Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I was going to go one way with this post and then I hit a detour. I got in the Think Tank and had a revelation, of sorts, and now I am a bit confused. So, I am going to throw it out there and see what you guys think. Is that passing the buck? I like to think of it as information gathering.

Yesterday I said that I didn't have any issues with my parents. That is true. I do think that I have learned some things, by example, that might not be so healthy. I also think that I might not have even realized I was learning it. I want to clarify that this isn't a blame it on the parent blog. This is more of a this is what my dad did, and I have caught myself doing it, too. Unfortunately, this isn't very healthy behavior, for him or me. So, let's examine this crap. We shall begin with dad.

My father was a social worker. He is now retired. I think that sometimes people pick occupations like social work because they are trying to get a handle on their own relationship issues with their family members. I think that is the case with my dad. My mother says that when my father went to get his Masters in Social Work that they told him that they really didn't think this was a good career choice for him. In other words, he had too many issues of his own. Unfortunately, I don't think he found the answers he was looking for in the textbooks; he also didn't listen to the guidance offered and got the Masters in Social Work anyway.

Since my dad didn't find his answers in the classroom, he buried all of those issues about his mother, and his other relatives from that branch of the family, really deep. So deep that he began to believe that he was fine. Eventually that became his truth. He sold himself on his fineness with his family, and was able to maintain that fineness, so long as he was able to maintain a reasonable distance, and limited contact. That all came to a screeching halt when my nanny began failing and decisions needed to be made about her care.

At that time I was living in GA, so I wasn't there for "the event." In fact, getting the specifics wasn't an easy task. However, my understanding is that my father and my aunt (his half sister) got into an ugly argument that probably went something like this:

Dad: I am not happy with the way you all have been handling mom's money. I have concerns about her long-term care.

Aunt: This is rich. I have been the one who has lived within spitting distance of the woman my entire life, could never do anything right, and you have always been the golden child. You are never around, and now that mom needs long-term care, here you are to tell us how to run things?

Dad: (taken aback by the attitude even though he did throw the first volley) I am not looking to fight with you. I just want to sit down and go over things to make sure that mom will be taken care of, and make sure she has enough money to keep her in a nice place. And stop being so dramatic.

Aunt: (working up a head of steam) Dramatic? You think this is dramatic? You have barely come around here since you left as a kid and now you want to call the shots? I have taken care of our mother my entire life. I have been the one to make sure that she is all right. Where have you been? It hasn't been here. And you are still numero uno and I am sick of it!

Dad: (the madder he gets, the calmer he sounds) You are acting like a child. Grow up.

Aunt: (interrupting) Grow up? You don't have any idea what you are even talking about!

Dad: You are acting like a crazy woman.

Aunt. (waving hands around, now screaming) Crazy? You think this is crazy? You try taking taking non-stop care of someone who doesn't appreciate you for years and then you'll see crazy!!!!

Dad: I'm done. I will go see mom at the nursing home, but you are not my sister. I am disowning you.


Of course, I don't know that it went down exactly like that, but it was something like that. I hit all the major points. After the disowning, about once a year I would ask my father if he was ready to make peace with my aunt yet. His response always was that he didn't have a sister. My dad always was ice to her fire. When she got terminal cancer, I thought that he would change his mind. He didn't. She died and he never went to see her because he didn't have a sister. My cousin says she cursed his name until she died. I think she cursed his name because she knew that he knew she was dying of cancer, and he didn't come to make amends, and it made her so angry she could spit nails. I can understand that. I stopped asking my dad about it because it was over. He couldn't make peace with her and there was no point in making him feel bad about it.

When we all got together this past spring I had to know exactly what was said in that conversation that could make him so angry that he couldn't get past it. We didn't get very far for a couple of reasons. The biggest one was that my dad now has these holes in his memory. If you want to compare his brain to a computer and each memory has a wire hooked up to it, a bunch of his wires have gotten pulled. Some have been pulled all the way out and others partially. He remembered being angry and he remembered the part about her lamenting their "statuses." He said to me that was so wrong because her father treated her like a queen. I said to him that she wasn't talking about her father; she was talking about nanny. It was clear that thought never occurred to him. Of course, he was really angry about the money at the time (and he had forgotten all about that when we talked). We got interrupted and we never got back to that topic, but I wondered if that rift might have been reparable. As it was, it was another thing that my father told himself that he didn't care about. It didn't bother him in the least to cut his sister out of his life. He didn't regret it. He wouldn't change it. *All of these statements were made when he still had his memory.*

I wrote this blog and that alerts me to the fact that I do the same thing. The only thing that woke me up on this one was the fact that I physically could not do what my brain was saying that I could and would do. That is it. Otherwise, I had convinced myself that something was true, but it wasn't. The only place it was true was in my imagination. (This was another early blog that got 0 comments. My blogs were shorter then, too. Hmmmm.)

Sometimes we can pretend something for long enough and it becomes the truth. Pretending to be strong is strong. In that case, it is a good thing. It's fooling yourself into becoming strong. That is all well and good when you're selling yourself something that helps you. What about when you sell yourself something that hurts you? What about when you ignore something or push it down long enough and deep enough and say enough times that it is not an issue that you believe it? You believe it. How do you disbelieve something? The only way to disbelieve it is to catch yourself in a lie. A lie to yourself.

Lucy March (are you tired of her yet?) says that her therapist sometimes stops her mid sentence or story ~ whatever ~ and says that everything she has just said is complete bullshit. Apparently her therapist has an excellent bullshit meter. Lucy and I are afflicted with the same problem of selling ourselves on stuff that is not true. I have no idea what Lucy's bullshit crimes are, any more than I know what mine are. And therein lies the problem.

I just wanted you to be prepared. If you read something and it smells like bullshit. Hit the button and call it. You are all now blog therapists. Enjoy the feeling for about two seconds. My mental stability is in your hands. See how fast that euphoria wore off...

all images found at www.weheartit.com


  1. I did that with my mom. I told myself for soooo long that my mom was the perfect mother. That she did everything for us. That I couldn't even admit to myself that she stayed in a really bad relationship and allowed us to be abused by dipsh*t. She allowed it. So for all she did, I had carried a huge amount of anger for YEARS!!!
    When I started cleaning out my chicken coop I hit that layer and freaked. How could I 'confront' my mother when she had sacrificed so much...well, I did it. It made a huge difference.
    Now, here comes chris the therapist.
    I don't know if you noticed...but you put up there that you didn't want your dad to get angry,andyou wanted to know what pushed his buttons.
    And....that video you posted yesterday about a distant father....who had a distant mother.
    The daughter taking care of the father who was distant...was your ex husband emotionally distant.
    Were you constantly caretaking emotionally with your dad?
    So did you attempt to save your ex emotionally?
    If maybe you could get your ex to love you, then your dad did too?
    Just throwing stuff out there.
    This is a hard row to hoe.
    hang in there.

  2. Robin , Thank you so much for your encouraging wonderful comments on my blog. SO SWEET OF YOU! Thank you!
    I am feeling better - shook it off, learned from it. Ready to do some positive blogging! ( :
    Have a pretty day!

  3. It took me a long, loooong time to accept the truths about my family -- Borderline abusive sister (rather than my being a woefully imperfect antagonist who deserved how she was treated), patient as a saint mother (a.k.a.: martyr who couldn't accept she had a Borderline abusive child so she blamed the other child), involved father (who travelled around the world for work and got to escape a lot). It's rough accepting a crappy reality ... it's so much easier to slide into the delusions and excuses instead of confronting ye olde reality head-on ....

  4. @Chris ~ I guess you hit something b/c I started crying. It always bothered me that my father could just turn it off with my aunt. The only people that he was openly loving to were my brother and me, but there was this place in my head that kinda freaked after that. The Operator was all talk. He could talk a line of bs a mile long. In other words, he was all talk and I found the words comforting. They would have been more comforting had there been follow through. (Duh) On that family trip, I had this moment with my brother. The thing about my dad and my aunt was heavy on my mind. Anyway, I just had this total breakdown on my brother. I was this crying mess. The migraines have taken over my life and I have these visions of ending up alone. I know that his wife doesn't like me very much (my sister-in-law) and I was crying and making him promise me that he and I would never be like dad and my aunt. I didn't come out and say that I thought he might be the only person living who cared about me in the not so distant future, but it is there. He promised and I eventually stopped like the crazy person he was probably afraid I was becoming. Confronting my dad would be pointless because he doesn't remember what happened with my aunt. And he hasn't been emotionally distant from me. However, this was enlightening. Painful, but enlightening.

  5. It would be interesting to hear what her therapist called her on, was it I feel much better today I'm going to start graduate school or I never tried killing my brother.

  6. well, are you at all like your aunt? By that I don't mean you are afraid of being like her, but did you like her? Did you admire her. She sounds like she was pretty connected to reality to me.
    And crying while in agony is expected. You are afraid you, at some point, may make him angry enough to distance himself from you, and in your current state of debilitation...your family is really all you have...the kids still live with asshat and you have financial crap and emotional crap and your big mess of crap to sort through..and then there is those damn keys you haven't found.
    Give yourself a break if you hadn't spotted what is a realistic fear up till now. Even people not in constant agony miss the obvious. I did it for years.
    Big hugs.

  7. Very thought provoking post. Seems to me we are all bits and pieces of experiences from our childhoods. I have no answers for anyone else. All I can say is that my wounded responses to others gradually brought me to increased understanding of why I repeated the same self-destructive behaviors. Seeing myself as that hurt child, I can embraced my defenses and smile at myself when I go back in time to those old choices. For me, unfolding the layers has been part of the journey to self-awareness and forgiveness. It has been a long (often circular) process. But, sweet lady, I believe you are well on your way.

  8. I think we all have stories similar to this in our lives.

    My Dad told me of the story about Granddad Brown and his brother... how for the last 15 years or so of his Life, they didnt speak to each other. Supposedly this was over some gold coins that belonged to their Dad... which disappeared at the time of their Dad's death. The Great Uncle alleged that Granddad took them. At the death of the Great Uncle (Granddad's brother), a family member approached my Dad and told him... we found the gold coins in Dad's lock box at the bank. We are so sorry about the allegations.

    I have a brother with whom I had a severe falling out after my Dad died. The last time I spoke to this brother was the afternoon we buried Dad... almost 15 years ago. I have no desire to see him... to make things right with him... or his family.

    I have a sister that screwed us all over when Dad died.... took a significant amount of money from the estate. Today, she is widowed, lonely, and miserable. I'm not sure why, but I re-established contact with her after her husband died. I have no idea why I developed compassion for this woman.

    I guess because she was my sister and I feel sorry for her.

    We do weird things in our lives...

    I do understand the story you tell...



You can now add YouTube videos in your comments by copy/pasting the link. AND/OR you can insert an image by surrounding the code with this: [im]code[/im]. In the case of images, make sure that your code is short and simple ending with something like .jpg. If you want to use a pic from someplace like Google Images, click on the image, then click on View Image. That is the code you want!

Dazzle Me!