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January 12, 2018

neat little bow, and how that's not going to happen

weak ass looking bow . . .
but couldn't think of another
picture that would work here. 
How do you photograph hurt
feelings and passive aggressive
behavior?  Just went with
the generic symbolism. 
Well, I would really like to wrap up this family drama issue that erupted on Christmas with a neat little bow.  As is the case with most emotionally charged situations (especially when people don't intend to hurt their loved ones, but can't apologize or attempt to repair the damage when they do), this train wreck won't be resolved . . . never mind the aforementioned bow. 

This is how we handled what was left of our Christmas night:  Coach stayed at home with Laddie and we texted and called one another while I attempted to compose myself in my folks' laundry room.  Eventually Lad settled down.  Then he was concerned about me.  Was I OK?  He texted me that he wanted me to pretend that he had run out of the party because his friend was in an accident.  A fake out that no one would believe, and wasn't worth attempting.  Lad wanted to act like a man of steel, as if he was not hurt and upset.  He also requested that all of our copies of the book be left at my parents' house.

I wanted everything to be different.  Can we just pretend that we are OK?  Can Lad come back to the party?  No, Coach informed me.  Lad was not coming back.  Coach would come back and collect me when the kids were done playing.  I splashed some cold water on my face and eventually went into the family room and sat on the couch.  I pretended to be engrossed in my phone.  I didn't want to converse with anyone.  No one tried.

When we got home, the kids told me that I wasn't the only one whose family was discussed in a negative manner.  Ann's divorce was the focus of her overview.  I read it over.  Dad did describe her divorce.  She was married to a narcissist.  She is a victim.  Ann's issues with having complete control over everything are not mentioned.  Trust me - her ex-husband is a monster.  Her little write up, however, can't be compared to how Lad was thrown under the bus.  It simply reiterates exactly what she wants the world to know and believe about her failed marriage. 

On the next page, the fact that Marie's kids suffer from anxiety is brought to light in her summary.  Again, WHY?  The way it is written though it seems to be something they dealt with as children.  No one is singled out.  I never considered asking Marie if she was upset that this was shared in the book.  There's really no point.  Marie works VERY hard to maintain her position of 'wonderful daughter who enjoys the same interests as our father'.  She is blind to anything negative concerning our parents.  It is gross. 

Dad's gushing over each of my younger brothers on their subsequent pages was par for the course.  A course where I simply stumble and fall flat on my face TRYING not to be overlooked. 

Coach and I tried to tell Lad that his grandpa was most likely referring to Lad's childhood behavior.  We pointed out that to grandpa this was just a fact.  The man likes facts.  Regardless of whether or not it was important to share or hurtful. 

After Christmas:  I saw Chip to discuss the ever-so-important 'where do I go from here?'  I expected Chip to be on the same page as me.  He was not.  Drum roll . . .

Chip thought this was typical behavior for my Dad.  Um, yes - I have discussed various family issues in the past with Chip.  He didn't think an apology should be expected.  He also pointed out that we could remind Laddie that he did, in fact, give us a run for our money.  True.  Again, I think there are many layers to the 'why' we were given a run for our money.  Finally, Chip thought that if Lad felt like having a conversation with my Dad that he could say something along the lines of:

'I didn't feel celebrated in this book.  If someone read this book, and didn't know me that is all they would learn about me.  It makes me feel like you don't know me.' 

Coach and I discussed this possible approach with Lad.  Lad was not interested.  He insists that he's 'done' with my dad.  That breaks my heart.  Coach did remind Lad that his grandpa is not a bad person, but that he made a mistake and was inconsiderate.  Lad didn't care.

In the meantime, my Mom made a point to tell me that Mini informed Dad that she read the book AND she liked it.  That is Mom's passive aggressive way of telling me, 'hey, people like this book - get over it.'  Nuts. 

Twice since Christmas Dad has interacted with my not-thrown-under-the-bus kids and made passive aggressive comments.  He invited Ed to a movie.  Eddie emailed him back saying 'sure, and I'm sure some of my siblings would like this movie too.'  (Ed wants no part in the favoritism that flows so forcefully from my folks).  Dad emailed back saying, 'OK, Lad and Tank are old enough to see it, but Lad probably hates me now.'  He took Mini to lunch (I believe he has a rotation plan in place since I scolded him this summer for playing favorites and only taking 'golden' grandchildren like Mini to lunch).  He told her during lunch that he suspected that Lad now hates him.  Seriously.

I honestly do feel bad that he was so incapable of understanding other people's feelings that he was able to write what he wrote.  I feel it cast a shadow over his great gift idea.  BUT  if I suspected that a grandchild hated me, I think I would try to repair the damage.  Regardless of how big a bow it took to attempt to make the issue neat and tidy. 

3 comments:

  1. i"m so sorry about all this. I wish I had the magic words to fix it. The only thing I have learned over the years is that you can't change people, you can only change your reactions to what they do.

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    Replies
    1. So true. I wish my dad felt compelled to apologize. Asking him to do so might lead to him attempting to justify what he wrote and could make things worse. I reminded Laddie last night that forgiveness is an important part of our faith. He brushed me off. I do find it harder to forgive when the offender hasn't asked for forgiveness. Ugh, such a mess.

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  2. Your dad sounds like a real piece of work. Sounds like you are racing wonderful kinds in spite of it all and your dad is the one missing out.

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