A Kind of Catch-22

I started blogging because I believed that purging all the pain and telling the story that my family refuses to listen to would help me heal.

Well I’m not sure that is the case anymore. Meaning I don’t know if that is true for me.

I have adrenal fatigue. And that’s from all the years of living under stress as a child. My father was as unpredictable as an alcoholic despite not being one.  When he yelled it was loud. He’d been trained to enunciate as well as project his voice. He startled me a lot as a child and also as an adult.

When I got older I worried about disappointing my mother. I was let go from a job once. When she came to pick me up and I explained to her what I was told was the reason I could see the disappointment on her face, in her eyes.

I was young when that happened and I never forgot that. I tripped over myself to keep a job so as not to disappoint her. I was terrified to miss any work even if it meant driving for miles in the snow as to not piss of my boss. I didn’t want to take any chances at all.

The last quite a few posts have been posts I wrote a long time ago on another blog I’ve set to private. So I’ve been working on transferring them over here to ST.  But it’s been difficult. Not only emotionally, although that’s a part of it. But also because it’s taking a toll on me physically.

One of the last posts I transferred had me so angry and otherwise emotional, it brought on heart palpitations. I know they could’ve been from something else and I get them anyway. It’s weird. I can go months eating like shit and not have one heart palpitation. But the minute I start eating healthy, I get them every night.

But the ones I’m pointing out specifically, were a little different and I could feel them coming on while I was writing. And why would that not make sense? My heart was breaking. It’s painful to think back on those things.

I’ve written and talked about some of the same things. I have journals piled in a drawer in my night stand. My goal was to go through them and post here anything relevant after I’ve gotten whatever I want off of private here and transferred from the other blog.

But thinking about how this is effecting my heart, my adrenals and my thought process in general, I’m thinking it might be time for me to take a break. Maybe learn more about how to heal. Because I’m not sure writing about it is healing for me anymore.

I don’t know though. I have not made a definite decision yet as to whether I will stop blogging about all this. Or whether I’ll just burn the journal pages without rereading them or tapping them out here. I just needed to write my thoughts and what I’ve been experiencing related to blogging, out. As much as my OCD and the need to organize is pulling me to keep going, it seems as though my body is in need of another way. At least for now.

I’m tired all the time. And I’m angry and agitated much of the time too. I have felt some improvement with a change in diet but it’s difficult to stick to changes when the set-point is something else. My mid-back has given me pain when standing to long for years and I noticed tonight it felt worse than ever before.

I’m tired in another way too. I feel like my family, my abusive, callous, sick family is taking up way more residence in my mind and my life than they deserve, even though they are not physically present. 

I know that blogging is a great way to bond, validate and get validated for all the pain. It’s what’s kept me going. And I’ve definitely seen improvement in myself in many ways. I’ve gotten so much insight and love. It’s why I’m on the fence.

I also don’t think everyone is effected in this way. I’ve seen people keep going and then organically evolve into other topics. But I just seem to get more tired, more beaten and more weary.

For years, I had spent time feeling like I was waiting for something to happen before I went on with my life, now I feel like I’m waiting to finish something, before I can go on with my life.  Both scenarios are like a trap.

I’ve felt trapped all my life. My home environment was a trap. School from K-9 was a trap. Other kids made me feel trapped. In fact a couple kids I thought were my friends when I was 13, tricked me when they apologized for something they’d done, then trapped me between them to bully me.

All my life I have not been able to move forward. In many ways I have not been allowed to move forward. And now even though I’ve gotten away from the bullies, the assholes and abusers, I still live in a cage.

It’s like that line from the song,

Right after the line “Heaven knows it wasn’t you who set me free” there’s an instrumental sound that used to make me turn and look at the door to my bedroom because it was the sound it made when it opened. Just another startle response. But I always loved this song.

One thing though, I’m not feeling very strong.

Beginning of the End: The Email and the Reactions

Originally started in May 2014. I finished it today Monday, 8/14/17

I remember when my father was dying, I really didn’t want to get that close to it. I was afraid of my family (mother, brother, sister) probably more than I was afraid of my father’s behavior. I was also afraid of my own feelings about the end of my father’s life.

I’d had a love hate relationship with him and it had been a little over a year since I’d done something really hateful myself. So I had a feeling that if I got close to the situation I’d be taken advantage of. And I’d let it happen since I felt I deserved it.

A year before my father became terminally ill, I’d had a nasty break up with an affair partner. We were what I think to be “supply” to each other actually. I know I was addicted and in my co-dependence I felt worthless if he didn’t want me. Yet I was completely confused about my own feelings. I wanted him sexually, yet I did not find him physically attractive.

The break came when he found someone else, whom he could live with. And he was finished with me, letting me know via text message.

But that is another story with much more detail

Just after the break up, I suffered an emotional pain I’d never felt before. Now that there is time between me and that event, I can see that I’d actually had an emotional break down.  And in the fog of that, I wrote my father an email, blaming him for the kind of guy I was drawn to. I also pointed out things he’d done.

One thing in particular I remembered was a Thanksgiving Day, when I’d spent the night at B’s and went home to have dinner with my parents and my maternal uncle.

I needed a shower and asked my mother if I could use the master bathroom shower for privacy. She agreed and so I went about it. Five minutes in I could hear loud footsteps walking down the hall, the door to the bathroom slammed open so loud against the wall my heart jumped out of my chest. Next a loud booming voice said, my name, just the way I used to hear it in my childhood when my father was angry. The one that made me cringe and then freeze in place to wait for it to be over.

In obvious rage, my father asked me what i was doing? (I was in the shower so it was a fucked up question.)

I was transported back and felt like a small child again, “Mom said I could use it” I said in a small voice.”

He shouted back in that stern and seething voice of his, “Don’t do it again!”

I finished my shower, got dressed and put myself together for what I knew would be a meal of tension.

I went outside for a cigarette and my uncle followed. “How are you?” He asked.

“OK,” I lied.

How ridiculous of a question. How avoidant can you be? How much in denial and thick can someone be? We stood out there in awkward silence until I finished my cigarette and went back in.

I wanted to flee. I wanted to just go somewhere, anywhere but there. But I kept silent and I stayed.

I even knew that my friends Scott and Lisa and our friend Topher, would be having dinner with Scott’s parents a few houses down the street. But I was too embarrassed and ashamed to go there. I’d have to tell them why. Thing is, Lisa would’ve understood. I don’t know about the other two but Lisa would’ve been there for me at that time.

But then I also didn’t want to ‘intrude’ on their family get-together, despite also knowing that there was another one of our friends with them.

A friend who had moved to the area out of state, had no family in the area. It had become a tradition for him to join Scott’s family for Thanksgiving dinner. So chances are good that I would’ve been welcome. But instead I froze in place and stayed where the abuse of me had just taken place.

I sat through an awkward dinner, mostly in silence and could feel the anger of my father seething from him.

I don’t know, but as I write I’m realizing he might have had issues with my uncle, so his emotions, which could already give way to 2 year old like tantrums as it was, became even more ready to blow at the smallest perceived slight. I’m not excusing him at all. I am done with that! He was a fucking asshole and I wish there was a stronger word or name I could call him to release the hurt and anger I am feeling right now thinking about this.

But there was some indication prior to this Thanksgiving that my father had some sort of problem with my mother’s brother in the past.

One summer morning, when I was maybe 10 or 11 my family went to a farmers’ market or something and it was scorching hot when we got back in the car. At that time the family belonged to a swim club and we kids looked forward to going there every day.

This particular day my uncle would be stopping over for a visit from out of state so my mom wanted to stick around to visit with him. But she also knew we wanted to go swimming. So when we got in the car, she said to my father, “Why don’t you take the kids to the pool while I visit with my brother?”

My father sneered, “Why? is there some family secret you two want to discuss?”

I remember feeling shocked by that response and thinking even at that age, “Where the fuck did THAT come from??”

These were the things I pointed out in my email of emotion to my father. I also wrote of my confusion about his love for me. How could he love me (as he said he did repeatedly) when he treated me like this?

I remember as I wrote I was in a fog of intense emotion. I wanted his love while at the same time was craving the love of the man I’d perceived to have just abandoned me.

I sent the email to my father and also copied my mother, brother and sister.

I then did my best to disappear and since I had no car I got a ride from B to go out to the woods to play frisbee golf, be around people, smoke pot and drink beer.

At that time one of the guys that played out there had taken an interest in me and so after playing a bunch of golf, he asked me if I wanted to go get some Chinese food.

So I did.

While sitting there, finishing up, I thought I should call B and let him know what was going on. When I called him he told me my brother was there and wanted to know when I was coming home.

I knew brother was there because of the email.

My friend already knew what was going on because I’d told him about the email. He also had grown up with a narcissistic mother so he was a safe confidante.  He also understood my feeling of urgency to get home and confront my brother too, so we left the restaurant pretty much right away.

He dropped me off, gave me a hug and said sincerely, “Good luck. Call me when you can.”

I went in and my brother and his girlfriend were sitting on the couch. I don’t even remember how the interaction even started. What I do remember is my brother’s rage. Condescending me for having sent the email and then going out to play disc golf.

He raged over me as I sat in a chair, looking down on me and screaming and I mean really shouting, “HOW DARE YOU!”

He minimized my feelings. Told me I should not be bringing that shit up now. That I’m old enough to take responsibility.

As he raged, B and bro’s girlfriend stood in the kitchen just looking on. B did nothing. For the longest time I had such a problem with this and kept ruminating about how the guy who’d just left me would not have allowed that. He would’ve defended me. He would’ve escorted my brother out of the house and told him that he was not going to behave that way toward me or in his house.

But as my brother shouted I told him to get the fuck out, even from my chair seated below his bellowing face, “Get the fuck out before I call the cops.”

When he finally quieted down and heard me tell him to get out, he did.

While he was out on the porch his girlfriend said to me as she got ready to go too said, “Your brother loves you.” I said, “Yeah right.” And she continued to try to convince me of this bullshit until she went for the door herself.

As she opened the door, my brother peered into the door from around the wall and put two fingers up in a peace sign and said, “Can I come back in?”

I waved him in.

We had a calmer talk and although I was receptive then, I now understand that what he was doing still was excusing my father for his behavior. He’d said it wasn’t that bad, comparing our father to other fathers he’d known of his friends that did “much worse things.”

It was well known to him that I was lost in what I really wanted to do with myself (as in for a living). Remember this was the all important message that resonated through our household when we were kids.

When I told my brother that night that I was interested in writing about pets and my knowledge gathered from pet sitting, he said, “Why? I have dogs. I feed ’em, let ’em out, who cares?”

I just kind of chuckled as I looked down. I think you could call that a shame based reaction.

Then he told me, “The one thing I noticed about that email despite its contents is that it was so well written. You should write your story.”

Ummm, What. The. Fuck.

Is that not what he just raged at me for?

After that was over, in the course of a week I’m guessing now, I spoke to my sister and my mother.

My sister went on about how she had not realized how difficult it was to be a parent until she had kids.

My mother, I don’t even remember the bulk of the conversation, except me making a comment of wishing I hadn’t sent the email.

After the visit from my brother I sent another email to my father and apologized.

He wrote back and said, “It just hurts that you are hurting. I thought we’d gotten past all of that.”

I write about this email in reference to being apprehensive about helping my father in such close proximity with my siblings and even my mother who was divorced from my father at that point for nine years.

Even though my mother, brother and sister preached that I needed to let go of the past each time I attempted to talk about it, (the bad stuff that is) I knew they’d likely find a way to use that email to my father against me.

Both my siblings did at two different times in separate phone conversations with them.

I am not clear at the moment on everything that was being talked about with my brother when he brought it up. But if I have it written somewhere, I will post it and link it here.

With my sister, it was during the berating session you can read about here.

She told me that “When I read the email you sent dad, I made the decision that I would never talk about the past with you again.”

Ironically it was during this particular berating of me that I made the decision to sever ties with her when I felt I could.

God help me! I really want to go drink right now.

Betrayal is a Mother

Originally written on August 17, 2013: Another post transferred from Safire Falcon. I just read through it and it needs some editing to clarify the situation. But reading this got me so angry.  I need a break from this shit as much as I need to post it. It gave me heart palpitations. That’s how pissed off I got as I reread this post. It needs editing, but I need to sleep right now.

These people are so fucked up to have treated me like this. My own mother especially, but my sister in this scenario too is quite the POS.  I need another word to refer to this group of assholes because they are not family.


I was emotionally abused as a child and later scapegoated and manipulated by family as an adult. The latter showing its ugly dynamics in the first few months of this year (2013) awakening me to total awareness of the seriousness of the toxicity.

During those months we were caring for my father, while he was terminally ill, a particular agreement was made within this situation between my mother and I after my sister had very obviously triangulated her against me, after a conversation between my sister and me pertaining to the same subject.

The conclusion sis and I had reached on the phone wasn’t satisfactory to her apparently, but instead of letting me know, instead of discussing it with me, like an adult, she called “mommy.”

It hadn’t even been an argument, and it had actually seemed to me that when my sister and I hung up, we were in agreement and on the same boat.

Take note: This is what narcissists will do to your ‘face’. But behind your back they talk shit, triangulate and devise some plan with someone else to get you to think that YOU are the douche bag, when all along they are the players, fucking with your mind.

But although my sister acts like a narc in some situations, especially with me, she doesn’t act like that in every scenario with every person.

My mother called me to get the agreement out of me that my sister was afraid to re-address. And I went ahead in the end and told my mother that I would take a couple days to figure out what I would agree to in caring for my father.

I thought it through and let my mom know specifically what I would agree to and she took it back to my siblings, whom I was told agreed with my terms too. I was actually appreciative that she was willing to play mediator since I knew that logical adult conversation was probably not a probability with my sibs and me.

We all walked on eggshells, had to crane our necks around big fat elephants in any room we were in and I for one had begun to felt afraid given I’d been physically attacked or threatened by both of them.

My parents were divorced, but in addition to my mother’s mediation, she had also told me/agreed that she’d go to my father’s if none of us three kids could get there at a particular time.

Just weeks later, there was an attempt to manipulate me out of my terms one particular weekend. I was exhausted and completely stressed from the chaos that had ensued on a particular Saturday. In fact that specific Saturday, I was not supposed to be there at all. But was later asked to go for breakfast. I was there for much longer as a result of the home health aid (who was being paid) not showing up with her car. A car she needed to do the grocery run she was scheduled to do.

I was so ready for Sunday (the day after) to replenish and get some stuff done at home. And not see any of my fucked up family, including my father. Dying or not, he was still an asshole.

But then the text came from sister, asking, “Can you do lunch tomorrow?  You’ll just need to be there an hour.”

I knew that “only being there an hour” wasn’t likely, given my so called breakfast visit that same morning which turned into half the day and a severely chaotic one at that.

In fact I had spoken to my sister mere hours before receiving that text and told her I wouldn’t be going the next day. There was no acknowledgement of that day being Sunday…one of my AGREED days OFF!

Not that I can’t be flexible. But I felt like I was being taken advantage of. I had even mentioned to my sister that mom said she’d go if none of us were available. BEcause after I’d told my sister I wasn’t going the next day while we were talking on the phone, she mumbled, “I can’t go tomorrow.”

Of course she couldn’t. She didn’t want to deal with any of the hard part but she expected me to. In her little twisted mind, she seemed to think I owed it to everyone.

I needed a whole day. Well truthfully I needed my whole life back or at least the rest of it, but that’s another story.

The mom specifically told me that she’d step up and fill in when none of us three kids could be there. Seems to me this qualified. So what the fuck is with the communication break down here? Maybe mom wasn’t saying the same shit to my sister as she was saying to me. But then how would I know.

My sister, apparently thinking she was my mother at that point and me her small Cinderella child, didn’t think the mom should have to drive down for “just breakfast.”  I found this out later when I finally got hold of my mom to be sure she was (or someone) was going to take care of my father’s lunch.

I had called my mother to tell her someone was needed Sunday. But she seemed to forget the agreement too since I got a cold response. “Well I’ll talk to brother.”  (Of course she said his name, but I’m not using names.) So apparently brother trumped me and trumped our agreement. WTF for? I was telling her what was needed. My word apparently wasn’t good enough.

So after not having the courtesy returned to me with a phone call or text from either the mom or sister, I called my mother and was informed she’d talk to my brother. That was the night before. The next day I called her again. She was clearly irritated, told me she was headed to dad’s in this tone of voice that came across like I was asking a stupid question and should know what she was doing.

And I was informed that my sister was frustrated (when I’d asked if she was angry) and didn’t understand why I couldn’t go instead of my mom driving down.

1. There is only a 15 minute difference drive time between my mom and I to the place my dad had lived.

2. The agreement was made this way to give me time to replenish. My dad was dying but he was not easy to be around and he was my abuser. And news fucking flash mom: YOU ALLOWED IT! And were in fact an abuser to me as well.

I did not verbalize number one or number 2 above, but I did ask her if she mentioned the agreement to my sister and her reply was, with an eye roll in her voice, “No, I didn’t want to go there.”

Of course not womb donor, you couldn’t possibly find it in yourself to stick up for me, tell her the truth and be fucking real with your very own narcissistic daughter. I suppose it was easier to keep the scapegoat daughter, the one who froze when she needed to be sticking up for herself, squashed in her role.

A  twisted, toxic dynamic, with a dying man in the middle of it. It was a very life draining and soul stealing on-going event. Not to mention how drained of my soul I’d already been, being raised in such an environment.

Because of Our Past: Reflections of a Circumstance Surrounding a Sick and Toxic Family

Originally written February 2014. The text in orange below was the biggest edit, but there are other edits that I didn’t indicate. However, they are all completely relevant and helps the story to flow, even if it does make the post even longer than it already was. Heheh.

In addition, I want to share the comments that were written below this post when it appeared on Safire Falcon, the blog I had started and written at before starting and settling into this one. So I will include them below in the post, rather than putting them in the comment section. 


“We are who we are because of our past. I’m not talking about what we do or don’t do for a living. I’m talking about who we are within. We walk on eggshells because of the past and I believe that we treat each other the way we do because of the past.”

I wrote the above paragraph to say to my sister quite some time ago, back while in the midst of a very stressful time in my already toxic family’s life, my father’s terminal illness.


Edit on 8/11/17: It was this event and circumstances surrounding it that made clear the toxicity within my family. The sickness had nowhere left to hide. Of course a family like this needs a dumping ground or what is commonly referred to as a scapegoat. That scapegoat was me. And boy did they dump on and walk all over me. I also want to mention and clarify the part of my statement above, in reference to what we do (or don’t) for a living/career.  

Throughout my childhood, teen years and early adulthood, there was this underlying message that a career is an important part of identity. It was never said, never, outright. But the message was certainly there. Both of my parents had good jobs/careers. The industry my father was in wasn’t quite as stable as the one my mother was in, but he always did something. Even when he went into sales, which he claimed not to enjoy, he still did well, even winning awards and other fun prizes. 

Like I said, the words were never, “You must do what we are doing to have worth. But the message was clear that it was an important part of identity to have a career or even a solid talent and be really good at it.  I always wanted to find my talent and make money at it. I think maybe it might be writing, but I never knew how to make money at it and I didn’t have much help.

I remember once, writing an article or a poem or something and sending it off to a bunch of magazines. I was so excited about it and told my father. He immediately became impatient and condescending telling me, “You’re not supposed to send the same thing to all those magazines. You pick one and send it to them.”

I felt like I was stupid. But how the fuck was I supposed to know that? It’s not like he made any effort to nurture me in my writing or guide me in making a living at it.  Fucking pecker head.


So back to my sister: I had had a conversation with  her not long before writing that statement above, all the way at the top of this post, with the plan of saying it to her at some point, when the opportunity arose. It never did. In fact the opportunity had passed and I was left with the frustration and need for acceptance that I had frozen, once again, when given my window to state my case.

I hear a lot about fight or flight but it seems most people who talk about those human defense mechanisms  forget one…FREEZE! (This, before I had known about Pete Walker’s book, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving. At the time I wrote the bulk of this post, most of what I was reading and listening to, left out FREEZE and certainly didn’t mention anything about FAWN either.)

Freeze tends to be my go-to defense mechanism, at least up to this point, when it comes to my sister and other family members too. When I get into a situation where it’s appropriate to stand up for myself, I fumble, stumble and stutter or just stop talking altogether. The last time I was in a particular situation that would have been appropriate to verbally defend myself,  I sat there listening to my sister tell me how screwed up I am/have been. And when I did venture a statement or question, it was completely ineffective. Waved away with a “Yeah but…” or ignored while she leaped over it to continue berating.

Despite my “I feel” statements and non-aggressive approach, I was going to once again come away from this ‘conversation’ feeling as though I’d been attacked by a rabid dog.

However, despite her being so vicious in response to my last attempt to strengthen our relationship, I was about to begin being freed. Even through all the blame, shame and finger pointing.

When she stated:
“I’m done talking about the past with you!!”
,  I realized that I no longer ‘had’ to try to ‘fix’ our toxic relationship or the dysfunction between us.

She said, “You have a choice,” as if she were an angry mother scolding a child.

She continued, “You have a choice to sit and wallow in the past, to spend life in a depression. I don’t have time to resolve every little thing.”

She used herself and her husband as an example. That if one of them does or says something hurtful, they say they’re sorry and move on.

And there in-lies the difference…there was no apology to me. Ever. There was no consciousness on her part when it came to what was at the root of all this toxic sludge and dysfunction.

Although I don’t actually think depression is a choice for the most part and is an illness, at that moment I did realize that she was never going to really hear me or be willing to listen to me.

I actually made a conscious decision in that moment to let go of all the shit between us that had been left unresolved and kept us so emotionally distant. I let go at least to the point that I knew I would stop trying to work things out with her.  I also decided in that moment that I would be working out a way to sever ties with her.

It was a relieving feeling actually. And I’d had this pain in my left shoulder blade for years. But as soon as I made that decision about her, that pain disappeared.

She was never going to see my point or validate anything I felt and I was certainly never going to get apologies for her bullying nor was I going to get any acknowledgement that she had been verbally abusive, never mind admit to remembering the physical attack years ago.

I was allowing her behavior toward me to cause me fear of being myself. I needed to be on my guard around her and be extra cautious as to what I said to her and around her, lest it be used against me in the future however benign my half of the conversation may have been.

During that same conversation and realization, she told me that she didn’t want to have to worry about every little thing that came out of her mouth when she was around me. Ironic.

Then said, “And I don’t want you calling me to tell me negative things about family members.”

This is yet more irony.

Again I froze saying nothing. At that point I just wanted the conversation to end. It reminded me a little of feeling trapped on the phone with a couple girl-friends when I was about 13. They’d been calling me names, making fun of me then threatening to “beat me up” if I hung up on them.

I recall feeling like I couldn’t wait for them to tire of their bullying so I could be set free. And that’s the feeling I had that day on the phone with my sister.

Thing is what she’d said was bullshit. She’d just insinuated (or is it implied?) that I had done something that I hadn’t. And before that, in a twisted way, accused me twice of doing things she’d actually done.

Just weeks after these perverse and even insidious accusations, I heard her catching herself when she just about started to make a comment about my brother and her frustration with the way he keeps things so disorganized.

She stopped herself before she said anything negative, but had gone far enough in what she was telling me and from her tone of voice, I knew exactly what her complaint was. It helps that I know my brother too.

Referring to the other accusation she so cleverly formed into a demand, the one where she said she didn’t want to hear me trash any of our family members. Well…

In the past she and I would be talking on the phone or I’d be visiting and she’d have some problem with our  mother. She’d compare her with other moms of her friends, because our mom wasn’t the grandmother to her kids my sister wanted her to be.

She hated how our mother wouldn’t spend more time with her kids. But instead of going to my mother, the person she had the issue with, she bitched about it to me. This is her MO and had played the same game with me, speaking and complaining to my mother about me.

The difference between my mother and me though, is that I did not call my mother to try to make her do what my sister wanted. I had the presence of mind to know that the issue was between the two of them and I had no business getting in the middle of it. In fact I think I might have even said to my sister, “Why don’t you talk to mom about it?”

As for the realizations that flowed during that phone conversation, more accurately referred to as a berating session:

I woke up to the fact that the eggshells…
(not only the two of us walked on…which she believed in her warped mind, that I was the cause of and didn’t see I walked on them too…but the eggshells the entire family walked on among each other)  would most likely never be truly cleaned up and until I had the opportunity to remove myself, I would not stop feeling like a garbage dump.

Not that I hadn’t had the choice to stick up for myself. I suppose I did. But I didn’t feel or see it that way because of the fear of more abuse I’d already had enough of.

I was afraid for my safety.

But I was also afraid that if I attempted to express myself, the words wouldn’t come out right. I would fuck it up. And then I’d be back where I started and the rumination would be even worse than if I hadn’t said anything at all. Ruminations like, “I should’ve said this, not that.” “I should’ve been more articulate in what I did say.” I’d also kick myself for having tripped over my words.  So with all that in mind, combined with the ‘Freeze’ response I kept my mouth shut most of the time.

During this berating session of hers, she’d given me an ultimatum to either step up or walk away, completely disregarding any of the reasons I had for being so hesitant to ‘step up’ for my father. In fact it wasn’t even because of my father so much, even though there were certainly reasons regarding him. It had much more to do with my siblings and knowing full well how they would likely treat me if I got involved on their terms.

And that’s the kicker, there were more than those two choices but I “Froze.” Ironically I felt the need to choose only between the two of those because of my fear of the abuse I was sure I’d have to endure. No other choice was clear to me at that time either.

And you know what’s even more fucked up: The same fucking ultimatum was thrown at me by my brother before that berating session with my sister and then in a later phone call with my mother.

I gave it some thought, to walk, each time it came up while being barked or whined at. Maybe it would’ve been healthier for me if I had walked away. Perhaps more peaceful.

But my father was dying and despite his abuse of me throughout my life, I didn’t really want to walk away from him. Not at that point. But I think about all this that I’m writing right now and wonder how he would have felt and what he would have thought, had he known the way I was treated by my siblings and mother trying to get me to step up…particularly my sister and mother because I’m sure their motives were so, that they wouldn’t have to put in so much time in being with my father.  My brother was already spending all of his free time away from work there, so although he was still a POS in this situation, I know it wasn’t all about relinquishing responsibility for him.


Added 8/11/17: I want to ask my father, “How does it feel to have a family who’s so toxic that three of them gang up on one to get her to help care for you? How does it feel to know that your youngest daughter is a bully toward your oldest daughter? How does it feel to know that your ex-wife, the mother of your children is participating in manipulation, guilt tripping and triangulation against your oldest daughter?  How does it feel to know that there is all this sick toxicity surrounding you in your time of need?


My family thought I was selfish for ‘making it about me.’  God forbid I have the rational fear of the two (actually three) people who have a history of treating me like shit, whatever the fucking circumstance is, even a dying father.

The fact is when a whole family gets involved with anything, it’s about all of them. And it was about all of us. My brother spent most of his non-working time with my father so he was pretty much never home. My father decided he didn’t want kids around so my sister’s time with him was limited. Which meant the times she could’ve been there, but only with her kids, needed to be filled and that usually fell on me.

I wanted to be there, but I didn’t want to be bullied into being there on their terms. I wanted and needed it to be on my own terms. Again I was the throw away who didn’t matter. And if I said no, I was pushed. And if I said no still I was still given a hard time. Agreements were ignored, my brother barked at me one day on the phone because he “NEEDED TO KNOW NOW if I would be available to be there every night until dad went to bed.

This happened a few weeks in and was suddenly dropped on me. After being barked at, I gave my brother what he wanted. He actually didn’t want to know…he needed to know that the answer was yes. No room to think and the message was, do it or you’re a horrible person.

Forget the fact that I had an on-call job, nights, that I would now have to quit. I was already struggling to put enough gas in my car to get to and from my father’s place. And was never offered money to do that. I had to ask and I was afraid to.

I’d known when I made the decision to give in to their demands and ultimatum, I’d have angry chaos and abuse to confront and basically absorb. I knew I wouldn’t stand up for myself. I did at times but not without some kind of recourse. Even when I stuck to my boundary after my sister’s attempts of violating part of an agreement I’d made with my mother, I spent that whole day shaking, scared and rehearsing what I’d say if my sister confronted me.  Turned out to be a waste of time but doesn’t change the state I’d been in because of it.

The exhaustion I felt certainly wouldn’t let me defend myself physically or mentally if I needed to. I think I was also trying to control what they all thought of me.  There was still some of that left despite my knowing it was a matter of time before I did take them up on their offer to walk the fuck away. The fear of losing their love was still a factor even though I didn’t really have it to begin with. And then there was the sense of obligation pounded into me..

“Step up or walk,” is what was presented to me, by ALL THREE FAMILY MEMBERS. Mother, brother, sister. It makes me want to cry thinking about this again.

What I wish my response would have been to these three sick fucks:
“Those are not the only two choices. I will be there if I want and if I choose to walk that is my business. But I will be seeing dad and caring for him if need be, on my terms. And I will not be forced into anything pertaining to this situation via shame or guilt.”

But alas…

I thought it would be easier. After all, the abuse now had a time limit. Once my father passed, I would be taking that walk they all offered me in their ultimatum.

My father passed April 1, 2013 in the early hours of the morning. I remember because it was still dark out when I got the call from hospice. I had left just a few hours before…around 10pm the night before. And I’d actually thought about just sleeping there in the big oversize chair that was in my father’s room.


So my sister was right in her statement about choice, but not exactly the way she meant it.

I do have a choice not to continue hitting my head against a wall in attempt to resolve issues that someone else has no interest in.

I do have a choice in discontinuing to get acceptance from someone who doesn’t want to give it.

I had other choices too, that I wasn’t quite clear enough about, at that time to see, or if I could see them, wasn’t feeling brave or confident enough to enact. The feeling of needing to keep myself self physically and emotionally safe as possible was priority.

I did feel some shame and regret. And in some ways felt that I deserved to be abused.

To my sister on the phone that day, I found an opening. But I used it to weakly present the idea of the past actually being the present. I asked her, “Don’t you walk on egg shells because of events from the past?”

I was feebly and pathetically attempting to point out that our dynamic was formed over time through our behaviors. And the roles in the family, and the way we related as children and young adults, as well as lack of proper teaching from our parents on how to relate and resolve, was at least partially responsible for how we related now.

And in my mind the only way to change the toxic dynamic in the present was to resolve the past, by awareness of our own behaviors that created it all. But it was not to be.

As per her usual response it went something like, “Yeah but you…” and she fell into her habit of finger pointing and blame.

She was stuck in being right and making me the bad guy. I was tired of being verbally beaten. So I gave up and let her have her say. As usual.

So… Are we what we are because of our past?

I think it has a role in molding us. As kids our brains are malleable and in addition we all have innate traits and abilities. But they will be effected by how we are nurtured or abused. I’d say most of that takes place without our awareness too. And many adults who are in pain and manifest it in a myriad of ways, don’t and won’t look at it. Won’t look back. Will stay in denial. But there are others of us who are aware, who want to get past the denial and resistance. Who fight the confusion and frustration. Who want to separate what they own from what belongs to others.

And either way, maybe that is dictated from the past.

And maybe those that fight to work things out, to change, to make themselves better people, are who they are (or who they are becoming) DESPITE the past.

 


 

Comments from original post: (I am posting these for myself more than anything else.)

Rivka: I agree with your thought that some people are… smaller than you or me. Your sister sounds like my mother. She doesn’t listen. She doesn’t understand my point of view. I want closure from her. I want an apology, and she says I am a spoiled brat. I don’t think your sister can see the big picture like you do. And your brother, he wants what he wants. It doesn’t matter if you have a job to go to. It’s really hard when one member of an abusive family wants to make things better but the others want to continue and to deny. I feel for you. I’m sorry you are going through these growing pains.

Safire Falcon (me): I didn’t really mean that anyone is smaller or better than me. Not that I haven’t entertained that thought, if I’m being brutally honest with myself. But I’ve thought he complete opposite as well, so…

I’m guessing you’re referring to the end of the post where I say something about trying to be a better person. (?)

I was talking about being a better person in comparison to past self, up to the point where I’m in a situation that gives me the opportunity to respond differently.

I reread the post (and edited a little too being the perfectionist that I am) and didn’t see anything (or take anything out) that said that I think I’m a better person than some people.

But if I’m missing that, I would love to have it pointed out to me. Because even though I was angry at this situation with my family, I wasn’t trying to get the message across that I think I’m ‘better’ than them.

I think I’m more aware, awake and willing to see what they don’t though.

Rivka: You did not say that you think you are better than your siblings. I’m saying for you. “Being more aware, awake, and willing to see” is self-actualization, the goal of every human being. Their vision is small. Yours is big, and it depresses you when you are around them. I would guess that you both feel sorry for them and feel hurt by them. I’m sorry I made you uncomfortable.

Safire Falcon: Oh no, you didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. I just wanted to be clear and make sure I didn’t miss something in my own writing. lol.

Thank you for the clarification. What you say is very comforting and validating. In fact you are right about what I feel. Pity as well as hurt. I couldn’t have worded it better.

I never thought of my awareness as self actualization either, which is quite helpful too. I remember first hearing that word in my early 20’s and thought of it as something I’d probably never reach given my depression and what I felt was my lot in life, which was to work jobs that took me nowhere.

I am learning that I am more than my job. Thanks again for clarifying. I was concerned it might come off as being a bit angry but I wasn’t at all.

Rereading these now, I could make some corrections in what I wrote. Like how “I feel, pity and hurt.” I feel anger too. A lot of it.

Self-actualization: Referring to my last comment, there’s that mention of job again. The messages we get as children are so ingrained, it’s ridiculous. It is just registering to me that Rivka is telling me that waking up is actually self-actualization.  But I’m still stuck in believing it has to do with understanding my purpose in life which in my mind connects to a meaningful (to me) career, something I dedicate my life to, a way to be productive and contribute to society.

I think I have made even more progress in waking up now that I can see more clearly what Rivka was saying to me.  It looks like I missed Rivka’s point a couple times in these comments, which is frustrating.

Running Into My Mother and A Strange Elevator

Found on Google Images

I ran into my mother in a building, who was with my two nephews and they were smaller than I know they’d really be now.

They didn’t feel comfortable greeting me and I could see that. It hurt but I understood since I had not seen them in more than a year.

My mom tried to get them to give me a hug and they clearly continued to resist.
It was then that I walked past my mother and turned to say, “Can’t blame them mom, don’t force them to do things they don’t want to.”

I turned back and walked away.

Even in the dream, I knew I needed to get away from my mother quickly, because I knew if my nephews were with her, my sister may not be far behind and my brother may be around as well.

I had no interest in being stuck and put on the spot in explaining my absence and lack of communication.

After all it would’ve gone unheard, not understood and I would have most likely had to endure their berating words, finger pointing and no accountability blame.

When I walked away I rounded a corner and got on an elevator, only to go to the second floor.

I got on when it opened and I was followed by a couple (man and woman) with lots of large metal things. (Not clear what they actually were.)

These large metal things were many and they would block my exit if I were to get off first. So I hopped over them to be near the door.

When the door opened on the second floor, the walls surrounding the elevator dropped away.

The second floor wasn’t the same second floor I knew I had been on before.

I was looking at a large automotive shop…mechanics working on cars.

So I froze. And then got off with the woman, (part of the couple who had gotten on with all those metal things). We stood at a reception desk and I felt very confused.

The woman said, “You get back on the elevator and I’ll ask them what’s going on.”

I did what she said and I slid onto the floor of the elevator horizontally as it began to move upward again.

My lower legs and feet were still over the line of the floor though and I got scared and felt the urgency to get my legs safely across the line and completely inside the elevator.

The walls were still open but I was afraid they’d either close up again before I got on, or my feet/legs would be cut off by the next floor.

Feel free to interpret what you think this means…especially after I left my mother and nephews. Comment below any ideas you have.

A Family Scapegoat Wakes Up

The email she sent after a traumatic, devastating and seemingly unconnected event, was an exploding point of so many things boiling under the surface from decades of accumulation.

It was about the abuse endured and how she couldn’t make sense or a connection between  the words of love and caring spoken and the actions that showed otherwise.

After the damage was done though, she suspected the email and the words in it would be used against it somehow. But events turned in such a way that it was proven to her. She knew now it was the perfect ammo for them to blame and point fingers at her for all the problems that exist in the family dynamics. To tell her how mean she was. To tell her that it was full of stuff she should’ve gotten over by now. To let her know how difficult it is to be a parent.

In their minds it was all her fault. If she wasn’t depressed, if she’d just get out of the past. If she’d just keep her mouth shut. If she’d just go back to sleep…

If she went back to sleep they could all continue to use her as their scapegoat.

But maybe if she’d stayed quiet and went along and believed, thought and felt the way they all do and did, she wouldn’t be their scapegoat.

What would they have to blame her for?

Just the fact that the family has a scapegoat should give it away that they are all a mess, not just her.

Healthy families don’t have scapegoats. Healthy people don’t find it fun or useful to manipulate, triangulate, take advantage of and abuse one family member. (Or any for that matter.)

If they loved the scapegoat and she did indeed find the courage to express herself feeling like a scapegoat, they would not wave away and invalidate her feelings as ridiculous, then proceed to tear apart her character once again. At times, falsely, attacking her for characteristics of others, not hers.

If they cared about their scapegoat she wouldn’t be the scapegoat.

She’s aware of the egg shells surrounding her. But they’ve got plenty that she tip-toes around too. They all tip-toe around each other too. But they turn a blind eye to those.

She’s expected to own all the mistakes, arguments and all the egg shells too.

In their mind it is she that is always the selfish one. She is the one that should be sacrificing. She is the one who is expected to do whatever they want or need, exactly when they want or need it,  on their terms.

As much as she has tried to discuss the dysfunction and toxicity, none of them want to listen or take their share of the responsibility. No one else is accountable. If she is hurt she is expected to absorb it.

How dare she address it? “Suck it up!” they say, “Grow thicker skin…make the choice to be happy.

She made a choice all right, and walked away forever.

Family Scapegoat Has Enough

Below is a post I originally wrote back on July 21, 2013, just a few months after my father passed.It was on one blog and I’d left it in “Draft.” When I found it again, I’d posted it in another blog on February 16, 2017. Both blogs abandoned.

Today, July 29, 2017 I came across it again and felt it belonged here.

It’s interesting to read it now after so much time, because I have experienced a sort of slight dissociative amnesia, in between the dates at different times, concerning different things pertaining to my family.

Back in the early part of having severed ties, I was newly waking up to the abuse from my family…more or less.

I was able to see it more clearly I guess you could say. I began to know without doubt that they were causing me loads of emotional and mental harm. Through the years, I knew something was wrong, but I had a lot of self doubt, which I know now came from much gas lighting.

But now, years later, I read this (and many other things I wrote back in 2013) and I can see the self-awareness and the fact that I’d awakened to their bullshit.  But now, with so much time passed, there are things I read here and had forgotten that that was how it went down.

Sometimes I can’t even articulate as well now as I did then as to why I don’t speak to my family. I just say that they abused me in the last months of contact with them. But it’s so much more and deeper than that.

Makes me really glad I wrote during those early days. So without further ado…

They knocked me down but I’m not staying there

Another email arrived, even after I said I needed time and space away from the family. My mother still insisted on asking something of me before she went to France.

When I sent the email in response to a vague message she left on my voice mail, I made it clear I was not available.

At least I thought I did.

But she insisted on asking anyway, to see if I’d be finished “taking my space” by the time she wanted me to house and cat-sit while she traveled.

I told her no, and pretty much left it at that. It was weird for me not to spin into an explanation to try to control her feelings for me.

I grew up explaining myself, pleading my own cases, even when it seemed both senseless and common sense. The outcome for me was the same. I worried about what she thought and how she’d feel.

I found I was asking myself a lot, “What the fuck? Why can’t she understand without an explanation?”

Now I ask, “Why do I feel the need to explain?”

Normally, I would’ve felt compelled to tell her why. But not this time.

I had attempted too many times to discuss things that needed to be cleared up and resolved. I tried more times than I can count, to lead the big elephants out of the room. But she made it clear one day, she’d had enough and was no longer open to discussions initiated in this vein.

I don’t think* my mom has enough awareness to know why I want the time. And in my mind, it’s permanent…this ‘No Contact’ status, because I don’t think she’ll ever realize the real problem, because the problem is me…according to her.

It started with me, she believes. Her words to me over the phone after I’d answered a question she’d asked about the tension among my siblings and me.

Later after that conversation as well as others, she engaged in and enabled some of the manipulation and triangulation among my sister, herself and me.  And the fucked up thing is, that at the time I viewed it as her being helpful, a mediator for us.  But when I ‘woke up’ I saw it for what it was. She had leaned too much to the side of my sister, for her actions to be that of a mediator.

It’s gone on too long and the roles are so ingrained.

Things are more clear now concerning my toxic family dynamic and it’s dysfunction. And I believe, to remove myself from all of it, is the healthiest option in all aspects of the word ‘health.’

There is so much to work through. It hurts, the way things have come about, and the very thought of learning that love doesn’t exist in my family of origin is very painful.

But most important at the moment, is to keep myself clear of giving them or anyone the opportunity to spew their toxic sludge all over me with blame, finger pointing and taking no accountability.

I have quit the job of family scapegoat.

*I know my mother didn’t and doesn’t have enough awareness now. Between the date originally written and now, she has proven it to me more than once.

Reviewing an Old Journal: Rediscovering the Manipulation of My Sister and My Mother

Here’s another old post. Not the best night for this reminder but wanted to reblog anyway, since I read through the whole thing.

Sleeping Tiger

I finished my ‘to do’ list yesterday, except one thing. I wrote that I wanted to get through an entire notebook (journal) yesterday and that didn’t happen. It was the last thing I did from that list and it wasn’t until about 8:00 pm that I started.  But what I did do was to get through a section of a three subject notebook. I don’t have much doubt that’s contributing to my feelings of depression this morning also.

I didn’t find anything pertaining to the time of my father’s terminal illness. I didn’t think I would though because that particular journal dates back to 2009. It was on top of the pile though so I figured I’d start there to minimize the overwhelm.

It’s alarming to see the same basic themes running through me and my life back then as today. I struggled with authenticity just like I still do…

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Dark Truth Between the Lines

I am slowly going through and editing old posts and taking stuff out of private mode. Since the family BS is coming up again and still, I thought this was an appropriate one to reblog. It was beneficial in a bitter kinda way to come across it. Very sad.

Sleeping Tiger

dark_forestI went through the emails exchanged between my father and me back in 2012 and 2013. I think I know why I forget certain things now. It was difficult to read what I wrote as well as some of the things he wrote. But more disturbing is what’s between the lines really.

Some emails were about getting his furniture and other belongings out of his apartment because he was moving in with a woman and wouldn’t have room for the stuff where he was going. We kept going back and forth about working out a time to do it. Our schedules conflicted. In fact I noticed some contradiction in a couple of his emails as well.

He kept saying he’d arrange to be there when I could get there. He’d even bring his girlfriend down to the apartment if necessary. But later insisted on the fact of being up there…

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Dear Sister

Fuck you!

 

relationship-connection-bitter-sister

Ok now that I have your attention…or maybe it did the opposite and you have no interest in reading further because of the aggressive profanity. Well I don’t give a shit because this is a Christmas present to MYSELF! And quite frankly…Fuck you! sums it up quite well anyway.

I got your invitation to your annual Christmas open house. And my RSVP is a big fat “NO” and a “How dare you even send one to me.”

Stop sending me invitations. Stop sending Christmas cards. Move on and pretend you don’t know me because you don’t deserve to know me. Your cruelty, abuse and narcissistic triangulations, manipulations and gas lighting is something I’m wide awake to and I no longer have any desire to see you, talk to you or PRETEND that everything is fine and fuckin’ dandy.

How dare you send me an invite as if everything is A-ok. Get a grip on reality dear sister and realize that just because you have made your decision to “not talk about the past with me” anymore, that the shit doesn’t just suddenly go away. And just because you don’t “give me permission” for my own feelings, but are well entitled to yours and you make sure everyone knows it, I still have my feelings and emotions.

And my feeling is that, if you’re not willing to ‘talk about the past’ and resolve shit, and instead prefer to condescend me for needing to, in order to have a relationship, then you have no place in my life.

My turn to point my finger at you!

You wanna tell me what’s wrong with me but don’t wanna look in the mirror. You wanna tell me all about the elephant in the room, the last time I was there for Christmas (the year before our sperm donor died). But you don’t wanna talk about why it’s there. Instead you want to dump it all on me. And then wanna invite me to another Christmas party? It’s unbelievable how insane this is.

You wanna put dad’s abuse on me. You want to blame me for all the eggshells that surround our family, yet you have a history of explosive anger yourself. You want to pretend people can have healthy relationships without resolving issues and use your marriage as an example. Meanwhile your husband is so fat because he can’t stop eating. People don’t binge eat and don’t have junk food addictions because their life is awesome.

But you wanna look away from that. You wanna deny that apologies mean something. You wanna tell me you think that since we’re sisters we should be able to fight one day and then act like nothing happened the next.

But you fight dirty. You use shit against me from the past, when I try to discuss something that’s more present. You want to tell me how fucked up I am…but you’re the one who doesn’t wanna talk about the past. Are you for real?

Oh, that’s right, only when it’s convenient for you. Only when it works for you. Only when you can smash my confidence into the dirt, is when talking about the past is OK. Because the things that are not OK for me in your world, are just fine for you.

I’m sick of your bullshit double standards, contradictions and abuse. I’m sick of you not being able to have a resolving type of conversation without screaming, and telling me about how awful I am.

I’m not going to accept your invitation to this year’s Christmas party. You’re the one to bring up the last elephant in the room. And now you invite me to another Christmas party, where that elephant still resides?  I’m not going to pretend there’s no elephant in the room and I’m not going to allow you to blame me for it. In fact I’m going to stay away again, for the third year in a row.

I’m not going to worry about acting ‘my part’ and pretending we’re some loving family that gives a shit about each other. I’m not going to pretend you didn’t bully me and run me into the ground so hard while our sperm donor was dying.

I’m not going to pretend that I was treated like the step child, while you and our brother made all the decisions. I’m not going to pretend I’m not angry. I’m not going to act like I’m not hurt that you pretended to understand why I wouldn’t want to be involved in helping care for him. And then proved your bullshit later by verbally beating me up for my indecisiveness.

You are done mind fucking me. All of you. Egg donor too.

I’m done, I’ve been done and I’m done forever. Unless you can see past your narcissistic denial of turning me into Cinderella. Unless you can sincerely apologize I never want to see any of you again.

And quite frankly, I’m well aware that none of you are capable of seeing the toxic dynamics and your activities of dumping on me, manipulating me and using double standards against me to fit your agendas, all the while putting a ‘selfish’ label on me.

I don’t ever expect you to understand why I want nothing to do with you so I’m not holding out any unrealistic expectations. I’m well in touch with reality and know damn well that when it comes to our family, it is not rainbows and unicorns. Ever.

And I also know that that’s what you all want to pretend.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

Goodbye.