The Silence of Our Friends

Sunday, October 08, 2006

FAMILY DRAMA!

I haven't been able to update because...my dad is a jerk! He's not the worst person in the world, and actually was a pretty good father when I was growing up, but he has gotten more demanding, unreasonable, selfish, and controlling as he has gotten older. He makes every family gathering miserable and on my last visit to CT he was a pain in the ass because I wouldn't jump when he said jump, and took it out on not just me but two of my sisters too. He wrote us a letter disowning us back then (first week of July). I wrote him a letter in reply but sat on it, it was not nice, and I wanted to give myself a chance to cool off and rethink it. Well I went back in the first week of September and reread it and got mad all over again. I sent it. He sent us all another letter, I haven't gotten mine yet but heard from my sisters, now he has disowned all 4 of us.

I don't like the idea that the next time I will see him will be in a casket, but I also can't say that I will miss this person he has become. If there was some way that I could change him back to the dad I knew growing up I'd work hard at trying to fix things, but it ain't gonna happen. Horrible things have to happen before my dad will change. My father was a lousy husband to my mother. He didn't listen to her or appreciate her, he took her forgranted. When I heard the Mary Chapin Carpenter song "He thinks he'll keep her" I thought, yup, that's my mom with my dad. My mom left my dad and now he is remarried. He treats this one like a queen. He changed because something horrible happened. That's why I know the only way things will ever be good between us is by leaving and not looking back. He would have to work to win us back. If we go back on our own, it will be the same thing all over again.

Anyway, if I'm not around much it's because on top of my usual routine I'm trying to hold together one of my sisters who isn't taking this well. The other three of us have had a couple of months to accept it, but she just got disowned yesterday.

Mary Chapin Carpenter's He Thinks He'll Keep Her


14 comment(s):

We have to become our own protectors and nurturers often, when it is most important that we have them.

Hope it eases soon.

By Anonymous Nezua Limón Xolagrafik-Jonez, at 10/08/2006 3:30 AM  

egh. family dwama. whee. my sympathies. and also, hope it eases soon.

By Blogger belledame222, at 10/08/2006 10:41 AM  

Just a thought. Perhaps the reason he as not "so bad" when you were children was/is because he simply cannot handle a full grown woman with a mind of her own--ie, the problem your mother had became your problem when you all became autonomous.

But I do understand how hard it is--I haven't spoken to my father in almost 20 years. It is like loosing someone to death, there is always a hole in the place they have vacated.

By Anonymous sunrunner, at 10/08/2006 3:58 PM  

I disowned my mother in 96, she has not bothered to call or write. It is rough but I will survive. I am sorry for your woes. I hope something changes in him. I agree with sunrunner, perhaps he cannot handle that you are an individual now instead of an admiring little girl.

By Blogger ChasingMoksha, at 10/09/2006 1:49 AM  

You might be onto something on that sunrunner. At the same time he got weird right after my mom left him and that was nearly 20 years ago. He suddenly started lying, about nothing. I'm serious, things that didn't matter. He also "remembers" things different than everyone else in the family and always manages this remembering to see himself in a better light and the rest of us in worse.

My sister is still freaking out today. I'm glad to be there for her, but wish she would see she really isn't losing much. He is so damned difficult. I feel more relief than any other emotion about being disowned by him. I think she sees it as the family falling apart, as long as at least one of us was in contact with him (her) she had hopes we could all eventually work things out. I still think we could if that is what we want, but we would have to go crawling back, and that ain't happening with me.

It's a really complicated situation, suffice to say, my father is a Republican in the Dubya mold. Childish, egotistical, liar, projects everything bad about himself on others.

By Blogger Donna, at 10/09/2006 2:00 AM  

moksha, I bet you know what I mean about it being complicated. If I named off some of the things my father has done, it could never paint a complete picture, and might even look petty without that complete picture.

The sister who is freaking out, she told me she wants to write him a letter in hopes that he will validate her feelings. He doesn't seem to want to take any responsibility for the fallout, and she thinks that maybe if she says something he will. I don't believe that. I warned her that if she thinks he will validate her feelings she is probably going to be disappointed and that I hope she is prepared for that possibility.

By Blogger Donna, at 10/09/2006 9:02 AM  

The "mis-remembering" part is interesting since I had exactly the same experience with my father. I finally came to the conclusion that he really didn't remember "the truth" because he is completely unequipped to deal with seeing himself as he "really is". (most of us have to have a good look at the more unattractive parts of ourselves, it is what keeps us healthy) He needs to think of himself as "good" "right" "better" and so forth and so on. So, like dubya, "facts" which interfer with his own picture of himself, and his consequent picture of the world simply cannot be allowed to stand. They must be annihilated.

Your sister should be very careful, because it can be very dangerous psychologically to try to relate to someone who is so invested in their own fictional, irrational view of things in a rational manner...they will always twist the most carefully thought out "factual" approach into something that has literally no resemblance to the point you are trying to make. It is really a recipe for crazy-making and I mean that in the most literal sense of the world.

I would say that the most supportive thing you can do is to continue to be there for her emotionally, while warning her in no uncertain terms that if she does reach out to your father, she is setting herself up for even more rejection, and it will hurt as badly as the rejection she is already experiencing. It may not dissuade her, but when he lashes out at her again (and he will) she will not be so blindsided. And if she is in any way open to it, now is a good time for her to get a little professional counseling -- it is one of those times when an outside "objective" perspective can be invaluable.

And also, be sure to make sure to leave some space for your own feelings. Really, really important!!!!!!

By Anonymous sunrunner, at 10/09/2006 11:28 AM  

I know about the rewriting history part. According to my people, I was accepted in a top ranked college, had a scholarship, and they were more than willing to get me there, but I blew it all by leaving home pregnant with a man. Oh how I forget our lights were cut off, eating rice and gravy and biscuits for weeks, we were dead broke, had been for years, and I did not even bother to take the SATs which was a must in order to had gotten into that school.

I feel your pain sister, I feel your pain.

By Blogger ChasingMoksha, at 10/09/2006 8:03 PM  

Hi, donna! I just realized through your comment on my blog that you have a site! Very nice!

And in regards to this post--I too, have not talked to my father (or my mother) in about fifteen years--but i got to the point when I realized I just couldn't do it anymore. And yeah, that emotional void is always there--I'm always thinking about what I am denying my kids by not recognizing my parents--a history, for example. but at the same time, I am also denying them access to mental and emotional abuse and all sorts of other fun things. It really does suck, and you have to give yourself space to mourn for what you will never have (a father), but at the same time, you have to live in a way that honors your right to be here, you know?

I'm thinking of you and your sisters right now...please take care...

By Blogger brownfemipower, at 10/10/2006 5:32 PM  

*So much lobve*

By Blogger Blackamazon, at 10/10/2006 11:14 PM  

*big hugs* That sucks that you and your sisters have to go through this.

By Anonymous tekanji, at 10/11/2006 8:17 AM  

Please accept my deepest empathies. It's a damn difficult and painful situation. And, though I'm a little behind on this, thanks so much for starting this great blog, and for your courage and insights.

By Anonymous Katie, at 10/11/2006 5:18 PM  

Hey Donna,

You know ... hmmmm ... this may sound a bit strange to you, but I have to ask : what kind of illnesses, if any, does your fafther have. Not that I am a doctor but he sounds a lot like my late father. Which is why, I have to tell you, your father may be experiencing the first symptoms of dementia / alzheimers.

I also had a difficult time with my father. I too was very young when he disowned me. I too didn't speak to him for almost a decade.

I can't tell you how this is one of my biggest regrets.

My father died four years ago after a long and painful two years of being trapped in a dementia addled body. It was horrible to go visit him and know he knew my face but couldn't remember who I was. It was horrible to be there in his room and not be able to talk to him about politics or fight over the existence of god or just ... fight.

I'll write more about this tomorrow, but, just lending some food for thought and words of wisdom. I've been there and I can tell you, it's not going to get better. Make your peace now.

By Blogger liza, at 10/17/2006 11:08 PM  

Liza, I'm one step ahead of you. My grandmother (his mother) had alzheimers and I was worried that he also had it, but it appears that it isn't hereditary. That doesn't mean he couldn't have developed it or some other dementia, but made me feel a little better.

I couldn't bring myself to read the nasty letter he sent. I just left it sitting in a pile of books and papers under my desk. But my husband asked if he could read it yesterday. He told me that I definitely do not want to read it, but he also said that my father explains some of his memory loss on chemotherapy. I think that is possible, but since much of his memory loss puts him in a good light and the rest of us in a bad light, I think it's also him being selective of what he wants to remember.

By Blogger Donna, at 10/20/2006 1:59 PM  

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