Holiday Spirits <—-pun intended

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I have so many different things to write about, I do not know where to begin.  One of the topics, I am not ready to delve into, so for now I will stick to the one I know best: dealing with alcoholics.  So, here is a special holiday edition of Thanksgiving updates on the three drunks in my life, who coincidentally ALL drink vodka…

  1. The ex-boyfriend. Thanksgiving was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I had one 45 minute breakdown.  I know it is not healthy, but I would occasionally “unblock” my ex-boyfriend’s Instagram page to see if he was okay.  It felt like the only last tiny connection I had to him.  When I went to check it on Thanksgiving, I realize that he made his page private.  I was already upset because this was always ‘our” holiday and it was the first one without him, but I felt like him doing that was unexpected.  Maybe he knew I was checking on him.  Maybe he met someone.  Maybe he wants privacy.  I feel so far away from him now.  In nine years, this is the longest I have gone without seeing or speaking to him.  But, I suppose that is what happens in a break up.  And I have to remind myself that I was the one who said I could not be in contact with him anymore.  I don’t know how to ever stop worrying if he is alright, but I know there is nothing I can do if he is not.
  2. The father. My dad was good on Thanksgiving, very well-behaved.  I actually took a selfie with him and at one point leaned up against him on the couch.  We took family pictures.  It was nice.  Friday, he was terrible…leaving mean voicemails and sending shitty text messages.  Saturday, my sister and I had already agreed to go to my parent’s house to help them with some things and he was totally fine again.  It is was like a sober-drunk-sober sandwich over the course of three days.  He is truly a Jekyll and Hyde. 
  3. The friend’s boyfriend. My good friend, practically my sister, is in a terrible and abusive relationship with an alcoholic.  She is 18 weeks pregnant and he just got his third DWI over the previous weekend.  I felt so badly for her- they were supposed to do the gender reveal for the baby on Thanksgiving.  But, I also do not understand why she stays with him.  I try not to think about it too much, because after 30+ years, I still do not understand why my mother has never left my dad.  Today, my friend’s boyfriend put his hands around her neck and pushed her against a wall.  He threatened her and then pushed her outside into the snow, refusing to let her back in.  My sister (her best friend) called her brother and he ran over to the apartment.  My friend’s boyfriend then assaulted him, was arrested and the brother is pressing charges, although my friend still will not.  I realized while all of this was going on, I was feeling such anxiety.  It is hard for me to be a good friend to her and support her while separating my own experiences and it brings back a lot of my own traumatic memories.  She is safe now and that is all that matters in the moment.

I am so thankful that I do not live with an alcoholic anymore.  My house is so calm and peaceful.  I feel such a sense of independence and freedom.  However, I also know that had my ex not gotten so sick and also cheated, I may not have ever left him.  That is a hard pill to swallow.  So, it makes me less judgmental of other women going through this.  I got an “out” and I took it and for that, I am so grateful.  I may not have shown strength throughout the bad parts of our relationship and I know I should have ended things with him years ago, but at least I put myself first when I got the chance.

Holidays can be so stressful and sad and sentimental.  I am trying to be positive, but I also know I need to allow myself to experience my emotions.  I have been through so much and I do not feel healed, but I know that I am in a much better place than I was a year ago, so if there is any silver lining, it is that.  But I am really tired of alcoholics…

How?

MCH, I don’t even know how to start…but I guess it doesn’t really matter how eloquent this is, since I am really writing it for myself.  Who knows if you will ever read this- or any of my other writing about you- but it does help me to get “it all out”.  I have been telling everyone that I have started to focus on myself and moving on.  That is a lie.  People marvel at my strength, compliment my ability to push through…it is all a facade.  I am destroyed inside- I feel broken in a way that there will never be a way to put it all back together.  I think I have accepted that, the same way I have had to just accept my dad.  Accepting it just makes it easier than trying to fight it.  I know I have lost you, probably forever.  The truth is that I haven’t moved on because I don’t want to- I don’t feel ready.

On my last day of school, when every other teacher was cheering for the summer, I received a message from someone who is virtually a stranger to me telling me that you went to rehab.  You and I had not spoken for one week and two days.  I told you to leave me alone- you were pushing me and provoking me.  I figured you would give me space and then in time, we could communicate on a level that wasn’t so intense.  When I found out you were already gone for a week, I cried until I hyperventilated.  In class.  In front of my students.  And then I walked out.  I did not say goodbye to anyone- I simply gave my ID and keys to another teacher and got in my car and drove home, two hours before dismissal.  I don’t even know if someone knew to cover my last class.  I got home and threw up so hard I broke blood vessels on my face.  How?  How could no one have told me? How did you not tell me? I guess you took it very literally when I said to leave me alone.  Even if your friend and parents hate my guts, I still deserved to know.

I am so sad.  So empty.  Just the day before I drove past your apartment, looking for your car and there it was, parked in your spot.  I wondered if you were sleeping or drinking or worse.  I cried as I drove away, knowing you needed this time apart, too, that it was for both of us.  And yet, as I stared at your apartment, worried sick about you, unbeknownst to me you were already across the country in rehab.

Your mother told me I should “be happy for you”.  I can’t believe she had the audacity to actually tell me that.  Happy feels like a foreign emotion right now.  I suppose it was better than your “best friend” who yelled at me and then hung up on me when I asked him why no one had the common decency to tell me you went.

I am so angry.  I want to punch someone.  I want to stand on the edge of a cliff and scream until my voice is gone. I am so mad at you, but I also miss you so much.  I am so mad at you, but I am so relieved that you are safe and getting help.  I am so mad at you, but I know I have to find a way to not let it eat me up inside.  Mad, sad, mad, sad…those are my two emotions.  But I smile and tell everyone I am ok.  I shrug and say “what can I do?”.  And inside, I am shaking with anger and holding back tears.

I read article after article about learning how to forgive, how holding on to trauma only hurts yourself.  I know you felt bad about everything that happened, but you would say you were “sorry”, like it was a blanket I could cover myself with.  That I could tuck every hurt and betrayal and all of the pain under it and the one “sorry” would apply to it all.

I want you to get better.  I say that it is the only important thing…your recovery.  That if you are sober, then at least all of this wasn’t in vain.  But those are empty words.  The price was too high and the suffering was too much.  Your recovery IS so important, but so am I.  I felt like the right thing to do was to put you first and I honestly do not have any regrets.  I would not change a thing I did.

My love, my soul mate- you are practically a stranger to me now.  I thought we would get through it, I thought there really was a chance you would get better.  Now I see how naive I was, how much I lied to myself because the thought of losing you seemed more painful than enduring your addiction.

I don’t know how to get through this.  So I will keep pretending- fake it til you make it, right?  I will just be “happy for you”, knowing that you are currently experiencing the most painful, difficult process of your life.  I will just be “happy for you”, knowing I will never put my arms around you and kiss your neck ever again.

If you become sober, I truly WILL be happy for you.  I will, I promise.

However, your mom is an asshole.

Love you more.

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I love my boyfriend.  I can’t imagine life without him.  But I will have to because I just broke up with him.  I love the movie, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and there’s a scene where Kristen Bell is explaining to her ex why she ended things and she says, “Oh, I tried. You have no idea how hard I tried. I talked to a therapist, I talked to my mother, I read every book possible…None of it worked. None of it made a difference to you and I couldn’t drown in you anymore.”  That’s how I feel.  My boyfriend’s problem with alcohol was drowning me.  I was nervous to come home from work at 2:45 in the afternoon because I knew he would most likely be sleeping or drunk.  For SO long, I justified his behavior by telling myself, “he isn’t mean.”  That became my only criteria.  My dad is a VERY mean drunk.  My exhusband was a mean person.  My boyfriend is not mean- sober or drunk.  But that doesn’t make living with him any easier and it doesn’t make his alcoholism any more tolerable.  What finally broke me was the lying.  The constant lies about not drinking, when all I ever asked of him was to be honest.  If he drank and told me the truth, I would not get mad or reprimand him- I would talk to him about what made him do it and why he did.  I don’t understand why he just. kept. lying.  I found bottles of half empty vodka in his car, crumpled bags from the liquor store in his filing cabinet and he so, so often smelled of alcohol, but would deny drinking.

I love my boyfriend.  Right now (and probably our whole eight years together), I loved him more than he loved himself.  He has a very low self-worth, which is probably part of the reason he drinks.  I wish he could see himself the way I see him.  If I made a pro/con list about him, there would be two pages of “pros”.  But under “cons”, in thick Sharpie marker, would simply be the word “alcoholic”.  And all the positive qualities in the world cannot cancel out an addition.  I love him so much that I cannot stand to watch him self-destruct before my eyes.  He sinks lower and lower and I feel like he is quicksand and I only have a short window to step out of it before I get sucked down forever.  I love him, but I love myself, too.  I had no choice in who my father was- I had to live with an abusive alcoholic for my childhood and teenage years.  I am an adult now and I do have a choice in this.

I love my boyfriend, but I honestly can say that I have done everything I can to support him in his desire for sobriety.  I have made sacrifices and protected him and probably enabled him, too.  I have felt like his caretaker for so long, I don’t even feel like a girlfriend.  I feel so alone, so often.  I thought because he wanted to change, he would.  And I truly believe he doesn’t want to be the way he is, but I also know that he cannot stop on his own and he refuses to get the help he needs.

I love my boyfriend, but there isn’t enough love in the world to love him out of this addiction.  He will have to learn to love himself first and I am scared for what is going to happen to him.  I feel responsible for him, but I also know I cannot change him.  I have always still loved my father, but it’s never been enough.

I love my boyfriend and I am heartbroken and we are living together still and it is awful and awkward and depressing and I get a stomachache every day and my anxiety is off the charts and he is angry and drinking more and I just need it all to stop.  And the only way I can do that is to stay committed to making him my ex-boyfriend.

Time flies…

When my sister was pregnant, so many people gave her the advice to enjoy every minute of the experience of motherhood. She heard the quote over and over, “the days are long, but the days are short.” Even being an aunt, I can see the truth behind this- in the blink of an eye, my niece is already one!

I can apply this to so many other parts of my life, too. Teaching, for one. This is the end of my 18th year being a teacher and it is hard to believe it! It seems like yesterday that I was finishing up my very first year. There are SO many days that feel endless, especially ones spent reading a novel with five classes filled with 28 teenagers, yet at the end of the year it always feels like it went so quickly. Here we are in June already- another graduation, another summer…

When I was a teenager myself I used to wish I was 30. In my mind, being a real grown up would mean having the ability to make my own choices. I would lie in bed at night listening to my parents argue and fantasize about having my own (very quiet) house and being “old”. And now I am almost 40…which is hard to wrap my head around. Of course the irony is that young people want to be older and older people miss being young.

When I was getting divorced, I lived minute my minute. The pain I felt seemed unending. I never thought I would get through it. Yet now, so many years later, it is like a distant memory. I guess time heals all wounds?

I already miss my niece being a little baby, but it is fun seeing her turn into a funny, happy (and sometimes stubborn!) toddler. I see her almost every day and marvel at all of the new things she learns. I wish it wouldn’t go so fast, but I remind myself it is better than it not happening at all!

Fall Back

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I think my dad is drinking again.  A few weeks ago, I talked to him on the phone in the morning and then again in the afternoon and when I hung up the second time, I literally said out loud to my boyfriend, “I think he sounded drunk”.  I pretty much dismissed the idea because he had a stroke two years ago (which led to his miraculous and unexpected sobriety) and so he does slur a little bit still.  But I also dismissed it because- to be honest- after two years of him not drinking, I got used to him being sober.  For the first year of his sobriety, I answered each call from him with that slight feeling of anticipated dread that it would be the time he would be drunk.  By the end of two years of sobriety, it shocked me how quickly I took for granted that he would be sober.  I guess what made it easier to acclimate was his complete and very abrupt stopping.  He was a horrible alcoholic one day…had a stroke…and from that day forward did not drink.  It was like a light switch was turned off.  Just like that…sober.

Now a little over two years later, that phone call that I stopped dreading finally happened.  There wasn’t anything obvious…just a slight difference in tone.  Really just something I can’t put my finger on that only the child of an alcoholic would even notice or know to listen for.  What was more worrisome was a couple of days later, my sister sent me a text with a screenshot of one of my dad’s emails.  She wrote, “do you think he’s drinking again?!?!?”  I immediately called her and told her my suspicion from the previous phone conversation with him.  We saw my mother that weekend and questioned her.  She just retired and is home all day with him and would certainly be the first to see the red flags.  She right away denied it and said she “would know” if he was drinking.  I decided to let it go- it was only a brief suspicion- and I wasn’t ready to confront the possibility that he could have fallen off the wagon.

Today, I got an email early this morning from my father.  In it, he included that my mother was mad at him because she found “a bottle of vodka under a cabinet” and that it was “several years old”.  My heart sunk.  Memories flooded back of being 13 years old and frantically searching for bottles of vodka in my dad’s various hiding spots.  I remember pouring part of one down the sink, the liquid burning my nostrils, and replacing the vodka with water…hoping it was diluted enough to prevent him from getting drunk.  My sister and I both called my mom and both told her the same thing- if he is drinking and she stays, she is on her own this time.

I can’t go through this again.  I can’t relive the horrible events from my childhood. I can’t stand by and watch and listen to him abuse us and my mother.  When I was 12 and he became an alcoholic, I had no choice.  I do now.  I just can’t do it.  Even just thinking about how he used to act- the horrible screaming on voicemails, the nasty, degrading emails, the ruined (and often frightening) family holidays- causes me to feel anxious.  I have made such an effort to become closer to him over these past two years.  But if he chooses alcohol over his family for a second time, it is going to undo all of that and I will cut him out of my life.  I just can’t do it.

A child of marriage

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Next month it will be two years that my dad has been sober. TWO. YEARS.  I still can’t believe it.  It’s probably the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me!  I would have never imagined him not drinking for a weekend, let alone TWO YEARS.  I read an article today about being a child of divorce and the effects it has.  I have never been able to relate to that because my mother stayed with my father throughout my childhood.  They have now been married over 40 years…I guess she took the “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health vows” very seriously.  It has certainly not been a romantic fairy tale at all.  My mother was a battered wife, for lack of a better term.  Why she stayed, I will never understand, because none of us ever expected him to stop drinking.  I don’t think she ever saw the light at the end of the tunnel and I think she stayed for lots of reasons- fear, security, love?, fear, dependency, money, fear.  I used to pray that my mother would leave and take us out of that abusive family structure.  My little sister would tell my mom she wanted her to divorce my dad as her Christmas present (so sad).  But, my mom stayed.  Through good times (rare) and bad (often).  I am many things that define who I am, but I am not a child of divorce.

And now I wonder…if my mom had left my dad, would I have any relationship with him at all?  Would he even be alive?  I think if she had left when I was a teenager, I would have just cut him out of my life entirely.  I know it is a little cheesy to believe “everything happens for a reason”, but in this case, it kind of does.  My mom never left my dad and I have been forced to figure out how to have some kind of a relationship with him for all of my adult life (thanks, therapy!) and now he is sober and “normal” and we do have a relationship- a pretty decent one, too.  I called my dad today, just to say hi and talk.  If you would have told me that I would have done that two years ago, I would have fallen on the floor laughing, because two years ago I would have had an inbox full of nasty voicemails from him on my phone.  Two years ago, I still had a separate email address dedicated for him because he would send multiple daily harassing emails…now I email him pictures of my dog and cat sleeping together on the dog bed, just because it’s cute.  Two years ago, I had him blocked on all social media…just a couple days ago, I considered friending him on Facebook (still a little hesitant on that one lol).  It is just weird how things can change so abruptly and completely.  I still will never understand why my mother didn’t leave when things were at their worst.  Maybe she was weak, maybe she was scared, maybe there were things that happened between my parents that I don’t even know about.  Perhaps being a child of a divorce would have spared me many years of pain and abuse and fear and anxiety, but perhaps it would have also robbed me out of having a second chance with my dad.

And he probably doesn’t deserve this second chance at all…but I do.

It would be MY pleasure

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Sometimes I have a hard time thinking about topics to write about now that my dad isn’t a drunk lunatic anymore.  It’s challenging to keep my “blog at least once a month” policy because I find that I’m leaning towards exploring more personal topics and other relationships, which is not the reason I started writing this.

I have written about my tendency to be a people pleaser in the past.  I know from doing research and through therapy that this is a direct result of my upbringing.  I am not usually one to “blame” things on my childhood, but this is a pretty obvious side effect of living with an alcoholic.  Dad drinks, kid tries to keep him happy so he doesn’t, kid “fails” and dad gets drunk anyway…and repeat.  Even though therapy is wonderful, I really didn’t need to have that one explained to me.

However, I have been trying to be a little less…pleasing?  For example, I have a good friend who over the years has become more self-absorbed.  When we talk or get together, conversation mostly revolves around her and her life.  It used to hurt my feelings, but I either just got used it or stopped caring (I think it’s the latter), although it still does bother me sometimes.  I decided to not get myself all upset about it anymore or to overanalyze it.  I can’t control other people and I can’t make anyone care about me more.

Sometimes I confuse even myself about whether I am genuinely doing something nice for someone or if I am trying to please them….like “please love me and think I am a good person”.  I have another friend (not the same one as above) who had some medical issues over the past couple of years.  I made sure to check in with her a lot, sent her little cards to brighten her day, and genuinely made an effort to let her know I was thinking about her.  I am pretty positive this wasn’t manipulative on my part-  I truly love my friend and was worried about her.  There was no “people pleasing” ulterior motive involved.  But, now I am currently going through a medical scare myself (not ready to address that yet) and this friend knows about it.  I told her what was going on a week or so ago and I am yet to hear from her since- no text to see how I am, no phone call to get the latest updates.  My boyfriend says that I expect too much from people…that I think people will do the things for me that I do for them.  And yes, I do.  When one person is making all the effort and it isn’t mutual, then that is not friendship.  I don’t think I am wrong for feeling that way!  Yet, I am disappointed a lot because my expectations are too high.  But I don’t want to stop doing the things I do because then I feel like I am not being a good friend.  So, I guess I am trying to find the right balance of how much effort to put into friendships where I feel like it is not reciprocated.

Memories…

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Now that my father has been sober for over a year and a half, sometimes I struggle with writing this blog.  I started this in order to deal with the things that my dad currently did…the nasty emails, the horrible voicemails, the dreaded family holidays.  I tapped into memories occasionally, but so much was still happening when I started writing this that I very much lived in (and had to deal with) the present.  I find that now I have a tendency to think about and reflect on the past more often.  Doing so has brought up events that I have not thought about in many years.  There have been times when my sister and I talk about things that my father did when we were growing up and they just feel unreal…like hearing incredible stories from someone else’s life.  It is almost like having to still deal with him protected me from having to remember the past and now that he isn’t actively doing anything all those memories are flooding back.

My dad was such a belligerent drunk.  He was scary and threatening and violent and intimidating.  He bullied and harassed and screamed and threw things.  But when I think back to my childhood and teenage years, what I think about mostly is the psychological abuse he inflicted on us.  He did such bizarre and strange things. He recorded phone conversations…I thought I was so cool to have my own phone number and phone in my bedroom as a teenager, until I realize that he had an extension of it also installed in his office, where he would listen to my calls.  I don’t remember ever getting a piece of mail that was unopened.  I have almost an obsessive need to check my mail now as an adult…like I have to get to it before someone else does.  He followed my mother, sister and me.  I remember coming out of school as a senior in high school and finding a note on my car that I was “parked crooked”.  You know that song…”it always feeeeeels like somebody’s watching meeeee”…yea, that was my life.  I told my boyfriend the other day how I had gotten into an argument with my dad and then stomped away, like a 16 year old girl will do, and locked myself in my bathroom to take a shower only to have my father kick down the door.  There was just never any privacy.  If we slammed our bedroom doors, he would take the doors off the hinges.  If he was especially angry at night, he would remove the spark plugs from my car so I couldn’t leave for school in the morning.  Even when he wasn’t home, it was like I was on constant high alert.  I dreaded the sound of the garage door opening announcing he was home from work- I would get a pit in my stomach knowing he was home.  Any semblance of peace in the house was gone as soon as he walked in.  And on the days he was “normal” and didn’t drink, it was almost even worse, because I never knew what to expect.  At least when he was drunk, I knew what was going to happen.

One of my most vivid memories was my mother, sister and I going to Costco on a weekend when I was about 17.  My dad seemed fine when we left.  When we came out of the store a couple hours later, my father was parked in his carnext to my mom’s car in the parking lot.  At that time, Costco was almost an hour away.  It was like he couldn’t stand to not be involved in whatever we were doing, or he didn’t believe that we were where we said we were.  Obviously he was drunk, so he could not drive his car home.  My mother initially asked me to drive him home.  I had my license but there was no way I was driving alone with him for an hour.  Eventually, she agreed to drive him home in his car and I would drive myself and my sister home in her car.  I started to drive away and came to a red light to exit the parking lot.  Unbeknownst to me, my father ran after the car and completely scared the hell out of my by opening the driver’s side door and pulling me out of the car.  I screamed for my sister, who was 13 at the time, to get out of the car and quickly tried to open the back door to get my purse.  My dad jumped in the driver’s seat and gunned the engine with me still leaning into the car.  He then proceeded to pull out of the parking lot with the back door open and my frightened sister still in the passenger seat.  I screamed and yelled and my mom tried to chase them on foot.  Luckily, for some reason, my dad stopped after driving just a few feet and I was able to get back in the driver’s seat.  I remember just leaving and not even caring what happened with my parents; I just wanted to protect my sister and get us out of there.  I drove directly to my boyfriend’s house so we didn’t have to go home for a few hours.  The weirdest part about this memory is I vividly remember seeing a police officer’s car in the parking lot and kept wondering why he didn’t help us.  I even called my sister to ask her about this and she remembered it exactly the same (and mentioned it was one of her most vivid memories).

That is a more extreme depiction of what we dealt with growing up, but I have so many stories like that.  It’s weird how the mind works- I had not thought about that in years, but memories like that keep coming back to me at random times.  It is like now that my mind isn’t being violated by a constant barrage of daily crap from my dad it finally has a chance to recollect these old events.  I’m not entirely certain that this is a good thing at all, but sometimes when I tell someone a story like this and they are incredulous about it, it makes me proud that my sister and I survived all that craziness and became the people we are today.

Father Flashback

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I have been having a really hard time lately.  My father had a hip replacement two weeks ago.  After the operation, he was very confused for several days.  The doctors assured us that it was an effect of the anesthesia.  My mom insisted my sister and I should not come because the hospital was an hour away.  For the first week, he had no idea where he was most of the time (he thought he was at Taco Bell, the airport, home, etc).  What was even worse was that he was mean.  He yelled and screamed at my mother when she would visit daily.  He was a very difficult patient- he kept trying to get up and fell once and pulled all of his various tubes out.  Towards the end of the week, he was hostile and tried to hit a female nurse.  The hospital had to call security and sedate him.  Throughout the week, I was very concerned about his behavior because he has not really acted like that since his drinking days.  I was worried about the stress it was taking on my mom.  Finally by the first weekend, he seemed to be more “normal” (we loosely use that word in my family).  He knew where he was and seemed to have calmed down a bit, although he was giving her a hard time about wanting to get cigarettes (he was on a nebulizer in the hospital and has sleep apnea so she refused to bring him any).

My sister and I decided to go visit him after he was moved to a physical rehabilitation center closer to where we live.  My mom had been there earlier in the day and said he was still cranky and difficult, but she felt it might do him good to see us.  My sister and I walked into his room and he instantly started screaming at us.  He told us if we didn’t have cigarettes that we should just leave.  He looked like a madman- he was screaming through gritted teeth and his eyes looked crazy.  He yelled that we are “fucking liars” and said not to come back until we had cigarettes.  I was literally shaking, but I asked him calmly whether he would rather have his daughters there visiting him or cigarettes…let’s just say he really wanted cigarettes.

We were literally there for like six minutes.  I started shaking and crying as soon as we walked back into the hall.  I was so shocked and startled.  I knew he wasn’t in a great place, but I was not expecting that.  I honestly think that while I was standing at the end of his hospital bed, I had a flashback to my childhood and teenage years.  My dad used to yell and scream at us like that every, single day while he was drinking (he drank every day from the time I was 12 until he had a stroke a year and a half ago).  For days after seeing him, I was so upset and angry that he treated us like that, but was also disgusted about how much it negatively affected me.  Looking back on it now, I don’t know how I lived through being treated like that all the time.  It was so horrible back then and this was a rude awakening I wasn’t expecting.  Over the past year, I have been very leery of getting used to my new “normal” dad and I guess I let my guard down.

Another week passed and my mom continued to visit him, but my sister and I never went back.  My mom said that he didn’t really mention it and I am not even sure if he remembers we were there.  We finally just saw him again for the first time over this past weekend.  My mom picked him up at the physical rehabilitation center and we met them for lunch.  He seemed a lot better, but definitely was still off and was not exactly nice.  Nothing was mentioned about our visit, which isn’t surprising- that is how we have always dealt with problems in our family (ignoring them) and there is never an apology.

But I feel differently now.  I felt so much closer to my dad right before his surgery than I had in 25 years.  I made time to call him a few times a week and I really put a lot of effort into our relationship.  I feel so let down and disappointed.  Even if he wasn’t of complete sound mind when he acted like that it still really hurts.  I felt uncomfortable around him when I saw him and afterwards I was in a bad mood for the rest of the day.   Growing up, we got so used to how he acted that it was so easy to shrug off how he acted or pretend like it didn’t affect us.  I don’t know how to do that anymore and I’m not sure I want to.

Fight, fight, fight…

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My sister and I are VERY close…but we fight like crazy.  I am 36 and she is 33 and we have always been best friends.  Weeeeellll…not always…there were a few teenage years that were rough.  But as a adults, we fight a huge amount.  I always justify it by saying that we fight “like sisters”, meaning that we get into a stupid argument and then make up five minutes later like it never happened.  Unfortunately, it makes the people around us crazy and it makes us look really stupid.  Today, we got into an argument over $1.50 in quarters.  Seriously.  Over the past year or so, I have made an effort to not engage with her in these dumb fights, mostly because of how much it bothers my mother and my boyfriend.  One thing I noticed is that my sister and I fight A LOT more when we are around my mom.  She often antagonizes or provokes me, but I buy into it and engage with her.  Like I said, I have been trying to just let silly things go.  What perplexes me more is the reason WHY we fight so much.  Some of our friends have suggested it is because we are so close- both emotionally and geographically.  We talk several times a day on the phone and see each other a couple times a week.  I think that because we grew up with our parents constantly fighting, we are both just accustomed to confrontation.  If you have never read my blog (ps thank you for reading, by the way!), my dad was a horrible alcoholic for two decades and would yell and scream at my mother and at us every night in his belligerent rages.  The weird thing is that I try to avoid confrontation with every other person in my life.  If I think a friend is mad at me, I literally become physically sick and I hate having to tell anyone how I really feel if I think it will lead to an argument.  My sister is clearly the exception.  My boyfriend’s theory (besides the fact we are both nuts) is that we fight for my mom’s attention because we oftentimes did not have it growing up.  My mom would be busy dealing with my dad or deflecting his rage away from us and even though she was an awesome mother, she wasn’t always accessible due to being preoccupied with my father. It really bothers me that my sister and I fight so much because I love her so much.  The only reason I am grateful for my tumultuous childhood is because it made us so close- I can’t imagine not having had her by my side throughout all we experienced.