Just like their present, a toxic person has a drama-fueled past. Although I know this about my mother, I have no idea at the actual history. It’s hinted at, and sometimes accidentally mentioned but never ever spoken about.
It is typical of toxic people not to talk about their past. In fact, when my father once told me about the big family secret, he was swift to add: Don’t tell your mother I said anything. You are not supposed to know.
So here I was with a huge secret, but without any of the details that would have helped me make sense of any of it (this is not my story to share, that’s why I am deliberately vague). It was like giving someone a tornado warning without the day or place of it.
I can just hear someone out there say: yeah, but you cannot burden your children with that kind of stuff!
You are absolutely right, as kids we had no business knowing this. But as we came into adulthood, we could have been confided in. Or at the VERY least, pick either or. Either tell me, or do not tell me. None of this confusing: I am sort of telling you but please pretend you don’t know.
I also have to add, that it is not just traumatic experiences. I realize that I know far more of the personal history of my in-laws than my parents. I know about places they lived, jobs they held, trips they took… I only know very sporadic stories about my parents, and of those ones they are not even always about themselves (like: when I was little I had a friend who etc.).
I guess the truth of the matter is: I really don’t know my parents at all.