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

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.