Underneath my yellow skin

Bagua is my bag–bait and switch!

Bagua is my new everything.

That’s it. That’s the post. Ha! Not really.

I have fallen in love with Bagua as is my wont. When I am attracted to something (or someone), I am ALL IN. maybe not on the theory, but definitely in practice.

My teacher is dedicated to Taiji and Bagua. It’s what she does with most of her time, which I admire and aprreciate. I don’t know if I want to go that far, however, as it’s a part of my life (internal martial arts), but not the whole thing. I wrote about how she’s a gerat teacher in my last post. She puts up with my bullshit and questioning. I was the most recalcitrant student when I first started. I mean, that’s how I am in the rest of my life as well. I question everything after a lifetime of being gaslit by myy mother. And I mean that in the actual sense of the word. My mother will lie at the drop of a hat about what she has said and done.

Here’s the worst part, though. She is not aware she’s doing it. That’s not an excuse, by the way. It’s the literal truth. When my parents were last here, my mother and father had a screaming fight. My mother ran into the room where I was (living room), and my father followed. They were yelling in Taiwanese and I said loudly to my father that he needed to stop (which was probably not the best way to handle it, but it was really upsetting me as well.

My mother was crying and my father was shouting. He has dementia, which was markedly worse than it had been the last time I saw him. That was the summer before the pandemic so 2019. My medical crisis was autumn, 2021. So two-plus years later. The amount of decline was shocking to me, though it shouldn’t have been. He was getting worse and worse every year, so that much of a gap made it even more noticeable. But, as people who have loved ones with dementia know, it goes in and out without warning. One minute, he’s talking normally, and the next minute, he’s talking about something that doesn’t exist. I learned to go with it, but my mother could not. She claimed it was beacuse she could not lie to him, which was part of the abusive marriage.

I’m not going to get into that. Just suffice to say that after more than fifty-five years of marriage, she was completely worn down to a nub. Whatever fight she had in her was gone except for in very brief spurts that probably didn’t do any good in the long run.

Side note: One of the side effects to long-term abuse is maladaptive behavior. You have to adapt in order to deal with the toxicity–which causes you to become toxic in return. I’m saying this from experience. I know we don’t like to point it out, but abuse warps people. It just does. I can see it in my mother, and I can see it in myself. My mother threw my brother and me under the bus, repeatedly, in order to take the heat off herself. That was what she was doing with the argument in question, whether she realized it or not. She wanted me to be the one taking the hits (metaphorically), and I felt I had to step in*.

When I was a kid, I did not stand up to my father. I vas too intimidated, depressed, and emotionally beaten down to do that. It’s only when I got older and with the help of Taiji that I realized I did not have to put up with it. And, at some point in the last ten years, it hit me that I could take my father. Physically, I mean. I was stronger than he was, and I was learning Taiji. Once I realized that he could not hurt me physically, it was a small leap to realize that I could fight back emotionally as well.

So when he was shouting at my mother who was a tiny woman, all the protective instincts came out in me. But, at the same time (and this is something else we don’t talk about), I was resentful that she dragged me into her shit. It’s what she always did, but it was so draining. She tried to excuse herself by saying at some point, the parent became the child, but she’s been doing this all my life. Since I was eleven. That was the first time she dumped her marital problems on me (but certainly not the last), and the first time I told her to divorce my father. And, again, not the last.

My father shouted at me in English that it wasn’t any of my business. I screamed back that he had made it my business and that he needed to stop. I kept raising my voice until I basically made him shut up. So, yes, I battled abuse with abuse of my own (arguably), and I did get him to shut up. It left me shaken, and I had a hard time calming down. Later that evening, my brother came over for dinner. My father wanted to talk about what happened, and I knew he was going to lie (he, too, did it without thinking), and I did not twant to hear it. I tried to get him to stop talking, but he was insistent.

As I knew he was going to do, he said something that was completely untrue. It was probably true in his brain (and it might have even happened, but it wasn’t what the fight was about), but it wasn’t what actually happneed. Later, my mother said that he was upset because I tried to shut him down. I was in a different room because I could not deal with it. She said I should apologize to him. I would not.

We talked about it the next day. More to the point, she brought it up. She said that I had screamed at him, too. I looked at her in appalled amazement. I struggled to keep my voice even as I asked if she remembered why I had screamed at my father. She shook her head. I recounted the entire fight up to that point, and she looked at me in dismay. She said, “I forgot that happened.”

I could tell that she was not lying. She meant it sincerely, and it reminded me of other times she had said something or done something and then forgotten it happened–usally when it reflected badly on her. I wonder if it’s an actual reaction to trauma–forgetting it happneed. My brother has a terrible memory as well, but that’s with everything and not just negative experiences.

Wow. I don’t know how I ended up here, but, obviously, this post will not be about Bagua. Maybe tomorrow’s post will be. We shall see.



*Yes, I know I should not have, but I have my own maladaptive behaviors.

Leave a reply