Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Dysfunctional Family Update

So, I thought I would update you all since my last official 'update' was mid-2009 where my Dad hadn't been in contact with my husband, child, and me for 6 months (What Makes My Narcissistic Dad Tick) and my mother had been meddling in my & my brother's affairs indirectly and directly: part one, two, three. Also during this time, my brother went through a crisis, where he alluded to suicide (Adult Child in Crisis with Personality Disorder Parents) and I wrote him a heart-t0-heart letter (Antisocial Personality Disorder: Letter to my Brother).

Since then, my Dad has made no attempt to contact me to see his grand-child (my child) since Christmas 2008 when he got upset that my husband's parents came into town and "ruined" his Christmas because we couldn't come to his house for Christmas. We had invited him to come to our house, and at the last minute, he cancelled via email. We haven't heard from him since. He hasn't tried to see his grand-child (my child) nor tried to cultivate any type of relationship. If he is upset with me or my husband, that is one thing. But to take out his anger on his grand-child is very pitiful and utterly unacceptable.

In regard to my mother since 2009, she and I have remained estranged, and she has made no attempt to contact me. She has, however, become close to my half-sister (my mother's first of three husband's daughter who my mother never knew personally until my mother & I became estranged in 2004). She claims that my half-sister has the same sense of humor and similar interests to mine. I truly think my mother is trying to replace me with this person, which is very creepy and strange. What is additionally creepy and strange: that my half-sister is receptive to my mother when she has her own family (mother, father, brothers, husband, kids).

My brother during all of this time has been battling depression and anxiety. He has yet to hold down a steady job and continually manipulates Dad and mother for money, cell phone service, computer service, etc. He's come to the realization that he's in his 40's now and hasn't made a life for himself. He's a self-proclaimed liar and continues to lie for monetary benefit predominately.

On my end, the last two years has been peaceful. The lack of drama is perfect, the fact I don't have to figure-out contorted mental puzzles is awesome, and life is sweet & simple. Having the manipulations, dysfunction, and toxicity out of my life is something I had been attempting to achieve for decades, and now I have it. My child is growing up in a loving atmosphere that is steady, consistent, and predictable with lots of life lessons, fun, education, and support. My husband and I made every day an adventure and surround our child with so much happiness that the sun shines even at night.

Next, my brother comes to visit... what a perfect reminder of what I have left and how far I have progressed.

Divorcing Your Mean Mother

As a result of the Casey Anthony trial and all the talk surrounding it, I have discovered a new book ("Mean Mothers" by Peg Streep) with a wealth of information regarding daughters of 'mean mothers'. The author shares her experiences and what she's done to handle her 'mean mother'. I also found that this book been a topic of conversation on BPD Family because much of what Peg Streep discusses correlates with the BPD mother (or the sociopath mother, Casey Anthony).

One very poignant section in "Mean Mothers" by Peg Streep is about estrangement, which I frequently get questions about (how to, how long, how to carry on, when does the hurt end, etc) as follows:

But for some daughters – myself included – "divorcing" my mother was the only way I could move forward into a healthy future.

Most daughters who've broken with their mothers acknowledge that this is less a "solution" than a life-saving strategy which only offers partial healing. Whether the separation from a mother's ability to hurt and inability to love occurs because of "divorce" or death, the result falls very short of perfect. Terri's mother died when she was eighteen, ending what had been both a reign of terror and emotional deprivation. But even the abrupt ending wasn't really an ending at all. Her voice low but insistent, Terri tells me," There is always a hole in me that needs to be filled, and can't be. Not the love of my four kids or my husband of twenty-odd years, or my friends fills it. It's always there, like a tear or a hole in fabric. You can put threads in to repair the weave – the threads of other relationships – but the hole is still there."

I know precisely what she means: I will go to my grave, still grieving the mother love I never had and wishing just as hard that I had been born to someone else.

I love what she has to say about the topic, and how she refers to estrangement as 'divorcing' your parent. The term divorcing is one to ponder as we didn't get to select our parent... we were born to her. Due to being born to her, many daughters / sons feel as if they have to remain in a relationship out of respect, religion, or duty. When using the word divorce, the term alludes to CHOICE... that you CHOSE not to take the abuse, dysfunction, toxicity, craziness, manipulations ANY MORE. You chose to separate yourself permanently from the negativity just like you would a spouse.
  • You do have a choice of what you let into your life.
  • You do have a choice of what influences you.
  • You do have a choice of how you allow those around you to treat you.
And by the way, I would rather have the hole of where a mother should fill rather than a hole as a result of continued abuse. One can build a life that is healthy and happy and prosper away from the BPD mother but trying to build a life with an EVER destructive force of the BPD mother is extremely challenging and fatiguing... if not virtually impossible.