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Djfan
06-21-2010, 01:15 PM
I saw on FB yesterday that my mom was readmitted to the psych eval ward in So Cal. She is 78 and had Parkinsons with severe dementia. Over the last year she has fallen into the black hole of being someone different.

I spoke with her last week on the way to DJ a wedding. She didn't know who I was, but was congratulating me on my getting married. I didn't try to clear it up. It was no use. I just thanked her.

Right now my nephew is there with my dad (83 yrs old). My folks have been married for 53 years. He is very pained but too stubborn to admit it. It is clear to us all anyway.

I called him last night to see if he wanted me to be out there with him. He said no.

In 1982 I left the religion that I was raised with because I couldn't buy into it anymore. I am very devout in my faith, and I promise no one considers it a cult (OK maybe Flippy might. Just kidding, Flippy!). They never could come to grips with it.

After my conversion (don't get hung up on this word, it's not the point here) My dad told my siblings to not talk to me anymore. That has softened, but this type of treatment continues. I haven't spoken with my oldest brother since 1998.

When I divorced my dad was in favor of it. That was a very bad situation by most everyone's assessment. Almost immediately my parents virtually ignored me and started hanging around with my ex. They even passed up my wife's surprise 5 year wedding anniversary party she threw for me because they were busy and the cleaning lady was supposed to come that day. They did manage to make it to my ex's remarriage, though.

This is how my family is.

There was a time I told them that their priority of being with my ex - who has spent thousands to keep my son from me and threatened me with court action if I ever pissed her off - was causing a rift, and that it was just plain wrong. I told them that if they continued in this course of action I would be forced to sever my relationship with them. They told me that they were not changing their stance, so we didn't communicate for over two years.

I finally contacted them to donate my DJ services for their 50th wedding anniversary, but only if they took my ex off of the guest list. They decided a few weeks later to do so, but only after many of my family members gave them the riot act.

So here I am, very much the black sheep, watching my mother get institutionalized and my dad's health go down hill along with his energy to go on.

Yet he doesn't want me.

I don't know why I wrote this. I am still debating on hitting the submit button or not. Truth is I value the membership on this board in my life. Crazy, I know, but the acceptance I have felt here is warming.

Thanks all. Promise your legacy that you will choose love and family over what ever fears you have. I don't know how I will talk about my parents when they are gone. It won't be long before I have to figure out what I will say though.

God bless you all.

fordfixer
06-21-2010, 01:43 PM
DJ-

No words I have can ease your pain just know that we are praying for you and your family

RuthlessBurgher
06-21-2010, 01:47 PM
Ugh...sometimes stubbornness can get the best of us (that trait certainly runs in my family). You wish that strained relationships could somehow magically heal, but that rarely happens in the real world where people tend to hold grudges long after they can really remember what upset them in the first place. I am sorry to hear about the failing health of your parents (dementia is especially cruel). All I can say is do what you can to make peace with your parents while they are still here (I realize that can be difficult when your mother does not remember who you are). And when one of them passes, try to take that opportunity to mend fences with siblings that you have not talked to in a long time. They may continue to be stubborn, but do what you can to at least make that effort. That's all I got for now. Sorry, man.

flippy
06-21-2010, 04:14 PM
When I left home and went off to college at 17, my mom called me every day. I had no time for her really between school, work, girls, parties, etc. But she never let it stop her. She still left positive messages for me every single day despite me never calling back.

She did this for years and now many years later, I talk to her or my dad every single day. Rarely missing a day and chance to speak to them. Our lives are millions of miles apart but we always make time for one another. And it definitely wasn't because of me. It was because of my mom.

So what does this have to do with anything, I'm not really sure. But I do believe that anyone can work out anything with anyone. You just need to be persistent. Even if the other side doesn't reciprocate. It may take days, months, or even years, but if you persist, you will have done everything you can.

Reciprocation matters, but it doesn't really. We need to define who we are and what we want in this world. And we must pursue it. Whatever it is. Because we know it's the right thing.

I've seen people struggle with the exact same thing and I would encourage you to try to have a positive relationship with your ex wife and your parents/family.

It's just better for everyone to get along. And someone has to let go of their pride to make this sort of thing work. I think that you're the kind of guy that can let go of the past even if your ex/parents/family can't. And if you do get to the point of being ready to mend the relationship, they may not be at the same point. And they may never get there.

But you can fix you and move forward without these feelings you have right now holding onto you.

I'd also encourage that you talk to someone about this. Stress is horrible. And we all need help. I think it's typically best to seek guidance on this sort of thing from a psychiatrist or pastor. Women tend to do this and men don't, but they should. We all need help and they can give you practical steps to work through this.

I saw a recent add for Dr Phil saying that anyone can get along with anyone and he was going to talk to a mom and a step-mom to figure out how they could get over their differences and get over hating each other.

Sorry, didn't watch the show or I'd tell you how they did it.

I used to be a grudge holder myself. Now I realize no one's gonna overlook my flaws if I don't overlook theirs first.

This is a real tough situation, but I know you'll figure it out and make it right. I have faith in you. But then again I drink flippy-aide and wear rose colored glasses :lol so I know it's not easy.

Good luck.

Djfan
06-21-2010, 05:09 PM
Thanks Flippy.

I try to get along with everyone. In my ex's case she has drawn a line in the sand. Our peace depends on my doing what she says. We get along now that I live in CO and he is in So Cal.

As for my parents I make it a point to call them at least once a week, often more, since the 50th anniversary a few years ago. They haven't called me once. Even when Mom fell in the airport in Salt Lake and was put in the hospital for three days. I didn't find out for about a week. My two brothers who are in Illinois and Iowa were notified right away and flew out to be with them.

When my nephew came to visit my parents in So Cal - he lived in South America at the time - I found out from my son. I went to pick him up at my ex's house, and he told me he had dinner with my nephew the night before. My folks called my ex to have dinner with him. I wasn't in that loop.

It's just my family. Part of the problem is that I don't play games anymore. So, I break the rules. So now I'm the target.

It would cost me my integrity to not be the target, and there isn't enough return for that loss that I can imagine.

Thanks for the thoughts. I knew this brain trust board would have good things to say.

flippy
06-21-2010, 05:36 PM
Sorry to hear all that. I'm sure it hurts.

My inlaws never call my wife. I feel bad about it a lot. So I can empathize with what you're going thru. Sometimes it really gets her down and she doesn't want to persist in calling them. So sometimes I persist on her behalf and hit the brick wall pretty regularly myself :HeadBanger

At the end of the day, as much as you'd like, you can't control what other people will do. And you just have to be happy or working toward being happy knowing you're doing what's right every day.

It ain't easy being Peezy, bro.

kiwi_sarah
06-21-2010, 06:39 PM
So sorry DJ, having to receive upsetting family news via FB is rough. No matter how much we may try, family stuff always hurts. I remember thinking before I left home that it would be great when I was all grown up and wouldn't need/seek my parents approval anymore....silly girl.

I hope your Mom is as comfortable as possible, and that things get easier for you.

Shawn
06-26-2010, 12:10 PM
DJ sometimes we need to do what we need to do to find peace. That won't make everyone happy. We are not to be people pleasers. What is the use of your parents faith that you don't buy into? That serves no good purpose in your life and will only cause you pain in the long run.

This is a problem within your Dad and not you. Try not to internalize his issues. It's hard because all sons want their dad's approval even if they think they don't. Why does he feel the need to control your belief system? I have two girls and if they eventually choose to take their own path to peace I have to be ok with that. They will still be my girls. A parent doesn't have to agree with you to support you.

I wish I had an answer for you. All you can do is let your Dad know you are there for them if they want you. If he chooses to die estranged from his son then that is on his head...not yours.

Djfan
06-27-2010, 03:10 PM
Well said Shawn. I agree with your stance.

I don't want the religious angle to be the focus here, so I won't tell you if it was Mormon, Catholic, Baptist or anything. I just couldn't do it. And, yes, my ability to work with all of the aspects of my person require that I buy into them or abandon them. That's just personal integrity IMO.

I couldn't buy into theirs. I don't slam it or go against it. I just don't want anything to do with it.

I let it go as much as I can, but like every healthy person, I want to have a great relationship with my family. It only depends on me to a point, and have reached that point. Beyond that it's on them.

I still wish it would change.

Shawn
06-27-2010, 04:36 PM
Well said Shawn. I agree with your stance.

I don't want the religious angle to be the focus here, so I won't tell you if it was Mormon, Catholic, Baptist or anything. I just couldn't do it. And, yes, my ability to work with all of the aspects of my person require that I buy into them or abandon them. That's just personal integrity IMO.

I couldn't buy into theirs. I don't slam it or go against it. I just don't want anything to do with it.

I let it go as much as I can, but like every healthy person, I want to have a great relationship with my family. It only depends on me to a point, and have reached that point. Beyond that it's on them.

I still wish it would change.

Yeah, I don't think the main issue here is the brand of belief one wears. It's about interpersonal dynamics within the family structure. Obviously, I don't see the big picture because I don't know your family. With that said, willingness to cut off a child because they take their own path is seeded with dysfunction. Why can't your father respect your ability to decide for yourself? Why would he feel a need to cut you off because of these beliefs? It's hard not to internalize. Again...this isn't your issue...it's your dads.

I was very fortunate. I was able to make a break from some of the legalism that I absorbed through the faith I was exposed to at an early age. My mother knows my views. While she might not agree with all of them she still accepts me and loves me. She can express her views and I can express mine in a safe setting of love, tolerance and acceptance. We can agree to disagree...hug and be mother and son. I am very thankful for that.

Ozey74
06-27-2010, 04:58 PM
Sorry for your siituation. Family and co-workers are the most difficult people to understand, IMO. I appreciate you sharing what you did on this board.

For as much as I can gather, you seem like a good man. Over the years I have learned your a good dad, a fine significant other to your wife, and a dedicated teacher. Just be the best "you" that you can be & take comfort in knowing that you are doing the best you can.

Djfan
06-27-2010, 06:58 PM
Thanks Ozzy! You know how to make a guy feel like he's not such a bad guy.

I do try. I am very blessed, but live in an imperfect world.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
06-27-2010, 11:13 PM
Hey DJ - I can't offer too much help, going through some family things myself about now, not sure I'm one to give advice to anyone.

The only thing I can think of is I truly believe that all this we go through is nothing compared to the love of God* for eternity. We may not understand things, or think they're fair, but that's just a problem with our perspective. In the meantime, all we can really do is choose to spread love, or not.

It sounds like the people on this board who know you best think you're doing a good job of doing that. To the greatest degree, we can only try to control ourselves, and after a certain point we can't control anything/anyone else. So, at least from this vantage point, it sounds like you are doing the best thing possible. So hang in there, dude.

SASF

*Not meaning to pigeon-hole, if that's not what your religion is about, apologies in advance if that's the case ...

Djfan
06-28-2010, 10:09 AM
Thanks SASF. Well said.

flippy
06-28-2010, 11:56 AM
you doin ok this week?

Djfan
06-28-2010, 10:22 PM
you doin ok this week?

Yes, brother. Thanks.

I hate to admit it, but this cycle of strange, ignore, pretend, has become expected by me.

Strange. I just want to be in a family unit.

On another note, I spoke to my brother yesterday for the first time in over 11 years. It went well. Nothing of great substance, but it happened, so I'm pleased.

I keep trying!!

SanAntonioSteelerFan
06-28-2010, 10:46 PM
you doin ok this week?

Yes, brother. Thanks.

I hate to admit it, but this cycle of strange, ignore, pretend, has become expected by me.

Strange. I just want to be in a family unit.

On another note, I spoke to my brother yesterday for the first time in over 11 years. It went well. Nothing of great substance, but it happened, so I'm pleased.

I keep trying!!

Dude, that is excellent! What a beautiful thing. Very happy for you!

Shawn
06-28-2010, 10:56 PM
That is huge. Keep plugging away.

Djfan
06-28-2010, 11:59 PM
Thanks gents!

fordfixer
06-29-2010, 12:15 AM
glad to hear DJ :tt1

flippy
06-29-2010, 07:46 AM
Sweet. 1 a week sounds like a good pace to build on.

Djfan
06-30-2010, 12:46 AM
Indeed it is, Flippy.

I'm just going to take one day at a time.