Dad puts me on par with Abby on everything. Dad, who has done all this to me. If he's nicer to strangers, or as nice to strangers, nothing makes me his son at all, and not just another face in the crowd, and one he can get away with being abusive-level cruel and rejective towards. I've never once heard Dad tell Abby off for anything. If I complain, I'm told to "be more patient" or "understand each other’s needs" or "your both need to be respectful". As with you defending Dad, Dad defends Abby. By priority, Dad defends Abby - and Abby's children, particularly her girls. Tell me one person who goes out of their way in all this to primarily defend me and defend me alone, before moving to help the rest. Either one against one, two against one, or three against one, you have never sided with me primarily. You haven't. Don't lie. At times you have ganged up on me. Your response to me gives Abby ammunition against me. It has made our own family relationship fraught with strain and somehow spoiled, though not over.
I painted many paintings for him. Again, the only response "interesting", or sometimes "very good". Never any detail. Never any discussion. Never what he liked, or what you liked. Dad has had nothing but criticism for all my meta-disciplinary history and theory books. He has never complimented me on my poetry pamphlets. It is extremely rare that he has complimented me on my music. He's never bought the latter things off me. He won't read it or listen to if of his own accord. He won't even ask me how my art is going in general. He has gone out of his way to disagree with me on every single main academic, political, or social point that I have ever raised as an adult, and stopped me being allowed to even reply with questions or ideas as a child if he was lecturing me on something, and then he has dismissed me, and called me stupid some more, and tut-tutted, and condemned me morally because he disagrees, and has, in total consistency, evaporated my soul, my confidence, and my sense of self. Methodically, over 20 years, conversation by conversation, he has totally ruined me.
Your glib, throwaway asides are not enough. They have never been enough. You have not protected me from the main thing upsetting me. How many times do I have to spell that out? It's Dad!
I don't like writing to Dad. He ignores every word, or even opening the message altogether.
I'm going now. I never want to hear from you again. I used to cry over this, incessantly, for many hours, totally alone. I rarely cry anymore. Sometimes I screamed and howled in frustration, knowing I was being totally betrayed, and that everything I ever said would be denied, and that I would be told off again, punished effectively for speaking out. It makes no difference. I knew it was futile, and I knew I was in pain, and I knew that you and Dad, as much as any other bully that has ever picked on me, would come out of it more powerful than me, and relatively unscathed, and I had no hope left. There is no way to have hope when one is outnumbered, and crushed, and repressed. The reality absolutely destroyed for me. You can all back each other up. You all do at times, in practice.
You wanted to control me, that's all, my entire life, both of you. The both of you are prescriptive, censorious, and pedagogic. Telling me exactly what to do, and what to think, and how to behave, and how to respond to anything and everything, and expressing genuine disappointment and anger if I do not match this template. And you did control me. I am not allowed to be independent, and I am not allowed to think different to you, or to make my own decisions. If I ask to borrow money, it is not because I want the added baggage of being forced into stipulations and nudges, and control. I wish I never had to. If I didn't need to ask for money, I would have cut you both off years ago. Not out of cruelty on my part, but because you have tormented me too much, and I know that regular contact will drive me to despair, and utterly ruin my life. My life is already ruined in practice. Having to weather you any further though would lead me to direct suicidality. Then, once I had fleshed myself apart, you could cry for a bit if you found out at some point, and remind yourself that “his brain wasn’t right, so he had an illness there and he didn’t mean it by being stupid”. So many times, I tried to get you to be helpful, and compassionate, and pleasant.
I may phone Dad to borrow money from now on. I'm sorry to know he's ill. I understand he's ill. I never want to see him again though, not in person, and not via a screen. I don't want to see you either or speak to you in any form. I will visit Ireland for Dad’s funeral days, if border travel is feasibly possible. Had you both not destroyed too many years of my life, I wouldn't be impotently weak, and wrecked, and too low in confidence to achieve my former ambitions, and sad, and nervous, and timid, and haunted, and borrowing money now. You have reaped entirely what you sowed with my economic stability. It would have been better had you genuinely listened to me in time, and changed enough to help me more than you hindered me.
I'm going now. I mourn the idea of a good mother. That's what I'm in love with. I mourn the idea of a loving father. That died when I was small. But you don't console me though. You make me feel worse. I've mourned this loss for a great while, in lonely, sad, self-reflection. If I didn't match what was good for you wouldn't give a fuck about me. Hence conditional love, hence control. All you ever have done is give me unsolicited advice of how I should do something different, or how I should be better.
It has occurred to me over the years that me saying "I'm sorry for upsetting you Mum" or "I'm sorry Dad I didn't mean to shout and get angry" is something you get a kick out of. Some satisfaction. Almost sadistic. By analogy, it's almost to the pleasure one might imagine getting from masturbation. Regardless, I've said it a lot. Perhaps you like me small and weak, slave-like, on account of this, always passive, always submissive. If I'm not submissive, you take real umbrage. I realise these days that I have spent almost all my life apologising at the drop of a hat to people. I’ve been known to apologise to a cupboard door is I accidentally stub my toe on it stumbling past. I’ve caught myself doing this a lot over the years, now and again. The way you treat me has shaped how I see myself, and how submissively I responded in the past to outsiders. I write 'treat' in the present tense, as nothing has changed in you across my entire life.
I can't remember the last time you said sorry to me and meant it. I think this is because, to be honest, on any of these grand, huge, devastatingly important issues, you never have. Not a single time. Not once. Not once in 37 years. If I lose my temper and request you to, you literally argue your way out of it until I stop trying, totally indignant, telling me how offended you are. I'm lucky if you respond at all these days, and don't just ignore me, having paid lip service, and then go on to write 10 times the amount you devote to me, with your listing of mundane anecdotes about your week and your social life. For someone who gets indignant a lot, your emotional intelligence is extremely low, and your empathy is muted. I’ve heard your call Yogi the Yorkshire Terrier “Benjamin”. More tellingly, I’ve heard you address me as “Yogi” once or twice too.
To think my aunties and uncles and cousins, who you went over to Ireland to be nearer again as much as for the “fresh air” don’t know any of this, with you selling a perfectly lovely semi-detached Essex house at the edge of a picturesque country village to buy a bigger fully detached property abroad, with more bedrooms for the two of you, in a proffered inheritance that I will find it very difficult to consolidate for the other side of the Irish Sea, with your sister acting as guardian in my absence. I suspect, realistically, that they never will find you out. You're good at keeping up appearances, and you certainly aren't honest to others about it, or to your own full self. It's an added long-considered sadness to me. This is what happens when abusive behaviour is never address and people lie to cover it over. They think the world of you and respect you. They laugh with you, and laugh at Dad’s family jokes, and go to him for advice, and praise his intelligence. They are 'on your side' so to speak. Naturally, they would be appalled to know that you've complicitly let Dad have free reign to bully, reprimand, insult, demean and beat down his son from the entirety of that son's life, and, just as naturally, they wouldn't be able to believe it. This is how abuse runs in families, this very reason. It always continues because the evil parents are too weak, too narcissistic, and too malevolent to admit what they have done to their victim, and besides, the rest of the world is eager to believe them at face value, and presume them innocent, and give them strength and prestige, and not cause a scene, thus condemning the abused person to an unresolved life of total hell.
Take care. It can't be said I didn't try to get through to you. You were unwilling to listen when there was some desire on my part to get through though. A desperate wish on my part, trying again and again, pleading with you, crying, trying to get you to stop him bullying me, and his heavy bony hands and punches and my blood on the walls, from a little boy to a tortured man. You were unwilling to truly care. It's too late now. I regret that more than anything. I regret knowing that, forever, you didn't care enough. At least you've had a reasonably good life. I no longer have the emotional energy to play silly games with you whilst you routinely insult me. Whether you accept it or not, you are toxic towards me, and I cannot survive intact as a person whilst we are in any contact. I'm sure Abby will continue to be aggressive, dominant, petulant, bossy, and impatient with me, claiming excuses for herself, raging at my causing of her rapid offence, and her anxious, hysterical introversion-cum-cruelty. You're given her 8 years of ammunition to back her up after all. I resent that. Perhaps it will lead to my early death through stress, or my fatal compromise before enemies, as she is unable to prevent herself betraying me by her very biology, lost in hair-trigger panic-anger. Nothing more can be said though.
I realise I do not love my mother. Perhaps I would love her if I saw her. I see I love my father though, even long-distance.
I see Canada's new bill doesn't like home PC record-keeping. The UK is similar enough on that. My worry-imposition is that I'd lose all my writings. I'd consider it okay to put in a printed book (with the extensive preamble pages, unincluded in this post), if I ever get back to bothering with Lulu, and all their formatting auto-suggest annoyances. A confessional autobiographical letter, paired so as to work to both in emotive explanation, and some thinking. I'll pause for breath now, a good few months having gone by on this.