Posted by: whimsigal | December 8, 2007

Family – UGH

I happen to have a very dysfunctional family. Undoubtedly when my kids grow up they will say the same thing, it’s just the way things are I guess. But the following post may blow your mind and give you a view into a world about which you may have said to yourself previously, “Who would do something like that?” My family, that’s who.

When I was little, not really sure what age, 4 or 5 I’m guessing, I was at my grandparents house. Don’t remember why, probably a holiday of some sort, but I was there alone with my uncle, who is ten years older than me. My grandparents had a split level home in Stone Mountain, GA and on the main level was the kitchen, dining room and living room. The lower level held a bedroom, bathroom and their family room, and the upper level held three bedrooms and a bathroom. My uncle was lying on the floor in between the living and dining rooms which was a wide open space. He was wearing jeans and he told me he had a secret to tell me. He had eleven fingers, did I know that? I shook my head no and began looking at his hands. “Not there,” he said, “Here.” And he proceeded to unbutton his pants. As young as I was I had no idea where this was leading. I don’t remember much more than he put his hand on mine and made me put it down his pants and forced me to touch him, but really that’s enough for me. It only happened once that I recall and I forgot it for a very long time, until I was a teenager, in fact. Dating is what brought the memory to the fore. The fumblings and machinations of clumsy teenage boys brought the memory to my mind as clearly as though it had happened only the day before. I did not want to touch boys “there”, which earned me the nickname “prick tease”. I would freeze in horror the minute one of them would try to move my hand to the outside of their jeans, because of that moment, that memory. I was 15 or 16 at that time and I’m pretty sure I said something to my mother about it but I don’t know if she was drunk and didn’t remember me saying anything or if she just ignored it because it was too ugly for her to think about. But at that time, nothing was done about it.

My uncle went on from the age of 15 to live a wasted existence. He floundered around, got into drugs, never really having a serious relationship. My father hired him to work for him, gave him a lucrative account and my uncle wasted the opportunity, had drug dealers coming into the office, slept with clients, bribed clients, and when my father fired him, he destroyed a bunch of company property. He’s a real scumbag, let me tell you.

The topic came up again in 1992. I remember this because the Rodney King trial had just happened a month prior and my parents were having a Memorial Day BBQ with my grandparents, me, and a couple with who my parents have been friends since I was tiny, I call them Mr. Guy and Miss Barbara. Mr Guy, my grandfather and I were having a conversation, a debate about the treatment of black people and it was getting heated. They were ganging up on me because I was sympathetic to black people, and my father, who was standing at the grill got angrier than I have ever seen him in my life. He whipped around, holding a bbq tool and pointed it at them while he said, “I’ve raised my daughters to think for themselves. If you don’t like it then you can get the hell out!” I was stunned, they were stunned and my grandfather hopped up in a threatening manner and stepped towards my father with his fists clenched and my dad said, “You gonna hit me dad? Go ahead. It won’t be the first time.” Again, stunned faces all around. Mt grandfather stalked off the patio and called for my grandmother to follow him. My father’s dear friend, Mr Guy, attempted to talk to him but my dad was so pissed that he told him to get the “f” away from him. Needless to say the picnic did not go on as planned.

The next day I had to return some things of my grandparents to them, some dishes they had brought over for the BBQ, and while I was there, they began peppering me with questions about why daddy had reacted that way. It opened up a HUGE conversation about our family, during which time I told them about how my uncle had touched me and how it had affected me and do you know what their response was???? They said, and this is an exact quote, “OH, thank god. We thought he was gay.” People, I cannot tell you how this made me feel. I was flabbergasted, disgusted. My grandmother went on to say, “Oh everyone has someone in their family who has had something like that happen. You just get over it and move on.” Screw you lady. I left and went home and told my parents about it and let the words fester in my soul for two more years. In 1994 I was done. I told my parents I was no longer sharing a holiday with my child molesting uncle, and they could count on me not being present at Thanksgiving this year as long as he was there. Well that began years of strife for me, my friends. My father defended me, and became my hero in a moment when I needed him the most. For all the things he’s done that hurt me, when I’m attacked he is my fiercest defender. My uncle’s then-boss called my dad because she and my uncle were friends and HE WATCHED HER CHILDREN. She couldn’t believe what I had said was true. My dad told her she was a fool and she’d better keep an eye on her kids.

Anyway, the drama continues every year, at every family function that he decides he wants to attend. After Sean and I were married we had moved and had refused to give my grandparents my number or my address and then I relented out of sympathy for their age and their declaration that they wanted a relationship. Within two months my uncle called me, having gotten my number from my grandmother, threatening to sue me. It was horrible! I called my father crying and told him what happened and he called his mother, again, giving her absolute hell about it. For some reason, my grandparents have it in their mind that I’m lying or that I went under hypnosis and recovered this memory, which is not the case. Never in my life have I undergone hypnosis. They cannot accept that he’s a shit bag. It’s been rough. My grandparents are old, in their 80’s and I try to forgive them for the things they’ve said and have tried to let my children know their great-grandparents. Which brings me to this year. We’ve gone a couple without the drama because he hasn’t made the trip up here for the holidays. But this year, I put my mom on notice. If he plans to come, have Grammy call me and I will tell her that he’s not welcome at my house. My mom hates being in the middle. Well, my mom told my grandmother herself anyway and it started all the same stuff up again. How could I only remember it later? Why didn’t I say anything when it happened? As a result my grandparents are having Christmas dinner with him, because apparently a 46 year old man can’t stay home by himself for a couple of hours while my grandparents come spend time with the people they turn to when they are in need. The people who actually come to the hospital when they’re sick or having surgery. He is the one who they support and, I’m done. Done, done, done – stick a fork in me, I’m DONE. This has been going on for years and frankly, I’m afraid at this point that he’s going to do something crazy, like try to kill us. He feels like he’s the one who has been wronged and he feels like the victim. I don’t hate him, surprisingly. I just don’t want a relationship with him and I don’t want him in my home, around my children, around my niece. I don’t understand why my grandparents can’t get that.

It’s sad but my mother was relieved that I might be having a hysterectomy, all because of the stress of this shit with my uncle and grandparents. Of course, I’m not supposed to know about the most recent incident. She made my sister swear not to tell me but my sister told me anyway. LOL

I feel like cutting myself off from my grandparents. Would that be wrong? Are they so old now that I should just turn the other cheek? Friends, after reading this post, what do you think? What would you do?

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Responses

  1. I don’t have to wonder what I would do- I have done it.

    I have a similar story to yours: 14 year old cousin, I was 4, involved a “lolipop” BUT I knew it is was wrong as soon as it happened. I told. I told loud. No one championed for me. I did for myself.

    I got grief for not inviting him to our wedding. Bah.

    Here’s where I got really proactive: my mother was also severely abusive mentally, verbally, and physically. She left me to die when my appendix burst, kicked me and then left. 2 days later I was found and airlifted to a hospital.

    That’s only one story. When I got pregnant I decided several things: no pediphiles in my life and no more abusers even if the physical part of the abuse is gone. None. I cut off contact with my own mother and several male relatives. Chain reaction: I now have 3 families in my extended family that will speak to me- as if what I did was more wrong than what the abusers did? Bah. I don’t need that crap. Neither do you. You go girl.

    What does that teach our children?

  2. Wow, that is quite a story you have there and it certainly lends strength to what I’ve been thinking. Family, for me, is hard to escape but from my grandparents and my uncle at least I can do it.

    there’s a tiny voice in my brain, that tells me I’m wrong to feel the way I do and it’s so hard sometimes to drown it out. Especially when people I think would support me don’t.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I’m so sorry that your mother was one in name only and you are an amazing person for overcoming all of that. Many people wouldn’t be able to be the wonderful mother you are after growing up that way.

    I bet there are many others out there who read here and have experienced something similar. Thanks again for talking about it here.

    ((((hugs)))) to you!!!

  3. God no you don’t have to have them in your life.
    Do they add to your happiness? To your fulfillment? To being the mother and person you want to be?
    Can you live your best life without them?

    You’ve told your truth, and shined your light upon it, and they chose to disbelieve.
    So be it.
    That’s there decision.

    Be done with them.

    I personally would make a final declaration and be done with it. “I’m not changing my mind, and don’t bring it up to me because I am Movin’ On.

    I’m so sorry.
    He sucks.
    So do your grandparents.
    grr.

  4. Making a personal declaration and being done with it. god, that makes my stomach hurt to think about it because I’m such a namby-pamby about standing up for myself. But it seems like it’s time to stop feeling like I’m the wrong one and I’m the trouble-maker and just say “seacrest out”. Seriously though, you’r right. Take a stand a stick with it. I’m 36 and I think it’s about time.

    Thanks for your kind words, Steph! 🙂

  5. It is not hard to tell my story. It is likened to being hit by a drunk driver- there is no shame in it for me AND there should be for them.

    My husband supports me and every time I look at my daughter I know I am doing the right thing.

    It was very hard at first. They threatened me with grandparent rights lawsuits, etc. It was even harder losing contact with relatives that I thought would be supportive or at least ignore the “feud”. Jesus, they call it a feud.

    But it goes deeper than that. If they were not related by blood, would it be the same? No, you’d have no problem dropping them from your life and in my case getting a retraining order or charges brought. Being family changes everything BUT should it?

  6. “being family changes everything BUT should it?”

    No, it shouldn’t and you’re right that it’s the only thing that has prevented me from taking any real action before. It’s been a difficult thing to consider doing but I guess now is as good a time as any to take the leap.

  7. Just supportive thoughts your way. I agree that life is way to precious and that your children need to see that you don’t need people who are bad to you in your life. Be done with them for sure. Old or not, if they know you then they can’t believe you would make this up. To what purpose would that serve?
    Danette

  8. Thanks so much, Danette. You ask the question that I have asked so many times myself. What on earth would I have to gain by making this up? It’s not a glamorous story. It’s something I wish had never happened but it did. Can’t escape that.

    Thanks again for the supportive thoughts!

  9. Just wanted to echo everyone else. Drop ’em! It is so hard to give up on family, but like I tell everyone who asks, take care of you first. And if being around someone causes you to feel like you aren’t taken care of, let go of that relationship.

    I have given up on family, luckily not because of physical abuse, but because they bring way too much drama into my life. And I don’t need it. No one does!

  10. Sorry I am late in writing this but I had family in town until today and couldn’t find a spare moment to write.

    I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you. I know how hard it must be to put your foot down and make a decision, even when you know it is the right one.

    My advice is to cut off contact with your uncle and grandparents. Like everyone else has said how can your grandparents think you would make up a story like that?

    “Oh thank god, we thought he was gay?” That is one of the worst things I have ever heard on so many levels!

    You don’t need them in your life.

    ((((((hugs))))))to you!

    Marin

  11. I’m so sorry for all this crap with family. That sucks. Hugs.

  12. Many of us have had family or neighbor issues followed by no support from our families. As for me and my house. I will protect my kids period. For me that would mean avoiding the grand parents.

  13. I am so sorry.
    I would ABSOLUTELY do everything within my power to keep my children safe and myself.
    you are brave.
    that’s all I have to say.
    strong AND brave.
    *hugs*

  14. I’m so sorry that you have suffered all these abuses. And I admire you for the work you do to better yourself and find wholeness in the midst of the chaos. It sounds to me like the grandparents aren’t willing to make the right concessions to deserve a relationship with you. That’s their own sh*t and their own work to do and their own karma. Only you know what’s right for you.

    But listen – there is a whole wealth of info about mind/body connection out there, and much of what you are dealing with (and have dealt with for so long) is related to the physical health issues you are having. Try here for a start – http://www.colourtherapyhealing.com/colour_therapy/chakras/sacral_chakra.php It helps us to see that we need to address these issues or they manifest in so many ways.

    Hugs to you my friend. I’m sending a protective white light to surround you. You are not alone.

  15. Laura,

    Thanks for the links you sent, along with the positive words and vibes. I went and checked out the whole woman link and it seems that approach won’t work for me, after reading the FAQ’s. The chakras site was very interesting as well and I’m going to find the time to delve into that. It was a little over my head in just glancing at it!

    I really appreciate all the kindness and advice you’ve given me. It makes me feel something that I can’t really explain but I’m glad you’re here!

    Thank you again, friend.

    Evie


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