Lies and Truths My Grandparents Told Me Part 1
Updated: Dec 3, 2019
While my mother never gave my grandparents formal custody of me, they lived next door to me and were more participatory in my shaping than my mother was. They were the people who taught me the bible stories, tucked me in at night and taught me morals. My grandparents taught me from before the time I can remember that “God planned every day of my life”, my grandmother especially took comfort in this idea. I don’t remember a time that this is not what they told me when I was hurting or upset.
My mother hit me the first time I remember when I hung a coat on a door handle. The coat, as I remember it, was too long to have the weight on it to keep it there and it fell off. I think, I remember this is the first time she “beat” me. Over the years, I have had to come to terms with what that means. She hit me all over my body, mostly in the face over and repeatedly. I was around three years old. My grandmother years later had shown me she kept that little red jacket. In my 30-year-old hands, it was so small. What I remembered was so strange having seen the actual jacket in my hands.
Back to lie or truth, at a young age, maybe 5 or 6, I questioned why the loving God that my grandparents read me stories about would want my mother to hurt me. Why would my father be sick when I was born? I struggled with that early on. I always thought my grandparents knew that my mother abused me; but in hindsight I think they found out the severity of it when I was in late elementary school. I told them out right what was going on and how bad I perceived it was. I think it may have need weeks later before they truly understood the depth of the abuse. Only years later after attaining my master’s in counseling do I even really begin to understand what the extent of the damage really is, or what I think it is. Did God want me to experience all this abuse? On purpose?
In my late high school years, I feel like I fell into a group of people who unknowingly let me have my own relationship with God. I fell into actual paganism when I was about a Junior in High School. Funny enough the reason I call it “actual paganism”, I was bullied at school which I discuss later but since I was raised in a mostly Hispanic Catholic area, they called me a witch. The people who I met, who were pagan, very much believed in a free from relationship with the god you choose. Even though I struggled with reading problems and reading comprehension issues, my grandparents immersed me in their belief about God and Jesus that I think I had a solid idea of what they believed early on. I struggled with the concept even before my plight with my mother was “public” that God wanted me to be abused.
Fast Forward 27 years after I found paganism.
I have a double masters in both business management and marriage family child counseling. I work in a halfway house that works with felons who have drug addiction issues. One would think, “Wow, how did you get there?”. I get asked these multiple times weekly. So, here’s the question, did my grandparents lie to me?
I meet these people; I do see each as a person and not just another felon. My facility does an assessment called the LSI, Level of Supervision Inventory. Part of this assessment which is a targeted assessment of their strengths, is a family history or social assessment. We probe childhood and if they have “friends”. The word “friend” is a very specific concept in this assessment. I have been on this job now 7 months. I have seen a trend, each of these men who vary widely in age, but are always over 18, ethnicity and criminal history. 99 percent of them have trauma, of course, it ranges in severity. It is trauma, nonetheless.
Here I am, 44 years, only been in a field I feel passionately about since 2013, with people who are broken and been in places, I have fortunately not been in. I suffer from complex post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety, and bipolar 2 disorder. My symptoms from my own mental illness come and go. When I worked with children, my CPTSD was worse, now working with adults I am less bothered. My anxiety ebbs and flows just like it would with anyone. My bipolar symptoms ebb and flow, as well.
Somewhere, I am not sure where, I grew wise. Every person I encounter teaches me something, every one of them. They each have a lesson for me, and I hope that I have something that will resonate with them. Even if they never remember my name.
Is it possible that my grandparents weren’t full of crap and God had a plan for me the entire time? I don’t have a traditional view of God but is it possible that God shaped me into a person that can stand in trauma with someone, not look horrified as they tell me their story. Is it possible that all my collective experience has a meaning? Even when I worked with children, I wondered if all the crap and abuse had purpose.
So, did they lie to me?