Looking for love in all the wrong places...

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by NCBob, May 6, 2014.

  1. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Made it through last night intact. Did not sleep well, although had an hour or two of deep sleep this morning. I've spent most the day writing, and a good part of the day crying. It turns out that approval seeking is a theme in my current chapter, and that writing about this has been pushing my buttons in a big way. I grew up in a military family, and that really fucked with my ability to just be myself. There's nothing like ass-kissing your way up the chain of command to finally get the love you're looking for at the top, only to discover that love is non-existent at the top. I've done some good healing in the past around this, and a little more was done today. I've had a few urges to medicate my feelings, and so far, have stayed on track. No easy thing.
     
  2. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    You did the right thing by confronting your dad. The fact that he made the effort to send a letter back suggests he does care but I don't expect you'll ever forgive him for the things he's done. Maybe he is deeply ashamed about his behaviours and perhaps he's tried to block it out mentally to avoid feeling pain. Either way, at least you got things off your chest and told him how you feel. Do you maintain regular contact with your sisters?
     
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  3. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Thanks for checking in, forlorn:)

    I agree, it was the right thing to confront my dad with my letter. My follow-up letter to his response might have been even more of an eye-opener for him. He's barely been able to acknowledge receiving the second one. I'm sure he's deeply ashamed over what he'd done with my sister, as he has said as much. I'm not sure he really has a clue as to how verbally abusive and excessively controlling he was to everyone in the family - something he was doing right up until my mom died last April.

    I'd sent my older sister a copy of my first letter so that she was aware of what I was doing. I've followed up with her several times to see if she'd received it, and have not heard back from her. We've been somewhat close over the years, and I'm both surprised and not surprised that I haven't heard from her. I think she was still in significant denial over the impact my dad's abuse had on her. I did not include my younger sister with a copy of the letter. I don't trust her capacity to process this information constructively. She and I keep in touch on a fairly regular basis - mainly through family gatherings and texts. I try keeping things simple with her, because of her tendency to distort information, make assumptions, and gossip. She also has a tendency to be a bully at times, like my dad. She can also be exceptionally gracious as a host, which is an interesting combination.

    I had an intense dream last night in which my older sister confronted me about sending the letter to my dad. If I remember it correctly, I was pretty confident in maintaining my position for doing so.

    As far as being able to forgive my dad for the things he'd done, it's been a very long and extended process over the past 30+ years. As part of this process, I've needed to become aware of just how negatively impactful his abusive behaviors had been on me. I've been become much more aware the past 6 months of how awful growing up with him was. He clearly knows how I feel about this now, and I'm glad about having let him know. I've cut the chord of 'obligation' to going to family gatherings, and feel relieved about that. Our family gatherings always had a pollyana feel to them - kind of like Disneyland - lots of rituals and celebrations, and a weird awkwardness beneath the surface.

    In the end, I think my ability to forgive my dad will be more a function of my successes, rather than anything he does or doesn't do. I'm writing a book now that is causing me to do some serious soul searching, and once it's published, will reflect a significant transformation of all of this family crap into something that improves my life going forward. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

    If I become stronger as a result of all that has happened, forgiveness becomes a moot point. Or maybe forgiveness is complete.
     
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  4. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I can relate to this part. The older I got, the less I felt comfortable in my family gatherings. I always felt kind of unsafe in them. Always the same sarcastic jokes and I don't know I felt like there was no real love beneath it all and it was all a kind of a pretense. Maybe I'm too severe but that's how I felt/feel. It could be, at least partly, a reflection of the fact that I had more and more social anxiety even in family gatherings and therefore felt unsafe and uncomfortable. Maybe if I was more confident and self acceptant I could have seen the good in those gatherings and not focus on the bad. It's hard to know for sure.
     
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  5. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    It's hard to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg, Thelongwayhome27. I think the solution is in accepting how we feel, and then loving ourselves in the process, whatever that looks like. Sometimes that requires that I set a boundary with others first, so that I can work through my shit, and then re-enter the relationships at a later date when I'm on more solid ground. Sometimes, it requires that I leave the relationship completely, after I've worked through my shit.

    Thanks for your comments:)
     
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  6. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    This makes a lot of sense. Thanks!
     
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  7. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    I just read this one. Sounds like this chapter you're on is allowing for more important healing, NCBob. I'm glad for you, but I hope you continue taking the healthy breaks you need from what appears to be a very emotional process.
     
  8. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Presumably she doesn't want to talk about it, but at least she knows you're there for her if she ever changes her mind.

    Great line, I can see why you're a writer.
     
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  9. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    My pleasure, Thelongwayhome27:)
     
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  10. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    That's true, forlorn. At some point, I hope she's able to do this. Hard to predict, however, with some much emotional trauma buried underneath the surface...

    This made me chuckle. Then I had to reread what I'd written, and laughed out loud again. Thanks:)
     
  11. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Just checking in with my emotional pulse. Feeling quite a bit of anxiety, to the point of feeling unsafe in the world. I've been dealing with some long term financial issues since the great recession, and have a court date on Friday with the last of 15 or so creditors that I've dealt with since 2008-2009. I've squared away all but this one. This one has been like a freaking terrier that won't let go, even after I made 8 years of payments. A high interest rate on the principle has made paying down the debt impossible. Not sure which way the judge will decide, and I'm ready to get this thing over with. Too many uncomfortable feelings attached to this ride. Medicating my feelings is an option, and not a solution. I'd rather have the solution, whatever this might be...
     
  12. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Such a good phrase. And very true. I'll think of this today when the urges will hit me, as I have to get something done that is hard and unpleasant challenging.

    Good luck at the court hearing !
     
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  13. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Thanks, Thelongwayhome27:)

    I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, and eventually was able to relax and settle into some sleep. Had some vivid dreams, including one about golf. Most of my golf dreams are about me hitting the golf ball from very difficult positions, being hindered by confined spaces, and moving from one bad shot to the next. Yikes...

    Last night, I played golf with Phil Mickelson, and brought the wrong clubs to play with. They were an old outdated set of irons without any woods in the bag. Phil let me borrow one of his woods, and I hit 4 drives in a row straight and true. I also made 2 birdies in a row, and watched Tiger Woods make an impossibly long and curvy put through all sorts of obstacles. My dream ended with me having to play my ball from an impossible lie, and then the ball somehow disappeared when I was trying to move it into a playable position. Weird....
     
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  14. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    In interpreting my dream, it would appear that I'm now capable of hitting good shots, as well as still ending up in impossible situations.

    Had my court date yesterday, and had no legal basis to stand on with which to defend my position for the summary judgment from the creditor filing suit. After working so hard to clean up my credit scores, a new black mark (from a more than decade old default that I had paid back in part, over an 8 year period) on my record. The judge turned out to be empathetic to my side of the story, and also needed to follow the letter of the law. So I drove the ball straight, and still ended up in an unplayable lie, lol:)

    I also had a conversation with the creditor's attorney, and asked him to kick-start a conversation with the creditor to submit a counter-proposal to my settlement offer I'd proposed several times during the past 18 months. I learned that the creditor had not responded because my offer was too low. He must not watch Shark Tank. If you don't like the offer, make a counter-offer:)

    Overall, feeling quite a bit of relief to be on the other side of this. It was the last in a long serious of hurdles to jump over to resolve the legal issues stemming from my debts evolving from the great recession. At worst, I owe nothing, and have the judgement on my credit rating for the next 7 years. At best, I get something mutually agreeable worked out with the creditor, and move on. Maybe it's a push either way:)

    In the meantime, I'm working on my book today, after a week long hiatus. I've made a few tweaks to previous chapters, and once again, relieved that I really like what I've written up to this point. Whether or not it's just one person or 10 million people that buy this book, it will be a really, really good book. I'm a bit blown away by how much I get centered when I read what I've written. I learned long ago that the best writing is when we write for ourselves. Funny how this happens...

    Wishing all of my fellow compatriots an awesome day:D
     
  15. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Sounds like either way is workable, and like you say, a relief since it's going to be a known quantity. Worrying about worst-case scenarios is draining, so I'm glad you're pretty much past that. Congrats!
     
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  16. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Thanks, Moz:)

    I did more research on this, and if my research is correct, the outcome in court will have no bearing on my credit rating. While credit ratings have nothing to do with the big picture, I've worked very diligently in the small picture raising my credit rating up from the dead. I'm very happy about this:D
     
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  17. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Checking on you, NCBob. Hope all is well, and that your book is moving along nicely.
     
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  18. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Thanks for checking in, Moz:)

    Each chapter seems to be a little more challenging than the previous one. My current chapter is punching all my buttons, and has been very therapeutic so far. At my core, I know exactly the message I want to convey, and in my head, I oscillate between deep feelings of frustration and occasional nuggets of clarity and excitement as I put things on paper. I'm reminded of growing up in my family, where there was so much confusion, dysfunction, reactivity, lack of transparency, and stealthiness (my dad) that I had to navigate through. My writing now is forcing me to clear out some of this shit in my head, which is challenging at best.

    Making headway though, and I'm now confident that I'll get this current chapter finished out in a good way. Not sure if anyone will ever buy the book, and I'm clear that it will be an excellent, entertaining, and enlightening read when done. The book is writing me, rather than me writing it, which is leading to all sorts of surprises.:)

    Last night was interesting, as I was feeling all sorts of anxiety and uncertainty. I started thinking about my mom, and her being pregnant with me, while she was raising my older sister (by 3.5 years). I sensed that my dad was sexually abusing my older sister during this time, as well as picking up on all sorts of god-awful vibes that my mom endured because of this. At this point in life, it's hard to get an accurate read on anything back then, in part, because no one has ever talked openly about what actually went on. Regardless, I felt much compassion for both my mom, my older sister, and myself in the midst of my thoughts/feelings. It's a miracle that I'm only 5 beers short of a six-pack at this point in my life:)
     
  19. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Hopefully you will get some sales. That being said, even if you don't sell a single a copy this hasn't been a wasted exercise for you. It's enabled you to delve into your own past to a level that many us will never experience. The act of writing things down is helping you to process the trauma that you (and your older sister/mother) have endured. You can't put a price on that.
     
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  20. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    I'm sure your book will be great, NCBob. And like forlorn says, any book sales will be gravy on top of the experience this has been for you. It sounds like it's very therapeutic indeed. We can't change our pasts, but with hard work we can come to terms with them. It's wonderful to see that you have really been doing that through this process.
     
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