Some years ago I watched a very powerful movie, “Affliction”, with Nick Nolte, Wilhem Dafoe, Sissy Spacek and James Coburn. Trigger warning: it’s one of the most brutally honest movies about fatherhood and abuse that I’ve ever seen. So please please please be warned.
Wade (Nolte) deals with his father’s abuse by using violence to try to control the situation. At one point Rolfe (Dafoe) says he dealt with his father’s abuse by removing himself so as not to be afflicted by it. Wade laughs and says, “Ya, right!”
At the end of the film, Rolfe narrates:
“Our stories, Wade’s and mine, describe the lives of boys and men for thousands of years. Boys who were beaten by their fathers, whose capacity for love and trust was crippled almost at birth; men whose best hope for connection with other human beings lay in detachment, as if life were over. It’s how we keep from destroying in turn our own children and terrorizing the women who have the misfortune to love us, how we absent ourselves from the tradition of male violence; how we decline the seduction of revenge.”
It rocked my world because I could see myself in Rolfe as well as in that quote I just gave you.
Only watch it if you dare.