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Subject: Hope everyone else had a better holiday than I did rss

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Went over to my father's house. Grr. My father.

How does he do it? How does he find such wonderful women, like my dearly departed mother and my lovely stepmother, who willingly put up with his shit? It amazes me.

My father is a person who is happiest when he is pushing someone else's buttons. I realize that now, after 44+ years. I tried to make peace with him, thinking the rift between us was somehow my fault. But, no, he takes perverse pleasure in driving others crazy; an emotional vampire, if you will.

I am partially deaf in one ear because of him. I have problems with my jaw because of some stupid prank he pulled on me throughout my childhood.

This weekend we went to his house, and it seemed like everything was normal, as he has been mostly acting better and not being that thing that he actually is. (He has been acting normally for a couple of months.) I did him a favor by getting to the house early so that I could take my stepmom to her job and he could spend most of the night with his friends. He came home around nine and started his emotinal games. He was lucky I was mostly in a good mood. But we got into a heated argument, which of course made him happy. I have only punched him once, and decided not to this time; my girlfriend and a friend of ours were there, and this would have made for an awkward weekend, though he sorely deserved it.

The next day he was acting like nothing happened, which is his modus operandi after initiating his crap. We had guests at the house and he was mostly on his best behavior. Among the guests were a bunch of young kids. The conversation at the dinner table turned to smoking, and my father announced how he had quite cigarettes fifteen years ago, along with marijuana and hashish. Thanks, dad, for announcing that. Why don't you tell them that you also quit heroin, as part of your heroics -- oh, wait, there were kids there, and you like to pretend that you never were junkie. Had I been my father, that would have been where I would have interjected such damning praise.

Thankfully, a friend of ours called and got us out of there and off to play some board games. That eased my mind.

Now, though, I know never to emotionally engage with my father again. I will speak to him, sure, and go visit mom's grave on the key anniverseries with him, but I the familial bridge between is severed.

I love the holidays.
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I feel for you, and wish for you to have the emotional strength you need to do what you have to do.
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Well you can choose your friends but not your family, eh? If I wrote an autobiography, hell, I bet if *any* of us wrote a book about our families no one would believe it... My current thinking is thus: Sometimes you have to let parents make their own mistakes ya know
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Contrary to popular belief, I think you can fire family. Mine has been on double secret probation for years now.
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vandemonium wrote:
Well you can choose your friends but not your family, eh? If I wrote an autobiography, hell, I bet if *any* of us wrote a book about our families no one would believe it... My current thinking is thus: Sometimes you have to let parents make their own mistakes ya know


I think we need a new BGG holiday game. Who's family is worse.
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Osiris Ra wrote:
I have only punched him once

Just think, if you'd have killed him, you'd probably be out by now. laugh
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MWChapel wrote:
vandemonium wrote:
Well you can choose your friends but not your family, eh? If I wrote an autobiography, hell, I bet if *any* of us wrote a book about our families no one would believe it... My current thinking is thus: Sometimes you have to let parents make their own mistakes ya know


I think we need a new BGG holiday game. Who's family is worse.
I'll play! I'll play!
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Osiris Ra wrote:
This weekend we went to his house, and it seemed like everything was normal, as he has been mostly acting better and not being that thing that he actually is. (He has been acting normally for a couple of months.)
As Dave Barry observed, someone who is nice to you but mean to the waitress is not a nice person. In other words, even if someone is capable of acting rational and stable when it serves their purposes, they may still be irrational and/or unstable. My aunt is sometimes great fun to hang out with, but she's still completely self-absorbed and manipulative, and no amount of my trying to see the good in her will ever change that. So I don't work so hard at liking her anymore--it's not my responsibility to see past the crazy, it's her responsibility to stop being crazy. This approach frees me from any guilt about not investing time and energy in maintaining that relationship.

I think you've made the right call. Family should provide comfort and love and support. If all you're getting from him is frustration, he's failed to uphold his end of the bargain and the agreement is null and void.
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You are not alone. It took me years to admit that my father has been emotionally & mentally abusive throughout my entire life. As a child, I thought it was normal to always have my stomach tied in knots, walking on eggshells, and generally hating life. It must have been my fault that I always made him mad, right?

Now, at 41, I know that my father will never change. He will always treat me as a child and an idiot. He will always turn his unending anger on me and hurt me if I give him the chance. It's not worth my health or sanity to pretend to have a relationship.

Setting boundaries is the only thing you can do to protect yourself. If your father can't behave himself, refuse to interact with him and let him know why. Forgive, but don't forget.
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Now I'm all curious about your ear and your jaw. Gee thanks.
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Please don't take this the wrong way. But this sounds like an issue that needs professional help more than commentary from relative strangers who offer sympathy because they share a common hobby.

Trust me, I understand your frustration from first-hand life experiences. But I had to find my peace my own way, while it seems that you're still seeking yours. I can only wish you the best in life, and that you can find your path.
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Ouch.

Sorry things are that way, man--tough stuff.

Diis
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Koldfoot wrote:
You knew what was going to happen. Why did you go to his house?



I agree with Koldie. Why did you even bother?
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EgorjLileli wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You knew what was going to happen. Why did you go to his house?



I agree with Koldie. Why did you even bother?
Same reason I did probably. Sometimes we do insane things when it comes to family.
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It's tough to break ties with family, even when it's really in your own best interest.
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Koldfoot wrote:
You knew what was going to happen. Why did you go to his house?

We still live in a society with things like "holiday traditions" where people are often coerced into familial interaction. Not to mention the parent-child relationship that also pushes kids into making contact with parental units out of some assumed sense of moral duty.
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EgorjLileli wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You knew what was going to happen. Why did you go to his house?



I agree with Koldie. Why did you even bother?


Perhaps his better nature was holding out hope that this time things would be different. It doesn't happen often, but some leopards do change their spots.
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Koldfoot wrote:
You knew what was going to happen. Why did you go to his house?

I did not know this would happen at all. He has, as I've said, been acting better ... but that turns out to only be a trick, laying low so that when I will forgive him and think it is all in my head and then he can, at the worst possible moment, do it again.

The result was the stress caused my blood sugar to spike to the point where I nearly needed to get to the hospital; I spent an hour+ walking in the New York winter just to drop it 15 points and feel somewhat normal.

Yesterday, though, my girlfriend had to work her third job and the idiots that run CVS decided that they need to stay open during a raging snow storm. I picked her up a little after 10 PM and drove home through piles upon piles of snow, sometimes unable to see out the front window. We wound up in a ditch for 2 hours. F*cking a*sholes at CVS! But the potential of nearly freezing to death was a lot less stressful (as evidenced by my blood sugar) than spending a day at my father's.

Grr!
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EgorjLileli wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You knew what was going to happen. Why did you go to his house?



I agree with Koldie. Why did you even bother?


Guilt and obligation are powerful emotions.
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vandemonium wrote:


Guilt and obligation are powerful emotions.


Sounds like you just needed more Gatorade.
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MWChapel wrote:
vandemonium wrote:


Guilt and obligation are powerful emotions.


Sounds like you just needed more Gatorade.


I think I'm missing the humorous or sarcastic intention of this remark, so I'll respond to it with a hearty "Huh?"
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Sorry to hear about those issues, Osiris...I do agree with J.L. Roberts who wisely (imho) suggested that some form of counseling or therapy might better help you handle your father and his issues.

I'd also suggest that perhaps you just cut him out of your life entirely. Some people, regardless of their familial connections to your life, are best relegated to non-interaction.

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wytefang wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
vandemonium wrote:


Guilt and obligation are powerful emotions.


Sounds like you just needed more Gatorade.


I think I'm missing the humorous or sarcastic intention of this remark, so I'll respond to it with a hearty "Huh?"


My father is under the impression that Gatorade cures emotional outbursts. Especially ones that didn't actually happen.
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Osiris Ra wrote:
Went over to my father's house. Grr. My father.

How does he do it? How does he find such wonderful women, like my dearly departed mother and my lovely stepmother, who willingly put up with his shit? It amazes me.

My father is a person who is happiest when he is pushing someone else's buttons. I realize that now, after 44+ years. I tried to make peace with him, thinking the rift between us was somehow my fault. But, no, he takes perverse pleasure in driving others crazy; an emotional vampire, if you will.

I am partially deaf in one ear because of him. I have problems with my jaw because of some stupid prank he pulled on me throughout my childhood.

This weekend we went to his house, and it seemed like everything was normal, as he has been mostly acting better and not being that thing that he actually is. (He has been acting normally for a couple of months.) I did him a favor by getting to the house early so that I could take my stepmom to her job and he could spend most of the night with his friends. He came home around nine and started his emotinal games. He was lucky I was mostly in a good mood. But we got into a heated argument, which of course made him happy. I have only punched him once, and decided not to this time; my girlfriend and a friend of ours were there, and this would have made for an awkward weekend, though he sorely deserved it.

The next day he was acting like nothing happened, which is his modus operandi after initiating his crap. We had guests at the house and he was mostly on his best behavior. Among the guests were a bunch of young kids. The conversation at the dinner table turned to smoking, and my father announced how he had quite cigarettes fifteen years ago, along with marijuana and hashish. Thanks, dad, for announcing that. Why don't you tell them that you also quit heroin, as part of your heroics -- oh, wait, there were kids there, and you like to pretend that you never were junkie. Had I been my father, that would have been where I would have interjected such damning praise.

Thankfully, a friend of ours called and got us out of there and off to play some board games. That eased my mind.

Now, though, I know never to emotionally engage with my father again. I will speak to him, sure, and go visit mom's grave on the key anniverseries with him, but I the familial bridge between is severed.

I love the holidays.

If your father had been that big a druggie, then in addition to his being a toxic parent, you might also be dealing with a person who's experiencing early onset of dementias prematurely induced by his longtime drug use. Unfortunately, you cannot rehabilitate a person who doesn't want to be helped. *However,* if/when the opportunity presents itself, you might also consider trying to somehow to engage him on a different level by saying something to the effect of: "While I'm proud that you finally kicked pot and hashish, are you still trying to kick any other lingering habits?" (If you know what those other habits might be, then don't hesitate to name them.)

Also, you need to give him an ultimatum of sorts to this effect: "Over the course of this coming year, I want to keep tabs with you about your ongoing recovery because, unless I sense some convincing changes over this coming year, I'm going to be making my holiday plans with my girlfriend well in advance to spend time elsewhere. I won't settle for as godawful a holiday as we had this Christmas ever again. Indeed, you would be giving your entire family the biggest present of all if you'd manage for the sake of just that one day a year to be at your best. So again, if things between us don't improve over the coming year, don't expect me and my girlfriend to spend the holidays with you ever again."

And of course, in tough-love terms, you've gotta mean it.

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wytefang wrote:
Sorry to hear about those issues, Osiris...I do agree with J.L. Roberts who wisely (imho) suggested that some form of counseling or therapy might better help you handle your father and his issues.

I'd also suggest that perhaps you just cut him out of your life entirely. Some people, regardless of their familial connections to your life, are best relegated to non-interaction.



Ah, that it were that cut-and-dried. His father has not *only* been cruel to him; they have other bonds (and shared relationships) as well. Not so easy to cut out Dad's wife, for example.

Perhaps, though, a curfew should be set. You'll stop by with dessert, share a slice of pie and coffee, and then be on your way to something extremely important and so sorry you can't stay.

Or maybe you go out to dinner to celebrate the holiday with family from now on, and enjoy a quiet, Dad-free Christmas dinner at home with the GF and some mac-n-cheese. Compared to what you actually did, doesn't that sound like bliss?

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