They’re Fighting Again

I fucking hate my dad. He is making my mom cry. ūüė¶

*bitter laughter* He is currently denying anger issues.

He goes from annoyed to rage, instead of annoyed, to mad, to fury, to rage.

“What do I do that is so bad when I rage? I curse, but¬†I’ve never hit you. Though I slammed doors in your face and I hit MM…” Gee, thanks Dad.

Now I want to cut (not because my dad mentioned hitting me as a child, but because I’m mad at him for hurting my mom’s feelings so often and ruining her life in a lot of ways).

*sigh* I’m still confused about the definition¬†of healthy fighting. (link to a 9 year old message board post – I haven’t learned anything)

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No more emotional abuse please

Damn it. My dad is being an ass again.

My poor mom! She has stress on all sides! She agonizes over my brother’s polyamory. My grandma’s health is deteriorating, my grandpa’s memory is worsening, me, she has a high powered job at a large university, our kitchen has been under renovation for almost¬†a year, she is about to sue the contractor because he is cheating us and lying, and now my dad is emotionally abusive again.

I was 8 years old the first time my dad left us. He cheated on my mom then as well. As far as I know, he neither cheated, nor left again until I was 15. I’m not sure because I don’t remember him leaving as an 8 year old. Therefore, he might have left a little later without me remembering it.

When I was a freshman in high school, all hell broke loose. For the next 3 years he stole money, left for days or weeks without a word, and conducted himself atrociously. Sometimes he’d storm out after a fight, other times he decided he wanted his current girlfriend more than us and disappear out of blue. When he disappeared he was unreachable by email or phone. He ignored everyone, my mom and I, my brother, his friends, and mother. It made my mom a wreck because for all she knew when he disappeared while things were going well, he’d had a car accident and his car went off the road into a ravine. I don’t think he ever hit her, but there were times he hit me (RARE times where I specifically incited it), so it is possible he hit her. He did throw objects at her and say rather awful things like calling her an awful human being, saying it was her fault he cheated, she wasn’t supportive, she was a bad wife, and she always tore him down. Those sound like typical things people say in fights, but there were worse statements. I just can’t think of them right now. He’d also be emotionally manipulative by hanging things over her head like, “If you don’t stop being nosy, I’ll leave!”

Interesting fact: His disappearances stopped when I went to inpatient treatment for my eating disorder.

He did despicable things like “answering” her phone call while he was intimate with a girlfriend. I told my mom I’d support her decision to divorce him, even if it was years later and their relationship appeared stable at the time because I knew what he did to her.

The last time he was home he flipped out on her because he couldn’t reach her at work for 3 hours. As usual, he said some inappropriate things. I was sitting a few feet away and ignored them until¬† heard something slam. When I looked over, he calmed down a little bit and they left the room to continue arguing. He was supposed to be home awhile ago, but said he couldn’t come home because a deal was about to go through. Then he was supposed to be home yesterday. He said he was in the hospital because of breathing trouble, but he was leaving and going to an American run clinic to get a 2nd opinion. She hadn’t heard anything since that call yesterday afternoon. At that point, he said he’d take a late flight and arrive today. She called him and the phone accidently answered and he asked someone if they wanted more¬†rice, in the tone of voice you’d ask a child. She called on his other phone and he said he was at a bar with clients. He couldn’t come home because of the asthma attack. Maybe 2 years ago, his phone did the same thing and she overheard him telling a child to go brush their teeth. He claimed he was at an employee’s house and they’d kind of adopted him into their family.¬†Granted, he spends 80 – 90% of his time out of town on business.

My parents have a get together with friends tonight. So, yet again, she has to call their friends and let them know to expect one less guest.

She isn’t an idiot and she isn’t financially dependent. In fact, he is the financially dependent one.¬†For 20 years he has created one failed business after another. When he first started the business, he promised if he couldn’t turn a profit in 2 years, he’d go back to his old, high paying, steady job. That did not happen. When she reminded him of his promise, he accused her of not believing in him an being unsupportive. He has yet to make a profit. She supports him. I don’t understand why she puts up with it. She said many times if it wasn’t for my brother and I, she’d have left him long ago. However, we’re not kids anymore. When things were bad in high school, she’d swear this was the last time, she wasn’t going to accept his treatment anymore, and she sign divorce papers. However, before he got served, he’d come back, apologizing, and promising it wouldn’t happen again. And each time, she’d take him back.

boromir facepalm

Well, typing all this helped. I felt like self-injuring when I started typing. Now I just feel sad, but I don’t have urges.

The Surprises Continue

As I’ve mentioned (on my previous iteration of this blog, not since I made this blog), my dad used to storm out during fights and sometimes he’d disappear for days or weeks at a time.

Tonight when my dad got home, he yelled at my mom for not answering her phone for 3 hours. It seemed unreasonable to me. Nonetheless, they argued. He said she was an awful human being, etc. and my mom left. On the bright side, nothing was thrown or broken and no one got hit. Progress?

I’m a little anxious.

Reflections on Buffy Episode s05e06 "Family"

I wrote this post at the same time as “Et tu Tara?!“, but I went on a long tangent; I decided to separate the topics. This is the product…

I mean, every parent threatens to beat their kids in anger. My parents spanked me as a kid, but that is not the same as abuse (hitting or beating). I’ve been hit before, but a couple of mistakes does not¬†equal a pattern of abuse. Monsters are evil. Therefore, in essence, my dad called me evil. Blah, I make them sound awful! They aren’t bad people! They love me a lot! I love them! We get along well. People get angry, especially when they have stupid kids like young me, and say things they don’t mean. Too bad kids are impressionable and if they hear something enough, sometimes they start to believe the words. It wasn’t like they were mean to me; I just did stupid things a lot.

My brother doesn’t thinks “blood kin”¬†are important. He thinks the emotional bonds you have with people, regardless of blood, is what makes family. I’m not sure why. In Tara’s case, when family completely rejects you, finding your own “family” makes sense. Sometimes it hurts my feelings¬†that he doesn’t view us as important. Well, he views us as important but not necessarily important. In other words, our place in his life is replaceable. I think except in cases of out right rejection, abuse, or other extenuating circumstances, blood family always has a place in your life. Sometimes family is unhealthy to be around. For example, I know a woman recovering from her eating disorder who refuses to see her family because they trigger her so much with incessant body shaming of others, etc. That to is a different case. In my opinion, barring unhealthiness/abuse/rejection, just because you don’t care for or dislike certain members does not mean the family ceases to hold value in your life. Fyi, I like everyone in my family! I think my brother hold himself at a distance because he is afraid of true open communication and he learned as a child that voicing his needs and emotions was not okay. To be fair, non-violent communication rarely occurs in my family.

I’m not sure where he learned that. I learned it to, but differently. I attributed my interaction style to teachings that nice people go along with what others want, good people don’t make a fuss, etc. Taken to the extreme, you get children who don’t know how to express emotions because you punish them for it.

I never saw it with him. I thought it was directed at me because I was overly emotional or bad. However, it is possible that by the time I was old enough to understand these messages, it was already ingrained in him. Therefore, the stoicism I took as inner strength, which I lacked, was really a learned behavior.

Furthermore, I’m a submissive masochist, but he is a Dominant sadist! So, it would not follow that our upbringing influenced my submissive side, unless there really was a difference in their attitude towards us because I was overly emotional, bad, or female. My parents made adhere to some gender roles (nothing inherently wrong with that!) and they do treat us differently in some ways. For example, my mom told me she would disown me if I lived with someone before marriage…while my brother was living with my future sister-in-law. She explicitly said as a female, it would be worse for me to live with a man, than my brother living with his girlfriend. However, my parents never said or implied women were less than men or incapable of anything, just different. In fact, since I can remember, I’ve been told I can do anything I want in life and it is important to be able to take care of myself. Haha, I guess that means I can’t be a painter!

The problem with this theory is that we were never punished for minimal expressions of emotion. So, I’m not sure where we got the idea. I know my dad’s family does not express emotions or needs because my aunt is overbearing, temperamental, and abusive when angry. (Yes, that is right, I said abusive. I can recognize abuse even in my family. My nuclear family is not abusive though.) Therefore, the other kids learned to never express their desires for fear of setting her off. This interaction style persisted in adulthood. My mother on the other hand, has no problem expressing her desires. In fact, I’m envious of her ability to sway people’s decisions with reasoned arguments. So, maybe our dad was an example of non-adaptive communication, but our mom was not. In that case, why didn’t we learn from her? She certainly did her best to course-correct us both prior to middle school.

Maybe I am over thinking things. Maybe my emotional issues are only mine. That is perhaps no matter how I was parented, I would turn out the same way. I’m jealous of my brother. He grew up in the same home and came from the same gene pool, yet he has no diagnosable mental illness. Why am¬†I so weak? Why could he adapt, while¬†I could not?

Dean--WTF photo dean-annoyed.gif

I wonder how my brother views our childhoods. Does he see any maladaptive interactions? If so, what? Did they affect him? Is that why he never calls/ returns calls? Or is there another reason? Does he think we were treated differently? Regardless of our upbringing did he notice different attitudes toward gender? Did Mom or Dad ever hit him¬†(spanking doesn’t count)¬†or was that just me? Did they ever threaten to hurt him? Did they ever call him names?

Most of the hitting and name calling occurred after he left for college. He left for college when I was 13. I don’t remember any hitting or name calling before age 11. So, he was not around for most of it. Mostly, he stayed in his room. So, he wouldn’t be present anyway. Also, this wasn’t frequent by any measure! The hitting and name calling I speak of are isolated incidents, arising from specific behaviors on my part. In fact, the only reason I remember each time so clearly is because it was rare!

I think we were treated differently, but I think it was because he was the first child. Therefore, in general, they were tougher on him and more relaxed with me. If there were any negative messages, he heard them louder and more clearly. As a result, he should be worse off than I am, if our upbringing had anything to do with who I am. At the same time, since I was about 11, my parents said certain things about me, but only after I did inexplicable things. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…

Meh, I’m over thinking things again. Every family has foibles. No person, and parents are people, is perfect. My family is no better or worse than any other non-abusive, healthy family. I take that back, my parents were fricking heroic when I was born early. Family is not to blame. No one is, this is just me.

Why Tara Maclay is My Role Model *updated Jan. 11, 2014*

“It is¬† hard to find positive role models today. Especially ones that you can relate too.” Erik R. Voshel

Tara doesn’t fit the same overt BAMF mold most of my favorite characters fit, but I love her! I just want to give her lots of hugs and love! She is another character that reminds me of myself, but unlike Olivia Dunham, I loved Tara from the beginning!

Tara was afraid of herself. She never really fit in. She thought she was a demon, to save other people she stayed in the background, but she persevered.

Tara_Afraid

She feels useless. I mention this because I feel the same way. While feeling useless is not good, someone who feels bad about themselves, but makes progress, is a worthy role model.

Tara_surprised

…but she totally isn’t! Tara¬†is wiccan.

Tara_magic

Tara has style! Considering this is her first BtVS scene, her style is the first thing I noticed!

She is shy, but cute about it. Also, she overcomes her stutter. Shyness isn’t good or bad, but sometimes it is debilitating. I’m shy to, shy enough that it interferes with adaptive expression of needs/wants. Unlike below, I’m not freaking adorable about it!

Tara is kind. She embodies non-judgmental, unconditional love. She teaches the Scooby Gang how to be wise and self-compassionate.

tumblr_m02lhq0TcU1r8gsqgo3_250Tara_role model Tara_it is ok to be worried

While Tara is kind and respectful, woe unto anyone who threatens the people she loves!

tara_go through me

Her loyalty is undying. (I’m sensing a submissive vibe. ūüėČ Look who is on top in the second to last picture!)

She is self-sacrificing. Tara lets Glory crush her hand and destroy her mind to save Dawn.

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Tara sticks to her morals, even when it hurts.

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She beat the messages of her childhood and became an amazing woman.

…¬†It makes me proud. It makes me love you more.”

Plus, Tara is the first positive lesbian character I remember. She and Willow¬†helped make¬†it okay to love who I wanted…And make an amazing lesbian couple you did, Amber Benson…

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I wish I was her. I’m still afraid of myself. I still hear “monster” reverberating in my mind. I don’t know if I can overcome the messages my family instilled about sexuality,¬†intimacy,¬†and self-worth.

The only difference is that I wasn’t lied to my whole life. She thinks she has a legitimate reason to fear herself, but she doesn’t. I do… Nonetheless, showing her¬†deal with¬†the messages of her childhood is powerful!

I don’t have her strength yet. I wonder if she is like me, nice because she feels she has nothing more to offer. The most common thing people say about me is that I’m “nice”, “kind”, “sweet”, “flexible”, “not argumentative”, “easy-going”. I pride myself on these attributes, but sometimes I think I’m just nice and laid back because I’m afraid no one will like me, if they see me. Tara and Nicciare the two fictional characters I identify with the most. I wish I knew more about their character development from Joss and Goodkind. Plus, I wish magic, the type of magic that¬†makes an immediate clear¬†impact on the physical world, existed.

*edit* How could I forget?! Amber Benson is (was?) body positive! I know there were silly haters about her body, but I think she was and is gorgeous at any size. I think her body appeared average on BtVS. By average, I do not mean average beauty; I mean average size when compared to the sickly thin, eating disordered Hollywood ideal.

Emotional Incest

2014 started out wonderfully with flashbacks of my early teen years. The times when Dad would disappear for days¬†or months at a time without a word. I never felt safe. Things could appear normal for long stretches and then seemingly out of nowhere, Mom would come home with puffy eyes, screaming about Dad and his whore again. Last night I heard some of the same phrases I used to hear, “I’d never in a million, no billion, years want you to marry a man like your father” or “If it weren’t for you and your brother, I’d have left years ago.” Images of slamming doors, yelling, and sliding to the kitchen floor in tears after Dad stormed out of the house, raced through my mind last night…memories I thought were in the past. The things he did to her, not just cheating, are unconscionable and inexcusable. I thought I quelled the anger, but since hearing my mom last night, it’s bubbled up inside me again.

Faith_hurt the showerFaith_hurt the shower

On one hand, I told my mom years ago she had my blessing if she wanted a divorce, even if that meant years later when things seemed “okay” because I knew what he had done to her. On the other hand, over the past few years, I let the anger and fear slip out of my grasp. I let my guard down. I thought things were healing between them. So, I am sad.

Worse still, I fear the revolving door…Every time he was emotionally manipulative and/or abusive or she caught him cheating, she would swear it was the last time, this time they would get divorced. Yet, a few weeks or months later, before the final divorce papers were signed, he would come back, apologizing and promising to do better. And around and around we go… I fear the cycle restarting more than I fear their divorce.

Maybe this is why my brother never talks to us. ūüė¶

I also fear her pain. My mom and I are close. Doctors use the word “enmeshed”. Yet, just like instances of alleged physical or verbal abuse, things are never simple. In a house with 4 bathrooms, we’ve shared a bathroom since I was 11. The change happened when they realized I was purging. For a time, we shared¬†a bed. That is not as disturbing as it sounds. She made me sleep in her bed for a few months because she was afraid I’d hurt myself at night. I only went back to my own bed when my dad came home. Coincidentally, my most recent suicide attempt was a few weeks after my dad returned from “business” and my brother returned from school for the holidays.

The definition of emotional incest:

“Other scholars have used the term ‘enmeshment,’ ‘co-dependency,’ and ’emotional abuse’ is another related concept as well. For the sake of this short series of posts, I will use the term ’emotional incest’ because I think that if you can get past the ‘ick’ factor of the word incest, this construction is actually very descriptive.

Emotional incest involves an unhealthy relationship between parent and child in which the child serves as a sort of emotional ‘spouse’ to the parent. This can be mother/daughter, father/daughter, mother/son, or father/son. Here are a couple definitions, some using the term ‘covert incest’ and others using the term ’emotional incest.’

Covert incest occurs when a child plays the role of a surrogate husband or wife to a lonely, needy parent. The parent’s need for companionship is met through the child.  The child is bound to the parent by excessive feelings of responsibility for the welfare of the parent. The demand for loyalty to the lonely, needy parent overwhelms the child and becomes the major organizing experience in the child’s development.

 

Covert emotional incest begins when a person perceives and responds to a family member as a replacement or substitute for a partner.

 

This form of incest is described as a relationship where a parent turns a child into a partner or confidante that is inappropriate to the child’s age and life experience. Or to put it another way, when a child is manipulated into the role of a surrogate wife or husband by a needy parent. While some refer to this as covert incest, others refer to it as emotional incest.

You get the idea. Emotional incest takes place when the (emotional, not sexual) relationship between a parent and a child becomes like that between two spouses, except that given the immaturity of the child the relationship is one-sided and the parent feeds off the child emotionally while the child ends up feeling responsible for the well-being of the parent.” via patheos.com

Yep. That was us. I still feel responsible for her well-being. In fact, thinking about it, I remember feeling jealous, even resentful, that my brother did not feel responsible for her.

Is it still emotional incest now? Back then I was 15 – 17 years old, now I’m 23. I am an adult.

 

I Am Not a Victim

“And every time someone calls me a victim, I feel like I’m the biggest liar in the world.”¬† Echo in Dollhouse, “Briar Rose”, 1×11

“Do you think they sexually abused you?”

No, Trisha, stfu.

That is not actually what I said to the group therapist from inpatient (“IP”) after I shared my “Life Story”, but that is what I thought. Everyone interprets things in the worst light!

Another example from my personal therapist from IP, “Have you ever been abused?”

“No.”

“Are you sure? You said that too quickly and emphatically.”

Or my IOP therapist:

“You act like someone who was sexually abused as a child.”

*sigh* Looking back on instances from my youth I’ve concluded there are¬†events that could be considered abusive, but my family was/is not abusive. I feel there is an important difference. Parents are fallible human beings, just like the rest of us.

I am not saying it is ever ok to hit a child, or call him/her a bitch, whore, slut, or a monster. However, parents are people and they have limits. I don’t think either of my parents have anger issues. On the contrary, I believe they were faced with an extraordinarily difficult child. As far as I know, they never hit or called my brother names. I remember a conversation with my IP therapist,

“…He called me an unfeeling monster and then he threatened to break my dog’s legs if I didn’t do what he wanted because he said I loved the dog more than I loved them.”

*therapist gives me a disapproving look*

“No, you don’t understand! I deserved it! I was a bad kid.”

My therapist answered, “What could an 11 year old possibly do to deserve that?”

“I was rude and refused to talk to them.”

I did not explain things adequately to her, that sounds like normal annoying kid behavior. Yet, she nor any one outside the 3 of us (except perhaps my brother), could understand what hell I put them through.

For example, the time my mom threw a pot at my head? I refused to eat and she was extremely stressed for other reasons. The time my dad called me a bitch, slapped my face hard enough to stun me, told me to leave and never come back for being surly when he asked me to empty the dishwasher? 13 year old me recently IM’ed a half dozen men explicit sexual content.

These memories make me feel sad, but I hate it when people suggest anyone in my life abused me! IT IS NOT TRUE! There is a vast difference between beating a child black and blue with a belt and slapping a stupid teenager in the face a few times.

I reiterate, I do not plan on physically disciplining my children or calling them names because I know even words said in understandable anger can leave a lasting mark on a child’s mind. However, I fricking brought it upon myself. Yes, even at 11 years old, my actions were beyond the pale.

How would you react to your 11 year old child cutting her arms so deeply she caused scars, throwing up her food, crying for no reason, refusing to eat, and refusing to talk about what is going on? I’m sure you would be afraid, even terrified. You probably wouldn’t have that reaction the first time, but what about the 10th incident?

They love me; they would do anything for me. I’ve put them through hell for 23 years and they still put up with my actions. I think they’re heroes. The fact that my brother never encountered the same treatment shows it was my actions that created their responses, not a lack of empathy or self-control on their part.

If I ever have a child like myself I have no doubt I will react better, but I’ve been there! I know what that child is feeling and thinking. They were lost in a new world of mental illness and confusing actions.

Hahaha, I can hear my IOP therapist¬† saying, “You can’t apply rules only
to yourself. If it is never okay to hit a child or call him/her names,
why is it okay to hit or call child-you names?” Maybe this entire post is a cop-out, but it is my story and I’m sticking to it!