Saturday, October 10, 2020

Off my chest

Fair warning: this is going to be a deeply personal post. It's probably not going to be to everyone's taste, so if reading about someone else's family problems at length isn't your cup of tea, feel free to move along now. I'll be back to posting lighter fare next time. 

Here's a cute George picture to enjoy before you go:


                 

He was just back from a joyride with Gregg around the neighborhood in the truck. That's the face of pure, uncomplicated happiness. 



Last night might well have been the beginning of the end of my relationship with my parents. I guess some things have been coming to a head for a while now, but I'm still shocked at the turn things have taken all of a sudden. Things got ugly. Both my mom and my dad said hateful, hurtful things to me and the worst part was, it was unprovoked on my part. 

Some history:

My dad was always a really nice guy. He's had certain mental health issues off and on his whole life, and the last few years his physical health has deteriorated significantly, but despite all that he's always been kind and gentle, without a bad word to say to or about anyone. But it would be a lie to say he was a good father. He was an alcoholic for years and years, and didn't quit drinking until I was in my twenties and had been living on my own for years. He was fully 50% of the reason I was so very anxious to leave home the moment I was able to in the first place. In the early years of dad's sobriety he went all-out born again evangelistic Christian and that took the place of alcohol. He was (and is) obsessive about religion in exactly the same way as he was about drinking. It's been a strange thing to watch. And slowly, over the years, he's become less nice, less gentle, less loving. 

Fast forward to today, and his physical health has declined to the point that he's taking a ton of prescription medications, two of which happen to be strong pain medications and Xanax. Sometimes he sounds and acts exactly like he did when he was drunk all those years ago.  Except back then he was a nice drunk and these days he's anything but. I think I found out the reason why yesterday: Fox News. 

Dad has become a Fox News junkie. His mental health issues are back full force, his physical health has gone downhill to the point that I expect him to die any day (that's not hyperbole), he's hopped up on all kinds of pills, and according mom he watches Fox News day and night. He has recently, for the first time in  his life, started cursing and ranting and raving, being angry and aggressive, and having manic episodes. Apparently he barely sleeps and goes on long, furious tirades about Liberals and Democrats and Jesus and the Wrath Of God and the Danger Of Hell. 

So on Thursday night, out of the clear blue sky, he started sending me private messages on Facebook, cursing me, ranting and raving about abortion of all things, telling me I'm evil and I support baby killers (Democrats) and that I'm on a fast track to hell. It was so profane, so unlike my dad, that I finally responded with: "'m going to assume my dad's account has been hacked. This isn't the kind of stuff my dad says to me. And if it is you, you owe me an apology." He proceeded to scream at me some more, cursing me out, basically acting crazy. I finally disengaged and messaged my mom: Do you know the stuff dad is saying to me? She messaged me back and started going into how my dad has been unwell and almost delirious for a few days now, so I said, "This isn't a conversation for Facebook messenger. Let me call you" and she told me emphatically NOT to call, that it would "set your daddy off". What the hell?! So I said, "Mom, he needs to see a doctor asap. This aggression and personality change is a warning sign. Something is really wrong. You need to go talk to his family doctor." I told her to call me when she felt comfortable doing so, because we needed to talk about this.

The next day (yesterday) she called. Dad had gone somewhere so she was free to talk. (Like he needs to be driving a car (!!!) but I digress...) Anyway, she started in about how out of control he gets: manic, aggressive, then crashes and sleeps for days. Really alarming stuff. But then she launched into her familiar litany of woes: how hard her life is, how nobody helps her, how she's "sick myself" with diabetes and how hard it is to deal with my dad when she never feels good herself, she cries every day, her doctor had to up her dosage of "nerve pills" to deal with the stress of it all, etc. etc. Now, that all sounds pitiful but you need to understand that my mom's a narcissist. Everything is about her, the world revolves around her, no one has problems like her. Her, her, her, her, her. Always her. Her feelings, her wants, her needs. 

I kept trying to calmly steer the conversation back to getting some help for dad, but she deflected everything I tried to suggest, just as she always does. When I pushed the point that she needs to step up and get him medical help for whatever is happening to him right now, she got defensive, totally lost her cool, and started screaming at me. She's apparently been holding back lots of things she's wanted to say to me for years now, and last night was her opportunity.

 She told me what a shitty daughter I am, how I never come to see them and never help them, how my dad is right and Democrats and Liberals "love abortion" and "hate God" and they know that I'm both, how I treat their "grandchildren" (my cousin's grandchildren that my parents have decided are going to be their grandkids since I didn't give them any real ones) like dirt and refuse to be "a part of OUR family", how she loves my cousin's daughter and her husband because they care about her the way Gregg and I don't, and furthermore, we think we're better than them all. 

Then she started in on Gregg, which was just a fucking bridge too far. She kept referring to him as "your husband" instead of by name. She listed the things she dislikes about him. As I sat there and let her talk she kept getting more and more personal and more and more offensive so I finally just hung up the phone. She might be my mother, but no one on this goddamn Earth is going to talk to me like that, much less say nasty things about my husband. Like I said, a bridge too far. 

Later, instead of cooling down and rethinking the way she went off on me, she doubled down and starting sending me Facebook messages elaborating on even more ways that I had been a terrible daughter to her. She even brought Gregg's family into some of it. She called me names and told me to unfriend her on Facebook and that I was "on my own" from here on out. Just nasty, and so upsetting!

You guys, I'm exhausted. I've had enough of being bullied and emotionally abused by my parents. I'm 45 years old and I've tried, I mean I've really tried, to be the best daughter I could under the circumstances. Remember when I told you earlier about my dad being a nice drunk when I was growing up? Well, mom was a mean drunk. She was an alcoholic, too, just like dad. Some of my earliest memories of her involve so much emotional abuse that sometimes I could weep for the little girl I once was. I'm not being melodramatic here, at least I'm trying not to be. There were only a few times when the abuse I experienced became physical, but that happened too. Then there was domestic violence between my parents that I was a witness to in my preschool years. 

Want an example of some of the things I experienced when I was young? When I was about 4 years old I watched my mom put a gun she fully believed to be loaded to my dad's head and pull the trigger. The only reason he's alive today is because he had unloaded it at some point, probably after another one of their terrible, furious, knock-down drag-out fights. From the time I started school I suffered terrible attacks of anxiety, and the OCD I inherited from dad started to manifest itself early on. My parents never noticed. When I was 16 had the first of two emotional breakdown/mental health crises that I would suffer before I reached the age of 30. My parents didn't notice. I got involved with a much older guy who treated me like total trash when I was 15 and in the 10th grade. My parents didn't notice or care that a 20 year old man was taking advantage of their daughter. In fact, they kind of liked him. I left home and moved in with him at 18, married him at 19, and fled the marriage at 22. He was abusive in (surprise!) much the same way my parents were. When I left that marriage I moved away from my hometown and put a little distance between my parents and myself. It was the best thing I could have done. I haven't looked back since.

Since then, I've built a life that I love, and a small family of my own, and I'm fiercely protective of both. But despite all that family history, I've never confronted my parents about anything, nor have I ever said one single word of reproach to either of them. I tried hard to understand the reasons behind some of their actions: my dad's mental illness, the abuse my mom suffered at the hands of her own father, alcoholism. I've chosen to be polite and, admittedly, somewhat distant with them over the years,  and any time they've had health emergencies and the like I've dropped everything, took time off work, and been there for them. I'll admit, I don't enjoy spending time with them and as people I don't like them very much. But because they're my parents I still love them. And I've always shown them respect and tried to keep some small vestige of a relationship alive because it seemed like the right thing to do. You know? 

I think we've reached a turning point now. I'm really close to saying: Enough. I'm sorry my dad is mentally ill and not fully aware of the horrible stuff he's saying to me. I'm sorry my mom feels like I've somehow failed her instead of the other way around. On the phone last night, when my mom told me that my cousin, my cousin's daughter, and her daughter's babies were precious to her and she thinks I'm just a "jealous little shit" I finally snapped and said, "Fine. Call them the next time you need something. I'm done." and that's when I hung up the phone. And until I get a sincere apology from both of them for the way they've treated me this week, I have nothing left to say to them. And even if I get an apology, they aren't welcome in my home or in my life for a while. I need (and think I deserve) a good long break.

If you're still reading here, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. This has felt horrible and writing it all out has been cathartic. If you have any advice or experience with family estrangement I'd love to hear about it in the comments. I think my biggest issue is the guilt I feel about cutting off contact with my parents, no matter how awful their words and actions make me feel. Advice, thoughts, observations welcome. And thank you for being here. I love you guys.

88 comments:

  1. I had similar to you except my mom wasn’t a drunk. She chose to leave me with my dad and would only show up intermittently. I know what you are going through. If you need someone to lean on I am here for you. I also left. Married and moved to another province. I intentionally did not give anyone my phone number or contact info until I was ready. My siblings were also abusive to me. I am in my 60s. I also had mental breakdowns. It is hard and you are right in dropping them. Jean

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    1. Hi, Jean. Thank you for sharing some of your experiences with me. I always wished for siblings growing up but it's probably just as well that I'm an only child. I hope your life is good now.

      Delete
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  2. "Fine. Call them the next time you need something. I'm done." - RIGHT THERE! you are finished with that trash. unfriend them on fuckbook, do not answer their calls, NOTHING!

    been there done that, girlfriend. 1989 was my breaking point. I "divorced" the sperm & egg donor then and never looked back. best thing I ever did for my mental/physical health. victim of physical/mental/emotional abuse (no alcohol/drugs/faux noise involved). needed 4 years of therapy to move on.

    PM me at girl9654@yahoo.com if ya wanna talk further. LOVE YOU! I UNDERSTAND!

    and thanks for the uber cute pix of george!

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    1. Love YOU! I knew you were estranged from your parents and I was hoping you'd leave a comment. Thank you!

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  3. My mom was a mean drunk
    Walk away
    X
    Protect yourself deArheart

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    1. That's the plan for the near future. I have lots of "stuff" to process and I need some distance to work on boundaries.

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  5. My mother was mean to me from birth. Seems she got all the attention while pregnant, and then it was redirected to me as a baby. She followed with five other girls but I was the target of most of her venom (physically, emotionally and mentally). She never had an alcohol problem. Her sister is sweet as pie to this day. My father was a sweet man whether he was drunk or sober. Everyone loved him so she was jealous and abusive to him. He would never hit her he just drank more. He drank himself to death when I was 31. He was 51. She died 5 years later at 54. I've been married to the same man (a good one) since we were 19. We're into our 47th year now. I married for love and getting out of that house was a bonus!
    My advice? Ask yourself, would I hang with these people if they weren't my parents? Kids get taken away from people like this. Having babies isn't the same as loving them. You are two years older than my oldest boy. You have the right to be happy. Toxic people aren't worth the heartache no matter who they are. Hugs, sweetie.

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    1. Most of the physical violence I saw happen between my parents when I was very young was by my mom aimed at my dad. He mostly held her off. One decent thing they did do was make a decision to not engage in physical fights anymore by the time I was in grade school. So while nothing else got better, that did at least.

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  6. I didn't get along with either one of my parents and now they're gone. They've been gone for several years now.

    My mother didn't approve of my wife seeing she's Thai. And on one Thanksgiving we invited her over for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner which my lovely wife prepared. As soon as my mother entered our door, she started tearing into us, to the point that I pointed to the door before she even had a chance to sit down, and told her to get the fuck out!

    Then one of my sisters told me I'd be going to hell, seeing I don't believe the same as she does! I replied, if I go there, I'll save a seat for her!

    And as for my father, well, he said he never wanted children, yet, he sure had no problem getting his rocks off!

    What I've told you here, is just a tip of the iceberg!

    I'm much more at peace now that my parents are gone, and that I no longer keep in touch with my one sister!

    There are some people I have to stay away from for my own well-being!

    Have a pleasant night my friend!

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    1. I love the line "...if I go there, I'll save a seat for her"!

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    2. I love that line too! Lon, I'm sorry to hear you were treated that way, and I understood being outraged on behalf of your wife. Take care.

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  7. Put this burden down and be free. You have a wonderful life with your own family - enjoy every day of it.

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    1. Thats exactly what I'm working toward....thank you.

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  8. Yes. Walk away. They have had all of the negative effect on your life that they need to have. They are your parents but you owe them nothing. The life you have created is your own and you have fought hard for it. Nothing you ever do will please them and that is their problem, not yours. Trust me.
    If you ever want to email me, my address is on my blog.
    You are not alone.
    I love you, Jennifer.

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    1. And I love you, Mary Moon. You have no idea how much I value your advice and support. ❤

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  9. Jennifer,I feel for you and understand all too well the alcoholism and abuse
    .You are saving yourself now and did the right thing.It is very hard but know you are not alone.

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    1. Thank you Terry. Too many of us have suffered through alcoholism and abuse in our families of origin.

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  10. Do not walk away- run, fast and slam the door behind you - toxic shit, darling.

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    1. Yes, it feels like it's becoming more and more toxic lately and I'm fed up with dealing with it. It's not worth the distress it causes me.

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  11. Oh Jennifer, I'm so sorry. You have done just what you should do when you told her to call your cousin the next time. Like the others have said, you need to walk away. But don't walk away from yourself. It is important that you are gentle with yourself and take care of yourself, especially now.

    I don't usually talk about it but both of my parents were alcoholics and from the time I was in 7th grade I essentially raised myself and took care of my mother who was sick all the time. There were a lot of very bad situations that I won't bring up here. That is why I left home as soon as I could after I turned 18 and on my on moved to another state. I got away from them but without realizing it I carried a lot of problems with me that were caused by them. I never faced these problems until I was in my late 40's and in my second marriage. I finally went for emotional counseling for several years and I began to understand the damage that had been done to me. Both my parents have been gone for over 30 years now but with help I did manage a long distance relationship with them before they died. I still feel pretty screwed up in a lot of ways but the counseling I got helped me to face and deal with a lot of the past damage done to me. For many years I ran from and ignored the damage done to me but I learned to at least try and put it behind me along with any guilt that I should never have felt. Feel free to email me any time. My email is on my blog. I care Jennifer, I really do. Take care of you!





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    1. I thank you for sharing this with me, Bonnie. You mentioned guilt....I struggle with that more than anything else. Even sharing all this here on the blog makes me feel guilty and disloyal, like I've made my family seem more monstrous than they are. I have to keep working on not feeling the need to justify and excuse their actions. It's taken me all these years to even begin working on how screwed up I feel like I am because of my past. I regret so many early decisions and choices in my life but I remind myself that I was simply doing the best I could at the time. It's hard to have the same compassion for myself that I would give to a friend. Thank you Bonnie.

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    2. "Even sharing all this here on the blog makes me feel guilty and disloyal, like I've made my family seem more monstrous than they are." - NO GUILT! they ARE monsters! PERIOD! do NOT allow the monsters to reside in your head!

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  12. Jennifer, it's a matter of pot-luck with our parents; we can never choose the perfect pair. Some are lucky (I was), but some not. Some are rich, others poor. Some are good looking, others as ugly as sin. We should only be expected to like our parents if they are good to us.

    Don't hate yourself for feeling the way you do. You are a grown woman with a career and a family, you are allowed to make your own decisions. As a full stop to your relationship with your parents, I would also suggest to your mother that when she really needs your help (that day will come) that she not bother to ask you, as the answer will be 'NO'. It's a horrible thing to say, but a lesson must be taught; and maybe the shock will change her. Best wishes, xx

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    1. I've just read through all the other comments, it seems you're not alone!

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    2. You're right about the pot luck nature of what kind of family we're born into. As I just told Bonnie, I struggle with guilt, but I'm doing my best to move past this and find peace.

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  13. Oh Jennifer, what a terrible time your parents have put you through. Unlike many of the above comments, I was lucky to have had a lovely childhood with caring , loving parents and it horrifies me that so many others have apparently been abused in so many ways. I hope that it has helped you by writing it all down...sending love from England.
    I think that you should stand by your word to have nothing more to do with them and no regrets. You owe them nothing.Love your husband, pets and friends and job and enjoy the rest of your life.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I hope I don't seem to be asking for sympathy, because honestly my life is pretty good. Writing this all out and hearing about other people's experiences has been somewhat freeing. I'm considering keeping a handwritten journal to continue processing my thoughts and feelings.

      Your good wishes mean a lot. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

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  14. You have a full and good life with your loving husband in the home you love. Focus on the good you have and you have a lot.Walk away Jennifer.

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    1. I really do have a happy, full life. While I'd love to have a good relationship with my parents, it's not something I need.

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  15. My Mom was nuts, literally, electroshock therapy and all. There is this Cracker Jack crazy theory out there that you have to be loyal to your parents, and obey them. That's nothing more than a part of a dying mythology. In your Mom's mind, everybody else is to blame because she, herself, is incapable of dealing with the situation. This, like everything else, will pass. Be strong.

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    1. Oh, Dave, you can understand what I'm about to say better than most: Fox News is making both of my parents meaner and crazier than they've been in years. My dad is even starting to spout Qanon conspiracy talking points. Their newfound love of Fox isn't helping the situation any, that's for sure. I can't be around that evil, vile culture, family or not!

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  16. Others have said it, and I will repeat it: walk away. So very sorry for all that has transpired in your (birth) family, but glad that you and Greg and your sweet pets make up your own family full of love. You must do what is best for yourself and Greg. I walked away from a very toxic family (only sibling) situation more than twenty years ago and cut off all communication. Never regretted the decision. These days you simply need to preserve your own mental health. Thinking of you--knowing how distressed you are feeling, but try to let it go--for your sake.

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    1. Yes, preserving my own mental health is what I need to concentrate on for now. I can't solve their problems for them but I can limit the damage it does to me now, as an adult. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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  17. My mother was an alcoholic. I had to cut ties with her just before my fortieth birthday to retain my sanity and protect my own family. I still feel guilty about it but it was absolutely the right thing to do. Your life is precious so make it a good one.

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    1. Guilt is hard to overcome, but as adults we owe it to ourselves to do what's best for our own well being.

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  18. I am still on a healing path from my childhood. Good boundaries are hard to develop when no one ever showed us how. Why doesn't every person know how to remove toxic people from their lives? I am learning and I hope you do too. I hope you can focus on the beauty around you and leave that ugly stuff behind.

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    1. Good luck to you on your path to healing! Boundaries are such a tough thing to learn about but it's so important. Thank you Linda.

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  19. Would you let anyone berate George the way your parents berate you? Of course not. You would protect George, because that's the right thing to do. So please, protect yourself. It's completely irrelevant that the people you most need protection from are your parents: You still need to protect yourself, first and foremost. You've done the right thing.

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    1. I keep thinking about how, if I had a child, I would NEVER allow my parents to treat him or her the way they've treated me. They would have two options: straighten themselves out and do better, or else stay out of our lives.

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  20. Dearest Jennifer, thank you for sharing this. You deserve better and you know it. That's why you chose Greg and the wonderful life you two have created. I admire you for being able to get this all out there. Take care of yourself, of Greg, and of the exceptional family you've created around you. Your parents have never been your family. And no one should be treated the way they have and still do treat you. You grew to be a caring, responsible, kind human being DESPITE your parents. Don't let them continue to do their damage. Sending you huge cyber hugs!

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    1. You're such a dear friend to me, Mitchell. Thank you so much for your kindness and your understanding. Cyber hugs gratefully accepted!

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  21. Well, I think it's all been said in the above comments but as one person said, run don't walk away from this. Sometimes it is the hardest thing to do to create boundaries and you have. They are toxic and seriously ill and there's not much you can do to change them. From what I've read on your blog, you are a kind loving person with a lovely husband. so in spite of your upbringing, you overcame it and created the life you want.

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    1. They are toxic, and they both have mental illness as well as a host of other issues. I can't continue to let their issues cause me harm no matter if I love them (which I do) and I sure can't fix them.

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  22. I think most of us have family stories that are like this. I had to walk away and cut ties with my two brothers. They are both now dead and I hate that I had to cut them off, but it is a self-survival mechanism. You can only change yourself and it sounds like they can't. It is tragic, but not your fault. Self love and care. I'd change my accounts and phone number. Big hug.

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    1. I'm not ready to go totally nuclear and change my phone number at this point. I'm sure there will be weeks and months of hardly any contact, but honestly that's not much different than usual anyway. If things get worse, I'll cut them off further though.

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  23. I'd agree with other writers - Run to safety (physical, emotional, etc), not slow walk. I also would change your accounts & phone settings. Do you feel you need to get a post office box for your mail for a bit?

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    1. No need for PO box. I live an hour away from them and I'm not in any physical danger. Emotional safety is important too, of course, and I'm creating firm boundaries to protect my feelings.

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  24. I am glad to see you are surround by Love here in the comments.

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    1. I'm surprised at and grateful for the outpouring of support!

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  25. Lovely to see the support you deserve deArheart x

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  26. I want to say so much to you but it would be so long. The x was an emotional abuser to me and the children. There was a reason I stayed till the children were 18. They could just walk away. Most of his underhanded verbal abuse was towards me.
    WALK AWAY... cut them off. I feel so much better knowing I can just shut him out even his oh poor me crap. He still tries.
    WALK AWAY now and no matter what do not engage, phone call, letter just throw it all away.

    Turn off the noise !
    Love and Hugs, gayle

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    1. Yes! "Turn off the noise" is exactly what I'm doing. I don't have time for it anymore. Life is too short and too precious to spend time accommodating toxic people.

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  27. Jennifer,
    I am a little late to the posting. I am so incredibly sorry that you had to deal with this. It is not right. I think you were wise to hang up as you don't deserve to hear that kind of crap. I have no sage words of advice to offer except that I can tell from your blog that you are a kind, loving person. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog when I did as I feel we are kindred spirits in a lot of ways. My heart goes to you. Stay strong.

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    1. Since I first started following your blog I felt that we are, indeed, kindred spirits Michael. I also thought about your troubles with your own mother when I posted this. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being my friend!

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  28. You did good. With your life and with recent events.
    I'm always concerned that burning bridges will lead to huge regret and I would have taken the same route you have with polite distance but if you feel that it's time to pull the plug, you are the best person to decide on that and your response is whats right for you.
    Kia Kaha

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    1. I have the same worries about burning bridges to be honest. Again, I struggle with guilt. I'm really tired of the burden of it all, too.

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  29. Wishing you peace, Jennifer. Do what is best for you. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  30. Take a deep breath and walk away Jennifer. Life is short don't keep those burden's

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  31. At this moment, I would like to give you a great big hug Jennifer and to hold you as you cry onto my shoulder. After your careful explanation, I would just say this. You are a kind, intelligent and sensitive human being. You try hard to be fair and righteous. You love books and flowers and Gregg and George and yes - even Marco. But where did your essential goodness come from? I know it's weird but a lot of it must have come from them. Let the heat die down. Bide your time. Your mum and dad are clearly stressed by several things and when stressed people will often lash out at their nearest and dearest. It is a letting off of steam that probably has nothing to do with the receiver. So much of how people act is directly related to their economic well-being. Take a deep breath and bide your time. If you receive an apology then that will make healing easier but if you don't then I am sure you will find an opportunity to salvage your relationship and move forward. Right now you are bigger than them.

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    1. This was a wise and well thought out comment, Neil. Thank you so much for giving me a new angle to think about. I would also gratefully accept your hug and your shoulder to cry on! I wish so many of my good blog friends like you didn't live so far away. Your support means a lot to me. xx

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  32. Oh Jennifer, your instinct is to protect yourself and I am glad you are doing that. You are a sweetie, that is why I treasure our friendship, long distance though it is. Your heart is kind and full of love for your family of Gregg, George of the big smile, and Marco plus your friends. I mailed a letter to you today before I read this post, so it is rather a dated note. Hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you my friend! I feel bad that I haven't been in touch very much lately...the last few months have just been a blur. Your friendship is dear to me, and I hope you know that.

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  33. You have a lot of support
    What does THAT say x

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    1. I'm stunned, to be honest, but so happy and grateful!

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  34. Jennifer, you are precious to and loved by so many people. Look at all the comments here. Certain family members have called me a jealous little shit who lies to get attention. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. During the later years of my marriage, X would go down to the basement every night to watch fox news. Then he'd be full of ugliness. I banned it, but it didn't stop him from listening to Rush Limbaugh and other talk radio garbage all day long. That crap is not healthy. It also sounds as if your dad, and maybe your mom, are over-medicated. I blocked the worst of my family and X on Facebook and on my phone. I recommend it highly. The only thing you can do is leave those people behind. They don't want help. They don't want to get better. They only want to make you miserable.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. My dad is almost certainly over medicated, and I suspect my mom might be abusing Xanax. Rush Limbaugh and Fox News has done so much damage to our country. It's a shame. Thank you for understanding and for taking the time to comment here!

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  35. I feel really bad for you. If I was in your position I would write down everything you wrote down in this post, and maybe anything else that you would need to add, and send it to your mother. And then let bygones be bygones, knowing you did the best you could with what you had to work with. At the end of the day it's your piece of mind that matters. Huge hugs.

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    1. I've considered starting a journal to get some of this stuff out and having some major points ready in case I want to send my mother a letter at some point. Thank you Kat.

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  36. Jennifer, dear friend,
    like YP, I would give a lot to just be able to give you a big hug and cry together - me not crying because of my own situation, but out of compassion for you. I almost feel guilty now for having had a childhood and youth filled with so much love, but like others here have said, we can not choose the family we are born into - we can only (to an extent) choose the person we become.
    You certainly had a lot to deal with in the past; all the more I admire you for having succeeded in creating this life for yourself and your own family. That you have tried all those years to keep up a relationship with your parents, making efforts to improve it, speaks for you - the fact that they have started on a one-way track away from you, casting aside every positive thing about their only (?) daughter, says a lot about them.

    Thank you for being so open with us.

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    1. Don't feel guilty about your good childhood! Just appreciate it all the more. I sometimes feel guilty complaining when so many people have it worse than me, which is silly. We all have our crosses to bear in life.

      Thank you for your constant support, my friend.

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  37. I'm sorry that I'm coming to this post so late. It sounds to me like some of your dad's behavior could definitely be related to medication, but I'm not sure your mom has the same excuse, and both of them have treated you abominably. I'd let the whole thing settle down and then see how you feel, but you'd certainly be justified in cutting them off. When I first started reading I thought this was going to be primarily a difference in politics, but I see it runs much deeper, and I can't imagine parents talking like that to their child. Maybe they're even jealous of your calm and orderly life. You are entitled to take care of yourself and enjoy your adulthood and your relationship with your husband without having to suffer flack from them.

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    1. I plan to do exactly what you said here...let the whole thing settle down and see how I feel later. Gregg keeps telling me to let this awful election season get over with before I have any further contact with them, too, and I think that's a good idea. Thanks Steve!

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    2. Yes, I second Gregg's advice! Good thinking!

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  38. Given the way your parents have treated you, yes, just walk away. You owe them nothing. You may feel guilt but you've nothing to feel guilty about.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading and taking the time to comment, Nick!

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  39. I'm sorry to hear you have had to endure this sort of treatment, mental health problems can poison family relationships but you have nothing to blame yourself about. A week ago I received a phone call to tell me that my much loved father had died and that my mother and brother had not rung to let me know this might happen soon and give me chance to say good-bye to him. Despite my attempts at reconciliation my mother had continued to put the phone down on me anytime I called, until I stopped trying for 7 months and my Dad died without my knowledge. Now she is happy for me to call to try and support her in her bereavement although she will never inquire as to how I am, nor my husband or her 6 grown up grandchildren and is heaping blame and guilt upon me in shedloads. My anxiety goes through the roof every day when I have to make these calls. I'm not sure why I'm punishing myself like this but it is hard to completely walk away. Thank you for your honest and candid blog post, it helps to know that others are going through similar things and I hope you feel better very soon. It is important to prioritise one's own mental health at times. Stay strong. best wishes Blods xx

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  40. I am so sorry. My mother really was not happy with me for a number of years (the closest thing I ever got to a reason was: 'YOU LEFT!' She was dying of liver failure and her ammonia levels were all over the place. What started out as dislike turned into an insane hatred. She said terrible things and treated me badly. It was a hard time for sure. I was (and am) grateful for my sister. My mother wanted to die at home, and we were all able to give that to her. It's done now. I'm sorry that your father is like this, but remember that it is not you. It is him. I have no other words of comfort for you, but I am so awfully sorry. Nobody deserves that kind of shit.

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    1. And please don't take this as a suggestion against estrangement. Not at all. I stayed away from my family for most of a 10 year period. My mom has been gone for 9 years now. My only family is one sister. I haven't seen my brother and other sister since my mother passed. You do what you've got to do for your own sanity.

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    2. I read today’s post and when you spoke about trouble with your parents, I looked to see if I had missed a previous one. Oh my, dear Jennifer, my heart breaks for you. I won’t get into your parents toxic relationship and the horrors you witnessed as a child, but I’d rather talk about you and the beautiful person you are. Through Blogger, I see your giving heart and the love you have for the children at the school, your devotion to your husband Greg, and your tenderness for animals. You are a lovely person and a very strong woman. I have always thought that one becomes who they are because of, or in spite of their past. You certainly are the latter. You have overcome so much and will continue to do so because of who you are. I admire you very much for your courage to write this and bear your soul. As you see, you are not alone.

      I don’t know if you have ever tried therapy, but with the right person, you might find some peace from that undeserved guilt. I found it helpful during a very difficult time in my life.

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