Remembering the Good, Even When it’s Bad

Not gonna lie, Mother’s Day was hard.
You see, I don’t hate my parents.
They aren’t monsters, but they broke our bond
when they lied about me.

My parents haven’t treated me like a friend for most of a decade now. I wish it wasn’t true. I wish I could go visit them on every holiday and bring gifts and bake food and stay for a while and visit and laugh with them like I used to—before I woke up, but knowledge is painful.

They not only have never owned the stuff they did to me in childhood (which I easily forgave them for decades ago) but they play the victims and continue to talk about me to everyone in the family to the point I can hear their exact words in my sisters’ accusations last summer.

So no, my split with my family isn’t the result of my strange childhood—it’s their dishonesty and scapegoating in my adulthood. Some might wonder why would I want to write a memoir about people who have brought me so much pain? Because there was a time they brought me joy too.

It’s the split between who they started out to be and who they became. It’s the good memories as well as the crazy times that made me who I am too. It’s mostly my story, but they are players in the background. They certainly had influence in both negative and positive ways, but the more I examine my family stories, the more I find grace and compassion for my parents and other family members.

I just wish my family was safe to be around. Of course, they will say it is me that is the problem. They reason that everyone else has a problem with me, so, therefore, I must be the problem. They don’t even realize saying such a thing is proof that they have scapegoated me. Healthy people don’t have a problem with everything another person does. It’s the narcissistic mind and the flying monkeys who follow it who think in binary terms of all good or all bad.

Part of the difference between a narcissist and the rest of us is the ability to allow the negative to coexist with the positive. No one is all bad and no one is all good. The narcissistic mind thinks in terms of us vs. them. I have tried to look for some traits of good in those who seem bad. This doesn’t mean we need to hang out with those who are abusing us–we need to remember not everyone is safe. And there are some people who are much safer than others. We need to find our kindred spirits to survive in this world.  So, for now, I will hold onto my good memories and pour them into my book.

If you’re writing a memoir, how have you found peace with your past?