*** "Anybody have similar quick 180s in their feelings towards a relative, like mine towards my father? Repressed memories emerging dramatically?" ***
Yes - growing up, i used to think that the step-dad was the mean one - the one to blame. i didn't think of it as "abuse" until much later - as an adult in my 30s. then i first recognized the physical and verbal abuse before i could admit the sexual elements of it. it was only years later - within the past year - that i acknowledged that my mom was a part of the whole mess. before, i thought she didn't know what was going on and that she was the nice (but helpless)one and i could still love her - though i knew early on that i couldn't trust her - go figure. lots of things in my earlier thinking don't make sense when i put them all together.
but within the past year i had a very vivid memory return in which they were both present and i was touched inappropriately by him while she watched and they both laughed and ridiculed me. i must have been about 11-12 and very developmentally precocious. i also remembered making a conscious decision to escape that situation and to retreat from reality into a dream-like state.
since remembering that, my feelings toward her have changed radically. it was a devastating time - trying to adjust to that. i used to see her as a clueless and innocent victim of her husband's deception. i now see her as a passive accessory and accomplice by her inaction - who too late retreated into denial and rejection of reality. there is no love or even good-will left. nothing. i really wonder how i will feel when she dies. it will be interesting, confusing and difficult, i am sure.
"My experience has shown me that I all too often tend to deny that which lies behind, but as I still believe, that which is denied cannot be healed." Brennan Manning, "All is Grace - A Ragamuffin Memoir"