There once was a man *Triggers* Long post


Member, Male
DECEMBER 1996 - JULY 2000
Pleaaassse come and pick me up at the bus station, you just cant let me spend Christmas all alone, she whined. Once again, its my job to comfort my mother. Once again she is having a crisis because a man has, yet again, abandoned her. Its the same old story; the story of her life.

December 1996. Its Christmas and a time for rejoicing and celebration for most, but not for me. Im going to have to spend the holidays with my mother under my roof and help her work through this latest crisis. I already know how it will go; no matter what I do, no matter what I say, it will be the wrong thing and I will end up feeling guilty at being such a rotten son to the woman who has given me so much. I know how much she has given me because she never stops reminding me of it. Oh, not directly of course, but through veiled references and innuendo she never lets me forget how much she has sacrificed for me or how I made her life a living hell by my having the temerity of being conceived. I owe her, and now once again she is coming to collect. Merry, freakin, Christmas!

So, behaving purely by reactive instinct I swallow my burgeoning resentment and I make the twelve hundred kilometre round trip so that my mother can yet again ruin another Christmas for me. Had someone asked me in those years if I was a caring and thoughtful son, I would have answered yes. I believed that my over-vigilance in my mothers regard was a good and a healthy thing. She had trained me well. And still, though I couldnt acknowledge it to myself, just the thought of spending a week in my mothers company left me feeling frozen. Everything in me shut down and, just as when a child, I would not allow myself to feel anything much danger in that.

Once home, my mother switched personalities, as she was so adept at doing, and made her grand entrance to the delight of our kids; playing the happy and oh so loving grandmother she proceeded to make great ceremony of placing under the tree the huge number of gifts that she had brought. I had had to make three trips to the car to bring it all in. I understand exuberance; I also recognize the ridiculous when I see it.

As parents, my wife and I taught our children to appreciate the variety of simple pleasures that life offers and we were vigilant about instilling in them the value of moderation in all things.* My mothers constant excesses would always leave them reeling and confused. They just never knew who to believe, their reasonable parents or their grandmother with all the toys.
* My poor mother, the respect of other people, their opinions and their value system is something that she never quite understood so never bothered herself with much.

I played nice for two whole days. With grace and diplomacy, I withstood her self-pitying and sniffling at the unfairness of life. I commiserated with her slanderous and profane comments about the male gender. I had heard it all before, many times throughout my entire childhood and try as I might to be supportive, the barrage of her invective started to get to me. By the end of the second day I could no longer keep the mask in place so I faked a migraine and went to bed directly after supper. I had had all of the insipid bullshit I could take. Once safely behind the door of our bedroom, I thought to myself: Just three more days, I can take three more days. Three more days and she will be going back home, surely I can hang on for three more days. Merry, freakin, Christmas.

After having put the kids to bed, my wife and my mother sat in the kitchen for some girl talk. From the bedroom I could hear the murmur of their voices but I was in no way interested in what they might be talking about. I was lying in bed with a good book; I was content, why mess with that?

It was well past midnight when my wife came to bed. In the dark and I was falling asleep, she sat up and angrily demanded: Why did you tell me all those horrid things about your mother? I just spent the evening talking with her and do you know what she told me? That she never once mistreated you beat you or abused you in any way. And I believed her too; I have never seen your mother so open and honest. Why would you lie to me like that? She did tell me that you had in fact been uncared for and harmed in your childhood, but that it was always at the hands of the people where she was forced to board you out. Dont you understand that she had no control over that? What with working two jobs to support the both of you she couldnt always be there to protect you, you know. You should have seen her tears tonight, the pain in her face, at the thought that someone harmed you and that she could do nothing about it. It still rips at her heart after all of these years. Do you know what she doesnt understand about you and that I dont either? Its that you seem to have invented for yourself, for whatever strange reason, a childhood of horror and torture that never happened and that you blame her for it. Just who the hell talks about their own mother the way you have done to me? What is wrong with you that you make up this kind of shit? Do you need attention that badly to slander the most important person in your life just to make yourself look good? I dont understand any of this. Your mother loves you so much.

I made no response whatever but long after she was fast asleep, I found myself sitting up my bed and in the dark of night, behind my closed eyelids, the movie of my life played out in vivid color, accompanied by the appropriate dialogue. I would have given anything to be able to switch it off but I was captive and had no choice but to see it through until the credits rolled. The scenes were horrendous, but the hardest part for me was the dialogue. I knew it all by heart of course, but hearing it in association with the graphic images was just too much for me. You stupid no good bastardGet out of my face before I fucking kill you for real this timeWhat you need is a good rap in the mouth, you little prick, thatd straighten you outGoddamn it, youll never know just how much I hate you This dialogue was really more of a monologue for never would I have dared to reply to these words, my mothers words.
If, at the age oh thirty nine, someone had asked me if was possible for my mother to do me more damage than she had already done, I would have answered no. I truly believed myself to be beyond her reach now that I was an adult. But on this night I suffered yet again a deep trauma caused by my mother. It wouldnt be until some years in the future that I would realize that girl talk between my mother and my wife would force me into an abyss that would be the undoing of my life. A life that I had so carefully, laboriously, constructed for myself.
Narcisstic personalities such as my mother are extremely adept manipulators. Without missing a beat she had managed to make all of her faults, failings and misdeeds, my responsibility. Commiserating with my wife about how hard I could be to live with, my mother defended me by telling her I couldnt be held accountable for my character flaws as, well, I was just a man after all. What could anyone expect, Theyre all pricks, cheat, liars and manipulators; you cant believe a word they say. Its just something that we have to live with; God knows there is no changing them. The long and short of it was, through no fault whatever on my mothers part, I had become a monstrosity all by myself and for my own incomprehensible reasons. My mother was very fond of saying: Some kids just turn out wrong all by themselves; it has nothing to do with the parents. In those few hours of girl talk, my mother took my wife from me. The trust that I had had in her, completely evaporated and, once again, I was left all alone in the world. The sense of betrayal I felt because of my wifes willingness to believe my mother as opposed to rely on her own judgement from knowing me and living with me was total and proved to be irreparable. My marriage was over.

It went into survivor mode; I completely shut down so as not to feel anything. If I dont feel then I dont have to think. It would take another three years before the ravages of my mothers last visit in my home to manifest themselves in all of there horrendous and destructive glory. A door had been forced open in my psyche that night of December 1996. Once that door is opened and youve been forced to cross its threshold, there is no turning back. Certainly, I tried to close the door by every means possible: alcohol, chewing twenty to fifty codeine tablets daily, denial, anything and everything I could think of and still I could not do it. That damn door stood open and beckoned me to venture into the truth of my life. Tiring of the struggle the remain safely in the life that I knew, I finally crossed all the way over the threshold and found myself standing in the glaring light of my past; a past living in my present as it had always been, a past that vehemently refused to let me forget. Slowly and inexorably my anguish would consume whole. I was lost

In the summer of 2000, life was going on the same of before only that I was no longer the same guy. Everyone was telling that I had changed; some even made the foolish mistake of telling me the changes that they saw in me and that those changes were not good. The fears, the phobias and the paranoia that I believed that I had resolved many years past came screaming forward and began claiming their due. I was feeling more and more isolated, trapped in my own little universe and spinning round and round continually revisiting the cruelty of my childhood.

My persecution complex took up residence in my psyche and refused to give me a moments respite. I defended myself against these assaults by increasing my consumption of alcohol and as to the codeine, well, fifty pills a day was no longer sufficient. In no time at all I had become a shadow of the guy that I had so laboriously constructed; I was burning out. My mental and physical health deteriorated; I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and early onset of Andropause. I became so unwell that I literally had to get about the house by bracing against the walls and by holding onto to the furniture.

The most minor offence (real or imagined) would send into an explosive rage. My children lived in a tension beyond anything a child should be exposed to and my wife was in constant fear for everyones safety. The raging beast within me, that ogre that I was certain that I had killed years before reared its ugly head and demanded to be let loose. I had rendered myself to weak to resist him any longer and he just took over. My only hope of salvation was that this beast would finally kill me thereby releasing me and setting my family free. I was waiting for a death that I was sure would come. Had to come.

And the suddenly on a bright and sunny July after noon my personal Apocalypse struck. I was working on my second bottle of wine and chewing codeine tablets like candy. For a minor infraction, I lashed out at my five year old daughter and struck her viciously across the face and when my wife tried to get between us, when she started hollering at me, getting up my face, I completely disassociated. I lost all sense of time and place; I was immediately catapulted back in time, to the time when I was a child being attacked by a female my mother. Everything deteriorated very quickly from there.

I saw my chance and I took it. Seeing my mother before me, I grabbed my wife by the throat, squeezed as hard as could and began slamming her head into the wall. I screamed over and over and over again; Die bitch, just fucking die once and for all and leave me the fuck alone. My wife fought me, she fought hard and the more she fought the more panicked I became. Fear was beginning to squeeze my balls and I kept thinking I cant let her win this time; if she wins then she will kill me for sure as she has promised me so many times in the past. I wont give her that satisfaction. Im a big boy now and I can defend myself at last. This time, I win. And I fought even harder. All of my wifes screaming for help, all of her pleas for me to stop sounded to me exactly like my mothers voice. I looked at my wife but saw only my mother.
And all of this took place in front of my two youngest daughters. I could hear them crying but could not see them; the sound of their cries echoed my own repressed childhood tears and my pent up hatred for my mother became a living thing. I was a beast, a beast seeking the blood of vengeance.

I cant say how it is that my wife disentangled herself from my grip and gathered up the kids to escape in the car. I do remember watching her peel out of the driveway and wondering to myself where she was going.

Hours later, the police were at my door telling me that I was under arrest. I had no idea what for; I thought that there had to be some mistake. Under arrest? But I havent done anything, officer. Me, who hadnt seen the inside of a jail in over twenty years, found myself behind bars once again. It was only after having read the arrest report while waiting to make my court appearance that the memory of the events describe therein began to slowly come back to me. Nothing made sense; I had tried to murder my wife and I had attempted that under the eyes of my two small daughters. My shock was total.

I pleaded guilty and was sent to jail. I was as yet unaware that this time jail would be my stepping stone to freedom...


Member, Male
I neglected to say how very scared I was to post this in it's entirety. It has made me want to go out and get fucked-up. But I didn't. I went out and ran my errands, came home - no booze, no dope!! Halleluia!


Member, Male

Indeed it does and I'm finding that the more often I say no to what is hurtfull to me the easier it gets. I used to have to resist and actively talk myself out of harming myself by getting drunk or freezing out my emotions by cheewing on codeine tablets.

Now, as I pass the liquor store or go down the wine aisle in the grocecy store, if at all, at best I only need remind myself that I don't like the guy that I become while drunk and that's it - battle over.

Who knew that recovery is possible :D

Thank You for your honesty and insight.

It is a amazing thing when you realized that you have grown past those things that used to help us and hurt us to survive.
It sure feels good when you can walk by those things that used to have contol over you.


Hi, Joel my brother/confidant, you are a great man, a compassionate man. Where there was/still might be a little boy he has turned into a man, great courage in your post. I sure wish right now that i could turn little Peter into a man, as I am still that worthless, useless never amount to anything young boy, still trying to become a "Man". Heal well my friends/brothers.
Pete (Irishmoose)


Member, Male
petercorbett said:
I sure wish right now that i could turn little Peter into a man, as I am still that worthless, useless never amount to anything young boy, still trying to become a "Man".
Never say these words to me! You are so much more a man than I. How can you, recepient of so many military awards, comsider yourself less a man than I????

I am the one in awe of you, Pete. You are the man that I look up to and wish that I could be.

All I did was to tell my truth as it happened, you, Pete on the other hand ,were the man on the front lines fighting to keep us all safe from an unseen "enemy". Thank you for your courage & for your tenacity in the face of chaos!

I love you, Pete. As your brother, you have all of my love!!!
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Remember alot of recovery is to unlearn those old and false messages we were taught about ourselves as chidren.
They messages were bullshit then and are still today. They were away for those who abused to keep us quiet and complaint.

Do you realize what that little boy endured and overcame for you too still be alive today. Do you see the strenght and courage he/you must have had to survive. That no matter what others did to him he/you choose to survive it.

He is the child that you once were.
He/you feel worthless and useless because of the abuse that was inflicted unfairly upon he/you. He is looking to you for the unconditional love and acceptance that should of been his as a child. You are the only one who can provide those things that you have always needed. Will you be there for yourself or you will choose to abandoned and abuse yourself as others have done in the past.

Peter, you are here so we already know the answer.
Love yourself as you love your grandchildren.
You deserve it too.

I too have a difficult time with loving myself unconditionally.
Remember - One Day At A Time-
My Brother.


Dusty Boy


The mother that changes from devil to angel and takes away our confidence, negates our accomplishments and belittles us of our memories because she revised them, taken out the parts that reflect badly on her, I know her well.
The sweet innocent grandmother, mother in law and wounded innocent mother, I know her well.
The anger at having someone believe distorted truth, I know that well.
That does not make your actions right, what you did was to react badly to a situation out of your control (alcohol and codeine). Then the final chapter, that was not appropriate and given the circumstances a very bad choice of action.
I think if I were in the same place as you were, I would have acted in a similar way and be the one regretting what happened. I want you to know that I have great respect for you and know that you were hurting really badly and reacted in an inappropriate way. The fact that you have posted here is testament to that. It takes courage to share things from our lives that show us in a poor light. That is part of healing warts and all.
I know that if the opportunity presents you will do what ever is necessary to show your family how sorry and how regretful you are.
The past is what it is. You are human and as such, just not perfect.