Tag Archives: family

365 Blank Pages

Brad Paisley said:

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.

Fair enough.

But how to do it?

One subject they never teach in any school is how to cope with life.

They never teach us how to be a wife, a mother or how to keep a relationship alive and functioning properly and how to get over heartaches and traumatic experience. They never tell us what to do when everything is falling apart and you have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. In short, for all those mostly unnecessary things they instilled in our heads, they never prepare us for real life and what lies ahead when we’re lucky enough to survive childhood with or without scratches.

In school, they never teach us even the basic on how to deal with obstacles and hurdles of growing up and being an adult.  Worse still, there is no school on this planet one could apply to if one wishes to be educated about life. We have to learn it on our own stumbling and falling.

Good for building a character you might say. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. Wrong! Friedrich Nietzsche. What doesn’t kill us makes us crazy or at the very least, paranoid if not bitter, vindictive even. Once we are burned, we show the scars one way or the other. It will manifest in whatever aspect of character we are lacking strength and influence our choices and decision makings in the future. Those who made the same mistakes over and over again are terrified of leaving familiar water. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, right?

Of course, in every rule… you know the drill.

Observe and learn. The best way to learn is from the pros. Easier said than done. Watching people doesn’t always give us a heads up. We tend to think it will not happen to us till it happens. Same as getting old. The youth tend to shrugs off the myths about aging even though the proofs are staring them right on their faces, till it is their turn then suddenly myths become facts and by then it’s too late. You know what I’m talking about… We all been there, being young and thought we are immortal, smarter than our predecessors and a lot, a lot luckier forgetting we are all born terminal and living on borrowed time.

Ah, if we knew then what we know now.

If only they teach us survival skills in school. If only they prepare us for what is going to happen next. If only…

And the way I see it those modern conveniences and technologies don’t help. Today’s generation is accustomed to having what they want with one click and living in virtual realities. How can you expect them to survive in the real world?

Or maybe I’m just getting old and getting nostalgic for yesteryears when people still know how to cook a meal from scratch instead of letting it deliver on their doorstep. When people could function without the aid of a computer and can write a proper letter and send real Christmas cards instead of electronic ones.

Those were the days.

Let’s begin the 365 days by spending time with our loved ones minus the gadgets. Could we still do that?

I wonder if our loved ones want to spend time with us without the buffer of iphones, ipads, and what have you. Do we still have something meaningful to say to each other to begin with?

Somehow I doubt it.

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THE MYTH OF THE GOOD OL BOY AND THE NICE GAL

The good of boy myth and the nice gal are a kind of social conformity myth. They create a real paradox when put together with the “rugged individual” part of the Success Myth. How can I be a rugged individual, be my own man and conform at the same time? Conforming means “Don’t make a wave”, “Don’t rock the boat”. Be a nice gal or a good ol’ boy. This means that we have to pretend a lot. 

“We are taught to be nice and polite. We are taught that these behaviors (most often lies) are better than telling the truth. Our churches, schools, and politics are rampant with teaching dishonesty (saying things we don’t mean and pretending to feel ways we don’t feel). We smile when we feel sad; laugh nervously when dealing with grief; laugh at jokes we don’t think are funny; tell people things to be polite that we surely don’t mean.”

– John Bradshaw On: The Family

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Divorcing A Parent

“Why isn’t there a commandment to “honor thy children” or at least one to “not abuse thy children”? The notion that we must honor our parents causes many people to bury their real feelings and set aside their own needs in order to have a relationship with people they would otherwise not associate with. Parents, like anyone else, need to earn respect and honor, and honoring parents who are negative and abusive is not only impossible but extremely self-abusive. Perhaps, as with anything else, honoring our parents starts with honoring ourselves. For many adult children, honoring themselves means not having anything to do with one or both of their parents.” 

― Beverly Engel

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Family

“One of the problems was my belief that family were always there for each other. That was the cause of my pain and my guilt. The fact that I no longer had them in my life meant that I was going against a code I held close to my heart. I had to modify that belief. I had to change my definition of family. It was no longer those to whom I was linked by blood. My family now became the friends who had been there the whole time. People who I knew I could count on when things went wrong… Finding and surrounding yourself with people who truly care for you is your gift to yourself. You deserve that. You will be okay. I no longer believe that I have lost my family. I have only now finally recognized who they truly are.”

~Anonymous

“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” ~Edna Buchanan

A few years ago I ended all contact with my parents, and I have not seen or spoken to them since then.

The truth is I am actually okay with that. Initially, I thought I was going to lose my mind. I had been brought up to believe that family comes first. Children should respect and take care of their parents. Family should—and will—always be there for each other.

Those beliefs were based on love, and I cherished them.

I wanted so much to feel that connection—that unconditional love those beliefs promised. It was never there.

Our lives were filled with so much fear, pain, hurt, betrayal, and lies. Manipulation and deceit were at the core of our home.

I told myself that all families have degrees of dysfunction, and our family was no different. I could not allow myself to believe that our family was different. I believed that one day my parents would realize what they were doing and change. I desperately wanted their love and approval.

On the night when my husband and I ended up inside a police station explaining why I thought my father was about to come to my home and hurt me, while my two grown sons waited in the car, I realized I had to wake up.

My fantasy was over. I could no longer go on pretending our family was just like everyone else. That night I said my last goodbye to my mother as she lied to protect my father. The next day I spoke the last words to my father as he screamed into the phone repeating the lies from my childhood. It was over.

Giving up the hope that things would get better was the hardest part. I was terrified that I was doing the wrong thing. I thought I was being a bad daughter. I was going against every cherished belief about family.

It broke my heart to know that my life had been based on an illusion. The picture I had created of my parents was shattered. They had never been there for me, and they never would be.

I had lied to myself to protect my fantasy and keep them in my life. Now I could no longer do it.

Over time I began to understand why I had fought so hard to live out the lie, and I began to forgive myself for not being brave enough to stand up earlier.

One of the problems was my belief that family were always there for each other. That was the cause of my pain and my guilt. The fact that I no longer had them in my life meant that I was going against a code I held close to my heart.

I had to modify that belief. I had to change my definition of family. It was no longer those to whom I was linked by blood. My family now became the friends who had been there the whole time. People who I knew I could count on when things went wrong. That was never my parents.

I also realized that I was afraid I was not lovable. In my mind if my own parents could not love me, there had to be something wrong with me.

I did everything I could to minimize disagreements between us, keeping quiet just to keep the peace. I knew that if I spoke up we would argue, they would get mad at me, and they would not love me. I failed to realize that this was something I only experienced with them.

It was hard work just to be around them. I was always on edge, cautious, and scared. That was not a loving relationship. I came to accept that if they could not love me, it didn’t change anything about me. I had created other loving relationships around me, and they were the scaffolding holding me up.

My first Christmas after was hard. I had always gone to my parents’ house to live the fairy tale of being surrounded by love.

It was always hard to ready myself for those days. We would act out the roles of happy family, hoping in some way that was our truth. It wasn’t. I had no idea how tense I was at these interactions until I no longer had to do it.

Part of the hurt was that I now had no tradition, so I decided to start a new one. Christmas is no longer a day of obligation. I now spend it with the people who are my true family.

I’ve come to realize that the love I had for my parents was based on a childhood need for safety and security. I had to see them as the parents who loved me, despite the things they did. I could not accept that the people responsible for my well-being were also responsible for my suffering.

So much of the world I had created around my parents was simply not real. I have had to accept that truth and move on with my life.

One of my fears was that by breaking contact with my parents, I was setting an example that my sons could repeat with me. I’d like to think this won’t happen because of my parents.

The pain of my childhood taught me how important it is for a child to truly feel loved, safe, and cherished. I’ve tried to live that truth with my boys. I don’t know what the future holds for us. I can only hope that the love I’ve shown them will have created a space in their hearts where I will always be thought of with love.

I try to imagine how I’ll feel when I find out that my parents have died. I honestly don’t know. I’m sure that part of me will be sad that we did not have a better ending. However, I know in my heart of hearts that I tried for over forty years to make it work. In the end, it just wasn’t enough.

My parents were never who I thought them to be. I have had to let it all go. The fantasy of the perfect ending with them is over. I am setting out on a new horizon where I have redefined my world.

As abused children, we may feel that it is somehow our responsibility to fix the broken parts of our family. It’s not. Sometimes there is no fairy tale ending where our parents realize how truly wonderful we are.

The hard part is recognizing that and moving on. Sometimes it’s the only way to find real peace. It’s heartbreaking. It’s not easy. Finding and surrounding yourself with people who truly care for you is your gift to yourself. You deserve that. You will be okay.

I no longer believe that I have lost my family. I have only now finally recognized who they truly are.

By Anonymous

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A Milestone

Yesterday after not speaking to me since she got married, that was three years ago, my daughter called me to say that she’s pregnant. I’m not surprised. I know from my son that she and her husband were trying to conceive. I’m happy for her. 

She told me that I was the first to know. I’m not surprised with that too. It reminds me of three weeks ago when I was talking to my son after his musical/theater performance and he said that while he was presenting and singing up there he was worried if I was going to like the show or not. He thought I would find it banal. He was happy when I said that what he/they did was memorable. He hopes for the same effect when he finished writing his first book he said.

I know that my relationship with my children is far from ideal and we hardly see each other, but it is touching to know that they still value my opinion the most. Out of thousand of people watching my son’s performance, what he was worried about was what I was thinking. My daughter could let her father or anybody know first but she have chosen to call me instead. That means a lot to me.

In the past, they accused me of being hard to please and economical when it comes to giving compliments, but in my defense, I only give credit where credit is due. I don’t want to give or encourage false hopes when in reality there is none.

I know I will never be the mother they prefer to have and I doubt if I’m going to be the best grandmother but this is me. My grandchildren will know me like my children have known me_ honest straight-forward maybe harsh but fair. I hope they will appreciate the person that I really am because I am not planning to change myself for the sake of acceptance.

Let’s wait and see… 

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TGIF

It’s Friday and I don’t know what to do. Last Wednesday was mother’s day Ascension Day, therefore, National Holiday. My son decided to bestow on us a royal visit fresh from a month holiday all over Italy where he was canvassing for an ideal place to buy a house which he said I could inhabit if in case I would really go through with the divorce. He said he will never hinder my freedom since we will never be married. Nice to know I have some options. 

We ended up taking a very long walk of 12 kilometers along the coast. Far too far for my limit these days. The outcome is I was flat and out yesterday and just about alive today. I want to go to the shopping mall for no specific reason other than to buy a massage oil for my aching bones. I gulped down a shortbread raspberry tart (a big no-no for my gluten and lactose intolerance but what the heck) with real green tea in the hope of perhaps it could revive me but only succeeded to make me feel heavy and bloat my tummy. When I’m going to learn? 

I’m off to take a bath now to feel human again. Till next time and Happy Weekend!

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The Elephant In The Room

“There’s a phrase, “the elephant in the living room”, which purports to describe what it’s like to live with a drug addict, an alcoholic, an abuser. People outside such relationships will sometimes ask, “How could you let such a business go on for so many years? Didn’t you see the elephant in the living room?” And it’s so hard for anyone living in a more normal situation to understand the answer that comes closest to the truth; “I’m sorry, but it was there when I moved in. I didn’t know it was an elephant; I thought it was part of the furniture.” There comes an aha-moment for some folks – the lucky ones – when they suddenly recognize the difference.”

― Stephen King

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“If I Could”

If I Could
I’d protect you from the sadness in your eyes
give you courage in a world of compromise
yes I would
If I could

I would teach you all the things I’ve never learned
and I’d help you cross the bridges that I’ve burned
yes I would
if I could

I would try to shield your innocence from time
but the part of life I gave you isn’t mine
I’ve watched you grow
so I could let you go
if I could

I would help you make it through the hungry years
but I know that I can never cry your tears
but I would
if I could

if I live in a time and place where you don’t want to be
you don’t have to walk along this road with me
my yesterday won’t have to be your way

if I knew

how I’d try to change the world I brought you to
and there isn’t very much that I can do
but I would
if I could
if I could

I would try to shield your innocence from time
but that part of life I gave you isn’t mine
I watched you grow so I could let you go
if, if I could

I would help you make it through those hungry years
but I know that I can never cry your tears
but I would
if I could

yes I would
yes I would
if I could.

~ Music by Barbra Streisand

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Pedigree

…mine is shocking. Both in tales and in reality. At least from one side. Father’s side. If I’m going to believe (which is very difficult not to when evidence is staring me straight in the eyes and based on my own personal experience I have no reasons to doubt) I came from a family of cheating conniving  incestuous gypsy witches and nomad warlords who were/are fond of betraying and molesting each other in all possible ways. From my maternal side, I can easily describe them in few words: They are a bunch of upper middle class (possibly even rich) educated prejudiced narrow-minded tyrannical self-righteous people who have written my mother out of a will (for marrying my -to their eyes substandard- father) and refused to recognize our existence till I married my (foreigner therefore rich) ex but by then I was a rebel enough already and only too happy to defy them. Our very own little family… Well, what can I say? You have to read few of my post to get a little bit of insight how dysfunctional and pathetic we are. End of my pedigree sum up.

 “All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
― Mitch Albom

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Betrayed

Like I said so many times before, betrayal by your own flesh and blood is the worst betrayal of all. No one can get over that. The wounds will never heal and will bleed at the slightest touch. If you cannot trust your own family, then who you can trust? If you are not safe within your most intimate circle, would you ever feel safe amongst strangers? 

If you have been betrayed by your nearest and dearest (over and over again) you will have trust issues whether you like it or not. It happened to me. And naive that I was I refused to believe the truth that was staring me in the face all my life. I thought I meant something to them other than a meal ticket, we’re family after all. But sadly I was wrong. It took me five decades to realized I was and will never be anything to them but a source of income, someone to provide all their material needs. Not a single time they asked me how I am, never show a single ounce of gratitude, not even a superficial thank you. No, they thought and still think they are entitled to everything I worked for and everything I have and could earn. Care is something alien to them when it comes to me. I was the one who got away, and they hate me for it. 

It hurts. And the subject of a family will forever be a very sensitive issue for me. Home and love of blood relatives are something I did not and will never have. It is hard to accept and I still lay awake some nights thinking about the hows and whys but life goes on and I have to move with it no matter how painful the experience is…  

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Micro

I’m a big big girl
in a big big world…

My daughter tends to be self-centered. Her focus seems to be evolving around herself. The rest is side issues. One time I mentioned my thoughts to my son. He said to me:

“Mama, it doesn’t matter how small and mundane her problems are or if she is overreacting or not. The bottom line is for her they are extremely serious and that what counts.”

He also said when I asked him why he always gives in to the whims of her sister that it is because the tears are real and he can see the pain in her eyes.

He was talking about a bed. A double bed he just bought for himself but his sister fancied for crying out loud. I cannot say I understand but I guess I have to be thankful that they get along fine. Tragedy brings people closer they say. I guess that’s what it is. They share a very strong bond through painful experience.

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Nest

“If I could reach for something brilliant, that would be the home which been denied to me and the presence of the peace I’ve never known.”

I put this phrase on the right sidebar of my homepage. I yada-yada-ya countless times about my roots being pulled out before they can even have a chance to settle and get hold and never having a contingency to grow and flourish in a familiar soil. I teared up when I heard someone on TV said: “A tree without roots is just a piece of wood.” Why? Because the subject of home and family are two major sensitive issues for me. Always been always will be.

I have experienced countless betrayal by blood and like I already said before, that is the most painful deception somebody could experience in a lifetime. The wounds never heal and continue bleeding. It is not easy to get over it. It hurts.

As you probably have already guessed by now, I am living on a foreign soil. I arrived here 30 years ago and I’m still here. Let’s face it, skin colour matters no matter what others say and want to believe. I can never be white and that brings circumstances. I will not bore you with the details. Besides, this post is not about that topic. It’s about hanging in a limbo, not here nor there. I don’t feel at home in my own country, I live here for too long I don’t belong there anymore. I don’t understand a lot of things and at times I find that their views in life are narrow and limited and like here people are prejudiced and judgmental. They can’t look beyond their beliefs and fixed ideas. I feel like a stranger in my own country. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I expect too much. Forgetting that cultures will always clash. But then again, what happened to open minds? I told you, I expect too much.

When I was still living with my ex-husband I had a constant feeling of being in a transit. I knew I had a final destination but where? Other times I felt that I was having a nightmare (and really it was) and going to wake up eventually but when? I did manage to escape but it doesn’t  mean I found a home. I’m still searching for it. In the process, I lost my children. They become estranged from me. The last time I have spoken to my daughter was almost two years ago. Again, it hurts. I am still trying to reconcile with the fact.

I often wonder if I will ever find a place I truly belong. A home which I can call my own and feel secure. Maybe what they say is true. That home is not a place but like hell is a state of mind. I don’t know.

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