Posts Tagged ‘parents’

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What’s In a Name?

July 31, 2013

My earliest conscious memories regarding my name was of never being allowed to go by a nickname…even to the extent that I was threatened to be in trouble if my mother ever heard someone call me anything other than my full first name. Others did not understand this, nor did I. But it was my reality and the reason for it was more serious than I knew.

I remember coming home in the first grade from school and one of the neighbor girls was teasing me by calling me a shorter name. She wouldn’t stop even when I asked her to. I remember being worried (read that as “scared”) that my mother would hear her. My only consolation was that this girl lived a couple of houses or so before mine and ours was up in the back…behind the main house. Thankfully, my mother did not hear.

As an adult, when I asked my mother about that strict rule, she said something along the lines of wanting to hear my name because she had worked so hard on picking out a nice one. She chose that name and wanted me to be called that name…period. She came across as if she had not been that strict in laying down the rules, but I remember. There is a lot this partial amnesic does not remember, but I remember that. It was programmed into me to NEVER use a nickname. It was not until many years later that I began to understand the truth behind that demand.

I remember struggling as an adult…married with children even…to try to be me. It is like I woke up one day and realized that I did not really know who I was. I did not know what I liked or didn’t like. It was a perm gone awry that turned me onto that. I looked totally different. I got teased a bit for the drastic change, but that is when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I really did not know whether I liked it or not. It wasn’t what I wanted. It was drastically different. But did I actually not like it?

I tried to look at the woman in the mirror as if she was NOT me. Would I like that hair style on THAT woman? I decided I did, but I felt a bit of disconnect between that woman and me. That woman was not what those around me expected to see, which got me thinking. I decided that I wanted to become the woman God created me to be rather than the woman I was pressed into being. All my life I was always being what everyone else wanted, but what did “I” want? What did “I” like? And even more importantly, what did God create me to be? So, I set out on a journey of exploration. I wanted to find out who “I” really was/am. And what a journey it was!

Right there in the very beginning I was hit with a strong realization. I use the word “strong” because it was something that I knew for sure, although I could not have explained why or how I knew it. I just knew very strongly that I would never be able to be the me God created me to be if I went by my birth name. So, I decided I wanted to be called a nickname, which was really just a shortened version of my first name…half of it to be exact.

I knew my parents would not like it, so I started with my husband and those closest to me. I remember that some questioned what I was doing. New hair style, which I openly admitted was not my intention, but reassured them (especially since the hairdresser was a friend) that I did like it. New name. What was up? I just kept to myself what my realizations were and what my goal was.

Once I saw that those around me were willing to really try to remember to call me by my nickname, I asked my parents to do the same. Naturally, they did not like it. Thankfully, I did not see my parents nearly as often as I saw my husband and everyone else. And then I noticed it.

I had started to change internally, even if not all that much externally. I started to feel more freedom to gingerly explore, and my sense of who I was altered. I grew stronger, more confident and had a greater sense of my worth. And then my parents would come over and call me by my full name. Bam! It was like a switch was flipped and I found myself struggling to keep the ground I had gained. This happened over and over until I learned to turn it off.

Although I did not know anything about programming or my cult family heritage at that time, I did understand that there was a definite connection to my full name and being controlled and molded. It was one of the key events of my life as I moved toward freedom. I never went back to my full birth name and now have a completely different name.

So, what’s in a name? I think a lot! My birth names were given by my parents. They had really nice meanings and had programming attached to them. My current names have wonderful meanings and freedom attached to them. They were gifts from my Creator…my heavenly Abba/Father. I am no longer bound to programming or to the former names. When someone from way back calls me by that name, I don’t like it, but the effect is no longer there. It is more of just an annoyance.

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Working through things…

May 27, 2013

I have had to make a very tough decision, but life is what it is.

I will survive. I will continue to find joy in the midst of the grieving…even as things seem to be taking a turn for the worse.

I know the One who turns all things for good…even when it is hard…or even impossible…for me to see it. Actually, I do see some good in this. It is just that I also see a lot of sadness and hurt.

I truly do not believe we have much time left before Messiah returns. This whole situation may become a moot point before we even know it.

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Grieving the Finality of What Will Never Be…

March 9, 2012

I found out yesterday that my mother passed away on December 24, 2010. Yep…that is 1 year, 2 months and 14 days, plus or minus. And he is already remarried…I have NO idea for how long.

We permitted our son to call my mother…it’s a long story. When he asked about his grandmother, my father told him that she had died two years ago on a date my son did not remember. I got the actual date by calling the coroner’s office. They were able to confirm the date of her death and the cause…melanoma. I was told that she had been in hospice care, which was why her death was reported to them. It is a law in that state to report all deaths of people in hospice care.

Over the years I have grieved for what was and grieved for what wasn’t. And now, I need to grieve for what for sure will never be. There will never be reconciliation. Never be recognition. Never be an apology or forgiveness extended. Never be so many things.

I have a lot to think about…and a lot to feel. It can be difficult not to second-guess myself, but there are things I need to face in order to settle things in my own mind and heart. I was told she was dying, but not that she was in hospice care or that it was imminent. My father just kept playing games and, I believe, actually kept us apart…especially given what she said in the one time I did talk to her…a call that was interrupted by my father.

Things are a bit complicated and I am having to sort them all out. I need to own whatever is mine and refuse to take on whatever is not. I will not try to pick up another’s guilt. It is simply not mine to carry. Nor is it for me to run from my responsibilities. I went into this with eyes wide open. I knew the risks. I took the chance. Now it is over. Now I will process from a different place…on the other side of her death.

It is sad when someone lies so much that even when they tell the truth it is not the whole story and you don’t really know what you can believe. There are so many what ifs that I could run through. And taking a look is not a bad idea…but living there is. I must face what I must face and trust my heavenly Abba to walk me through to the other side. He has never let me down.

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Saying Goodbye to Parents…Again…

November 2, 2011

The time has come to say “goodbye” to my parents…so I did. Basically, my mother does not write at all and my father only writes about the weather…literally…the weather! So, this is what I wrote and I have peace about it. It is time. I have truly tried and they have not responded. Here it is. (I took out names and substituted explanations in parenthesis.)

*sigh*

I guess nothing will ever change. I am trying to have a real conversation…to build SOMETHING between us. Mom refuses to respond at all and you just want to talk about the weather while ignoring anything else I say. That is your right. You have done that for so long, I guess it would be odd for you to change now.

Do you really want to listen? Personally, I doubt that you can even hear me…or that you even want to hear me.

As far back as high school I felt as if something had happened between you and I. It was a persistent feeling that I kept shoving aside because I had no clear memories back then. But shoving aside the truth did not make it go away. It just simmered under there until the L-rd decided the time was right for some hints to come and, later, more complete memories.

I always felt uncomfortable going over to visit you and mom. I felt uncomfortable around both of you, but I kept going…trying to be the loving and dutiful daughter. Obviously…that is not important to you…just as I am not important to you.

I have a hard time understanding you. On one hand, you were the father who worked hard so that I could go to **** High School. On the other hand…you did not care about the fact that I felt uncomfortable with your kissing me on the mouth. You KNEW I did not like it…yet you persisted. Even when I would duck and dodge…you persisted. You did not care. I think you just wanted to maintain control over me. Even in my marriage, you and mom wanted to control me. It was so obvious…time and time again. 

Even before everything came down…before the memories started to come back…I did not really feel loved by you and mom. All you both seemed to care about was yourself. You did not care about how I felt.

You want me to respect you, yet you have not respected me. You would not even give me the courtesy of leaving me alone with (sis)’s body so that I could say “goodbye” in my own way. That hurt and just confirmed what I thought about you. 

You would not allow me to go with you to scatter her ashes…if you ever even did that. You made an unreasonable request for me to be alone with you and mom on an isolated beach. If it had not been for (hubby), we would not have gone to (where they used to live) to visit. He helped me to cope with wanting to have a “normal” family…and not having one. 

I think I know what you are doing. I think you are stalling because you want only one thing from me…access to (son). You know I won’t give it unless you give a damn about me first. When Mom dies, you will then try to hold that over my head…accusing me of being stubborn, unloving and hurtful by not allowing her to talk to (son).

Well…you know what? It won’t work. YOU are the one who won’t budge… who won’t give. If she dies without talking to him it will be on YOU. I have tried in so many ways… persistently… to build a bridge between us. But both sides have to want the bridge. It appears to me that neither of you want it.

l love you and mom, but that does not make me stupid. I refuse to push in where I am clearly not wanted. That would be rude of me. I write this with tears in my eyes. I love you, therefore, I am saying “goodbye”. I just can’t do this anymore. So I am going to give you what you want. I am going to leave you alone. I am blocking your email again. Don’t bother writing to me. There really is no point. I am not a weather only type of gal, so being that is all you are capable of talking about it serves no purpose to continue this dance.

If you want to give us the courtesy of knowing if one of you dies, just email (hubby). If you want to know if anything happens to one of us, you will also have to let (hubby) know. 

Even though I hate doing this…it does feel good because I know it is good for me. Hubby has been wanting me to do it for some time, but I had to be convinced of it myself. Well…now I am. It is simply time.

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Communicating With Father…

August 1, 2011

Well…the last time I had written my father, I forwarded it as a document to my hubby. He sent it on to my father…with a message of his own. Here it is:
(My father),

As far as I am concerned, (me) does not need to communicate with you. You have done nothing a loving father would do and have shown over the years you really do not care for her by your attitude toward her. A normal father would be concerned with what she remembered but would realize whether it happened from your point of view or not, it is still real to her. They would be willing to work through things, instead of attacking like you have done. You have always reacted as someone who knows they are guilty would react. You are more interested in protecting yourself rather than actually trying to get to the bottom of things.

Having said that, I am not the one who will stand in the way of a daughter who has shown the desire to break through and love you  both any way. I am not the one who has to put up with the garbage that you spout. She will.

Attached is a letter she wrote to you answering your comments. I would not have bothered. Even though she knows how I feel she still wants to try. (THAT SHOULD TELL YOU SOMETHING.)
As far as I am concerned, if you don’t want to try to seriously break down the barriers from your end, then don’t bother even responding to her letter.

Go, hubby!

At the time, I had a little bit of reluctance to have him send that. However, nothing was getting through…nothing was changing. I figured he might as well tell it like it is.

My father actually wrote back…almost TWO WHOLE MONTHS LATER!! This is one reason nothing much happens between them and I. It takes months…literally…between emails.

This is what he wrote:

Subject: prayer

I have prayed about this; and prayed some more.

The end result of all my prayer is one word; “listen”.

Okay, I am listening.

Dad

I thought about it, but waited to respond. I had just listened to a teaching that hubby thought I would like, but it turned out to be the wrong one. This one was on honoring your parents…which is fine. However, the guy (according to my hubby) does not seem to recognize the inside damage done when there is sexual abuse. Kudos to hubby again!

I finally wrote back to my father. Hubby had suggest simply writing: “I love you and mom. Can we start from there?” Well…I did not write exactly that. I needed some time to think about it. This is what I wrote:

Dad,

If you are really listening, then listen to this:

I
choose
to
love
you
and
Mom.

I don’t have to. I choose to…in spite of everything.

Is that not a place from which we can start to build SOMEthing? Can we not talk about some of the positive/neutral things that happened in our family…try to find some common ground upon which to relate to one another?

This is not easy for me. In fact, it is downright hard. Yet, I am willing to try.

I cannot help what I remember. In spite of those memories, I am willing to at least try to connect with you both.

Do I expect anything from it? Not really. The last time he said he was listening, he gave me a list of things HE wanted to hear…mostly details about what he “supposedly” had done…places, actions, when, where. I cannot and will not do that. The cost is too high in this situation. I am taking care of myself and I just do not trust him.

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Or…Could It Be Two Wrong Answers?

August 1, 2011

The flip side of two right answers is two wrong answers. Each choice has a positive side and a negative side.

If I call, I see several possibilities:

*They might have put up call blocker which settles it as I won’t give my phone number out. Even if I was willing, my hubby is not and I am trusting him to watch out for my son and me.

*I might have to face talking to my father. I did talk to him the time when I called. My mother asked if she could put him on the phone and I said “yes”. Neither of us really said much of anything. I don’t remember what was said, but I do know it was very short…probably because he is hard of hearing?

*I might actually get somewhere with my mother. Boy…am I dreaming or what???

*Any contact might result in my father sending a nasty email to my hubby…which, of course, I do have the option to read or not. I do believe hubby would tell me if my father wrote.

*My mother might actually email me. Although my father’s email is blocked…her’s is not.

*If I am rebutted…at least I will know I tried…again.

If I don’t call:

*I won’t have to face any weirdness…other than what my father might send to my hubby.

*I may always wonder if I was just being smart…or being a wimp. I mean…seriously…what can my father (or mother) really do to me? I have pretty much known where I stand for years. My mother confirmed it when I talked to her on the phone and my father confirmed it in an email. What could he possibly say or do that can really hurt me? I drew the boundary lines about 9 years ago. Nothing seems to have really changed.

Whether I call or not, I am faced with the possibility that my father may never let me know if my mother dies and vice versa. While not a pleasant thought, I am prepared for that possibility.

(As it turns out, my father did write before I got a chance to post this. More to come.)

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Two Right Answers?

July 9, 2011

In our Good Grief group meeting this last week, AR suggested that the two choices I have are both right. That neither one is wrong.

I can choose to take the emotional risk to once again call my parents. Or, I can choose to not take the risk…especially given the history and the next to zero chance that anything will have changed…and especially since my parents DO know how to contact me should they wish to actually connect.

We were talking about guilt…guilt over things we wish we had or had not said or done with the person we had lost. My focus right now is my mother who has melanoma. Although any relationship we once has been gone long ago, her death will bring a final end to any possibility of change.

My husband referred to it as “anticipated” guilt. I had shared how I am looking forward and wondering what decision I should make and whether it will be the right one. How can you know? One thing AR said is important is that we keep talking about the things we are experiencing surrounding the losses we have. Keep talking until we can work through it.

I have been pondering his comment that both decisions are right. In my mind, I kept feeling like I was being a wimp…too fearful to face my father’s abusive words. And what if my mother is somehow being controlled by my father? Forget that she was abusive, too!

In our last conversation, my mother admitted that it was being pushed aside for my son. She said she REALLY WANTED (her emphasis) for me to understand why that was…that it was IMPORTANT that I know. Then…no more contact. It could be manipulation. It could be that she actually let her guard down and got real for a couple of minutes. It could be all kinds of things.

I think it was really helpful for me to hear AR say that BOTH decisions were right….especially since he knows a lot more details than the other women in the group. He knows my parents are toxic for me from meeting with me previously.

I just want to do what is right, but having it pointed out that they KNOW the door is open…they KNOW they can write my hubby and my mother can write me…helped bring a more balanced perspective. It IS helpful to hear that from outside of myself.

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