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fathers and mothers, hate and its children

SolemnDragon (593956) writes | more than 7 years ago

User Journal 17

what a weird week.

i spoke to my father's mother.

She's so glad to have her babies back. i don't mind her, though i hate drama in all its forms and am coming to see where a lot of stuff came from in the family.

what a weird week.

i spoke to my father's mother.

She's so glad to have her babies back. i don't mind her, though i hate drama in all its forms and am coming to see where a lot of stuff came from in the family.

I also spoke to my father's significant other. Oh, my gods, i adore her. She's smart, collected, and seems well grounded. Ever meet someone and say, oh, the world is a sane rational place in spots, after all? Yeah. She's like that. Kind of a murphy brown sort without the sarcasm or alpha traits.

Of course my mum feels lost in all this, it's hard for her to have us speaking to that side of the family. But we have to. We were the kids, it's our lives here and our father who died.

My brother and i have totally forgiven each other for our parts in each other's pasts. We had to. Sometimes it seems like we're the only ones interested in breaking the cycle.

I couldn't sleep last night. I'm on overload after all these conversations. I needed a good cry and some quiet time. I had a long IM conversation with my brother about all this. He couldn't sleep, either. Funny how we react the same to some things.

We were brought up angry. We grew up obediently angry, and mine turned inward as eating disorders and such, and his turned outward as rage. We've both had to fight those fires as we got older, and aren't done yet.

We spent some time talking, because it would be easy to turn on our mother, for keeping secrets, for teaching us to hate. Easy, but ineffective. We don't WANT to hate any more. If there's one thing we agree on, it's that we don't want to repeat their mistakes. Our parents were both hardened in a lot of ways by their hard lives, and we don't want to live like that if we can help it. So we talked about this being the reason to forgive- not because it is deserved or undeserved, but because we don't want to be punishing people. It doesn't matter whether turnabout is fair play. This isn't about what is fair. This is about something else, maybe about what is true to us, i don't know. But it has nothing to do with fairness. I give up on fairness; i don't know enough about circumstances to know fair. I only know about keeping people from doing more harm, and keeping ourselves from turning out like the people whose mistakes harmed us in the first place.

For me, it's a little easier. I'm a little older, and mum thinks i'm a girl so she relates to me as one. Also, i'm profoundly softhearted and want to stay that way. So i really understand my mother's mistakes. She was so very young when she had us, and had it so tough dealing with our dad's addictions. She relaly believed that he would hurt us and wanted to keep us form that, and i understand this. We're adults now and don't need that protection. We might not have needed so much then. I don't want to drag my mother over the coals of regret. There's been enough sadness and anger and misery on all sides of this. Surely, as adults, we can choose to have less of it now?

That's what i'm choosing. I'm too tired for all the drama, i really am.

We were not given much chance to love out dad- the bitterness of the split left us with that. I think it would be a mistake for us to now take away from the validity of our feelings for our mum because she made mistakes. After all, the whole point is that it was wrong for us to lose that, and i don't want to be back in therapy in ANOTHER twenty years, trying to get my feelings straight about my mum's side.

So we talk about anger, and my brother's anger, and our struggle to forgive all sides while still keeping some perspective on where things went so seriously wrong.

We're trying to choose who we want to be. I want to be someone who isn't angry any more.

My self image has changed a lot in several days. My father painted. He was a musician, too- go figure. He was also a genius of the first water- he turned down a full scholarship at MIT in his adult life. I never knew that. I never knew any of it. I always thought of myself as a sort of clone of my mum, because i've never had anything else to compare to. My talents that i didn't get from her were aberrations, inexplicable and foreign.

Now they aren't. His handwriting, Kate tells me, is something i will have to see to believe. He had an absolute knack for assessing situations and that's why he did so well in geology and hydrology, where he spent his time seeing what was under the surface.

I dream of water; i always have. These things suddenly have context, i suddenly know why i am earth and water. I suddenly know where i got the crazy painting gene, and the intense music gene. And suddenly my brains are not the gift of only my mother, and i'm related to someone else who went to school.

My grandmother- "Gramma," she insists on being called- is a colourfully verbose, dramatic woman with an overbearing nature but a good heart, i think. I think we're in for some being babied for awhile while she grasps that we grew up. (Or doesn't grasp it.) I can live with that; i've certainly put up with worse from family before. When i need distance, i'll take it.

I'm wondering whether this will force a reconciliation with our sister. I don't know, though. I don't have it in me to hate her, either. I'm just done with that. I still have my angers, and they are powerful, powerful feelings- but i just don't feel the need to take them out on anyone. I'm tired of that kind of thing, i just want people i can love even if they make me sad. I'm too tired, too whole, too old. I just want to be soft of spirit and independent of all of them; to be my own person and love as i see fit.

i'm not good at it yet. I finally got to sleep around 245 and got up at 6, so i'm exhausted... but a lot more peaceful. Even the bad dreams couldn't break my sense of calm over this. We'll see.

My bro comes up this weekend, we'll go meet Kate. She wants to meet blinder, too, and considers him to be part of her family.

Well, so do i, so that works out nicely. They better get used to him now, because otherwise they'll just have to later.

Who do you want to be? Do you know? Who do you have to forgive to get there, and how are you doing it?

cancel ×

17 comments

Healthy... (1)

johndiii (229824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752558)

It sounds like you are coming to a good resolution on all of this, and things are turning out better than you expected. So give yourself some credit, too - it's not just because you are too tired for drama, it's because you have been actively seeking to be who you should be. Seeking to make good choices, in very difficult circumstances. What is happening now is more the result of your choices, your preparation, than fortuitous circumstances. You can be modest if you like, but it has taken a lot of thought and effort to be the person who can grow and gain from the current events in your life.

Re:Healthy... (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17753210)

Since Johndiii already said my main thoughts (only a lot better;-) I'd just like to add that breaking the cycle is one of the most difficult things a person can do, and you (and Blinder, too) are doing that with your lives, and I heartily applaud you for that. It really is because of your consious decision to not give into your negative emotions that the circimstance is turning as positive as it is.

Re:Healthy... (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17754190)

You expected anything less? Sol's like the Rock of Gibraltar, standing strong against the constant battering of waves.

Re:Healthy... (1)

SolemnDragon (593956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17754826)

awww. Funny, i never think of it like that- in this case, i feel more like water, learning the practice of flowing around the stubborn rocks. When water is blocked, it always finds a flow. When it's polluted, it eventually clears. I want to be soft, like water, so that i can be strong like rock.

That's a really sweet thing to say. Thank you.

Re:Healthy... (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17758644)

Interesting you talk about water flowing... when I was double checking to make sure I spelled Gibralter correctly (Firefox doesn't have it in it's dictionary) I came upon this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Gibraltar [wikipedia.org] and read the geology part for no apparent reason. Then I thought, "If all this global warming stuff is true and the oceans are rising... when will Death Valley become a lake?"

Re:Healthy... (1)

KshGoddess (454304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17762454)

Then I thought, "If all this global warming stuff is true and the oceans are rising... when will Death Valley become a lake?"

Again.

C'mon, phrase it correctly. :D

Death Valley won't (1)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17763154)

The pass on the west is roughly 5000 feet. There isn't enough water in all the icecaps on Earth to breach it, absent an asteroid strike.

Death Valley won't become a lake again unless we get a large cooling and the water which falls there can persist. Persistence is the key; I was there the first week of April last year, and the rain which was falling on me evaporated in minutes. You wouldn't want to read a newspaper in an April Death Valley rainstorm like that, but lying out in a lawn chair with an iced tea would be just fine.

Re:Death Valley won't (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17764764)

So my plan of building a lake house and dock, then leaving the waterhose on for a few weeks isn't going to work, is it?

Look at the folks who tried (1)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17765046)

You can try, but you'll probably wind up like the Harmony folks> [americanwest.com] .

(I didn't realize that the rise behind it could ever be green. Guess my timing was just a bit off.)

Got nothing but Gibran (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17753692)

I may not always be crazy about the religious bent, but he is interesting:



Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

Re:Got nothing but Gibran (1)

SolemnDragon (593956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17754866)

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Hm. Yeah. That about sums it up. Also i would add from the tao

we make a cup out of wood, but it is the space inside it that we use.

Good (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17753796)

I'm glad that things seem to be working out well.

Who do you want to be? Do you know? Who do you have to forgive to get there, and how are you doing it?

I have no idea. I knew, but I no longer do know. Who do I have to forgive? I think myself. If it's another person, it may be decades before I can forgive her:)

But the questions are good ones.

Thoughts on depression. (1)

Talinom (243100) | more than 7 years ago | (#17755750)

I noticed a few lines in your journal. These jumped out at me:

We spent some time talking, because it would be easy to turn on our mother, for keeping secrets, for teaching us to hate. Easy, but ineffective. We don't WANT to hate any more. If there's one thing we agree on, it's that we don't want to repeat their mistakes

I still have my angers, and they are powerful, powerful feelings- but i just don't feel the need to take them out on anyone.

First off, I need to thank redhead-kitten for helping me on my own path of discovery. Without her I wouldn't be as healthy as I am today.

According to my counselor, not wanting to feel a particular emotion leads to depression. The thought "I don't want to feel anger," becomes "I don't want to feel." We cannot selectively feel or not feel emotions. All emotions end up being depressed and that is how some instances of depression can start.

What I have found in my therapy is that the horrors of our past that we refuse to acknowledge are relived constantly throughout our day. An analogy would be if you were watching a movie and a marching band was marching back and forth in front of the screen playing Stars and Stripes Forever. The mind is actively blocking the image and sound of the band but you still can't see or hear the movie very well. You are pissed, but as your mind is blocking out this band you can't figure out what the problem is. Actually you ARE thinking about the band a lot but either can't or won't accept that it is the problem. When my counselor helped me to identify my own personal marching band I got really pissed off at it and it just left, merrily marching down the aisle of life away from me.

The funny thing is that when the pain is confronted the pain goes away. And it didn't hurt to confront it. In fact all I needed to do was acknowledge that it existed and it left. Happened one day at my desk three days after seeing him. Kind of difficult to contain ones self when massive pain just leaves but I held it together until I could get to my car.

Even the bad dreams couldn't break my sense of calm over this. We'll see.

I consider bad dreams a sign that things are going exceedingly well. Perhaps your sense of calm has encouraged the past to stand up and be noticed. Trust me, it wouldn't do that if you weren't ready to confront it. To me it seems like you might be ready to...

wait for it...

face the music.

Who do you want to be? Do you know? Who do you have to forgive to get there, and how are you doing it?

Who do I want to be? Me. Wouldn't want to be anyone else. I am back on my career path working with a great group of people making more than my last job with a much shorter commute

Who do I have to forgive? Me. I am the one who made my choices. I have forgiven myself and life kicks ass right now.

Re:Thoughts on depression. (1)

SolemnDragon (593956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17756454)

yes and no.

You're on the right track. My track varies a little from yours, and i can tell you how.

when i say i don't want to feel anger or hatred, it means that for future experiences, i DO have a choice about how i choose to respond, and i can respond in ways that allow me to resolve emotions, or in ways that make them persist. Pursuing anger, responding in ways that punish and pain, leads to more anger for everyone involved.

Yes, confronting and resolving it leads to less anger. That's not the issue here. The decision at hand is that i don't want to react to these events in a way that produces more anger, i want to produce LESS anger in myself, and that means not ACTIVELY carrying a grudge, and trying to resolve those i have carried in the past.

There is a BIG difference between trying to resolve and not carry anger, and repressing it. We don't want to repress it. That's part of what was wrong- even our healthy love for our parents has been awkwardly repressed. We are seeking to STOP repressing, start resolving, and stop perpetuating the anger.

My nightmares have been with me twenty years, i don't think it's because i've failed to face this pain, only that it doesn't resolve quickly or easily. Facing it will not defeat it; not this one- it doesn't all dissolve like that. I understand this pain, I have a qualified therapist who works with me on it, and we are making progress. Enough said.

i'm glad your life is good. :)

awesome (1)

subgeek (263292) | more than 7 years ago | (#17759526)

i'm glad you had good news to report. it sounds like you couldn't have asked for it to turn out as well as it has.

i want to be someone who is wise and peaceful.

Wow. (1)

redhead-kitten (775093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17762346)

I mean, wow! You were able to articulate things so well. That's truly awesome.

I have to say, after watching BBB spend what is turning out to be the last coherent day with his mother, i could see shadows of what you were writing about. (there will be a JE forthcoming)

There are many similarities in dynamics between your family and his. He was brought back into her life for the last couple of years, if for no other reason but to show her that despite the rough childhood that he had, he turned out to be a good man and was able to find a wonderful woman (me, but not my descriptive word) to spend the rest of his life with.

It is a totally different sort of family from what i grew up with. I am in awe of what both you and BBB have gone through and feel truly blessed that i get to be part of the life of the people that you've become.

^_^

Re:Wow. (1)

SolemnDragon (593956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17766560)

Thanks. I have to say, Mr. The BBB has been behind some of the wisdom used in my life lately, and you two matter a lot to us. You have such a charm about you- you're so open and genuine and compassionate. WE refer to curt as 'the tank' because he's all eagerness and muscle and doesnt' stop to think about it when they're needed. We refer to him that way out of game context, lol.

I'm not sure what's next. "Gramma" takes a lot of energy. I will meet kate. After four days of radio silence my mum emailed me finally to talk about stuff. It's weird, this is all weird, and i'm so tired!!

I have put off calling gramma back because she's so ... intense? And dramatic. But i will try tonight, i suppose.

I am just so sorry for what y'all are going through. if there's anything we can do, please don't hesitate to ask??? We care and want to show it by helping. I missed seeing my dad die. Now i get to talk to the people near him when he did. I got to thank kate for being in his life and having it be her arms he died in. I wish i could have seen him, just once, but i secretly know how angry i was before i found out about all this, and i'm glad my kneejerk reactions didn't have a chance to ruin someone's last days before i could come to my senses, too. Sometimes all we can do is be grateful for the harm we DIDN'T do.

we've been praying for y'all. Thank you for being who you are.
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