Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Subjection Conditioning

Thank you all for your responses to my last post; it's lovely to be understood!

This is only one story about my mother, and many responses have been, well, severe about her. I'm not saying the severity is not called for in this situation, and I'm sure if she ever reads this blog she will still not understand where her critics are coming from. The journey from one viewpoint to another is a very long one, and it's less than 10 years since she left my dad. We find it hard to understand her, but in my father's world she is an anarchist! One of his brothers has forbidden his wife to associate with her at all in case she 'gets ideas'. I owe all my capacity to grow, to her.

But you cannot be abused without participating in it yourself, mainly by finding reasons to acquiesce. The longer you live with the situation the further your appreciation of what's actually happening differs from the truth. The same as any situation you live with daily. Only hindsight sees clearly. You look back across a vista of years and think, Cor, I was miserable in my teens. But at the time you didn't think so, you just survived, one bright spot in life to the next.

In this situation she was putting the blinkered viewpoint of a battered woman, one whose entire sense of the world has been warped by her abusive spouse. When you live in that situation your life is a series of deeper and deeper compromises, of continually persuading yourself that something you are experiencing is normal. This is why abuse persists, generation to generation. She was utterly, beyond words, astonished that a girl child growing up in that world she lived in had the temerity to disapprove of her treatment. It was news to her that such an attitude was even possible.

When she failed to keep her husband sweet, when he roared and rampaged, my mum thought she was the problem, that she was failing to fully enter into her adopted culture. I like to think that Kikuyu women are on the whole quite dangerous, intolerant of male misbehaviour. My Dad had to travel 6813km, to find a suitably brow beatable woman. In that inimitable way in which bullies recognise their victims, by arcane signs known to no one else, he recognised a woman whose Dad and upbringing had suitably primed her for his attentions - perhaps only by leaving her with a shaky sense of self worth and an acculturation to living with misery. At the point in our lives when I told that story, my mum had had over 40 years of subjection conditioning. I'd only had 16.

It makes a difference.

Labels: , , , ,


At Wednesday, February 21, 2007 , Blogger Acolyte said...

But you cannot be abused without participating in it yourself,
Sad but true. Abusers are like drug addicts, any form of enablement keeps them going.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home