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#190252 - 11/06/07 08:02 PM Thanksgiving
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
I had a conversation with my father the other day that triggered me in a couple of different ways.

First off, just a few days ago, I was greatly anticipating the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I get 5 days off in a row, and I was trying to coordinate with my sister what the best way to get together with her family might be. I was greatly looking forward to seeing her again as well as my nephew and 3 neices. We were also trying to coordinate a situation with my aunt to get together with us as well. It's about a 5 hour drive, and I was actually planning on going down there for a night or two, and she was planning on coming up here for a night or two. Nothing is set in stone as of yet, and I'm completely fine with waiting until the last minute.

I'll be frank. When it comes to making plans, I freak out. I panic. When I'm going to leave town for a couple of days, I am filled with an immense amount of dread unless all of the planning is left up to someone else. Just tell me what days to take off, let me know how much money I need, and I'll go with the flow from there.

Then my dad comes into the picture. He wants to know right now what the plans are. He wants to know right now when he can see his grandkids. He wants to know right now what to do, and he won't fucking talk to my sister about it.

Three times now, I've told him that I'm waiting until they tell ME what's going on. I'm fine with that because I have a completely open schedule, and my sister is raising 4 kids with their various activities plus trying to work plus trying to teach a computer course plus trying to run a daycare plus trying to run an ebay business, and her husband works 60 hour weeks in addition to raising the kids as well. I'm the odd man out, and I'm just feeling fortunate that they want to spend time with me.

So here are the boundary issues. My father is constantly asking me to go gambling with him. How many times do I need to explain to him that I am a recovering gambling addict, and he is a full blown gambling addict? He's only available to go down to my sister's place for one night (leave late in the evening, come back early in the morning) because of poker obligations. I've tried to tell him so many times that I refuse to plan my life around his gambling obligations, and he refuses to listen. It's bad enough that I have to save money for his retirement because he's blown over a million dollars at the poker tables and in the slot machines over the course of his life. I just won't do it anymore.

But then he goes one step further and tells me that it won't be any problem for us to stay at my sister's house. We can sleep on the floor if we need to.

To hell with that. I'm NOT sleeping on a floor, and I'm NOT asking my sister if we can stay at her place. I told him flat out that he's going to need to talk to her if that's what he wants to do, but I'm keeping some money set aside for a hotel room just in case she doesn't invite us. He said, "that's okay. You can ask her for me."

And there I am, a ten year old kid again. I wanted to say, "ask her yourself, you fucking coward." Instead, I just smiled and nodded, playing the aloof without making a committment.

I have come to realize that I have so much unresolved crap to deal with as far as my father is concerned. I'm really pissed right now. I'd rather just stay home for the holiday and miss seeing my sister and her family, a family that I love dearly, than have to deal with the crap that my dad is putting me through right now.

So bad, I just want to say to him, "At some point, you're going to have to decide what's more important to you....your gambling or your family." I can't. And the fact that I can't makes me feel like such a fucking wimp.

I hate my fucking parents.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#190253 - 11/06/07 08:21 PM Re: Thanksgiving [Re: BJK]
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
Bryan? Isn't THIS what would qualify as a "reasonable" reason for calling your T via the phone? I'm sure she knows your relationship with your family and father better than any of us, and her neutral insight might be just the advice you should be deferring to.

That having been said. I personally would like you to make sure that you go see them, you need personal contact with your family. Any nephew that told me he loved me would not go without seeing me over the holidays, especially for something that can be dealt with via a few well-placed and timed sentences to your Dad.


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#190263 - 11/06/07 09:24 PM Re: Thanksgiving [Re: Hauser]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
I'll be seeing my T tomorrow at 1:00, and I do feel somewhat better after talking to my aunt tonight (again).

No, I don't think I'll be putting off my sister's family. My aunt is full of all of these witty sayings, and she told me that it was my job to keep my side of the road clean. When someone, like my father, shovels crap over to my side, all I can do is shovel it back.

It turns out, my sister works on Thanksgiving night. That's the night he wanted to go up there. Sucks to be him.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#190268 - 11/06/07 09:46 PM Re: Thanksgiving [Re: BJK]
trusty Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 167
Loc: Indiana, USA
Hey Bryan,
This may sound weird...but here goes.

Since your dad seems to be so dismissive of you...makes you feel like a ten year old, and you don't seem to be able to shake this awful feeling when he talks to you this way, take this approach: write to him, the way you've written to us.

Write a letter to him. Put the ball clearly in his court to take care of his own damned arrangements. Make it his problem. And, send a copy to your sister so she can clearly see that it's not your problem. Then, get your hotel room plans ready, go and have a great time. Let his plans fall apart around him. Make all of your plans work for you and your sister and her kids and your aunt. And enjoy the hell out of it without one moment of remorse for his inability to take responsibility for himself.

And, yes, let it suck to be him. Awesome.

Russ

_________________________
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#190303 - 11/07/07 06:19 AM Re: Thanksgiving [Re: trusty]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Wow Bryan, "that's okay, you can ask her for me"? I had to re-read that just b/c it caught ME off-guard. That's such a con-artist manipulative crappy thing to say, i'm sure he knew it would freeze you up just trying to process that.
At least your aunt is cool, sometimes it seems like a lot of families just cater to the jerks and ignore any protest, just b/c someone's "family" doesn't make them somehow exempt from having their a--holery called out. I know some things are really not worth pursuing b/c it won't result in any behavior changes, but it always pisses me off when i see family members using their knowledge of "buttons" to get their way or ignore the rights of others. I too hate being asked to decide things like that, i'm always "i don't care, whatever you figure out's fine, leave me out of it!" I'll stop procrastinating someday, just not right this minute... ;\)

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#190802 - 11/10/07 05:44 PM Re: Thanksgiving [Re: dgoods]
sophiesdad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 462
Loc: Florida
Bryan:

I've been out of this forum for a while (due to health issues) and don't know your complete background, so I wanted to ask: If you rented a hotel room for the week for yourself, would that cause your father to create more problems when the family is together? Is your father ONLY going to be there Thanksgiving day?

It seems as though (from what I read) that he doesn't take "No" for an answer and your sister doesn't stand up to him and his unreasonable ways. So, what kind of evening will it be with your father there and your sister not in the picture because of work?

I guess what I'm asking is, that if he is ONLY going to be there on Thanksgiving, maybe you can spend time with your sister's family at other times of the week.

I know that holidays are loaded times for family problems and I have decided that THE DAY of the holiday is just like any other day. The more important thing is to spend time with the ones you love at any time during the year...

For example, my wife and I do not send each other flowers and candy on Valentine's Day. We do those things at random throughout the year - why do we need one particular day to show appreciation?

If this whole situation is going to throw you into a tailspin, then have you considered maybe spending Thanksgiving with some close friends instead? I guess that it's a delicate balancing act between family obligations vs. personal health and sanity.

There was a time that I had to stay away from my family for a while because it was just too painful and upsetting to be around them. When I tried to "break out of the cycle", they did their absolute best to try and suck me back into old roles which I just couldn't do anymore. And I was not strong enough to stand my ground so I decided that withdrawing from the situation was the more sensible tactic until I felt that I was able to withstand anything that they could throw at me.

Ultimately, the decision is yours. Just try and step back (if you can) and look at everything objectively. If you are in a fragile state at this point in your recovery, then you may have to do what's in your best interest this time so that you don't end up regressing. This is where your T becomes an invaluable tool - he/she has the advantage of being an "outside observer" without the emotional baggage.

I hope that this point of view has been helpful. My heart goes out to you - holidays are always very difficult when families are not at their "functional best".

SD

_________________________
There are no unresolved issues - they just didn't resolve themselves the way we would have liked. "Grinder and Bandler - Neuro-Linguistic Programming"

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#190839 - 11/10/07 10:01 PM Re: Thanksgiving [Re: sophiesdad]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

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

I would just suggest that you think of the overarching consideration of what works for you and what you think your obligations to the family begin and end. Be clear about the principles at issue, and then stick to that. If you can look at things this way I think you may be able to avoid a lot of the drama where specific instances are concerned. I really appreciate how SD has put these concerns to you in his own comment.

I DO hear you on this one, bro. I am often amazed at how my mother can still manipulate me - at the age of 58 (me, not her \:\) ) While I have been here in the States my sister Cathie has constantly been reminding me that "you don't have to play that game".

I like the idea of a letter to your father, by the way (great call, Russ!!!). I would just suggest that you start out by venting as much as you like, with the idea that you won't ever send the letter. Then look at it and decide if there is material in there you would like to incorporate into something you DO send.

Just please do be careful, since the rougher you are with him the more ammo you give him with others ("look how B. talks to me..."). Also, give some thought to what you want to achieve if you do write to him. If you hope for improvement and reconciliation, then inflammatory and blaming statements won't help much - however good they feel when you are venting just for yourself.

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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#190864 - 11/10/07 10:59 PM Re: Thanksgiving [Re: roadrunner]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Thanks for the comments, guys. I"m going to do the letter thing (without sending it). I spoke with my sister yesterday, and we came to a lot of conclusions. First and foremost is the fact that I really don't owe him anything. He was never really a parent, and he has caused me a lot of emotional hurt throughout the years.

That said, I will need to talk to him at some point in the near future about how going up there on Thanksgiving won't work for my sister. It turns out, she has also agreed to do day care for a friend on that day, and they are planning their "big holiday get together" on Saturday. In my conversation with her, she put no pressure on me, but made me feel quite welcome if I wanted to come up on Friday evening and stay until Sunday.

And as far as my dad goes, I hope he has fun at the casino. He invited me to go with him, and if he can't understand why that angers me, then he truly does not know me.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

Top
#191085 - 11/12/07 12:29 AM Re: Thanksgiving [Re: BJK]
sophiesdad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 462
Loc: Florida
It's good to see that your sister is so understanding and willing to work with you on plans that won't hurt you or her family. It sounds as though you will be able to spend time with your sister and her children after all which is important.

Letters are a great way of purging what you feel - even if you don't end up sending them. You may also consider reading the letter out loud to your T. It is a very powerful experience when you read it and hear the words, especially when heard by someone else in a safe environment.

Finally, as far as your father's calls are concerned: that's what answering machines are for. They are a great way of "screening" when you are not feeling strong enough to deal with the person at the time. When it really is bad, call blocking comes in really handy ;\)

_________________________
There are no unresolved issues - they just didn't resolve themselves the way we would have liked. "Grinder and Bandler - Neuro-Linguistic Programming"

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