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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments forAngry People

Comments for Angry People

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 11, 2000

S1

Hi. My name is Lynn. My ex-husband and I separated in 1994. I initially had sole custody of the children and he had supervised access. On December 20/96, he put a gun to my head and made me sign a consent order transferring custody of the children to him. We have joint custody, but the children live with him . My problem is last Friday, he signed the children back to me. Everything was fine and dandy and we agreed he would keep the children over the weekend and we would start our new arrangement on Sunday. He then refused to comply with the new order. He has the kids hating me and he has brainwashed them so badly that they don't want to come to my house anymore. My boys are 11 and 8. The boys are so confused. They think that I am wrecking their lives by wanting to be a part of it. My ex-husband never sends them to school, doesn't have a fixed address, is hooked on pills and cocaine and is on welfare. I own my own home, have always been self-supporting and responsible. I purchase all the children's school clothes, supplies, etc. and care about their future. I am having a very difficult time proving mental cruelty is being afflicted on my children because its my word against his. Any suggestions. The kids are doing what kids do: identifying with the power in the family. You need to show them gentle can be even stronger... I think you may want to submit your own question... 

  

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000

S1

It's Kevin, not Kyle - I know. I routinely change names to add one more layer of anonymity. but anyway. I think you're at least partly wrong. We were under no pressure to do well at school - neither encouraged nor discouraged but our parents were pleased for our successes - but as it became clear that we were going to be straight A students (in American terms), which did not happen until we were about 13 everything was fine at home. As a younger child I had to sit at the table until I had eaten at least SOME of my vegetables. Yes. You had some fear. Not necessarily a bad thing, but given your dad's ways, your fear was real... Your "role" was in the direction of the good child. Anything much worse than this I cannot remember. However, when my brother and I were 13, my brother became a bit of a tearaway. Added to the strains of our teenage years was my fathers increasing jealousy and pride (he had had to leave school at the age of 15 when his father died). His anger - another component, was his unspoken assumption that sons leave school go out to work and bring money into the home - was then directed at my brother, who was the obvious target. You laid low. Good tactic. But he, my brother, always got support from my mother, who never approved of my father's behaviour and never made excuses for it. In the last few year's before my mother finally asked him to leave, he was rarely at home - he sensed himself he was unwelcome. And we were all happier when he was not home - my mother, myself and my three brother's in all. 

When asked to leave, my father went without complaint. He said later that this would never have happened if my mother had not returned to work when I was about 11. But at the time he had not protested or attempted to control her. Some 5 year's after my father left, I contacted him - he visited. I did this about 6 times in all before his death - he never tried to contact me in return. There was never any tension on these occasions, but I sensed a great deal of self-pity (and of course guilt) on his part. Of course. He never married again to inflict the same treatment on someone else (it had never been directed against my mother, for example). 

No, my point was I have always wondered why my brother became so angry, and I always suspected it had something to do with our parents' decision to send us to separate school's. Your brother was clearly reacting to your father. Just as you did, though you took the good boy, fade-into-the-background-and-cause-no-trouble-tact. Separate schools was just the icing on the cake. This stuff is subtle... They justified this on the grounds of our respective strengths and the need to separate us anyway. I feel sure that this lies at the root of his problems (and not my father's anger) Same issue. Remember we were twins and if I got a A for a piece of work at school and my brother got a B, it would not have mattered to him that the rest of the class got a C. No-one needed to make a direct comparison. We were twins - the comparison was implicit - indeed, specifically because we were twins I suspect everyone tried to avoid this. We both then passed the public exam at the age of 11, which determined which type of school one subsequently went to. My parents sent me to a more purely academic school and my brother to a school with a more technical bent - still, both schools not available to the 80% who did not pass the exam. He expressed the wish to go to the same school as me. This was THE event in his childhood which he never got over (like the separation of parents or whatever). I don't disagree. Nor do I see these events as discontinuous. You were "good" (as well as more studious) and he was "bad" (i.e., rebellious). Angry people are typically insensitive to emotional events and subtlety. They look for a concrete "reason" (event, etc.) to explain things. Your brother was the family scapegoat: the parental issues were expressed via the symptomology of the children. (Family Therapy 101. Read a classic, The Family Crucible to get a drift of this thinking.) Your family viewed things in black and white, without shades of gray -  much like your point of view. A healthier, less angry and less controlling family would not look to make further separations among their children, especially when these separations were against a child's will. Such a family would look to pull all its members closer together.

Of course my father's anger later on did not help. Dad's anger may have become more pronounced later on, but it started much earlier. My point was to show that there are many ways in which a child can feel devalued and not have his/her feelings validated correct - although parents (specifically my mother) made it clear that we were all equally valuable as people, regardless of successes or failures - and treated us as such - but that is not the way my brother felt. Because your brother was not treated equally. For my brother the only thing which would have been acceptable, I feel, would have been to send us to the same school - and he expressed this wish. Our parents wanted to separate us because we fought at lot and were too competitive, they felt. Now, what would you have done? Sent you to the same school and worked with the fighting between you. Anyway - this is how I see things. But concerning my guilt - there you are right. 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000

S1

Hi Kevin.

I see that same competitiveness in my husband's 2 sons who are not twins but very close in age. The less academic son frequently belittles the other when he can, though I wouldn't call him a bully overall. I told him that people who belittle usually don't feel good about themselves inside, and I take the opportunity to point out his many talents when I can. I've noticed he does it much less, at least in front of me. It sounds like no-one was there to give your brother the kind of heart to heart talk he needed. Yes.

Are you able to tell your twin brother the things you are proud of in him?

Also, if your mother sided with all of you over your father, rather than both having a united front for "the kids" that probably would have contributed to his jealousy. It sounds like he probably felt left out. And maybe he was. He was, clearly, though he had a hand in being pushed out.

I've noticed that when my husband spends one on one time with each child and talks about the little problems that come up and his concern about the child that the behaviour improves immensely. Yes.

Everyone wants to be valued and I think sometimes we get so caught up in our own day to day problems we forget to give honour to others. Yes. This includes our children, our partners, our siblings and other family members, our bosses our co-workers, our friends... That little bit of recognition that says "what a wonderful human being you are" makes such a huge impact.

take care

AK  Thank you AK. Well put.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000

S1

Hi Kyle,

I think Dr Irene is on to something here!!!

Dr Irene don't we all have pasts where mistakes were made? Absolutely!

How is then that there are healthy people? Some pasts have fewer or less significant "mistakes" than others; our biology gifts us with different assets; as adults, it is our job to look at our childhood wounds - and stop repeating them.

The anger: how could it be sorted out if the child is always hitting the other child. Without punishment how could you stop the other child? I mean you can't force anyone, not even a child to do anything, you can offer consequences but what can the inflicted do with their anger? Wrong mindset... You talk to the kids. Start talking early enough and watch what happens...

Take care Kyle, you've started to wake up. T

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 14, 2000

S1

Kevin, one thing wasn't clear: are you and your brother fraternal twins? We're usually given the impression that identical twins can be very close to one another. I'd be all the more surprised if your parents found cause to separate identical twins for education in the face of protest. Exactly! Fraternal or otherwise! Ouchhh! Mind you, I'm sure being compared with one another is hard for fraternal twins as well, when they sprint from the same starting line at the same time, setting up expectations of similarity--yet they're different right from the beginning.

Your story reminded me of a woman in an elder branch of my own family, only the converse was true. She was the youngest of six siblings, and she qualified to go to some kind of better school than the others (the story is vague). Her mother wouldn't let her go because she wanted all the children treated the *same*. Ugh. The child is viewed as an object; the child's wants are not considered... I understand the daughter resented this. Curiously, she was the only one of the six (that I'm aware of) to end up in a verbally abusive marriage--as an abuser. But I'd hate to speculate around that on far too little data.

I personally do think it's unfair when kids aren't allowed to compete to their own potential, no matter whether that's the same as other children's or different. Your brother worked for his 11+ and passed it as you did; why couldn't he go to the school of his choice along with you, even if he wouldn't have done as well academically? Imagine both of you qualifying for the Olympics and then being told you couldn't run the same race together. If you won the gold and he only won the bronze, it's still a medal. It's not an issue of the British educational system versus our American one. It wouldn't make any difference if you went to Eton and he was sent to Harrow, if it was against his will. The point is, he wasn't allowed the choice he'd already earned. Yes.

It wouldn't surprise me if his resentment didn't show through until he was fourteen or so. Hormones kick in and kids get more aggressive at that age. But all that may have happened is that issues that were quiescent earlier in life were now given a testosterone boost. Yes.

I'm not completely crystal-clear either about the circumstances surrounding this non-choice. For instance, whether it was your father in particular who pushed the separation--was your brother supposed to be the "chip off the old block," at his own expense? (Is your brother gay as well, by the way? I'm betting not.) Or whether it was your mother who "didn't like to see kids fighting," and wanted to separate you. Or both together, for whatever reasons of their own, in a kind of unholy alliance. How did you feel about it at the time? I doubt there was genuine and vehement protest; part of the reason for his guilt today. His parents put him in a position where he would have to go against his own best wishes to avoid guilt. Ouchhhh! Did you protest the decision? If you did, then *your* wishes were ignored by your parents as well.

However, I do agree with Dr. Irene that all this stuff didn't just start when your were in your teens. There was tension there when you were eleven, and surely earlier. If your parents wanted to separate you "because you fought a lot," what was all the fighting about? Thank you. I don't mean to blame your brother or you for that. It was an indication of something wrong in the family as a whole. Almost invariably: when children are acting out, you can bet there is a problem between the parents. It's easier for the parents to "put" the problem on the kids than to deal with the real issue.

I don't want to harp on about this, and I certainly don't want you to feel guilty about it. *It wasn't your fault.* Correct. Mom and dad put you in an untenable position a child should never have been placed in. The whole point is to move on past that stuff, get over it and put it behind you. It wasn't your brother's fault either. No. Each kid took on a "strategy" to survive in the family. But if you're carrying guilt about it, while he's carrying anger, you're both wasting your lives. Correct. But, I think Kevin not only carries guilt, he also carries hidden rage - at dad, the easy target and more so at mom, who did not protect the children.  It's up to him to get over it as well, and nobody can do it for him. Right. Currently, Kevin is acting out his childhood drama with his partner - and he is "paying back" by allowing himself to be mistreated as a way of divesting himself of the guilt, I think. The chances are that whatever difference there was in your education, you both ended up wherever you were going in life anyway. I can't help thinking back again to the woman I mentioned earlier, and her husband. She was shrewd, and never missed any opportunities in the end. The two of them made more money than anyone else in the family, and what good did it ever do them? So sad.

You've probably seen "Ordinary People." That's survivor guilt about a dead brother--among other things. Your brother isn't even dead. Remember the line (quoting from memory): "Maybe you were stronger than him. Ever think of that?" Strength is nothing to feel guilty about. Absolutely not! Neither is applying oneself academically - or even having more academic gray matter. It is the parents who messed up... They are adults who should know better... Even though they did the absolute best they could... 

You've actually done very well. I don't mean in terms of material success; you haven't told us anything about that, and it doesn't matter a damn anyway, but you're obviously on your feet. I mean in terms of human success. Look at what you've had to put up with. An abusive father, an abusive brother - made abusive by family problems. A broken family. Then being gay. It's a tough row to hoe. Yes. And he succeeded! Admirably, I think. 

We might speculate that you were "born" gay, that all kinds of circumstances inhibited you from finding your "true self" earlier, and if you had, you might never have married. But was that a mistake? Did it hurt people, like your ex-wife? Of course. Never mind that; let's ask "was it so bad?" instead. Nope. Plenty of men marry and then split for very different reasons, and really do hurt people. You have two wonderful children who love you, and you love them.  And you must have negotiated your way very caringly and skillfully through the split, so that you've still maintained the relationship that you and your children deserve. You bet!

On top of that, you're "looking after" your boyfriend's problems; and most of all, you have an autistic son to help steer through childhood. This is a lot more than the vast majority of parents have to cope with. You're a very caring person. You worked hard for what you've got. Never sell yourself short. You are so on target...

Your children are your future, and they need you. What I would like to say to you is this - if it happens to be a problem for you, and I may be wrong, of course. *Do not* project the past onto your children. Remember Rafiki in "The Lion King" as well. "The past can't be changed." There's no sense wasting effort on the past - or on trying to compensate for it in the present. At the same time, "the past is for learning from." It's crazy to repeat the past, if it was bad - though the good parts deserve repeating - but neither is there any sense in trying to "make up" for the past. What we want to do is to create something new, and different from all the mistakes of the past: a third and better course for the future. So true. We can script a more productive future each and every day. Trouble is, to do this, first you have to get past your denial about your past. Kevin hasn't done this yet, needing still to protect his mom and dad from his rage towards them. By the way, this is common in the abusive family. The child is trained to distort, to protect, etc., etc. - at his own expense. The individual irrationally thinks that they somehow cannot be rageful and full of love at the same time!

So for instance the couple I mentioned earlier were a good example of how not to live our lives, and that's something to be avoided. Similarly, my wife was molested as a child, and I'll be damned if either of us want to see that repeated on our daughter. But it isn't a reason either to burden her with a kind of "negative image" of that. Kick it ruthlessly out of the way; dump it; let's live our lives clean of that trash altogether, the third way, the healthy way.

So if you happen to see an image of your past in your two children certainly a fertile ground for repetition - the less able brother, resentful and expressing his resentment through abuse of his more sensitive sibling, who is nevertheless burdened with guilt (and perhaps even "ought to be"), then please dump it. Right in the trash where it belongs. Put a match to it and cheer it as it goes up in smoke like a Guy Fawkes bonfire. (Over here we have our fireworks on the Fourth of July, but we both know what we mean.) Burn the past, even as we celebrate what it taught us. Your children are individuals. They have unique personalities - and unique problems - of their own, quite different from yours. You are gay. Your son is autistic. And that's only the beginning of your challenges: challenges you've proven yourself fully capable of overcoming as an adult. Your son needs you and your daughter needs you. Treat them equally - but with respect to their special needs and vulnerabilities and their special strengths as well.

And look after yourself too. You deserve it. We can't look after others if we don't look after ourselves.  Correct. And right now, boy friend is being looked after more than self is.

- Gordon So well put Gordon. Thank you.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 14, 2000

S1

Hi Gordon,

You SAID it!! Like you always do!!! Ain't that the truth.

I copied out these words about Lion king, you told me them once also. But yes I couldn't have put it better myself.

Take care Kyle; you deserve your own love, if you allow yourself, then you can share it with everyone else.

Little analogy for you: There was a father who had six children of all various ages. One day he sat them all down and said, FIRST I will light a candle for ME, If I keep this candle a light then I can light all of yours, if I don't keep this candle lit, I will be starved and so will all of you. So he lit his candle, then his partner's candle, and one by one each of his six children's candles. Then he smiled and said YOU SEE WHEN I LOVE MYSELF I CAN TRULY GIVE SOME OF MY LOVE TO ALL OF YOU, SO YOU MAY NOT EMOTIONALLY STARVE. Now LIsTeN I am your father follow my GOOD example.

Take care Kyle, Kevin [What does it matter your YOU!!! whatever your called!!!] :)

 B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 14, 2000

S1

Please protect your daughter from your son's bullying! I was the target of my little brother's vicious teasing during the entire time I was growing up. Ooops... Correct, but do I detect a shade of repetition - and its dangerous concomitant, projection?

Your daughter needs to see that you will protect her! I have no relationship with my brother-in fact, I'd probably not even recognize him if I saw him on the street. The last time I saw him was at my grandfather's funeral 10 yrs ago, and from what I was told a couple of years ago by my parents, he started teasing me that afternoon and I reacted verbally (I used to react physically when he got too annoying and would swing at him and then get punished for beating up on my little brother). My parents blamed me for never learning to ignore his behavior.

As a child I was told that "If I'd just ignore him, he'd give up and go away." That never worked, nor did anything else. I needed them to step in and tell him that his behavior was unacceptable and if he didn't clean up his behavior, he would be punished (not me).

Allowing the bullying to continue, sends a very powerful message to your daughter. Your failure to protect her, tells her that it's ok for males to victimize her, and that her desires (not to be bullied) aren't important. Controlling your son's behavior will give her the message that she is important, and that she can rely on others for help when she needs help.

An Email from Kevin on 9/18:

I've decided that enough is enough.  Yes the abuse started again - after a break of five weeks.  Nothing much.  Three comments.  He told me that the issue of where I live (he would like me to live in the flat above his, which has become vacant; I have no desire to move) was about control - by
implication, therefore I am no better than him.  We both want to control.  On a second occasion he demanded information about my financial circumstances. I've always be honest about this and told him what was relevant, what I felt I should tell him, but he demands to know more (and wants proof as well).  On a third occasion he refused to answer an email of mine, although I gently pointed out in a second mail that I expected an answer - this was in relation to a promise he had made (unprompted) - the counseling issue:  He suggests that we should go to counseling.  Then when I agree and say that it would be a good idea, he backs down, but later undertakes to make an appointment, which he does not do.  I remind him about his promise and receive no reply.  

Well that's enough.  It may only happen once a week on average, but as the same issues do come up time and time again, he is clearly refusing to respect my boundaries.  Incidentally - as soon as he started abusing me (or shall we say, but the time we got to two items on your list) I looked for advice.  This was not behaviour I could understand - even if you tell me I am 'used to it'.  No I am not used to it - I am not used to being devalued, however subtly.  I may have issues (making excuses, wanting to help etc. - stemming from the relationship with my brother) - but I am not used to being abused.  Anyway,  I was told 'talk to him', or once 'you are too sensitive', or more usefully that counseling was probably needed.  These were the 'professionals'.  If I had found your site earlier, perhaps we could have broken the cycle. Probably not. But his behaviour is his behaviour.  

I've done all I can.  I asked him to return my key.  I have not seen him for three days - but I am waiting for him to arrange to collect his things.  I shall see him at a counseling session - but not before (he said to make an appointment - I had not made this a condition - I had just asked him to leave - he brought it up) - and if he does not accept that he has problems and refuses to go to therapy, well that will be it.  Oh, and I'll want to see some progress as well.  One abusive behaviour per week is one two many. Yes. He will stop his abusive behavior as long as you keep him under pressure. If you remain together, expect it to start up again. He shows no commitment to recovery. 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2000

S1

Hi!

As I said guilt - yes. Whether there is also anger at my parents - possibly, but not very much. I don't think they were acting out any terrible issues from their own childhoods. If my brother and I fought then not necessarily because issues between the parents are being transferred to the children. It might have been that my brother needed more validation, simply because his school work was not as good as mine. My parents would never have said 'Look at Kevin. Why can't you do as well as him.' Perhaps they did not realise how much more validation he needed, and therefore he fought with me to get their attention. OK - so then the question arises why did they not interpret this as a sign that he needed attention. Or talk to him, or whatever. Was this because they themselves were abused? Not necessarily. 

In any behaviour there are a number of components. Nature, nurture and the current situation. Nature and nurture I suppose will equip an individual to deal with a certain range of situations. There are elements of my character which clearly relate to the relationship with my brother. Yes, guilt is one of them. Also making excuses etc. As regards my father's behaviour I always (at the age of 14, 15 or whenever he began shouting at my brother) as his responsibility which had nothing to do with my brother. They were his issues. OK. I did not always behave kindly towards my father (no - I did not always behave in a way to gain approval) Approval by laying low. You stayed out of the way.. My brother and I used to discuss politics with my father (we were perhaps 15 or 16). We had strong views which differed from his own. We were also able to argue more consistently (or he was not able to spot our inconsistencies). It often happened that we would point out 'But earlier you said x and now your saying y'. This tended to annoy him - not surprisingly. No, I did not act in a way designed always to gain my father's approval. The situation had deteriorated by then of course. I would say that the main elements probably are: my brother, not quite as good at primary school (therefore needing more validation?), then being sent to a school perceived as less good - despite his hurt, the competition between my brother and myself (so I played my part). My father's increasing envy (and pride) - fuelled also by our treatment of him, vented largely at my brother, who was going off the rails because he felt belittled, not as valued. I suspect that had my parents had only my two younger brothers things between them would have been much better. They would not have provoked him in the same way - or made him feel inadequate. Another scapegoat would have been chosen. My father was the cause of the deterioration. But events tended to validate and invalidate my brother. I could see clearly that my father's anger had nothing to do with my brother and everything to do with him. So I do not blame others for my behaviour - and hold others responsible for theirs. But I think I feel guilt not because I was 'favoured' in some sense, but because I also played my part in my brother's demise (he is homeless). Boy, are you over-responsible! My parents' limitation was to perhaps interpret within their own experience and expectations - that we would leave school at the age of 16. Therefore whatever school we went to was not important. Also there was the possibility that my brother could switch schools later if he choose to do so. Which he did. He came to my school. By this time the discrepancy in our abilities was only too apparent. But there again I worked harder and my brother socialized more. That's evidence of one of the reasons why you, a KID,  did not play a part in his demise. There are lots of elements here. But this was really all known to me. Therefore I had always tried to avoid my 'brother', i.e.. signs of dependence - feeling possibly that this would bring out the worst in me and knowing that this would be a 'burden' I would not want. 

In the first 8 months of my relationship with my boyfriend there were four signs of neediness. Otherwise no red flags. OK I thought, there is always going to be some imbalance - this being a continuum, presumably. This I can cope with. And indeed - on the particular issues where he was unhappy with himself, he is now much more contented - just the odd word of support now and then and these are no longer issues for him. Ah - but the desire to help a needy person is there. Guilt may certainly have played a role in my 'accepting' behaviour which I knew in every other sense was wrong. This would be why I looked for help - rather than just distancing myself. Also I assumed I was dealing with an adult I could talk to (but my brother? and my father? - no I should know that that is not necessarily the case). Anyway, there are two possible solutions: my boyfriend goes to therapy, I end the relationship, we carry on unchanged. The first two are preferable than the third for both myself and my boyfriend. Therefore the third is not a possibility. Oh - another element, which has added to the stress of the situation. Since meeting my boyfriend I have moved to Germany - but I am on the move constantly with my work living mainly in hotels - and my colleagues vary from one project to the next. Basically I am socially isolated. As my boyfriend knows. When I told him to return my key and leave, one comment of his was 'So who are you going to talk to now.' I could have been spiteful and explained: 'Thomas. I studied theoretical linguistics at university. One branch is pragmatics which deals with the way conversations are constructed. These are internalized rules used by all speakers. Four fundamental principles have been deduced by linguists and philosophers of language as necessary for successful communication. You frequently violate every one.' Of course I didn't. I just wanted to make the point here that there are principles more general than 'rules' such as 'If your partner asks a question, answer it.' Let's see if I can remember them: 1. relevance 2. saying neither too much nor too little, but just the amount required by the situation 3. turn-taking and... I forget. Oh and there's another of my failings, which Dr. Irene knows only too well (I think) - intellectualizing problems. :) The reason, I think, you have such a hard time recognizing the abuse you were subjected to as a child... Perhaps I've violated the second principle. And now - my son needs me more than my boyfriend, even if I can't always be there for him. Now, that's a good path! Good luck to you Kevin.



 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000

S1

Hello Kevin,

My name is Louise. I have an older brother who bullied me constantly. When I think of this, I wonder, where were my parents? I don't remember getting much help from them to stop the bullying. I was my father's favorite, and this brother was the family scapegoat. I put up with a lot of his abuse because I felt he was misunderstood and unloved. As an adult, he is extremely angry and abusive. He has abused my mother (she now lives with me) both physically and verbally. The other siblings are afraid of him and avoid him. Sometimes I think this brother has had the greatest impact on who I have became, which again makes me think, where were my parents? I would like to be a good example for my child. I know he'd like a sibling, but with siblings like mine, sometimes I think being an only child is not such a bad thing.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000

S1

Hi Louise

I can relate to much of what you say. My brother did not bully me, but he did treat me badly in that he stole from me. Nevertheless we were (?are) identical twins and very close. I have always known that my brother was the defining person in my life - not my father. My father behaved badly in our teenage years ansd eventually left and some years later I contacted him in the sense 'all is forgiven'. I did this a number of times - each time several years apart. That he chose not to reciprocate did not bother me. OK I thought if he wants to feel sorry for himself so be it. We did not meet as if there were unresolved issues - but as adults and with mutual respect. With my brother it is different. I was closer to him than anyone. He is very angry. No-one in my family wants to see him; he always causes trouble. I don't want to see him. It would be too painful. Meeting my father again was not painful. Try as I might I cannot see any component of my current personality which I can account for by the relationship to my father. My brother explains everything. Where were my parents? Well I must have been 16 when my brother started stealing. My parents disapproved of his behaviour (or my mother did - my father was almost irrelevant), but we were considered old enough to resolve matters ourselves. I was constantly disappointed by his bad behaviour - but also enabled it. I could have been more careful, taken more precautions to protect my money. The beginning of the end, came, I think, when he started forging my signature to withdraw money from my bank account in England while I was spending a year in Germany (I was 21 at the time). I thought my money was safe. He had no access to cash cards, did not know my pin number etc. There are many things - being attracted to a needier person, wanting to 'help' etc., etc., which I can accept about myself. But that I myself suffered abuse - no as try as I might I cannot see that. I had, I think, sufficient 'strategies' and support not to feel personally abused by my father's bad behaviour. These my brother did not have. As for intellectualising being an escape strategy - perhaps, but not from my father - rather from my sexuality, I think. Not that I ever really denied or suppressed this - (I was more honest in this respect with myself than with others - but I knew this and therefore did not act it out.) But at least I did not need to think about sex - after all who would want to think about sex when there are ancient Greek verbs to learn!!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

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I read the post's and see myself trying to figure it out, trying to change things, trying to make it work, trying to make people happy. I have spent a great deal of my life trying to make my mom and dad happy, my first husband, my children, my second husband who was paranoid schizophenic, my third husband who was an angry ragaholic. What about fulfilling my life purpose? What if I just let them do what they have to do and go on to do what I need to do? What would I be giving up? I would be giving up some major stomach aches, anxiety attacks and heart palpitations. I would have to give up sleepless nights and fear of abandonment. What if I spent my time being the woman of honor God made me to be and put my energy into developing all the creative talents he has given me. Watch out my friends. Patricia is coming out of this cacoon of co-dependency. You are going to see the most awesome butterfly that ever flew the horizons of this great country of ours. No more am I going to spend my time trying to make people well that don't want to be well. I don't know how much time I have left on this earth, but if by the grace of God he will give me strength, wisdom and a new vision I will soar like an eagle. What is the question? How can I make them well? No more. The question now is: "What does Patricia want? How can Patricia become all she was intended to be? What gives me joy and how can I bring joy into the lives of others without being co-dependent? What do I want to spend my time doing? What do I enjoy thinking about?" I don't enjoy trying to figure out why someone doesn't like me or treat me with respect. I don't enjoy trying to fix someone who does not want to be fixed. I don't enjoy being around people that don't respect and love me. I enjoy watching a sunset, praying, writing, painting, helping others, going to church, reading and fellowshiping with people that like and respect me. I enjoy cleaning my apartment, doing the laundry, cooking a good meal and talking on the e-mail. I enjoy walking along the shore of the ocean, taking long hot baths, singing and listening to the birds sing. I love my job and the people I work with. I enjoy having lunch with my co-workers and talking about all kinds of interesting subjects. Life can be tough at times, but why make it tougher by staying around people who don't really enjoy or want a Patricia in their lives. I don't want someone trying to fix me and I'm not going to spend my life trying to fix people that don't want to be fixed. There are many that I enjoy being around and who enjoy Patricia. It is time to minimize the sorrow and increase the joy. If you think I am being trite, you don't know the sorrow I have lived through. I don't think God intends for us to carry the thorns of everyone elses life on our back. He took upon his head that we might not carry them. I am laying these thorns at the foot of his cross and I am going to rejoice in the freedom he has given me. He said his burden was easy and his yoke was light. The only time it gets hard is when I try to carry the sins of the world. He already did that for me. Praise God.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 08, 2001

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