i’m a good actor. growing up, the best acting i ever did wasn’t on the set.

I’ve talked to my sister about it, and it’s like she grew up in a different family than I did.

There’s no way my mother didn’t know that the man who was my father was cruel to me. There’s no way she didn’t know he was so mean to me. He humiliated me, he teased me, he picked on me. He put me down, he mocked me, he minimized everything I cared about. He did it in front of the whole family, endlessly. There’s no way she didn’t know he clearly and obviously and demonstrably loved my brother and sister in a way he did not love me. I mean, look at pictures of me. Pictures where I was putting on my best face for the whole world! The sadness and pain in my eyes is painfully obvious. Some of you are mothers. I know that every single one of you would recognize that pain and sadness if you saw it in your children. I know that every single one of you would do everything in your power to help your child.

I wonder if my mother convinced herself that, because he wasn’t hitting me or leaving marks on me, that he wasn’t abusive. And I wonder if, having made that choice, the emotional abuse and endless cruelty was that much easier to ignore.

I’ve talked to my sister about it, and it’s like she grew up in a different family than I did. She says she never felt unloved, or like she had to be good enough for their affection and approval. She felt like she was enough, just because she existed. She never felt like our parents didn’t love her or accept her exactly as she was. Watching my parents worship our brother, it was obvious that he was more than enough for them.

If I’m being honest, the thing that hurts the most is knowing that my parents had unconditional love to give, because I saw them give it freely to my siblings.

He wasn’t physically abusive toward me until I was a teenager. I mean, they both spanked me and my siblings all the time in the 70s and early 80s. I understand now that we consider that physical abuse, but in the 70s I understand that corporal punishment was more common than it is now? I don’t know. I think using the threat of physical violence and pain to make your kids behave a certain way is monstrous, but I also know it was a different time and … well, my parents were kind of monstrous. I just didn’t have anything to compare my experience to at the time.

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Wil Wheaton

Wil Wheaton

Wizard. Time Lord. Fake geek girl. On a good day I am charming as fuck.