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#156114 - 05/14/07 02:24 PM I gave my parents an assignment
Hauser Offline
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Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
I recently wrote them, I've yet to hear back from Mom, but my Dad is going to do it. Here is the reply to the letter I sent them. I will post the reply here when it's given to me.
___________________________________________________________________
You shouldn't feel sorry about asking. What you're doing now seems to be dissecting your past so you can put it away. Progress.

You were unfortunate to have parents that were both deficient for various reasons. Nothing is all your fault. I'll work on getting my thoughts and recollections down and get them to you in a day or so. I'm chagrined at how little I remember of the years 1969-1990.

Dad

Alan wrote:

Sorry, I was venting again.

But seriously, I think that what I was trying to get at was the
EFFECT(S) of what it did to me. I developed interests in NOTHING, hence I never developed skills in ANYTHING that were marketable and able to acquire me gainful employment.


This is one thing I DON’T understand about me. Why don’t I have interests in ANYTHING? Nothing? All I want to do is numb out. Weird. I’m going to ask both of you to write a little bit for me shortly, as small assignment, are you up for it?

Would you please be willing to commit to writing a minimum of 400 words describing ME and what you witnessed of me in my growing years and what YOU think is wrong with me and what YOU think I should do? I want you to also be willing to share this (no personal information of course) with my online support group. I would like them to see what my parents think of me. Feel free to describe me when I was young, when I was doing things by myself. Feel free to describe things that I’ve not discussed with you, things that I have perhaps overlooked.

Mom? Dad? I’m sorry I didn’t turn out better, I TRIED. I really tried but I couldn’t get things to work. I appear to have what is called “self-defeating behaviors.”]

About writing about me: Please describe the GOOD moments ok? Were their any GOOD times that we never talk about? What were they?

Just let it go ok? Just describe and talk about ME, ok?

Why am I asking this? Well, I’m going to share what you write (I will not edit ANYTHING, let the finger type-away), with my online support group. They have come to know me very well over this last year and a half, and I need EVERYONE’S help.

Please, no matter how ugly or seemingly unimportant, just talk about me and what you see is wrong with me ok?

Thank you.
_________________________________________________________________

I don't know what he's gonna write, I hope I don't cringe in embarrassment.


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#156158 - 05/14/07 07:26 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: Hauser]
EGL Offline
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Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
I think this could really be useful for you, Alan. He should be one of the people that know you best, so his input could be very helpful. From his response above, he sounds agreeable to helping you however he could. My own father,....well, it just wouldn't work with him.

_________________________
Eddie

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#156198 - 05/14/07 11:09 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: EGL]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
Alan,

i think this is very hard for you and your family but can really help both of you - just one point i'll make - i know you are anxious about this and really want answers - but make sure knowing them will do you good - you know? do you really want to know ?

also i'd ask for generalities first, then go for specifics, it might just smooth the path a bit for your folks - whether or not they deserve it (i don't know and am not going to judge) but if you want information it doesn't hurt to try and facilitate the opening up process.

i wish you all the best of luck with this,
indy

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#156209 - 05/14/07 11:57 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: indygal]
Hauser Offline
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Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
Thank you.

I've been considering letting my parents in on my T sessions to help him understand me, but that is a very grey area to cross into.


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#156211 - 05/15/07 12:17 AM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: Hauser]
SAR Offline
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Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
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Hauser,

I think it is great that you asked them to do this. Just remember that parents have some very funny filters when it comes to how they see their own kids... I wouldn't just take their word as truth.

Your dad seems very willing to help you. If you are serious about bringing him to your T maybe you and the T could figure out some "safe" topics ahead of time so that you don't get into an area where you are not comfortable sharing?

SAR


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#156337 - 05/15/07 10:32 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: SAR]
Hauser Offline
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Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
SAR Thank you. My Dad is still writing, he knows how important this may be to me.


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#156923 - 05/19/07 01:44 AM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: Hauser]
Hauser Offline
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Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
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I got the first letter from my Mom. Apparently, my Dad is still writing................

This will not be of great interest to any of you who don't know me, but for those who DO know me, and of what I've written about me and my life, it just may. So here goes:
___________________________________________________________________
RECOLLECTIONS FROM ALAN’S CHILDHOOD by his Mom

Alan’s father, Bruce, and I dated for a couple of years before marrying March 5, 1966. I brought to the marriage my two children from my first marriage, Rick, age 6, and Jill age 5. Bruce formally adopted Rick and Jill, at my request, and their biological father, Richard W., readily surrendered parental rights. We remained close to the W. grandparents for many years. In August of 1967, Bruce and I had our first baby, Lucas or Luke. That winter, while Luke was just a few months old, we moved from Michigan to Ft. Myers, Florida. On March 5, 1969, our third anniversary, Alan was born. He was a full term plus baby, and the labor went really fast, just a few hours, and with no difficulties that I know of. In those days, they still put you under for the delivery, so I didn’t see Alan until I came out of the anesthesia.

I had breast-fed Luke for about 5-6 months, then going over to formula, and attempted to do the same for Alan. But I stopped breast feeding Alan after a couple of months, I think, because he seemed “colicky” and life was more complicated than when Luke was an infant, or maybe I was just looking for an excuse to stop.

We lived in a 3 (maybe it was 4) bedroom ranch house in a subdivision. We had one vehicle, the one Bruce drove to work. Our homelife was chaotic. A baby, a toddler, and 9 and 8 year old siblings. Alan seemed fine except that he was never cuddly unless he was sick. My housekeeping was marginal to poor. Our marriage was getting rocky.

Bruce was having a serious bout of insomnia, was put on Valium, still was unable to sleep well. Eventually, the Valium plus some alcohol took him storming out of the house one day, and he didn’t come home that night. I got a call early the next morning from police in a town in central Florida (we lived on the west coast) saying he had been arrested on an alcohol related charge, and to come and get him. One thing led to another, Bruce went in for psychiatric treatment at a hospital in Tampa for about a week, this at the insistence of his employer. Not long after, Bruce was required to resign from his job.

Bruce was able to get his old job back in Muskegon, and in October, 1969, when Alan was about 8 months old, we moved back to Muskegon. We rented a house in Muskegon while looking for a place to buy. Alan turned age one in that rental house which was near downtown Muskegon in an old neighborhood. While living there, I would take Luke and Alan for a walk around the block pulling them in the wagon. They would spill out of that wagon like puppies and run off in different directions. Alan’s main goal in life seemed to be getting out, whether climbing out of his crib, escaping from the house, and especially running out in the street. He was very persistent in these efforts. Once he was brought to our front door by a passing motorist who found him walking in the street in just a t-shirt and diaper and a dirty face. It’s a wonder I wasn’t arrested. On the other hand, Alan had a sweet disposition in those days.

After a year plus of house hunting, we bought a place in Spring Lake, and older home with 4 bedrooms and 1.5 baths and a huge yard, just a few blocks walk to schools. Alan was now 1 going on 2, Luke was 2 going on 3. I have trouble remembering much from those days. Alan could be difficult. Luke started nursery school, and Alan would go hide in the closet when it was time to take Luke to school or go get him.

When his turn for nursery school came, Alan was an area of concern for the teachers. I think it’s hard to say just what the problems were. Alan was not a people-pleaser. He was skinny, hot wired kid, not good kindergarten material. So maybe he was just disruptive, maybe he needed “the pill”, though no one ever suggested that. I did not envy his teachers.

The word I would use to describe Alan as a boy was “earnest.” H was determined to ride a two-wheeler, to swing on the rope swing, to cross-country ski, even with worthless skis, In later life he showed the same determination in training his dog, Thor. Also in playing video games and collecting comic books. There was also a determination NOT to do certain things. He seriously did NOT want to go to camp. I think that was the issue when he ran away from home, carrying a little suitcase down the railroad tracks. He would NOT be sent to his room. He would just dump out all the drawers onto the floor.

Alan threw things. A favorite was the hot wheels cars through the windows of the French doors between the dining room and living room. Actually, come to that, his dad threw things too. He threw dirty dishes into the kitchen sink, he threw his hi-fi turntable into the canal in Florida. I also threw things while in the throes of quitting smoking when Alan was little. So maybe throwing hot wheels is in his DNA.

In the fall of 1976 I went back to school full time. It took two years of this to complete my bachelor’s degree. There were various baby sitters who watched the kids when they were home and I was in school. During that period, Bruce acquired a small motorboat, and would take Luke and Alan for long rides up the Grand River. They would also go for extended bike rides, while I stayed home and did homework.

There was a break in our marriage during my going to school time. Bruce moved out over an incident for a while, perhaps most of the summer of 1977. During this time, Bruce continued to pay the household bills and gave me money for groceries. He spent a lot of time with the boys, they would stay overnight with him on weekends. They did not seem unduly upset by this. We went to a few sessions of family therapy, of doubtful use. Also during that late summer, I had some surgery, a hysterectomy, and was hospitalized for several days. Then Bruce came back and life went on. I graduated from GVSU in the spring of 1978 and was an at-home mom until getting hired at Hackley Hospital in November of that year. ****This at-home Mother time would be the time period, by my figuring of the dates, when Alan was victimized by a pedophile, which was revealed to his Dad and me many years later.****

After I had been working about a year at the hospital, I decided to leave Bruce and leave the kids with him. I had been wanting to do this for a long time but was afraid to. When I told Luke and Alan that I was moving out, Luke cried, and Alan acted indifferent. This was typical of Alan’s behavior at that time.This was late in 1979 which would have been the year that Alan turned 10 in March. He had assumed a stance of nothing bothers me. My leaving the household was a totally selfish act on my part. It may have been good for me, but it was bad, bad for everyone else. I moved out, leaving those little boys alone with Bruce, the guy who threw things and had other temper outbursts. And now I know that I also was leaving behind a vulnerable Alan who was harboring a horrific secret.

At first I lived in an apartment in Spring Lake for about a year, then moved to an apartment in Muskegon, where I still live. We never did the every other weekend thing of visitation. I didn’t ask for that and neither did they. I also never even considered asking Bruce to move out and leaving me to live the life of a single mom. In effect, I divorced them as well as Bruce. Bruce told me later that he doubted he would have let me have custody of the kids had I tried for it. As it was, we nominally had joint custody of the minor children ( Luke and Alan ), they lived with Bruce, and I paid child support until Alan turned 18.

I was very busy. I worked full time and on my days off I went to the bar. Eventually, in 1989, I got off alcohol and started in AA. Ten years of dedicated drinking was like getting a graduate degree in stupid living. Consequently the 1980’s are years of which I have poor recall of my kids’ lives.

I didn’t see very much of Alan or Luke. I came to their house for Christmas and Thanksgiving and attended Bruce’s annual family reunions. We went to some movies, Ghost Busters, Gremlins, the first Star Wars movie. We went on one real vacation together, to Disney World in Florida, flew down, rented a car. This was when Luke was old enough to have a learner’s permit, and would like to have done some of the driving, but that was not allowed in the contract. We went to Marlette where my sister lives a time or two for a family reunion. That would be overnight. A time or two, I would stay with the boys at their house while Bruce went away on business. For most of this time, their Dad had to be their Mom as well.

There was a major incident when Alan was about 14, I think. He had been out “hunting” with some other boys, Alan was carrying a shotgun, there was an accident, the gun Alan was carrying went off and hit one of the other boys, grazing the top of his head. The boy got over it, but with some nerve damage, at least temporarily, a droppy foot , and a lot of shot in and under his scalp, and maybe some hair loss. I was called about this, went to the house in Spring Lake. Alan was visibly upset by all this. That in itself was unusual, because by this time, Alan had become a person who wouldn’t let feelings happen or show. .

Soon after I moved out, they acquired a dog, a female named Moshie, then a male named Felix. Alan was, it appeared to me, mean and dictatorial toward Felix. Felix had a muzzle which Alan would make him wear for hours for no reason. This was troubling to me, made me wonder what he did to the dog when no one else was around. I think this was the impetus for starting to take Alan to a therapist.

I remember that in his bedroom at the Spring Lake house, the shelves were lined up with empty six and 12 packs and later in life empty liquor bottles, like trophies. Alan stayed at home with his Dad for many years with a break of about a year in 1994 when he and a friend had a comic book store in Traverse City. Alan sort of camped out upstairs over the store. I thought Alan seemed to be good at this, running a retail store, chatting up the customers, knowledgeable about the merchandise. But the store didn’t make it, and Alan came back to Spring Lake with Dad.

I will not continue this narrative right now, other than to try to fill in some of the many blanks. One that comes to mind right now is that Alan was the youngest. As such he was always in the shadow of his older siblings. The oldest, Rick, was born in 1959, Alan in 1969, a ten year span. That is a major age difference when you are very young, puts you in different generations. Luke, just 1.5 years older than Alan, seemed to have a much easier time of it with life, with making friends and with doing well in school
_________________________________________________________________

That's from Mom. Wow, "nothing bothered me"...........that attitude still persists to this day. Some of my closest friends here at MS would tell you that.


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#156928 - 05/19/07 02:14 AM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: Hauser]
Still Offline
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Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6400
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
OK H...there's a LOT here. Though I feel like I already knew all of this..but I did not. Clearly, you hide none of these aspects of yourself. You convey all of this about yourself.

Did YOU learn anything from this? Is it worth it to ask parents to do this? I'd like to know.

I'm looking forward to Dad's version.

(((((((((((Hauser)))))))))))

_________________________
Wishing You Were Here!

The Aftermath Video

The Water Buffalo Song

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#157035 - 05/19/07 05:56 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: Still]
MemoryVault Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Hey, Hauser --

She seems to have really put a lot of thought and perception into writing this. That's great. How did you react to it? It seems like she sees a real change from the "throwing the car through the window" kid and the "nothing bothers me" kid. She sees that something serious happened. How are you doing having read it?

David


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#157039 - 05/19/07 06:26 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: MemoryVault]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
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Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hi, Hauser. That's a pretty incredible read. Your mother has a memory and attention to detail that is amazing. It really is interesting to see the "total picture" like this. I would just echo David's question, and ask "How are you doing having read it?" Still processing it, I would imagine, but I think this can be a real opportunity for you to make some realizations with it.

_________________________
Eddie

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#157085 - 05/19/07 10:12 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: EGL]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
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Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Alan,

What really impresses me about this thread is your willingness to ask for the help you need and your parents' willingness to take the time to respond to your needs. Those are really positive signs for the future.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#157154 - 05/20/07 02:29 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: roadrunner]
Hauser Offline
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Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
My Dad is STILL writing his memoirs concerning me. I will post it when available.

As far as my Mom's comments, well. Ok here goes:

I WISH she would talk more about how much I had changed just after the beginning of 4th grade. BUT I think it "helps" that she readily admits that she left me vulnerable. Hell I don't know. She admits that her neglect played a part in my being vulnerable to grooming by a perp living down the street.

Another part is VERY painful for me to read. The parts about the dogs. I was abusive towards them, I vented on them. It was a textbook example of pre-perpetrator behavior, especially when combined with my social withdrawal and isolation, coupled with my failing grades and trouble with the law, etc. Thank God a light bulb appeared over me one day when I figured out that I was hurting INNOCENT creatures and that what I was doing was WRONG, VERY WRONG, so I stopped. But the damage was already done. I will always regret the ways that I hurt them. I tried to make up for it by being as perfect a provider I could be with only other dog I had when I was grown up. It truly pains me to think of the way that I once was.

I would do ANYTHING to go back and stop myself back then, if not the abuse itself which led me to do it.

I've heard some people here say "I'm still innocent", well I could never say that, that angry young man wrecked whatever innocence he had left.


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#157182 - 05/20/07 05:22 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: Hauser]
WalkingSouth Offline
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Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Alan,

The fact of the matter is that you were acting out your pain at your abuse and at your parent's abdication of their parenting role in your life. You were crying out for help in the only way you felt you had available to you. Yeah, you did it. Yeah, it was harmful to yourself and the dogs, but you were attempting to use the only tool left available to you in reaching out for help. The good thing about it is that you the light bulb came on and you saw it, and heeded it's warning flash. I call that courage, Bro.

(((((Alan)))))

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#157194 - 05/20/07 05:51 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: WalkingSouth]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
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Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Alan,

I will just say that I continue to admire your courage and integrity in dealing with these tough issues. I was pretty mean to our dog as well, and my T helped me to see why. As things got worse and I became more uncomfortable the abuser had to start threatening me. One thing he did was comment on whether anyone might run over my dog. I knew he meant himself, of course, so that made the dog appear to be on "his side".

I think it's important to admit places where we made bad decisions, but not in order to beat ourselves up. We were just kids, Alan, and desperately hurting ones. We had such limited resources and we did whatever came to mind. It's vital that we revisit those times to see what can be learned that's useful to us in the present day, but we have no reason to accept blame.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#157317 - 05/21/07 02:54 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: roadrunner]
Hauser Offline
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Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
My Dad finally wrote: Some of his facts are wrong but some of them are right-on and SOME of them bother me, not because of what he says but the times in my life that I was not being honest about what I was really doing. I had ulterior motives in some situations and he didn't know THAT, but he noticed the results of it. Shit. Well here it is for anyone that wants to read it: Most of you don't know me so I wouldn't expect you to have an interest in a parent's memoirs in raising a son that turned into the broken man we see today.

To sum up what these statement of my life do for me, they make me feel shitty, to be quite honest. They make me feel like no matter what I tried to do it didn't work, and that everything is a waste of time and energy. I don't feel good at ALL when I read these. Ok here goes:
___________________________________________________________________

You're probably not going to agree with much I say, as I have few memories of you growing up, and few memories of your brothers and sister growing up. What I remember are scattered, episodes and impressions and will differ from what your mother remembers and from what you remember.

I'm sure some of my memories are distorted or incorrect, but below is about the best I can do without taking another week..

You have to know that I always cared for you and wished good for you, but felt helpless in that I've never known how to raise a boy that needed perhaps more than ordinary guidance and good parenting. What I mostly recall is not very positive, but the negatives stick more easily in memory. I carry considerable guilt about your situation, particularly about not having warned you explicitly about sexual advances from adults.

Dad

You were born in Florida and from the start seemed a difficult child. I recall that the first year or maybe more, you didn't eat well, you refused to be cuddled or held. You cried frequently from frustration or whatever. You only nursed for a short time before your mother were switched you to bottles, at perhaps two or three or four months. If I knew what it meant, I would have said you were colicky (sp?). The year after you were born was very difficult for me and for your mother, but mostly due to me and my work, and to your mother with four children, two infants 24 hours a day unless I was home.

After about a year, we moved back to Muskegon because things weren't going well for me in Florida. As your mother relates, I spent a week "in observation" at a Sarasota hospital as a result of my mixing valium and alcohol and making some unfortunate decisions that jeopardized my job.

I can't recall particulars in Muskegon except you were hyperactive, not settling into things, but sporadically jumping from thing to thing.
Nothing would hold your interest for long. There were mostly black children in the neighborhood, but you weren't yet at an age when you would have played away from home. You were still a toddler. I think I remember you demanded what seemed to me an unusual amount of attention, but that may be a false impression.

It wasn't until after we had moved to Spring Lake that things improved some. I'm fairly sure I read you stories sometimes at bedtime, but don't really recall specifics. You ate better and seemed to sleep well.

In retrospect, the move to S.L. was a mistake in that we didn't pick a neighborhood where there were lots of kids your age and Luke's age. I didn't understand the need for socializing with your age group to further your development.

I recall that when you were four, I felt a corner had been turned, that you were finally becoming manageable. You started preschool at the Presbyterian Church. After three weeks, the teacher told us you weren't ready and wanted you to drop the class. Your mother persisted and after some time, things seemed better.. no more requests to have you out of the class. This seemed typical over the years, that you wanted more individual attention than the teachers could give.

When you started kindergarten, your mother and I were both grateful that you had some structure in life besides what you got at home. You were obviously bright. As you went on to kindergarten and first grade, I think you wanted much more attention from the teachers than they could give, and I think that need continued.

From six or seven on until they moved, your principal playmate was Dawn Brown's son, David, across the street who was totally unsuitable.
Unfortunately, your mother liked Dawn and spent time with her when she could. David was at least rebel, and evidently worse as time proved.
When he met me, the first thing David told me smugly was that his father was in prison in Florida for murder. That was shocking because the normal thing would have been to conceal that information. I was greatly relieved when Dawn moved away.

I remember taking you and Luke roller-skating in G.H. I held your hand as we went around the first time. Your legs would pop out first one way then another. When we were 3/4s of the way around, you said, "Dad. I want to do it myself" and went on. You fell ever so often, every twenty or thirty feet perhaps, but always got up and persisted. You stuck at it for a good long time and your independence and persistence were impressive.

I think your next playmate was the son of the junkyard owner. I recall taking you over there a few times. I don't know what happened to that relationship. He seemed like a nice kid. You also had a playmate whose family lived on Winter or Summer or one of those streets. Their yard was a disaster as was their house. They were educated but apparently rather willing to pay little attention to social norms as their yard was a disaster, something the neighbors didn't appreciate. Again, your mother liked Barbara and spent time there with you and Luke.

I recall teaching you checkers, and then chess, but you quickly lost interest in either.

Your school work during elementary school was fairly good as I remember, and the PTA meetings that your mother went to didn't seem worrisome, although I think more than one teacher commented on how much individual attention it took to keep you interested and working.

We had a week at a summer camp in the U.P. where there were lots of kids and you seemed to enjoy yourself.

You also at some point made friends with George, and that was a weird family. The mother commuted to her teaching job in Chicago all week and left her husband to deal with the children at home. She was a harridan.

When you were about seven or eight, you came home from school and told me he the big kids harassed you on the way home and you were afraid of them. I asked you what you wanted me to do about it, and you nonchalantly waved a hand and said, "Oh, nothing. I just wanted to tell you", a reaction I found a bit bizarre, but then thought maybe you were becoming self-confident.

I don't remember when it started, but it was obvious by the time you were nine or ten that you wouldn't look at me when I spoke to you.
You'd glance at me, than look away as if looking at me made you uncomfortable or answer without looking. This seemed to become more and more evident over the years. You also developed some spastic behaviors, though I'm not sure when I first noticed those.

Your mother moved out I think in 1978 when you were nine or ten. When she told me she was leaving, I asked who should tell you and Luke and she left that up to me, When I told Luke, he cried and sobbed. When I told you, you sort of waved me off with no reaction, behavior I found disturbing. (Your mother says she told you, but that's not what I remember).

I recall telling you one time that when I was growing up, the whole world was ablaze with war and that we saw in newsreels and read in the newspaper every day about the war, that it was the subject on everyone's mind. I think it was after that you began to take an interest in WW II, and particularly the German armaments and fighting. It was as if the Germans were the losers and you identified with them to the point you seemed to think they should have won.

We did have some fun times when you were about 10 or 12, sledding, swimming, going out on the pier at Grand Haven.
But you were then your own person, hidden away, not close. I can't ever recall you being glad to see me when I got home from work. You had your world, and I wasn't part of it.

You definitely seemed preoccupied much of the time, and had to work to pull your attention from what you were thinking about to whoever was speaking.

When you were about eleven, I recall you sometimes used words I wouldn't have expected to be in your vocabulary. You were precocious in that way.

After about age twelve, I think your friends were mostly Luke's friends, and they were an odd lot in some ways, for instance Jodie and the weird house he lived in. I recall you skateboarding in front of the house with Luke and his friends. None of Luke's friends were in sports that I recall, which would be unusual at that age. Eddy Beebe was your friend from about ten on. He seemed a good kid, and I think you stayed friends for a long time.

I had the MC class sailboat for a time when you were about 12 or so, but as I recall, you had no interest in sailing or learning to sail. You did like taking the outboard boat by yourself I think.

When you went to work at your first job at the Country Club, you got the job on your own, and seemed pleased to be earning money. I was pleased that you took the initiative to find work. About that time I told you that most employers would be delighted to have an employee that was always on time, never sick, and would work extra time if asked. But then you stole the manager's keys, and when the manager called and talked to you about the missing keys, you said no, you didn't know anything about them. Having overheard the call, and having noticed that when you came in from work, you were very subdued and disappeared upstairs immediately, I went up and found the keys under some clothing. Together we went to the Country Club to return the keys and you were of course fired, but fortunately, no police report filed.


At some point, perhaps before your mother left or after, I was concerned enough about your behavior to take you to a psychologist or counselor in an attempt to do something constructive. It didn't last long and there were no obvious results from that.

It was about this time that I found you lied to me rather when convenient about where you'd been and what you'd been doing. That persisted for some years. You would tell me what you thought I wanted to hear. Usually it was about fairly trivial things and I didn't pursue the lying as I'd done my share of that when your age and was consequently too lenient.

I attended the PTA meetings after your mother left, and I have no specific memories excepting that at least one of the teachers thought you could do better.. Apparently you were doing all right, though seemingly not eager to do your best. About this time you were skateboarding with Luke and friends and working in restaurant jobs, probably the Sub Shop. Jack, an older fellow there apparently got you into pot smoking. I was happy you had a mentor, but felt that he was in a dead end job and I didn't like that part of the relationship. This apparently began you interest in drug policy and probably helped convince you that people should be left alone to do what they wanted.

On our trip to the Caribbean, we were at one island (I forget which one). In the morning, before we left the ship, the captain always told the passengers what the options were. He made a point of telling people that if they went to the beach on the windward side, to be sure to stay to the left of the hotel, as there were rip tides to the right. Most of the Polynesia's passengers took taxis over to the only structure on that side, a hotel for swimming and then lunch, as did the three of us.

We hadn't been at the hotel long when you and Luke went to the beach.
Others were already there. A half hour went by. It seemed a good idea to check on you and Luke. When I looked at the people swimming to the left, it took about five minutes to finally spot Luke, but I couldn't find you. I saw three people in the water down to the right. I started that way when a young women came ashore, running up to me saying that the others were caught in a current and had a terrible time getting back to shore and to get a boat or help. There wasn't any boat or help. When I headed to the beach again, you were coming up from the beach. On the beach, the women and two men came toward me. The woman told me what a terrible battle it had been to get to shore and added, "I don't know where he came from, but some kid came streaking past us to shore as if there wasn't a current."

I realized when I say you that you weren't at the captain's morning briefing and hadn't heard the message about staying to the left, and I'd just assumed you went with all the others to the left.

You joined the swim team in school when you were about 14 or 15, on your
own initiative. A move I found heartening. You were a good swimmer,
but dropped it part way through the season, for reasons I didn't know.
I tried to encourage you by attending the swim meets. I recall at one meet, that the two teams were on separate benches. The Spring Lake team sat on the left end of their bench, excepting you, who sat on the right end, almost as far as you could get from the S.L. team, a circumstance I found disturbing. When I asked you about it later, you denied that were separated from the team on the bench.

The summer you were fourteen, I think, we went to Idaho on the rafting trip. You seemed to greatly enjoy that most of the time.

After High School came the Comic store in Traverse City. I had great reservations about that, and it didn't work.
Your interest seems to be stuck in WW II, comics (less now), drug enforcement, and what i would call right wing libertarian politics which seems to be mostly a way of expressing your unhappiness with your country and the world in general.

After high school and Traverse City, you worked in restaurants, but always wanted second shift as you didn't like to get up in the morning.
That most people didn't want to work nights, that helped you get jobs easily.

All through your childhood and adolescence, I felt you were naive for your age. You didn't seem to pick up on how the whole world works and relationships work.. You seemed to have unrealistic expectations of how little you would have to do to not only get by, but also to get ahead.

In sum, it seems to me looking back that you never had much fun in life. It seemed that you had to work harder at life and that stole away some of the good times.


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#157332 - 05/21/07 04:14 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: Hauser]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Hey, Alan --

That was kind of hard to read...not so much anything your Dad described that was so bad, but there was something about his tone that really triggered me. He seems to stand back and judge.

Quote:
You were born in Florida and from the start seemed a difficult child.


Wow. That's a harsh way to begin a son's life story. My Dad would have written my life that way, too.

I feel bad, because it sounds like the same voice you use when you're hard on yourself. I'm sorry you're feeling bad about it. I think you deserve more understanding.

David




Edited by MemoryVault (05/21/07 04:43 PM)

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#157336 - 05/21/07 05:12 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: MemoryVault]
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Alan,

I am inclined to agree with David. It is obvious your father loves you deeply(when he talks of how you'd never look at him etc, his hurt says it all), but he seems to be missing some necessary understanding of, a)your emotional needs as his son, and b)your life-journey. What it all means and how it all connects.


I say this only because I noticed some level of emotional detachment from your father, in the way he has recounted some of those memories to you. If that letter was to me, think i'd feel shitty too. As a parent myself, if i was asked to recount those memories of my child growing up, i would hope i could be very careful WHICH memories exactly to share and HOW. And what my child might be needing emotionally at THIS time. I am not meaning to judge your father, as no doubt he has all his own issues getting in the way(which is the worst part of being a parent), but that doesn't change the fact of how it's clearly(and rightly so) made you feel.


You do deserve more understanding. We all deserve the absolute best from our parents. I'm not saying it's always best to fight for that, not by any means. For myself personally, there do seem to be various things i haven't fought for, but my councelor agreed that sometimes it's better to take yourself into safer spaces. It all comes down to the individual of course, and only you can know what to do with the feelings you have aquired from this letter/interraction.....


If only parents could always know/be everything their children need.....it is sad that in truth we so often fall short. But you ARE worth what you deep down probably sensed you needed. With that acknowledgment of your OWN self worth, you can absolutely validate your own feelings of hurt and maybe give yourself some of that love.

Be kind to yourself.


Peace
Beccy


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#157340 - 05/21/07 06:25 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: beccy]
stride Offline
Member

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 202
Loc: B.C. Canada
Alan,

Like David, I found your father's letter painful to read and the opening statements harsh. Still, like Beccy, I also picked up on your father's love for you, subtextual as it may have been, and the difficulties he has had and/or still does have with some things regarding his relationship with you. My sense was that there is a lot of hurt and a lot of love on both your parts here, with both of you still seeming to want very much to connect but not quite sure how to get from here to there.

Quote [from Beccy]: "I am not meaning to judge your father, as no doubt he has all his own issues getting in the way(which is the worst part of being a parent)..."

Without making excuses for him, I do feel that this is a point worth noting. I too, am a parent, and it is certainly true that no matter how much we love our children and how much we want to be the best parent possible, we do "often fall short."

It is not my intent to try to negate your pain in any way here, Alan, quite the opposite, in fact. Perhaps if you can see each others' pain, regrets and confusion more clearly, you will find that you need not feel so estranged from each other after all?

BTW, I AM interested in your parents' memoirs and in hearing how you experience reading them. I am not sure I'd be up to hearing my own parents' recollections of what it was like to try to raise me...I know it would bring up a lot of hurt...for all three of us. Whatever the case, this was clearly an important undertaking for you. I hope that some day soon you are able to
make peace with your past, and come to a place of forgiveness for yourself first and foremost, and perhaps for your parents as well.

With gentle, healing thoughts,

Stride

_________________________
In the right formation,
the lifting power of many wings can
achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.

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#157450 - 05/22/07 05:45 AM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: stride]
soapy bubbles Offline
Member

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 332
Loc: london
Hello Alan,

Both your parents' letters speak volumes.
You can take heart from the fact that you were an intelligent, active little boy who was obviously seeking attention at school because he wasn't getting enough positive attention at home.

The very fact that your father says he has few memories of you and your siblings growing up just about says everything. A loving, engaged father will have a lifetime of memories. Your father was emotionally absent.

Your parents obviously both had their own problems and it seems as though parenthood was way down the list. It wouldn't be helpful to apportion blame to either of them for their actions, but it is an absolute fact that, for whatever reason, their poor parenting caused your problems. You didn't have a role model, you weren't stimulated in a positive way, you weren't given good boundaries ........ the list could be very long.

One thing your father says sums it up:

"I'm fairly sure I read you stories sometimes at bedtime, but don't really recall specifics. You ate better and seemed to sleep well."

This shows that when you had a period of calm, with your father taking an interest in you and sharing peaceful bedtimes with a story, you were a healthier happier child. I'm amazed that even now, your father can't see the link between his parenting and your behaviour.

After your mother left, he was forced to take a more active role in your upbringing. But even then, he says:

"I was concerned enough about your behavior to take you to a psychologist or counselor in an attempt to do something constructive. It didn't last long and there were no obvious results from that."

What does he mean it didn't last long???! A parent is in charge. He was taking you to therapy. If it didn't last long, that means he stopped taking you. Of course there weren't 'obvious results'. He didn't follow through and help you, he gave up.

The last thing I'm going to comment on is when he says:

"You have to know that I always cared for you and wished good for you, but felt helpless in that I've never known how to raise a boy that needed perhaps more than ordinary guidance and good parenting."

To me it seems as though you were a normal, healthy, active, enquiring, intelligent little boy and all you needed was ordingary guidance and good parenting. Your parents gave you poor guidance and poor parenting.

Feel good about yourself. You've overcome much and will, I'm sure, continue to grow in confidence and recovery.

I wish you the absolute best.

SB x

_________________________
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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#157637 - 05/22/07 10:04 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: soapy bubbles]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hi, Alan,

I read both your parents letters, but I must say that your father's letter was the most difficult of the two. As someone said above, there's a real judgmental tone to it that is really wrong.

I found this in his opening particularly painful, and I have stuck my comments in [brackets]:

Quote:

You have to know that I always cared for you ["cared"? Could he have not written "loved"?] and wished good for you, but felt helpless in that I've never known how to raise a boy that needed perhaps more than ordinary guidance [ouch!] and good parenting. What I mostly recall is not very positive [double ouch!!], but the negatives stick more easily in memory.


Alan, please try not to be too upset with all this. As SB said above, it was poor parenting and poor guidance. Sorry, man, I can relate only too well.

_________________________
Eddie

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#157672 - 05/23/07 05:46 AM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: EGL]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Alan,

The letter from your father tells all, I think. He speaks of his caring (not love) for you and seems to have difficulty relating to or even remembering things that would have been crucial to you as a young boy.

For example, he has vague memories of reading you stories? WTF? My memories of reading to my two are some of the most precious memories I have, and I can still recite "The night before Christmas" from heart!!! When my son looks moody or remote I know that's a signal, "Dad, I need to talk".

When he says that what he recalls isn't all that positive, he's basically saying that YOUR childhood was all about HIM and how his life was getting complicated by the "hassle" of having children.

But I'm glad he is taking a serious look at all this now. It does seem he recognizes that he could have done a LOT better and wants to be there for you now. I hope the two of you will be able to work this out.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#157704 - 05/23/07 11:46 AM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: roadrunner]
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
Thank you all for your input. Ok, here is the way that I see it:

At 35, my Dad didn't want to live "alone" anymore so he hooked up with the first woman that came along and was willing to have kids and get married to him. Now HERE is where I have a major issue with both of them, I mean, COME ON all you had to do was look at my older brother Rick, who was have MAJOR issues even BACK THEN, and you should just be able to TELL that she was not a good mother, (or simply didn't know how). But what does my Dad do? Oh, he marries her ANYWAY.

THEN, there is the obvious fact that my Mom didn't EVEN WANT TO FUCKING HAVE KIDS IN THE FIRST PLACE, she just had them as a way of satisfying Bruce's wishes to have children, while he provided for her living expenses while she went to school (full-time, I never saw her hardly at all).

She used him to pay her bills while she went to school, plain and simple. And recently, she had the gumption to ask if we could "spend more time together while we're still both alive and kickin'". I'm afraid it's too late for that "Mom". I don't know how she could hope for me to have deep feelings for her when I was treated this way.

You guys seemed dismayed by the fact that they didn't say "love" at all, well I could give a shit less, because love isn't everything when it comes to parenting. Parenting involves devoting one's life to his child, not being self-absorbed in your own petty problems at the child's expense.

I would like to elaborate on one of my dad's comments. In it, he described me being obviously upset when coming home from school one day. His failing memory describes the situation as me being teased on my way home from school one day, that was NOT the case. Here is what really happened.

I was hanging out with that Dave Brown kid across the street with his friend. This was JUST AFTER I had disclosed to Dave and my brother, (who laughed and made fun of me so I never talked about it again until all these years later). We were doing whatever kids normally do at that age (I think) until Dave started wrestling with me then he started to trying to take my pants down, (mind you, this is after being perped and being laughed at after disclosing). I'm like "NO", "Stop it", then his friend helped him and teamed up on me, got my pants down, grabbed one of his mom's nearby tampons and started trying to put it in me. I finally just gave up. For whatever reason they stopped. I walked home and I was very upset and humiliated. Dad actually noticed this and followed me to my room and asked me what was wrong. I told him, (these are my exact words I'm pretty sure) "They stripped me".........and I was fucking upset. And my Dad responded with a serious, but lost look, he didn't know what to do, so he asked me "What do you want me to do?" To that I said NOTHING because I DIDN'T want to talk about it anymore. To that he said "ok" and went on working on his stupid house or whatever.

In retrospect, I "think" that he assumed that it was a childhood prank of "pants pulling" or something like that. But COME ON I was CLEARLY upset about it. "What do you want me to do about it?" Why was he asking ME that question? Oh, yes I would just LOVE to relive and re-tell what Dave and his friend just did to me, of COURSE I didn't fucking want him to do anything about it.

What really throws me off about all of your responses here, is how negatively you all view my parents. I share those sentiments I think. I don't hate them, but I don't love them. I mean, I will honor them as my my parents but I sure hope they don't expect me to feel a deep-rooted love for them, how could I? It is AMAZING how fucking inept some parents are. My Dad should have been prying details out of me, not just dismissing that incident. Jesus.





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#157707 - 05/23/07 12:14 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: Hauser]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hi, Alan,

Your response above indicates that you have a very clear understanding of what exactly your parents were and were not. That precious little boy holding that kitten deserved so much better.

Regarding what you said about your feelings for your parents:

Quote:

I don't hate them, but I don't love them. I mean, I will honor them as my my parents but I sure hope they don't expect me to feel a deep-rooted love for them, how could I? It is AMAZING how fucking inept some parents are.


You have expressed my own sentiments about my parents as well. I honor them as my parents, but that is it. They haved earned nothing more than that.

_________________________
Eddie

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#157713 - 05/23/07 12:48 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: EGL]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6400
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
H,

This "rest of the story" just pisses me off to no end. I cant tell you anger i feel right now over this!!

You TOLD HIM about a fkg SEXUAL ASSAULT!!!!!! And he did NOTHING!!!!

He ask "so what do you want me to do?" WHAT THE FK?????????

I am SO sorry dude!

robbie

_________________________
Wishing You Were Here!

The Aftermath Video

The Water Buffalo Song

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#157715 - 05/23/07 12:54 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: Hauser]
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Alan,


"My Dad should have been prying details out of me, not just dismissing that incident. Jesus."


Absolutely.


And THAT is absoutely the kind of realisation you would hope a parent would come to have. Whatever the reasons are for your parents missing these things/not knowing how to deal with them, they still are responsible for these failings and should hold themselves accountable for that......


I don't blame you for feeling a lack of love for your parents and certainly it wouldn't be fair to expect yourself to feel like extending anything towards them. At least not at the moment. Certainly I could tell from your father's letter, that he has a need of his own where your connection with him is concerned and in that respect, no doubt he would like to know you feel some kind of 'deep-rooted' love for him. Of course, this is something most parents hope to have with their children.....however, make no mistake about the fact that this kind of love/connection, is(in my own opinion), the parent's responsibility first. No matter how much your child turns away from you, no matter how difficult things become, you should ALWAYS love them. That means not taking rejection personally and facing things head-on. It is so sad that when parents have their own issues/needs from their pasts, that they fail to do this......



It is good to see you are feeling/expressing your own feelings about it all. That's your right. You can never be expected to feel any more than what you do/don't feel for your parents........if i was your parent's position, i don't think i would feel i deserved any deep-rooted kind of love or connection. I would hope that i would realise that if that was something i wanted, that there would be a GREAT DEAL of work on my part, and still it might not be possible.....



That's just my thoughts.
I wish you all the best in your recovery,

peace
Beccy


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#157720 - 05/23/07 01:13 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: beccy]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Hey, Alan --

I was thinking there's something else that your parents' letter (especially your Dad's) can do for you. We don't just pick up our parents' ideas...sometimes we pick up their voices. My father isn't very critical of me anymore--he's been pretty supportive lately. But he used to be ruthless and judgmental about me, and that's the voice I inherited when I come down on myself. It's not him anymore, it's part of me, and I'm working on recognizing it and challenging it when it beats me up.

Alan, when I read your dad's letter, it made sense where a lot of your own self-criticism came from. He sounds like you when you're worried about whether you've accomplished enough. If you can react to your father's letter--see what's there, but also what's unfair--too harsh, not loving, maybe you can start challenging the part of you that's harsh about yourself.

Believe me, I'm working on it too--I haven't figured it out yet.

David

PS -- I love seeing the whole picture your avatar came from--and the kittens!



Edited by MemoryVault (05/23/07 01:15 PM)

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#157783 - 05/23/07 02:34 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: MemoryVault]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11047
Loc: Denver, CO
"so what do you want me to do?"

A little friggin' comfort would have been nice.

\:\(

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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#157837 - 05/23/07 05:14 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: FormerTexan]
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear Alan,

I hope that people's comments here have been helpful to you. From what you've posted, it seems to me (as a mother and stepmother of children, most of whom are now grown) that your parents were on the one hand extremely self-absorbed and on the other extremely ill-equipped. I'm not trying to excuse them by pointing out that their obliviousness to your genuine needs as a child was probably not that uncommon for their time and place. It is a rotten thing that they were not more conscientious and loving when you were a child, and it's perfectly understandable if you don't feel especially loving toward either of them now. You and your sibs deserved better, and I am sorry that your parents let you down in so many ways.

That said: it's part of the healing process, as I understand it, to mourn what was (or wasn't) and then figure out what you still need, and how you are going to get it. I haven't been reading all that long, but it seems to me that you are (despite your parents' neglect of you) still a capable adult now, with the possibility of living your life better than your parents prepared you to do. That's an accomplishment as it is. Their shortcomings do not have to limit your own growth as a human being. I salute you for all your hard work toward becoming your full self.

Peace,
HG

_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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#157877 - 05/23/07 08:07 PM Re: I gave my parents an assignment [Re: honey girl]
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
to me the abandonment by your mom bothers you more than even the abuse ,you loved her and she let you down ,but it wasnt her you told was it?it wasnt her that coulda changed your life from the day you told . in your other letters from your parents ,your mom has shown that she accepts responsibility for what she did ,your dad has done nothing but make excuses for his failure to provide even basic support for his son,he asked a nine year old what he wanted him to do ,which is the same as saying well your 9 you handle it,it totaLY PISSES ME OFF THAT ALL YOUR DAD DOES IS FUCKING COMPLAIN! well alan you were a cranky baby!~so fing what!you didnt nurse ,so fing what! was he pissed off that cause you wouldnt eat the free stuff he had to by baby formula?you wanna know who made the mistake in choosing a mate? your mom! your dad shoulda loved every minute of being with you,too busy for his son? and besides he says there was something just not right with you,so shit he dont respond to normal stuff so i'll just let him raise himself. oh i took you to therapy but you wouldnt talk so i just thought youd be ok . you know what i think? there were people who led you to believe they were good ,to believe they cared about you ,to believe that they wanted what was best for you ,there were two people who groomed you and then dropped the bomb on you ,one bomb was the abuse by kim ,the other was the abandonment by your dad ,just like kim when you needed him the most,he turned out to not be what you thought he was at all. at least your mom left ,your dad let you be alone even though he was right there. YOU TOLD HIM WHAT THEY DID AND HE DID NOTHING!now he wont even admit he was the problem not you ,he had no clue how to be a dad,still doesnt . if i was him id be on my knees begging you to forgive me ,not going on about what a difficult kid you were!! doing nothing is just as bad as hurting you himself.

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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