I’m a man in my 40s, raised by somewhat strict parents. I was mostly happy though always lonely. I was very smart, still am, but never reached my potential... I can't get traction anywhere.
After a half-decade or more of rebel-rousing in my late teens/ early 20s, I went back and graduated post-secondary from a great school. Every demon I may’ve picked up, I tackled head-on and hard.
Yet, I’m taken advantage of in almost every employment and/or social setting I'm in, despite being unafraid to articulate unfair situations.
The problem is that I now see things for what they really are, including that my family’s been pulling many of the strings to marginalize me. Triggered memories now reveal a dark side of lies and betrayal by people closest to me.
The typical story would be me being a victim of sexual or physical abuse but my situation is not that. It's more diabolical or even psychological abuse.
I now remember that the first vicious lie/rumour/accusation started about me around 10 or 11. I definitely know that a family member was involved with it! It was kept from me until it followed me to a job of 10-plus years. That caused a bigger flood of memories returning to me during pandemic isolation.
I’ve cast several family members out of my life, calling them out for what they are, and telling them to keep away. The one to whom I offered to speak frankly, openly and reasonably, hasn't replied months later....
What should I do? It’s unnatural to be victimized this way by one's own family!
I’m hesitant to get DNA testing and analysis. I haven’t felt ready to learn that it's my unbeknownst biology that's led my life to be one of perpetual slights and sickening, disturbing treatment.
When long-repressed memories surface, there’s usually been a past trauma or deeply distressing event. You’re naturally devastated by recaptured memories of past serious maltreatment that’s been ongoing till today.
Relationship advice regarding those who’ve wronged you, doesn’t apply here, because you’re already dealing with those people as you see appropriate.
But your relationship with yourself is now what may help you in other ways. Being smart, self-aware, and needing help to move forward from what’s now current trauma, makes you an excellent candidate for professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Choose someone experienced with repressed memories and their impact when they re-enter someone’s awareness in their current life.
FEEDBACK Regarding your column about the benefits of having a pet during the pandemic, for mental health as well as exercise (July 8):
Reader – “Volunteer to be a walker or pal for a neighbour’s pet. During Covid no one has come into my space, but I made friends with a new neighbour, learned their rules of care with Greer, their Shelby, through walking with them (masked).
“When they had to attend their daughter’s graduation, Greer was happy to stay with me. Never having had a dog in my life, only cats, I can tell you that I’m now in love with my part-time pet.”
Reader #2 – “As a cat-rescue volunteer, there’s the long-term commitment that adopting a pet, especially a dog or cat, must be considered.
“We’re seeing extraordinary levels of interest in adoption during the pandemic, but our constant concern is to ensure people realize and accept that our pets will be with us long after life returns to normal, or some facsimile thereof.”
Reader’s Commentary About the word “privilege:”
"Privilege isn’t a dirty word. The "white privilege" trope has taken us down an unfortunate path in racial relations, often provoking hostility when suggesting that white people get something to which they have no right.
“But it’s not privileged if I go about legal activities without being bothered or beaten by police. That’s everyone's right in Canada.
“What does matter is whether some people are being denied their entitlement. That's where the focus should be, on ensuring entitlement for all, not arguing about the benefits the entitlement bestows.
“If a man lies bleeding in the street, it’s urgent to stop the bleeding and get him to hospital, not to ask him about the time his grandfather was refused admission to a hospital in 1949. That’s of interest to social scientists and historians but distracting from the immediate goal of equal entitlement.”
Tip of the day:
Sometimes we must heal the relationship with ourselves before moving forward. Professional expertise is needed, e.g., psychology, psychiatry etc.