Yes, I thought, I was one of them. In seminary we had to take a course in pastoral counseling. The lead professor asked me about my childhood.
“My mother was warm and accepting; my dad was quiet. I had a conventional, happy childhood.” I said more than that—and thought I was telling the truth.
Years later, I was showering and realized I had not seen my family the way they truly were. “My mother was hard-hearted and unloving!” I yelled at my wife. “My dad was mean and brutal!”
Shirley hugged me and said, “Yes. Several times I heard you talk to others about your warm, loving family. I thought your mother was one of the coldest individuals I’ve ever met.”
That opened me up. I had deceived myself (or I could call it lived in denial) and used words like conventional or happy to express my childhood. From that day onward I began to unwrite my family history. A year later, I was able to admit I had been physically, verbally, and sexually assaulted as a child and neither of my parents expressed affection.
When we no longer need the perfect life,
we accept the real one.