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.

The Weird Thing About Facebook…and

Actually this is more about the weird thing about the area I live in combination with Facebook, because hey, most of the people in my friend list are from this area.

I have lived in this county most of my life. I moved here when I was 3 from a nearby state and have lived in numerous places within the county. My parents moved with us kids, four times since I was born. I’m the oldest.

The county we are from has a lot of school districts and is densely populated with over 560,000 people, so in that respect I guess you could say it’s a large county. But…and this is a big but…the area it covers is less than 2000,000 miles.

That, my friend, is a tight squeeze.

There are still many school districts though and since most people meet in school and still know each other, around here, it’s not like everyone knows everyone here.  Small town size and we even have some farming as well as woodsy/forest-y areas. Most of it is suburbia but it can feel like city in some of the more busy areas, like the main terminal for public transportation, between city and burbs and the just the area its in, has more of a city feel.

Let’s just say, although it’s a small area, it’s not like we all know each other nor are we just running into people we know, every time we leave the house. It happens, but not every time.

My siblings and I started off in Catholic school, a very small school in the town we grew up in.

Once we each reached a certain grade, we went to public school.

I finished my one year of Catholic high school and I started public school in my sophomore (10th grade) year. My brother switched over that same year as well but started at the middle school. My sister stayed at the Catholic school until she was finished with 5th grade. She had one more year to go when my brother and I made the switch. She had lots of friends, so I’m not sure if she minded much.

For some strange reason, only known to my fucked up father, he didn’t want to put any of us in the public elementary school.

{Side note: The year my brother and I both switched over, was the same year they moved 9th grade over to the high school and 6th grade over to the junior high, making the junior high a middle school.}

Thing is, because the school district we lived in is so small, I wouldn’t say that each person from that school district knows everyone else from it. But a lot of people know each other, intertwine and there are small degrees of separation.

I can see this so well on Facebook and even though I have my siblings blocked, there are times I can see that one of them has commented on a mutual friend’s post.

This just happened.

It doesn’t set me back or anything but it does make me sad.

The post that prompted this post is one from an old next door neighbor. She posted a picture of her and her father on her wedding day.

My father and her father would have long chats when they’d run into each other outside. The woman who’s post I’m talking about here, ‘babysat’ us once in a while also. So we have some memories there.

I was going to comment, but then I noticed my friend, addressed someone with the same name as my sister and I figured it must be her.

Since I have her blocked, I can’t see her comment but can tell by the friend’s response that she is indeed addressing my sister, not someone else with the same name.

So that kind of changed my mind about commenting.

I know one thing I could do is un-friend anyone with connections to my siblings. I have actually thought of that. But that’s the crazy thing about the area I live in. So many of us are intertwined with each other. Even though I’m more than five years older than my sister, we know a lot of the same people. She’s even got people in her list that she wouldn’t know unless she knew me. So that’s a bit weird as well.

I’m guessing here because I can’t see her profile anymore with blocking her. But I had been on Facebook before and after a breakup, I deactivated my account and allowed it to completely close. I’d closed it before waking up to who and what my family is so before that, I’d been connected to my siblings through Facebook.

When I made a new account a few years later, one of the first things I did was block my siblings.

In some cases, I’ve done just that. I graduated with my brother-in-law’s cousin. We were friends before I closed down my original account. And I, in fact didn’t block her in the beginning, likely because I didn’t think about it. I’d seen her in threads and just didn’t engage. This was a bit of a battle for me because I like her and wanted to friend her again, but knew it wasn’t a good idea considering the circumstances.

I eventually did block her, but didn’t feel good about it.  You can bet however, you’d see many matching names (because of school) in our friend lists.

But I refuse to do that with every single person who is intertwined with one or both siblings and myself. Whether it be for the principle behind that or because I enjoy their posts, want to keep up with their news, or because I don’t want to hurt feelings or whatever, I just don’t feel good about bowing out of every connection.

The woman I did block from my graduating class, is also family…sort of. My sister and her husband are close to his cousins so yeah, that’s too close of a connection and that’s different.

I see the presence of lots of people who I’m not friends with as well, who could possibly, probably and some I know for a fact, know my siblings. I don’t generally initiate the friending when it comes to those people. But I will friend them back if they request it.

Last I knew, both my siblings were also still friends with a friend of mine I met in a work place, through an old boyfriend. She is from the same county but from a different school district. So they didn’t know her until long after I did.

So, it gets a bit sticky there on Facebook. I’ve navigated for long enough now though that I don’t really think about needing to be careful or anything. Not as of yet, at least. I don’t use Facebook to air the family shit so there’s no worrying about anything getting back to anyone.

I mostly post cute animal and pet stuff. Once in awhile I might take a stand on something. I generally stay out of politics although I’ve made a comment here and there. But most of my comments in other people’s threads are benign and sometimes attempts at being funny.

There’s cool things about so many people having small degrees of separation. But sometimes it has this entrapping feeling, just because of the situation I’m in with my siblings.  The good thing though is that the county I live in, has many school districts and the population is dense.

I mention school districts for a couple reasons. One…it seems to be a way to divide areas in our county that makes sense to pretty much anyone you talk to around here. And two…because that’s where a portion of the people come from that people meet.  One hundred people out of 242 are from my high school. A couple of those are a friend’s kids. But that’s still quite a ratio.

Thankfully the large population of the county, makes it so that run-ins with my siblings are not highly likely.

{Now watch me see one of them tomorrow, since I said that.}

Either way, I’m not going to just de-friend all those people. If anything, I would shut down the account completely. But I’m not gonna do that either.

I try not to get on too often because when I do I get sucked in and waste a lot of time there. I admit I’m not close to anyone in my friend list on Facbook though. I do see it as a good way to stay connected and especially with future in mind. You just never know when you might want to reach out to someone…or vice versa.

I do have issues with a couple people in my list, but I don’t make anything of it on FB. I’ve thought about un-friending there too. But have not and at this point don’t have the intention to. Radical acceptance in the works.

I’m feeling a bit sad and nostalgic after “seeing” that my sister commented on our old next door neighbors post about her dead father, who I liked, and so I would’ve liked to have comment on the post too, but the sadness will pass.

It’s not like I bumped into her physically, so I’m still safe.

I know there’s a lot wrong with FB and it can really be a time waster. But there are positives about it too. I don’t post a lot and I don’t comment much either. But I do want to keep the communication lines open there, for myself to the people I may want to or need to reach out to at some point.

Luckily there’s a block function and I know how to use it.

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…

View original post 1,104 more words

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.

 

Glare and Daggers

woman shooting daggersThe piercing daggers I felt as my sister glared at me were painful and intimidating.

Despite knowing by then how much she loathed me, a part of me still longed for the resolution I knew would never happen.

I’d been bringing my father smoothies on a pretty regular basis, making a last ditch effort to turn his health around, even though the prognosis was dim. But at the time I had not really known how serious things really were.

I now know that I was not getting clear information from my siblings, who in turn may not have been getting clear information from the doctor either. But they accompanied my father to the doctor so they knew more than I did first hand. Now that I think back on it, I have a feeling I was being alienated.

But then I don’t know since I didn’t go to the doctor appointments. I suppose I could have, but in all honesty I didn’t want to be in such a trapped situation such as a car, with my siblings. And it was difficult enough for me to be in the situation as it was.

My father had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was understood the prognosis wasn’t good, but there were no definitive answers. At least as far as I knew. As far as my father seemed to know. I wonder how much the doctor wasn’t sharing with my father. I wonder how informed my siblings were compared to my father.

I started to bring him smoothies because he was having some digestive problems and diarrhea. I simply offered them and he gratefully accepted the jars I brought him, filled with what looked like milkshakes and Mistos, (check out Rita’s Water Ice to see what that is) made with fruits and greens.

I had a feeling that my sister wouldn’t respond favorably to my efforts of helping my father, in the form of green smoothies. So when she came by for a quick visit to ask my father how his appetite was, I cringed inside and waited for her reaction in judgment to ensue.

“Not too bad, your sister brought me a smoothie this afternoon,” my father responded.

From the far end of the dining room table, I glanced over the screen of my laptop, I felt the desire for approval, once she knew, while at the same time the impulse to defend myself. I said, “I thought it would help his digestion.”

Like a jealous and narcissistic co-parent, she spun around on her scrawny ass, where she’d been sitting on the coffee table, to shoot me a glare of daggers and said with a cold and bitter tone, “Or go right through him.”  I could hear the sneer that was not quite visible on her face.

I felt so defeated, not to mention hurt yet again. Like I couldn’t ‘win’ with her. As long as I fulfilled her need of “babysitter,” she seemed to feel this right and maybe even a duty to crush and control me every opportunity she saw.

It seemed to be in that moment, that in her twisted little mind, that I was supposed to simply show up and prepare for him whatever was status quo.  How dare I go off the conventional track. After all, food had nothing to do with his illness.*

At the time along with feeling defeated, I also was angry while being afraid at the same time. My sister can rage as well as say some cutting things and bring up other apparent unresolved issues she tends to hold onto, fighting dirty, using them against me when the timing seems just right to her.

And me, at that moment, with her, physically in my vicinity, feeling she was presenting a physical threat to me just by her presence and attitude, I wanted to just keep the peace. At that point, I was just biding my time, already knowing I was going to sever ties with this nasty troll, once I’d gotten through all of this.

So I took the figurative punches while telling myself, “Just a little longer.”
Of course not knowing really how much longer.

I wanted to stick up for myself so badly despite that fear. I wanted her to know that she was being a nasty little bitch for no reason.That her behavior was abusive and she had become, along with our brother, a horrible bully toward me.

I wanted to know why she felt the need, to put down my effort to help, in such a mean way, instead of discussing it with me respectfully if she disagreed with it being a healthy alternative.

I knew why she wouldn’t discuss it. Besides the eggshells that surround(ed) the entire family, she was jealous of my ability to think outside the box, while at the same time feeling superior and that my ideas were stupid and ridiculous.

But for me to stick up for myself, I knew, she’d likely just roll her eyes while berating me for being too sensitive after which she’d walk away feeling triumphant and I’d feel frustrated for not being able to get a word in or not know what to say until the whole thing was over.

I’m sure she knew I wouldn’t ‘rock the boat’ in such a scenario, as to stress out my dying father. She’d already put that anchor in place during a previous conversation about “this not being about her or me. It’s about dad and only dad since he’s the one whose ill.”

And although the probability of her raging while in my father’s apartment was low to non-existent,  I still worried a little about it because I knew her capability of holding on to something until she could release it on me, which could possibly manifest itself in an explosion.

I’d been on the receiving end of that a few times. Once in person. But I’d said something passive aggressive and I really don’t blame her for that too much. A lot of tension had accumulated between us and we hadn’t had any knowledge of how to deal with it because our parents hadn’t taught us how to talk through our frustrations with each other.

But luckily in the more recent incidents where she flew off the handle (after what I was saying was not passive aggressive, but attempting to resolve some issues between us) took place on the phone and I was able to simply hang up.

In person, I felt I ran the risk of her impulse control failing. So I kept my mouth shut.

More stuffed anger on my end.

I think I’m going to have to write one of those letters I’ll never send to each family member, expressing my feelings.

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that might help me in a big way.

 

 

*projection. I can’t possibly know what she was actually thinking. I was going by things she’d said in the past, issues we’d had that I’d tried to discuss, etc.

More Than Just Sibling Rivalry

In my last post I wrote of an example of the lack of my own privacy as a teen. But that stage was set long before that. It can be asked “Why would a small child, prior to the age of 12 really need privacy?” But privacy isn’t just a matter of someone knocking before opening a bedroom door.

My brother and sister started young, taking the liberty entering my bedroom whenever I wasn’t home.

My Brother

When he was a bit older,  (this started when he was 10 and I was 13) my brother would use my stereo.This would piss me off when I’d come home and find him in there. So I’d run up, go in my room and say in a short and curt voice, “Get out.” Sometimes I’d say, “Get out faggot.”
He’d stop what he was doing, gather up all his belongs and quietly leave. I’d just shut the door behind him with no remorse for what I’d just said or how I just treated him.

Makes me want a redo. I feel sad for both of those kids. (My brother and me).
I’m angry at my parents who set us up in certain ways to act like this and even for me to treat him like this. I believed it was normal to be nasty to your brother, even call him names. But now, I know better. I’m angry and sad that my parents didn’t teach us about boundaries and how to respect each other and each others belongings and privacy while we were growing up.

I’m ashamed of my behavior while at the same time feel victimized by my parents in all of this.

My treatment of him makes me feel like I deserved his rage attacks later in our adult life.

When it comes to my brother and me and these types of interactions, I so wish I could go back, knowing what I know now. To have that awareness so that I can be kinder. I think it would change so much about our relationship probably, and also how I feel about myself.

I try to remember I was a product of the toxic and chaotic environment that was my family but it doesn’t make me feel any better about how I treated him or the way things turned out.

My Sister

When she was just a toddler (3 years old) and I was about 9, my sister always wanted to play with my gerbils. One day, while I was at school and she was unsupervised, she dragged a chair to my bedroom door in the hallway, stood on it and flipped the eye-hook lock that was meant to keep my younger siblings out of my room and the gerbils safe from the large family dog.

She of course used no precaution to keep the dog out when she entered, so when she took the lid off and took a gerbil out of the aquarium cage they lived in, it jumped onto the floor and the dog, instinctually stomped on it. Gerbil, dead on impact.

When I got home from school that day, just after I walked through the front door, I could see my mother and siblings sitting on the sofa with somber looks on their faces. My mom was the one to tell me the news. I don’t remember my immediate reaction.

I do remember however, how I felt during the preparation of the burial of this pet. We all kept walking back and forth from the basement to the back yard getting tools to dig up dirt for the grave and make a cross. I remember I was in so much emotional pain. It was overwhelming and a raging anger had built up during all of this walking back and forth. The family dog was right there as well, right along with us. The grief was also overbearing.

At the time I don’t think I was aware that I was angry at my mother for letting my sister invade my privacy that day and many other days before that. I was angry at my sister for causing the death of my beloved little pet. It was her fault this cute little gerbil was dead!

But even without being aware, when I think back on it now, I did know this, deep down I knew it was my mother’s fault. But to show anger toward my mother, to rage at my mother for making this happen, would surely mean abandonment for me.

So instead I got angry at the dog for delivering the deadly blow. I know even more deeply now than I did then, that it wasn’t his fault. But my little nine year old body needed an outlet for all the rage that had built up.

I’m ashamed that I smacked my dog as hard as I could with my little hand, while I tearfully raged, calling him a bad dog. And even then, he continued to walk beside us all, as we walked back and forth in preparation of a funeral for a rodent.

In response to my smacking the dog, my mom said, “I’ve already done that” in a somber and regretful tone.

What I really wanted to do was rage at my mother for not being a mother, for not stopping my sister from going into my room in the first place. I wanted to rage at my sister too. How dare they cause this unnecessary and untimely death to happen.

But I didn’t dare. Not only did I not have the words or understand my feelings of rage and anger at them, to rage at them, would surely mean a certain death for me.

The gerbil incident was one of the most painful events of my life as a child. The loss itself felt unbearable. But in addition to that, I wasn’t able and didn’t feel safe to direct my anger and rage toward the people who actually deserved it.

I’m angry that the opportunity for healthy relationships was stolen from me and my my siblings by not teaching us that all emotions are healthy and OK and that we weren’t nurtured and guided through those emotions to help us understand them as well as how to handle them.

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

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 today. I struggled with depression, as I have since I was 18 but probably long before in reality. I struggled with communicating with my family and being treated with respect.

One particular thing that stood out was my sister’s treatment of me.

I took her dog in a couple times while she and her family went on vacation. Both times she promised to pay me for it. Both times she broke that promise. The second time I did it I was still angry about the first time. But instead of speaking up I kept silent.

I know there’s people would probably say, “It’s your sister, you should do it for free.”

Well I would disagree in our situation. Besides that, she’s the one who insisted on compensating me. She’s the one who initiated the topic of paying me. Whether it was all planned to manipulate me into taking her giant Rottweiler into our small house, I don’t know. But it was her husband who dropped off the dog with her young son. Pretty much assuring I wouldn’t bring up the subject of payment. Then when they got back, the husband picked the dog up again.

Later when I spoke to sister on the phone she told me ‘We’re going to do something for you. We just don’t know what yet.”

It breaks my heart that my sister could treat me this way. I’m also angry. I had actually forgotten about that until I read it last night. I want to go back in time so much and tell her how shitty that all was and that if she can’t come through on something, don’t fuckin’ promise it. It’s not even the not getting money that hurts and disappoints me. It’s the fact that she thinks and feels so little of me that I’m not worth much but to lie to and manipulate.

Makes me even more confident in my staying away from her and cutting her out of my life.

I’d also written some about my parents and their neglect and abuse from childhood. In fact one incident effected me so much that I wrote about it twice.

Between last night and this morning, I got into a small battle in my mind about writing about all this. And then I realized, one of the big reasons that adult children hesitate to write and sometimes never write about it is because we still want to protect them.

The other big reason we hesitate to write about what happened is because of shame.  Our own shame and the fear of being judged for what they did to us. Somewhere along the way, society has brainwashed many of us into believing that if we got abused, or hurt in any way we must have deserved it.

Last night I kept thinking about how I still want to believe my father loved me. I think he believed he loved me. But I don’t think he really knew how to love. Abuse can be confusing because I wasn’t abused continually every moment of every day. My father and I had some fun times together too.

When I was younger, I believed my mother was the good parent, the nice one, the patient one. The one who didn’t yell. (My father didn’t yell either, he bellowed.) My mother was the one who let us do things that my father didn’t. We didn’t have to walk on eggshells when he wasn’t home. She was less drama and I could be a kid for the most part.

But there was neglect too. I did have friends and spent quite a bit of time playing with them, but when I was in the house with no friends, I played alone a lot.

When I was 9, one of my small pets died because my mother hadn’t been keeping an eye on my sister who was 3.

I went to school without homework being finished when I was just in first grade. And was abused by the teacher for it.  I went without a Winter coat one year in high school. And where I’m from, a Winter coat is a necessary item. I compensated with a sweat jacket underneath a jean jacket. And then there’s the enabling of the abuse my father inflicted most of the time.

I list those things above because I do see most of them as a mom’s responsibility for the most part. But it’s really both parents who were responsible for these things. I don’t hold my father too responsible for the death of my small pet because he was at work. My mother was home. She was just downstairs, while my sister was upstairs.  The homework was an issue because my father was abusive when he “helped” me. Simply avoiding him wasn’t always possible when I was six.

In the end, while my father was dying, my mother teamed up with my sister to triangulate and manipulate me. She had me believing she validated and understood me during one particular conversation between the two of us, then threw a dig in as well as excused an incident of my brother raging at me as “just an emotional reaction.”

In my opinion I waited too long to sever ties with these people.

I’m also questioning this healing capability of journaling. I posted a video where Dan Mackler talks about it here.

I’ve journaled…a lot. Not recently, but I used to. So why am I not healed?

One reason I think is because I allowed my family to still be a part of my life for so long. I allowed them to treat me like a dumpster and a doormat and I allowed them to manipulate me. But in my defense, I really didn’t know what exactly was going on. I can’t even be sure that if I had been so aware in my 20s, 30s and even part of my 40s that I would have severed ties.

I knew something was wrong. I’ve known since at least from my early 20s that there was dysfunction in my family. I know now it was a lot more than dysfunctional. It was toxic. But each time I attempted to confront something or resolve something, I walked away feeling like it was me who was the problem. Because, if only I could let go of the past.

Even when later I would feel the anger again. Or the confusion or sadness or depression. I would at times feel so astonished and perplexed after a confrontation or an attempt at discussion because I would walk away from it feeling beat up.