"Something You Feel"
The drummer boy turned out to be
not entirely inept at strategy,
which surprised Gorrein at first,
but thinking further it made sense
that he would attract followers with
that sort of knack, regardless of age.
They played quarterboard,
three quarters to one, and
even though Gorrein always won,
it took him longer now than it had
when they first started playing.
It made him feel a little less lonely,
a little more in control of a world
that kept wanting to tilt wildly off-center.
"There is just so much more pressure
on me now than there used to be,"
Gorrein complained. "It's harder
to keep my balance. I don't
know how to do it."
"Well yeah," said the drummer,
moving a piece toward the center.
"Balance is tricky, especially with
people pulling on you all the time,
and it's not something you do,
it's something you feel."
"I don't feel it," Gorrein said,
after the drummer's third move
made it his turn again. "I just
go through the motions."
"If you can't feel it, you're humped,"
said the drummer.
"I know, I know," Gorrein said.
Just then a low boom echoed
through the heavens.
"What was that?" the drummer yelped.
"I never felt anything like that before!"
Gorrein had. The memory
made him duck his head
between his shoulders like
a turtle seeking its shell.
"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?"
"GORREIN GOD OF WAR,
YOU GET OUT HERE THIS INSTANT!"
"My parents," he said lamely
to the shocked drummer.
Then he slunk to the Great Hall.
"WE LEAVE THIS PLACE FOR ONE CENTURY --
JUST ONE! -- TO ATTEND AN IMPORTANT MEETING,
AND COME BACK TO FIND IT A SHAMBLES!"
thundered Padal the Father God.
"AND WHAT DID YOU DO TO THE WEATHER?
JUST LOOK AT THIS AWFUL MESS!"
shouted Mahar the Mother Goddess.
"I didn't touch the weather!"
Gorrein protested "I don't
even know why it's like that."
"WELL YOU MUST HAVE DONE SOMETHING.
IT DIDN'T TANGLE UP LIKE THAT BY ITSELF!
START BY EXPLAINING WHAT YOU DID DO,"
his mother directed.
"START BY APOLOGIZING TO YOUR SISTER,"
his father demanded.
Then the others joined the chorus.
It was just like it had always been,
everyone blaming Gorrein for things
he had nothing to do with, and nobody
ever appreciating the things he got right,
and constant pressure to obey conflicting orders
that would have been hard to handle even one at a time.
Gorrein sighed, and did the best he could.
Days later, when his parents finally wound down,
he managed to escape back to his sanctuary.
"My Lord!" the drummer exclaimed.
"What happened to you? You look awful."
"Did you ever have one of those parties,"
Gorrein said slowly, "where your parents
came home to find that you had somehow
managed to run the wagon into the parlor,
let all the livestock out of the barn, and
eaten the entire sack of sugar in the pantry?
With your friends still passed out in the yard,
that you haven't had time to clean up after?"
"No," said the drummer boy.
"Oh," said Gorrein. "Well,
this is like that anyway."
"They're really mad, huh?"
the drummer asked.
"Furious," Gorrein said.
"They think I'm a complete failure."
"Failure is something you feel,
and something you do,
not something you are,"
said the drummer.
"Sure. Tell that to them,"
Gorrein mumbled into his hands.
The drummer turned to go.
"No no no, wait, don't do that!"
Gorrein said, dragging him back.
"The mood they're in, they would
reduce your soul to a grease splat
on the floor of the Great Hall."
Gorrein didn't want to lose the only person
who would still play quarterboard with him.
"Then I'll find some other way to help,"
said the drummer. "It's not right
for them to pick on you like this."
"What could you possibly do about it?"
Gorrein grumbled, glaring at him.
"I dunno," said the drummer.
"Sneak you some of my cookies
if they send you to bed without supper?"
This. This was what he was reduced to.
Gorrein didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
So instead, he set up the quarterboard for another round.
* * *
"Pressure is something you feel when you don't know what the hell you're doing."
-- Peyton Manning
Maladaptive parenting happens when people are inept rather than purposely abusive. There are ways to improve parenting skills and overcome poor parenting from your childhood.
Scapegoating appears in many dysfunctional or questionably functional families. Know how to heal from scapegoating.