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Toxic Parent(s)
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I'm reading Jeanette Walls' The Glass Castle. For me, it's almost impossible to read. I have to keep putting it down. Too many memories coincide with the memoir.

I'll try to finish it by the end of the month, when our book club meets. I need a deadline, or I may not be able to pick it up again. Yet even as I write this, I wish I had the book at my desk; it exerts a sort of fascination on me and I want to read more.

I want to answer the question which has haunted me for years. How did some of us survive and even thrive? How did we know that our parent(s) was/were crazy toxic and in what areas and how did we cope long enough to mature into some semblance of sanity?

How did we ever learn what is crazy and what is not? Even though I went through it myself, I don't know how I did it. Maybe by reading what others who faced the same situation have written, I can find a clue.

Do we just know by instinct what's crazy, what's toxic, and what's not? Or are we, by virtue of being social animals, able to learn from the wider community as we witness their reactions and watch their interactions with our parent(s)?

Walls describes incidents when she was six or seven years old, when she pulled away or her brother stood up to her father, when, like me, they knew the parental behavior had gone beyond the pale, beyond anything sane.

One incident that sticks with me is the time there was nothing to eat in the house, so she ate margarine mixed with sugar. Then there was the time her father burned the Christmas tree, and threw the eating utensils all over the house and her mother attacked her father with a carving knife...oh, yeah.

How on earth did we survive?

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