The Musings of an Elective Orphan

Sarah Brandis

October musings from an Elective Orphan

Watching the recent news about Hamzah Khan makes me wonder about what makes a bad parent become the way they are.  And it also makes me wonder about what made my parents the way they were too.  My mother was nothing like Amanda Hutton, obviously, as I survived well enough until I was sixteen and could get myself out of her house.  But it’s not so much the style of the abuse that I want to focus on, it’s what leads a person to abuse in the first place.  Abuse is commonly thought to be a vicious cycle, or a chain; a person is abused as a child, they grow up and find an abusive partner, and then they have and abuse their own children.  And then those children grow up, and you know how this goes by now…

Did my father run away from home, just like I did?

Did my father run away from home, just like I did?

All I know about Amanda Hutton is what I have seen in the news, and that is hardly enough to base a real discussion on.  But I do have plenty of theories about both of my own parents.  If you have been following my blog for a while, or have read my story (this), then you will know how I explained my mother’s behaviour; her mother mistreated her, she grew up to marry an abusive man, and I was their first born.  As the eldest I copped most of the abuse, to my knowledge anyway.  But I have not heard from my sister in sixteen years, so I can’t be sure about her side of things.  However, my father’s side of the story remains a big mystery.  I am aware he was abusive towards my mother and myself, but not why.  Was he also abused first?  But surely being abused cannot be the only reason for being abusive, otherwise we would have a ‘chicken and egg’ problem.  So what else is there?

Well, the only thing I do know is that my father was ‘removed’ from his own family before I was old enough to know any of them.  I may not have even been born, I am really not sure what year this happened in, but I never met any of them.  But the main questions are why was he removed?  Did they mistreat him?  Did he remove himself?  Or did he do something really terrible…

Family Tree

Family Tree

I have discussed this with my counsellor, and she agrees with me that I should be curious about this.  We all look for meaning in the world, and I would love to know the reason for my childhood abuse.  It wouldn’t make me ‘all better’, and it wouldn’t necessarily lead me to forgiveness, but it would give me a framework.  A reason.  It would make ‘me’ make more sense.  I think I would like to be as well informed as possible about how my past happened, so that I can be sure that history would never repeat itself.  If I am ever to become a parent, I would need to know that my history has been put to bed forever.  So I am thinking about the possibility of tracking down some relatives on my father’s side.  Absolutely not in a ‘Jeremy Kyle reunion’ kind of way.  More like in a safe-distance, over the internet at first kind of way, really just to see if someone could tell me their side of the story.  If anyone reading this has any tips on finding long lost relatives, please leave a comment below.  I’m in no hurry to do this.  I really don’t want anything to distract me from my last year at uni.  So this might actually turn into a post-graduation summer project for next year.  I will keep you all posted.



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This entry was posted on October 5, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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