*** "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.
"the scariest thing about abuse of any shape or form, is, in my opinion, not the abuse itself, but that if it continues it can begin to feel commonplace and eventually acceptable."
- Alan Cumming, "Not My Father's Son"