GOD I am so so tired of stories about abusive fathers who turn out to be ~complex~ and have reasons behind their actions.
Like, it’s not even about whether or not I like the characters it’s about the fact that fiction NEVER just lets us look at a shitty dad and say “he’s shitty, get this child away from him and, if it’s what they want, let them never have to deal with him again”
This made me think of a family I knew growing up and just… how abusers encourage policed super empathy around them.
They see themselves as reasonable people set off for legitimate reasons so everyone around them has to focus on their needs, their feelings, or you’re the one that set them off. I remember being… fourteen I think and saying something like “hey my best friend wants to be a doctor because she wants to help people. I don’t think everybody who dies it is power hungry” and the guy went off at me. It wasn’t him that got talked to, but me for setting him off. I don’t say this because it was that awful an experience for me, but because, after growing up around this family, it was the first time I realized how much they were all constantly monitoring his needs.
When people try and talk about abuse, they are so often met with empathy, being told their abusers surely love them or are trying their best or must have had a hard life, and that doesn’t make it not abuse. I am so sick of the same shitty tropes I see in real life being treated as legitimate in narrative:
“Oh. Now I see how much pain he was in it was totally legitimate that this grown man take that pain out on a child.”
“Now that I am older, I have finally realized I should have to desperately seek out small hints of love and affection because constant insults to children are just how tough men have to be.”
“He pushed me way to hard and hurt the world is awful and it made me prepared.”
Adults do not get a tragic backstory get out of being a loving parent free card! Kids should not be expected to accept crumbs of decency as love or make excuses for adults! Reconciliation is not a necessary part of being a good person when the other person’s hurt you and shows no proof of changing!