Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You Called, Again?

My dad called me this morning and left me the following message on my voicemail,

"Hey LSV, it's dad.  Um it's been awhile. Just wanted to give ya a call to say hi. Uh i hope everybodys doing good, [wife} I hope she's ok, I hope that uh [daughter] and [son] are doing good, they're getting bigger now. Um I hope things with you are doing good too, um things over here are good.  (garbled) works three jobs now instead of (laughs, garbled). Uh all the kids went and bought a boat now they're restoring it, sort of like a kid family project kinda thing, hoping to have that in by the end of the boating season, so they're all excited about that.  Umm gimme a call back LSV, umm I love you, and I hope things are going great, alright, call me back, alright bye."
 
And that was it.
No mention of the letter.
No mention that he's going to do anything about the letter.
No mention of anything wrong at all in fact.
 
Additionally, he called me on my cell phone while I was at work. Granted I've not told him not to call me, and I have picked up whilst at work before. I guess common sense on his part is lacking.
 
I am now playing with the idea of sending him something in writing, probably an email saying something like, "If you want to communicate with me and my wife further, you will have to do so in writing." I'm not sure if it's worth it though. I've not responded to his request to send my response to his letter via email so "he can better read it". I've not returned any of his phone calls since either.
 
I just had a thought: it wasn't too long ago that my mother sent her form letter, in what appeared to be a last ditch attempt to reach out. Could be that his phone call had something to do with that, but I doubt I'll ever know for sure.
 
What strikes me, is the fact that his son poured his heart out in a lenghty response to his letter, and all he could muster was a measly, "I'm sorry you feel that way, about everything". He didn't even try to respond in writing, just wanted me to make it easier for him. Hogwash! Again, I wonder what, if anything, will happen should I send that email to him. Worth it?
 
Not sure. But, I feel like if I do something like that, it would at least be setting a boundary, something solid, that I can see, that I have a firm grasp of. At least I think so anyway.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gone and Done It

I poked my head in Dr. Coleman's "Hurting Parents" forum, and, well I dug myself in....

Have a look.

I probably shouldn't have stuck my head in like I did, but I just couldn't NOT do that. I felt like I had to stand up for myself and quite possibly the other adult children who've taken similar paths as I have. My saying anything isn't going to resonate with anyone there, but I felt good about it. I felt I was fighting back for myself, against my parents and their poor behaviors, who they are.

I'll say it again: I felt good standing up for myself and my beliefs.

A piece of my life puzzle fell into place...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Snack Time

I'd like to give a shout out to my new favorite snack, Greek Yogurt. It's yogurt AND it's protein; what's not to love!

So here's to you purveyor of protein, squire of the snack! You're good eatin'!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Send Off

I wrote the following to my sister as she graduated from the 8th grade and transitioned into high school (I believe it was something that school required from its graduates):

[Sister (nickname)] 
            I write to you as a holy man… 
Just kidding. 
But seriously folks, I just want to say how proud of you I am.  True, for several years, you were like a paper cut between my fingers but it was only because you got all the attention of the family.  And at that time, I was a pudgy, goofy, booger kid with glasses that took up most of my face.  You were a cute toddler and I just couldn’t compete.  But I got over that though, and finally started to like you (don’t get me wrong, I always loved you, I just had a hard time liking you).  You’ve blossomed into a phenomenal young woman (and I use that term loosely—haaaaaaa) and I have no doubts that you will become a phenomenal woman.  It’s too early to think about that though, you still have to be my little sister whom I scare and bother from morning till night.
So what advice can I give…
Don’t take anything personally, that’s for certain.  People will dump on you and kick you to the ground, but that’s only because they can’t handle themselves or what lives they lead.  You can because you’re always going to be better than them.  Always.  And a little tolerance and understanding go a long way.  It’s never too late to learn something.  It will make you more worldly and knowledgeable, and that is something that will impress people.  You know the old saying “knowledge is power”.  That, as corny as it is, holds true.  I really don’t want to preach to you.  Goodness knows how I hate that, and if you’re anything like me (which you are, HA again) you aren’t a fan either.  I tell you these things from experience, as a brother to a sister, and a friend to a friend.
Don’t let the world get you down, because there’s so much to see when you rise above the rest.

I love you little sis, silly little bag of muffins.

[LSV nickname]  J  ß ha ha ha look what I made!!!

___________________________________________

This letter is what led my wife to her revelation that I may have been the scapegoat for my mother. The whole first paragraph I'm telling her how much I didn't like her and that she got all the attention and I couldn't "compete" with a cute toddler. I put myself down but still managed to point out that loving someone is not the same as liking them, in that I loved my sister, but that didn't necessitate me liking her. This was a strange line for me to read because when it came to other relationships I was all about the idea that loving someone meant you  A L W A Y S  liked them. I held this idea when it came to most of my romantic relationships. I think that's an important piece of conditional love too, which is what I was subjected to, so it's not really a great surprise as I look now, that I had the equation, LOVE = ALWAYS LIKE.

The second paragraph, the "advice" section. I think some of what I said is sound: knowledge is power; a little tolerance and understanding is a good thing. However, my wife picked up on something that was more truly telling -- that knowledge, while also giving the wielder power, will also impress people. Now, why would I say that if I didn't really think that to be true? And wasn't that always what my mother was about - giving people a nice show on the outside, impressing people with...whatever? Yes, that is what she was about and I was feeding that to my sister, another malleable mind. My mother was getting what she wanted, her son to play the part of father/brother/caretaker to feed her daughter with the same poison apple that she fed her son and it's all the more potent because it's coming from a male figure her daughter so highly regards.

Sick.
Sick sick treacherous game that was.

Wishful Thinking

I've said this before: I don't remember a great deal from my childhood. As I read many other posts about narc parent behaviors, I want so badly to be able to recount some of that from my upbringing.

Was I trained to not remember it?
Perhaps a useful tool for my mother to instill that sort of mindset in her malleable child?
What can I do now? Force myself to remember? Are they stored somewhere in my memory banks?

I'm hoping that my dreams and my subconscious will provide some insight on that. I never journaled (boy THAT would have been helpful though) save for a short time years ago when I was about middle high school age. Actually, I was basically blogging: writing down everything I was thinking and everything that was happening to me in an open forum with an option for it to be private. I can't remember nor do I have stored anything I posted there but I had a sense of community. I can't imagine that I was posting about anything super-deep back then, but there's also that possibility.

Should I be able to do it again, I would attempt to write everyday -- what happened, with whom, how I felt, even if it was just a blah, I stayed home and watched tv and this show was on. Writing things down helps to solidify those memories in the brain. There was a study conducted at a university which put forward the idea that currently, our minds need not remember as many things since the advent of the Internet. Everything is litterally a click away: fixing computers, a house, a relationship, phone numbers, directions, names. You name it, it can be stored somewhere that isn't the human mind.

My wife and I were discussing something of a revelation she had and it damn near took my legs out from beneath me. She asserted that I was the scapegoat of my family of origin, specifically the scapegoat for my mother rather than the golden child. I could do no wrong because I was trained to do no wrong.

Now, I've already said that I believe my mother and father did not want, nor were ready to have a child when they got pregnant with me. I think they got married becuase that's what they thought they were supposed to do and, hell, they'd just make the best of it. My mother was 22 at the time and I think that she was angry at me for being born, for taking away her freedom from living her life the way she wanted. Couple that with the fact that they didn't want kids and I was just as useful as a wart. I believe my father checked out (of emotional commitment) long before I was born. According to my mother, they'd fight all the time, and he'd be out doing what he wanted. I didn't ask my father about this, becuase at the time I was talking to my mother, I didn't have reason to question her. This was years and years ago.

You know, I don't even know how long they'd been seeing each other at the time they concieved, married, and had me. My father doesn't like to talk about his past -- he's said this to me, and I've never pushed the issue. My mother made mention of some of her childhood and what it was like, but I've to take with a grain of salt. The memories are most likely distored or a blatant lie.

I never thought to question who my mother and father were. Not even the slightest bit curious of who they are, where they came from, what kinds of things they went through. I just accepted them at face value, after all, they were Mother and Father. Who else need they be, right? Now though, I kick myself some for not asking questions of them, I can speculate off of the vagueities that I do know of them.

My mother's second ex-husband, the father of my sister (technically, half-sister), was a piece of work himself. Knew next to nothing about him also but knew enough as a boy of 10 that he was not capable of being there, emotionally or physically, for his daughter. That's why I stepped into his role -- with no objections by my mother of course. I thought I was doing the right thing, doing what I was "supposed" to be doing for my sister, after all, she needed a good male role model, right? In that respect I was not wrong; she did in fact need a good male role model, however it should have been her father. My mother didn't say this. I'm betting she didn't even think it. She was too busy working and having extra marital affairs. And my sister now, is so much a part of my mother I don't know where she ends and my mother begins. I believe my sister will never see our mother the way I do; it will go against everything she is.

I got into talking about this guy because I remember one time I'd done something to get into trouble, I was around ... gosh, 11 or so, maybe 12. But anyway, I don't remember what I'd done to get into this trouble with my step-father at the time, but I was in my room and I was upset and crying, we were yelling at each other, and he flat out tells me, "don't be such a dope". At the time, I was super-hurt by this and started crying even more (gosh I cried at lot at 10/11...). I'm not sure if he apologized to me, or if it was my mother who said that he didn't mean to call me a dope. Also, I can't figure out why I was so crushed by this, perhaps I still longed for a father who was there and who actually wanted a son. I'm really not sure what the case was with my former stepfather and I'm not sure if he even really wanted kids. But I do know that wouldn't call my 11 year old a dope and I know that I'm a better parent than my mother, father, and former stepfather.

My father remarried too, but since he didn't get custody, I barely saw him, from what I can remember, on weekends and some holidays. He was the one who told me about "the birds and the bees" and yes, he actually called it that. I can recall his discussion with me regarding Santa Clause. This was before my sister was born so I wasn't even 9 years old yet. I hadn't even gotten to 10 and my little boy spirit was being forcibly taken from me. Why even have that discussion? Let the magic of that time of year last for as long as possible.

No real conclusions here, just a little wandering of a brain.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What Dreams May Come

I was sprinting through a mall. My legs pounding on the tiled floor struggling to build speed. I was trying to churn my legs as quickly as possible but I just wasn't going as fast as I thought I should be. I saw people I used to know go by - people from high school mainly. Their eyes wide as a I ran by, but not saying anything.

I was outside a roadside convenience store on what looked like a derelict part of New York City streets. A blue metal gate was locked in front of me. Another man was next to me - I knew him somehow but I can't recall a face or how I knew him. We were attempting to get over and we did, but another fence/gate blocked our way. I don't know why we wanted in this convenience store.

I was on the opposite side of the street as what I think was an undercover police vehicle - it was some sort of supercharged Ford Focus. The female officer came over to me and asked for my license and registration. When I opened the glove compartment, I was covered in opened mail and what I think was bills.

______________________________________________

I'm not sure if those dreams were all part of the same one or separate bits from separate dreams. As I've said, I'd like to begin writing as much of my dreams that I can remember.

Icing on the Cake

See, here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Rest of My Life

My mother just recently sent me an email at my work address.

From: Mom
To: LSV
Subject: if you could please read this...
 Dear LSV,

You are my son and I love you dearly. I know I have made mistakes and for that I am so sorry. I am so sorry for the pain it must have caused. As you know, i carry regret about all that. I have tried hard to make ammends and will always be willing to start talking again about whatever is important to you about the past if it would move us closer together. I do want to hear what you feel and would always be open to a letter, a phone call or even a meeting with the therapist that we had tried to do.

I really want you to be happy,happy with [your wife], happy in your life, and I know you do not want to have a relationship with me. It's heartbreaking as your parent, to not be able to see you and your family. At the same time, if you believe it is in your best interest, then i respect that. You must have good reason and i accept that. I want you to know that the door will be open for the rest of your life if you change your mind.

All my love,

Mom
___________________________________________

Right then. I was surprised when I saw the email in my work inbox - obviously I had not expected this. After reading this once over, I was admittedly sad. I wanted to believe what my mother was saying was true during the first read and very nearly did. But then I read it a second time, and a third, and that feeling began to dissipate rather quickly.

Some things I noticed straight away:
1. she apologized for her wrong-doings but she called them "mistakes". Her actions and behaviors were not mistakes as they were done intentionally. They were purposefully harmful transgressions. Now, I am not asserting that the apology was genuine, nor am I accepting her apology. It is vague, which indicates to me that she is saying what she thinks I want to hear. She has not directly apologized for causing me pain, or my wife pain, or even my family pain. It's just too general, what she said.

2. She said that she's been trying hard to make amends. Well that's just plain untrue. She's not been trying hard, nor has she even been trying. I've not seen these efforts of amending.

3. She sent an email to my work address. Is it really that hard to send a personal email to a personal address? I guess so.

4. I've already expressed to her how I felt - it was in a letter that I read to her then handed over to her. For her to say that she'd love to hear how I feel is just crazy talk. What makes her think that her saying that she's open to my feelings now will make me want to regurgitate everything I've already told her? Read the letter! It's all there!

5. While I do hold a sentiment of "don't want" when it comes to a relationship with my mother, there's also a very large "can't have" sentiment and this is the result of my mother's behaviors and her choices that refuses to take responsibility for. Well fully anyway. It's true that I don't want a relationship with her but it's because of her actions. It's also true that I attempted to have a relationship with her and gave her an outline of what I needed from her in order to have a relationship with her. She chose not to use that guide.

6. My mother has put all of the responsibility of our relationship on me. How is that fair? Where is her response to the lengthy letter I wrote? There was never any mention of that...ever.

7. The "good reason" for choosing not to go no contact was explained succinctly in both the first letter and the second one.

8. My mother mentioned that it was heartbreaking to not be able to see me. I think what's more important is the fact that we don't have a relationship at all. That she's made some very poor choices that's led to the current state of affairs. She should have said that it's heartbreaking to know that she caused her own heartbreak. But that's all in the category of "shouldda, couldda, wouldda".

All in all, I'm unimpressed by her "effort" to reach out to me. It didn't seem like she put anything into writing this. At least my father spent a little more time on his letter, though his didn't say anything worthwhile either.