Clay Center NE

What happened surrounding Michael’s wedding was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my mother. I realized then how much she manipulated my father and drove him absolutely batty in exactly the same way. He would beg her to tell him what was wrong just like I had and she would just be bitchy and negative.

To this day I don’t know if I had done something to offend her or what the hell was wrong. She wouldn’t talk about it. That was over and done. The past. We didn’t need to dwell on it. For fuck’s sake, Mother, you damn near ruined you son’s wedding. You certainly put me in a precarious position having to explain it all. Aren’t I entitled to know what the hell was going on? Apparently not.

I never trusted her after that. And I didn’t get over being angry. That incident was such a revelation. All sorts of shitty memories started flooding back into my concious memory of the abuse my brothers and I suffered at her hands.

How she had stuck my finger under the sewing machine needle and deliberately rammed the needle into it for a few seconds as she held my hand there because she caught me playing with her machine. I was maybe three when that happened. Maybe younger. My god in heaven that ain’t that woman was cruel.

It had always bothered me that I could not remember large parts of my childhood but now I think I don’t want to remember. No, I’m almost certain I don’t.



That family genealogist found these blogs and contacted me. He told me he’d be happy to update our family information if I cared to give it. I told him to contact my mother and tell her how he found out there was an error. There have been a few hits on the site–two yesterday specifically for Phyllis Ann Fate Gavin.

What can I say? Welcome to my world, Mom if you are the reader. If it’s my brothers well hey there bro. Welcome to your world as well. It wasn’t always happy was it. Thanks to the sheer neglect that went on we managed to make it happy though. You three banded together and did all those crazy things that might have gotten you killed. I was so lonely watching the three of you sometimes. I felt shut out.

Well, that’s the way things were, It’s today that we should be living in. We’re all estranged and everything. I wonder what you think about that. I wonder if you give a rat’s ass. I wonder if you even know the reason why or care to know.

It might be other family members. If so, welcome to the Incestuous abusive story of one of your family members. Actually it involves a number of us. Right off hand I can’t say how many since I’d have to count all the ex-wives, girlfriends and husbands and children and their significant others. You get my drift right?

I’m tired. This shit makes me even more tired.


The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the night and the empty skies my love
To the night and the empty skies

Roberta Flack

The pain of my parents’ betrayal lies deep in my Psyche. It’s hard to talk about how deep the wounds my mother and father inflicted go but especially my mother because she was the supposed sane one. My father was certifiable, in and out of psychiatric wards from the age of 17 until his death at age 47.

My Mother didn’t “go crazy” until I started talking to her about how hurt and angry I felt about some o the things she did. Then she had a “nervous break down,” effectively shutting me down and protecting her status as the victim. It’s hard to write about it. It’s hard to think about it because I get so angry at her for manipulating me for so many years and for continuing to try to manipulate me now.

The closest I’ve come to actually talking about the ways my Mother abused and betrayed me is some abstract poetry that really doesn’t tell it all. It just hints at what happened and how I felt at that moment. None of my therapists have really wanted to hear about what my mother was up while Daddy was putting his filthy hands all over me.

That was secondary and she was not at fault. My father was the offending parent. Like Harry they aren’t listening to what the hell happened in that situation. They aren’t hearing what I am saying. This woman told me she wished I had died instead of her first born son. She told me this repeatedly for 17 years.

God damn-it, I’d rather had my father’s beatings and his hands in my panties than that refrain echoing in my head for 55 years. Why can’t these crazy therapists understand that?

Truth be told, I feared my mother more than I feared my father because there was no end to the torture she inflicted upon me and my brothers. Daddy was violent at times and he was crazy heavy-handed. Mother had good reason to say “Stop, you’ll kill her!” He could become that enraged and he drew blood on more occasions than I care to count but once he stopped hitting you he was done.

Mother’s psychological warfare never let up though. The guilt at not having been the child she wanted when I was born still haunts me even though intellectually I know that this was one of the most patently ridiculous guilt trips of all. There was nothing I could have done to alter being who and what I was at birth. Had she said this to me once or twice, I might have remembered it and felt grieved but this was a litany that I heard at least once a month for 17 years.

And then there is the complicity and her actual participation in the sexual abuse. Perhaps this poem expresses it best. I don’t think I can write about it without becoming overly emotional and giving our perverted lurkers too much gratuitous information. This is my first memory of the incest.


Three…I am three years old and it is dusk
the last few moments of daylight cast feeble shadows
across the white counterpane of my bed;
the sky is glowing pink fading to gray and
I can smell newly mowed grass and the bitter green
of dandelions gone to seed, the sweet yellow roses
blooming on the porch trellis beneath my window
and the faint whiff of Daddy’s Pall Malls.
And I, fresh from a bath, wearing only cotton panties
smell like ivory soap and baking soda
dabbed on mosquito and chigger bites that still itch.
My hair is damp and your hands are harsh
brushing out the tangles, warning me
“Sit still! Don’t wiggle! Be quiet, you’ll wake up the baby!”

I have this memory now, I’ve brought it up
from the cellar where bad dreams and the sad tears
of little girls are kept when it’s too hard to remember.
I’ve claimed it now even though I’d rather push
it back to that time and place when I was only three
and freeze myself in that chair getting my hair brushed free
of snarls and your hands are impatient and tired.

It came to me in bits and pieces at inconvenient times
in inconvenient places as if it had a life of its own,
refusing to be denied, ignored. It came and insisted
that I recall every single moment, every single
assault on my senses, every single thought and emotion
that ran through my three year old mind that night.
It comes again and again insisting that I recall this information
And when it comes I am, for the duration, three again…

Listening to you walk wearily down the stairs,
the soft murmur of your voice and Daddy’s
deeper and louder, the thump of the screen door
and the heavy tread of his weight on the stairs.
The smell of oil and grease on his blue jeans,
stale cigarette smoke lingering in the fabric of his shirt.
The heat and humidity, sweat on his hands
when he rubs my back and whispers, “Turn over, Baby.
Give your Daddy a kiss goodnight.” The thumping of my heart
as I turn and give myself to his hands and meet
the vacant stare in your eyes as you stand,
watching from the doorway before you turn and walk away

Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn


Eyes seeking the response of eyes
Bring out the stars, bring out the flowers,
Thus concentrating earth and skies
So none need be afraid of size.
All revelation has been ours.

Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. “All Revelation.”

My little brother was nine years old when he lost his eye. He lost it because of sheer neglect and the outright refusal of my parents to follow medical advice. He lost it because my father was in a paranoid deluded state of mind, quite likely manic as hell and my mother refused to stand up to him and put her children’s welfare first come hell or high water.

It began when my brothers were repairing boxcar pallets for my father at the Verona Grain Elevator. A nail-head Chuck was pounding on (or maybe trying to pull the nail out of the wood, I don’t remember) sheared off and struck Jimmy Dale in the eye. A simple accident that was no-body’s fault. It could have happened to anyone.

I don’t even have a recollection of hearing about him getting hurt. Did he run to Mother crying? I don’t know. Was he bleeding? I have no idea. But I can guess what might have happened if he did.

My parents did not take their children to doctors. I broke my arm near the elbow when I was roller skating once and my mother bound it up in a dishtowel until it healed. How do I know it was broken? A Doctor mentioned it when I had Xrays as an adult.

I walked to the Doctor on a broken leg without permission from my parents because it hurt so bad I knew something was seriously wrong. My Grandfather loaned me a cane. My mother was furious.

But this story is about Jimmy Dale and how he lost his eye. They didn’t take him to a Doctor right away. Grain Elevators are dirty environments. There is dust and chaff from the grain everywhere no matter how hard you try to keep it clean. The farmers bring it in with them on their clothes along with manure from the barn and animal hair from the cows they’ve been tending.

Jimmy got an infection in his injured eye. Still they didn’t take him to the doctor right away. Not until he could barely close his eye because it was so swollen and he was in so much pain. Then it was nearly too late.

They had to rush Jimmy to Hastings for emergency surgery on his eye and the prognosis was about 50/50 that he’d be able to see again. I remember waiting for him to come out of the operating room outside on the hospital lawn, sitting with my other brothers, trying to read a book and not being able to concentrate. I remember the three of us crying because we all tried to protect Jimmy Dale from everything and this time we failed. I remember Chuck cried hardest of all.

Then there were the long days of waiting until the bandages came off. Every day we would make the drive to see him. We kids couldn’t go up to see Jimmy Dale but we could stand on the lawn and yell hello up at his second story window. A few times they let him come down to the lobby to see us from a safe sterile distance.

We missed him very much. According to him, he liked being in the hospital and getting all that good attention. It was safe. I bet it was. The food was better. It probably was; my mother was a lousy cook and besides they gave him all the ice cream he wanted. He didn’t want to go home. I understand why.

But time marched on and eventually they declared him well enough to go home with instructions to change his dressings several times a day and keep the wound clean. He had some vision back and it was improving daily. Within less than a week my father wanted all of us out at the Grain Elevator, including Jimmy and Mother.

They fought about it. I remember the fight. The gist of Dad’s arguemnt was that Mother did the books and she was very far behind. She had to come back and get caught up and stay current or there would be hell to pay and they would lose the Elevator Gig–the family livelihood.

I remember getting involved in the fight and offering to stay home with Jimmy and tend to him. I could change his dressings and put the salve in his eye. I was, after all, almost 14 and had been minding the boys while my parents worked since I was 9.

No effing way that was going to happen my father roared. The only reason I wanted to stay in town was so I could run all over the place chasing boys. That was part of his paranoia. Part of the reason we all had to go to work with him everyday. So I wouldn’t be left to my own devices to chase boys.

Mother caved in! She took that child back into that ungodly filth place and the inevitable happened, he got another infection. Once again those monsters did not rush him to the doctors right away. They kept treating him with the salve that they were given when he left the hospital thinking that would cure it if they doubled up on it.

By the time they decided that they had to take him in the prognosis was so dismal that my parents were flat out told before he went into the operating room that he would not see out of the eye again and it was doubtful they could save it. But they tried.

Within two weeks the eye was essentially dying and had to be removed. All told, my Jimmy spent more than 6 weeks in the hospital that summer.  He got very attached to one of the nurses there.

My little brother was going to be blind in one eye for the rest of his life. All because my pathethetic excuse for a father was too paranoid to let his family be out of his sight and a big enough of a bully to get his way. All because my crazy Mother could not or would not stand up to my selfish father and tell him her children came first no matter what the consequences might have been.

But you know what, I don’t think the children ever came first with her. SHE came first. She would do whatever was expedient to avoid any serious conflict with my father that would cause HER problems and we children were always sacrificed for the cause. Over and over and over again.

Jimmy Dale may have paid the highest price of all of us.


When my children were small they would ask me to tell them stories about what it was like when I was a little girl. I told them funny stories about my brothers. They called them the Uncle stories. I don’t think they even noticed that I told them hardly anything about myself.

I wish I could remember good times. I’m sure there must have been good times. It couldn’t have all been bad times could it? No. It’s just that the bad times over shadow all the good times, drawing a dark curtain over what was good. I remember times that started off good but turned out bad.

Mostly I remember being afraid to be happy because if I was happy something bad would happen. I remember laying awake in my bed at night and praying that nothing bad would happen. I remember making deals with god about what I would give up if only he would stop the bad stuff from happening. It never worked. I gave up being happy but the bad stuff kept happening. I could never be good enough.

Why do bad things happen to good little girls? Because shit happens and there is no one there to care. Especially not an all-seeing, all-powerful god.



Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand-a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods-or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.

Willa Cather (1876-1947), U.S. author. “On the Art of Fiction,” On Writing (1920)

Well, Willa, old girl, what would you think of today’s world and instant communication of ideas amongst even the least of us? Do you have a descendant, a younger version of yourself out there on those stark plains in Nebraska somewhere Blogging?

I think you’d rather enjoy this cacophony of voices raised up in “search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic-and have nothing to do with standardized values.” I think you would approve heartily of this medium that allows the voices of the masses to be heard and mold public opinion. I think you would applaud madly.

I first read Will Cather when I was fairly young. She was another author the the librarian at the Andrew Carnegie Library in Clay Center, Nebraska deemed safe to place into my starved little hands. We had reading programs in the summer when I was a child. For every ten or so books you read, you could earn an ice cream cone at the Soft Serve joint across the street from the Park. I could read 10 books a week easy peasy. Maybe 20 since I had read everything in the children’s section at least once. That’s why they promoted me to the adult section. I only had to read one adult book a week,

I planned to sew today. Then I remembered I had to glue some pieces of wood together and a lampshade. That means until they are dry the kitchen table is occupied and I will surely need the kitchen table while I sew. So I am writing instead because I can’t sew.

That’s really bunk. I want to write so I found an excuse why it’s really not convenient. I’ve felt driven to write this past week. It’s like a fever and I can’t not write. The weather is beautiful and I think I should go out and enjoy it because in Wisconsin you really take advantage of days like these days while you have them. Winter approaches.

But I can’t leave this monitor which is new to me by the way. It’s much easier on my eyes and bigger and I love it. I thought I would mourn my old Sony that I have had 12 years and got when I got my first expensive state of the art IBM. Nope it’s sitting in the closet and I don’t care one whit. Sony was a good friend and it was a good old work horse but out with the old and in with the new. This is a Gateway and it will probably never live up to the Sony’s pure gutsiness but the Sony was in the last stages of simply fading away.

But I diverge, back to what’s up with the inability to walk away from the PC? Where are all these words coming from and why am I feeling pushed by some unseen force to record them? Do not interpret that as a supernatural force. I said unseen. I think this is an entirely natural process. This has happened before, these periods where I can’t not write.

Of course the reverse is often true as well. Long periods with nary a word. I will sit down at the keyboard and stare at the monitor and nothing. I will try to type a simple sentence like: I went to the store and bought this or that, and the prose is as flat as a soda sitting in the sun for four hours.

I wander away and brood. Sometimes for days. Sometimes for weeks and months. My personal Muse has wandered away in a snit to play with our words by herself. Moody little bitch. Sometimes I beg her to return in the silence of an endless dreamless night when my thoughts chase themselves around in circles and I know that if I could write I could get to whatever it is that is bothering me and then I could sleep. But no, the keyboard, a pen and paper, even crayons will not entice her out of her hiding place.

When I was first started college, my Professor in English 101 praised my writing so highly that it gave me a case of the heebe jeebees. She really liked me because I was older and polite and best of all, I could spell.

Really, she was impressed by my spelling skills. OK. Cool. My other Professors weren’t as complimentary as she was but they liked me too. I always got these nice remarks on my blue books. That first semester was a little heady for someone who had flunked out of high school.

When it came time to write my term papers I got nervous as hell. What if I couldn’t live up to all that praise? jesus christ on a pogo stick, i put so much work into those papers you’d have thought i was writing a thesis. And I studied like a maniac for my finals. Then I went home and fell into the deepest depression I had experienced to date, sure I had failed everything but English.

When my grades arrived in the mail I was afraid to open the letter. But after the kids were in bed, I sat in my favorite chair and got ready to face the music, turning that letter over and over in my hands beofre I opend it. Holy shit…Straight As.

Even in Algebra which I was sure I would have to repeat so that’s why I took it the first semester. Heck, I hadn’t even had to be tutored. I understood everything.

Then I got the letter from the Dean’s office notifying me that I was on the Dean’s list and my name was in the local paper for having made the Dean’s list and having a 4.0 GPA. I was stunned and suddenly impressed with my bad self.

Then I got scared.

What if I couldn’t live up to all of this. What if this was a fluke. What if I had fooled all of those Professors or some terrible mistake had been made because this just couldn’t be true. It did not jive with anything I knew about myself.

All my life in that damn grade school and high school I had gone to they kept telling me I wasn’t living up to my potential. Or at least that’s what my parents had told me they had said. But no matter how hard I tried I could not achieve whatever it was they wanted me to achieve.

I had so much trouble with math. You see I went to kindergarten in Ohio which was basically like a pre-school. We learned the alphabet and numbers and I knew how to write my name but that was it.

Then I got to Nebraska and a one room schoolhouse with a teacher who really didn’t want some white trash kid who knew too much and was too old in her kindergarten messing up everything. My parents didn’t want me there either because I was old enough for first grade and I had graduated from kindergarten and they had a picture proving it.

So they put me in first grade and my mother taught me to read which I got right away. Reading, WOW! But NOBODY taught me to add and subtract. Ever. I don’t ever remember flashcards for numbers or getting the way numbers worked explained to me. Except one of my little friends showing me how to count on your fingers.

Not until I was 25 and I told my husband I couldn’t add and subtract. More like confessed because he was peeved that I never balanced the check book when I used it. He sat me down and explained numbers to me in detail when I wanted to get my GED.

Did you know that every number that can be divided by 9 also adds up to nine. You know, like 81 divided by 9 equals 9. 8 +1 equals 9. Skip taught me that. Skip was pretty smart when it came to stuff like that. I taught my kids all the stuff he taught me that made numbers easier.

I didn’t know how to tell anyone what the problem was. Or they didn’t listen. Or they didn’t want to hear. Or whatever. They just kept putting these numbers in front of me and telling me to make them do things that I COULD NOT MAKE THEM DO PROPERLY.

i tried. really i tried. i cried and i tried and the numbers would not work. i hated numbers.

Numbers still cause me problems. My daughter has problems with them too. She has been diagnosed as having some weird form of dyslexia that also caused her problems with reading comprehension which I did not have. Numbers transpose themselves and run around on the page for us so we have an uneasy relationship with them. I don’t do numbers past 30 or so. Not even with a calculator.

My daughter has learned how to corral them and even manages to balance her checkbook. I just operate on hope and a general sense of direction in that arena.

But there it was, an A in algebra… What the hell? How had that happened?

When I was a kid, we got a beating for every report card with anything less than a C on it which meant every quarter I got a beating. I never got anything but Ds in math. I remember working my ass off for Mr Bruin one semester–I think I was a freshman–doing every damn bit of homework which was a problem for me with math because I would get so confused and give up. I remember asking my mother for help that semester and she grudgingly gave it to me even though she would soon be tearing my ego into shreds about how stupid I was for not knowing this stuff and not paying attention in class.

Then report cards came out and my usual A in English had slipped to a B and I still got a D in Math. My parents were really pissed. Not only had I gotten-my usual D in math but my other grades were slipping. Of course I had never heard one word of praise for any of those As in the past. My parents did not believe in praise. Pride goeth before a fall you know. Pride is the devil’s handmaiden. right.

I went to Bruin and demanded he look at my grades again and we averaged them out and according to them I should have gotten a C+. So I asked him to change my report card and he refused. He told me he took off points for attitude. I went home crying and told my parents that and my Mother said I had probably deserved it.

What bullshit. What utter bullshit. He thought I had attitude before? Just because I was a Gavin? All Gavins had attitude? Well Ok, he had taught all my Aunts and Uncles and Tommy and Kenny were recent and probably painful memories. My brothers were breathing down his neck. He thought they were bad?

I’d show him attitude. I never turned in another homework assignment again. I never paid attention. I sneered when I spoke to him. I told him to go to hell a couple of times in front of the whole class. Sometimes I didn’t even bother to acknowledge his presence. Colored pencils, a sketch book, or my poetry journal were the only tools I brought to class.

He called me in and asked me what the hell was going on and I told him “I have a bad attitude, remember?” and turned on my heel and walked out. The principa called me in and I told him that if a teacher was going to give me a bad grade for a bad attitude because I was a Gavin I was damn well going to earn it. And if I was going to get beaten at home for said attitude I was going to earn that too.

That was the end of my education as a child. I quit trying. Anything I did at school I did because it pleased ME to do it. That’s why I ended up in honors English. That’s why I got As in art. My parents stopped going to parent teacher conferences about that time. I guess they didn’t want to hear it anymore. Maybe they weren’t invited.

The PE teacher saw my back after a beating one time and asked me what in hell was going on. I didn’t answer but they didn’t call my parents about the shit I pulled the way they called other kids’ parents and I got some heavy duty detentions for my “attitude.” The school may have started trying to protect me. My home ec teacher tried to talk to me but I was too pissed off to talk to anybody. School had become part of the enemy. I started doctoring my report cards and no one said a word about me turning Fs and Ds into Bs.

I got pulled out of Bruin’s classes though and stuck into general math. I flubbed around in there as well. Who gave a fuck.

My parents had already decreed I could not go to college when I was in 7th grade. They had three sons to educate.

I would go to business school and become a secretary. Excuse me, I CANNOT TYPE WITHOUT LOOKING AT MY HANDS. I FLUNKED TYPING, TOO.

another beating. for not trying.

Never mind that I practiced at home for hours on my Mother’s Selectra. How much trying is enough? When do you give up? NEVER. I can type 95 words a minute looking at my hands.  But I still can’t look away from the key board.  I think hit i and my fingers hit the e.

Just like I could not play the piano withut looking at my hands after five years of lessons. I still can’t because if I don’t watch my hands, my fingers don’t do what my brain tell them to.  Piano lessons were another occasion for disapproval and censure but because I was practicing under the watchful eye of my Gran who was also paying for my lessons she could swear that I was pounding away at her old upright fatithfully for an hour every day.

Testing when I was 28 showed that my right brain is dominant and I am right-handed. I should be left-handed.  Actually I am ambidextrous. I could have been left-handed but my mother encouraged me to use my right hand because then I would fit in with “normal people.”  My mother is left-handed.  Apparently, she did not feel normal because she also tried to change my left-handed brother into a righty.  It didn’t take.  Granted, this is a righthanded world.

I was just hanging on at school until they let me the hell out of there.  So far as I could tell, my destiny was to become a wife and mother so I might as well get on with the show.  I could legally leave as soon as I turned 16. If I could get the hell away from my parents I would fly like a bat out of hell.

I write because if I don’t my Muse will begin to scream until she drives me to distraction and then I will begin to scream as well.


Learning to live what you’re born with is the process, the involvement, the making of a life.

Diane Wakoski

I had a conversation with a young friend about the Blog last night. I don’t even know how we got started on the whole thing. I think I was telling him about the advertising gig on Living In the Edge of Madness and how the piece I had written about the worst idea in religion had gotten so many hits which led to a discussion of Blogs in general and this Blog in particular.

My friend is pretty therapeutized and pretty blunt so he asked me why I was doing this. I told him my therapist suggested it so I was doing it. Wasn’t it possible it was making me more angry? I told him that that was a distinct possibility but that maybe I needed to ge madder to get over beeing mad. You know what I mean?

I havn’t ever really written down what my mother had done without making excuses for her behavior. Cutting her some slack by blaming her actions on my father. This time I wasn’t making any excuses and I was telling all. Without going to much ito detail I told him what this Blog was about.

He asked me what I was going to do with it when I was done and I said I wasn’t exactly sure but I supposed that I would send my mother the URL. He told me I sounded angry. I told him damn straight I’m angry. He was worried that that anger might not be good for me. We talked some more and I told him the story about my nephew and the last four years and my recent conversations with my mother.

What ultimately came out is that I am furious with that bitch because all these years I have been protecting her from what she did by my silence. I chose not to tell my children or my brothers because it was me she did it to and I didn’t want to put anyone in the middleof my issues with her. The truth of the matter was I didn’t want anyone to say I had to be the one to forgive and forget and get over it already. I didn’t want anyone minimizing what happened and telling me that she was getting old and really couldn’t I find it in my heart to be the bigger person and let it go.

I just didn’t want to deal with any of them because there was too much hurt and too much potential for more. Besides, I didn’t go anywhere. They could have called me but they never did. Years went by. It’s like if I didn’t make the effort to stay in touch with the boys, I didn’t exist for them. And when they finally did wake up and realize I was missing from the picture, it was too late. I’d taken myself out of their sphere and I didn’t want back in. And I didn’t want them in my sphere either.

My mother said to me that I was only hurting myself by doing this. I asked exactly how she thought I was hurting. She said I had lost my family. I laughed at her and said said I had a family or did she forget I had two children, a son-in-law and a grandchild and oh by the way, one of her grandchildren had come up to Wisconsin to live. Did she know that? He calls me Aunt B. He’s part of my family too. And his girlfriend Natasha. I have as much family as I want to deal with right here thank you very much. What do you think you peopl;e are offering that I’m missing?

She had no answer. She has never once said to me. I love you. You are my daughter and I love you. I’m sorry I hurt you. Never.

I’m not going to protect her anymore. I don’t give a rats ass what my brothers do with the information but I’m going to make sure they see this Blog.My young friend said to me that I can’t change my mother I just have to accept that she is who she is.  He had to do the same with his mother.  He is of course right and I accepted that years ago.  That is what allowed me to walk away from her.

Trust the process, baby, trust the process.  The process is that you learn to live the life you are given with as much dignity and joy as you can possibly muster in spite of the assholes you run into along the way.  If you aren’t lucky enough to be given the appropriate guides when you are born, by damn you look until you find one that suits you who can lead you through the Process! These guides are generally known as therapists but can sometimes be found pastoring churches, in Alanon and AA groups and other self-help groups.  Whatever.   Trust the fucking process!