The train was due in a few hours. Young Brian sneaked away to lock himself in the outhouse toilet. His parents couldn’t get him to budge so they put the garden hose in the small louvre window and sprayed him with cold water. After an hour, cold and shivering, Brian gave up and came out of the toilet. His parents sent him back to the Auntie they had given him away to. The only one of the five children to be sent away, he couldn’t understand why his parents didn’t seem to want him. He was too young to understand that his mother was suffering post-natal depression with three children aged six and younger.
Brian suffered chronic homesickness for the three years (aged 8 – 11) he was separated from his family. He felt rejected, and cried constantly. As a result he was teased and bullied at school. This became a deep emotional trauma.
Eventually he was reunited with his family and they moved from Te Rapa to Auckland. Brian’s Dad worked in the Air Force and was often absent. As a result Brian never really developed a relationship with his dad. Instead he was resentful and rebellious, not wanting to listen to or obey his parents.
When Brian married and started his own family, the rejection that he felt as a child overshadowed his relationships causing both withdrawal and aggression. In 1980 when Brian was 28 he became a came to faith as a Christian. He describes it as feeling a warm blanket of love around his shoulders. He felt love instead of rejection. From then on it was a process of transformation. Through his new faith he eventually realised that he had an issue to deal with – his relationship with his parents.
He felt that he should ask his parents’ forgiveness for the way he had behaved toward them when he was a teenager. But he also still felt angry. Why should he apologise? It was his parents who had wronged him! Eventually he decided to do what had to be done. He drove down south to where they were now living. He walked in and told them that he needed to put things right. He told them how he had felt resentment, bitterness and rejection. For the first time, Brian heard the reason why he had been sent away - that it wasn’t his fault, it was just that his mum was severely depressed and couldn’t cope.
It was the start of a new relationship with his parents. Brian was grateful for the opportunity to put things right before his father passed away.
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