I recall that some of the worst of my mother’s alcohol-fueled episodes were when I was older, likely around high school age. By then I knew that something was wrong and I figured out that it was the alcohol that turned her into an angry monster but I couldn’t understand why my father wouldn’t put her into rehab. I must have asked him at least five or six times and his response was always the same: “She won’t go unless she wants to go.”
Even at my relatively younger age, I knew that wasn’t the truth. I’d heard of forced rehabilitation centers before and I wanted him to take her there. He never did.
When I was younger, I remember that he would protect me from her when I was too young to protect myself. Once I was older, that seemed to stop. My father blamed me for my mother’s anger, and to be fair I often was obstinate because I hated it when she drank. I was mean to her because she was mean to me. He didn’t step in anymore when she started going off on her rages.
I remember very clearly one night after one such rage where she tried to slap me (I dodged) that I was sitting on the couch with my father. I looked him dead in the eye and I said, “If she ever touches me again, I am going to knock her the fuck out.”
My dad looked at me, then sort of laughed. “No, you won’t,” he said. His smile faded when he saw the look in my eyes.
“If she ever touches me again,” I repeated, “I am going to knock her the fuck out.” My father looked at me strangely and said nothing else. He slowly looked back to the television and continued watching his show.
She never touched me again.