Saturday, July 28, 2012

I bet I'm going to enjoy my time on Facebook a lot more now...

Just over a month ago, my mother sent me a Facebook message. It detailed that I was an unappreciative brat, who never took anyone feelings into account. And how my buying a pair of shoes was most definitely the worst action taken in the history of humankind. Now, I will admit that I am paraphrasing, because I didn’t save the message. I tend to delete hate mail, no matter who sent it. Usually when someone writes me a hurtful letter, I delete it. And then delete them from my life. But as this was my mother, I felt that really wasn’t an option. So I took a few days, drafted a response, rewrote it several times, and eventually sent a response. I apologized for not giving the gratitude and affection that my mother felt was due her. I explained some feelings of my own, and reminded her of the struggles I was going through myself, and how I also felt unsupported by her.

It was a difficult letter to write, as hers was difficult to read. A few hours later, I received a response. Not from my mother, from my father. Again, I was told that I am a terrible person, and that I should immediately apologize. I didn’t. And I don’t intend to. I didn’t start this fight. I meant every word I wrote. A few days later, my mother again wrote me. Telling me how spiteful my letter was, and terrible. (Again, none of these are the exact words. I don’t save negative letters. This is from my memory, so it is biased.)

I didn’t respond. There wasn’t much to say. I wasn’t going to apologize. And it was obvious neither were they. From the beginning, I thought it was morose that my parents had chosen Facebook as the platform for this conversation. If this had been done in person, the topic would have been over in minutes. An hour tops. Mom would tell me that she felt underappreciated. I would apologize, and point out that I didn’t feel supported by her. She would apologize. Hugs would be shared. It would be over. No one would have been dragged into it. Done. Fini. But because it was pushed through digital media, which I think we all know is risky because tone can not be properly conveyed, the ordeal lasted two weeks.

Or so I thought.

I thought this little war was over, when I attended our bi-weekly family dinner. I pretended everything was fine, and didn’t mention the letters. No one else did either. We all pretended everyone was happy, and ignored the large elephant we’d shoved under the carpet. This is what my family does, and we have all gotten very good at it. The only notable difference from other similar “let’s fake that we’re all getting along” evenings, is that I now refused to be hugged by anyone. I’d mentioned in my letter that I didn’t like being hugged, due to memories of sexual abuse resurfacing. That was the one thing I refused to fake for the sake of keeping the evening pleasant. I strongly feel that if I don’t want to be touched by you, you do not have permission to touch me. And if I don’t like you at that particular moment, I don’t want to be touched by you. After I walked past the first set of open hugging arms, no one said anything or forced the issue. Let’s get some food for that elephant under the carpet. He’s a growing boy. Things were pleasant. Tense, but fine. No one was yelling or throwing things. We were all playing nicely. I thought, given enough time, these dinners will become less internally awkward, and we’ll all get over being mad/hurt.

However, now my dad seems to be on a rampage. It may be his current mission in life to piss off as many people as he can. Are you religious? Doesn’t matter which one, he thinks you’re wrong, and an idiot. Are you political? He thinks you’re wrong, and an idiot. Do you like watching TV? He thinks you’re wrong, and an idiot. Are you breathing? He thinks you’re wrong, and an idiot. Are you him? He knows you’re right. Congratulations, you are the only intelligent person on this planet. It’s annoying when he goes into a rant, about how whatever group of people he dislikes du jour is wrong. But it’s tolerable because at least that anger and superiority isn’t targeted at you. Just wait though, because sooner or later you do find yourself targeted.

My father decided that the family should go see the new Batman movie, opening weekend. He decided this, after the shooting in Aurora, CO. His logic was that people would be too afraid to go, thinking that the same thing would happen to them. His logic (which was wrong, by the way, opening weekend numbers were very high) was that people are stupid, fearful sheep. When I told him, after receiving his invitation, “thank you, but no thanks”, I suddenly was lumped in with the “stupid, fearful sheep”. Apparently it never occurred to him that I just wasn’t in the mood to go see a movie. He posted arrogant comments on my Facebook page (again? Facebook? Are we tweens? Do we not have phones? Can we not talk via the telephone, or even better, face to face?), which I deleted. I found them offensive, and I didn’t want them on my page. Now, he’s posted a blog entry, in which he refers to all of his children as “small minded”. I don’t normally read his blog. It’s normally very political, and extremely bitter/angry. But he posted the link to it (again, on Facebook) publically, and the title mentioned Star Trek. I got curious, and read it. He writes that all of his children, are “small minded” because we don’t like the “Star Trek : Enterprise” series. He lists reasons, none of which really matter. I can’t recall which of the reasons were ones I’d given him in the past, and which of them were my brothers’ reasons. Again, it doesn’t really matter. The three of us, my two brothers and myself, are considered inferior in intellect due to the fact that we simply didn’t like a particular spin-off of a fictional TV show. Really.

Dad, if you’re reading this, and I doubt you are, because you probably don’t think anything I write is worth your precious time, what exactly did I do to navigate your aggression my way? When I was a teen, you abused me verbally. I forgave you. I didn’t wait for you to apologize. Sure it took years of therapy, but I forgave you. You literally tried to kill me one night. One of your hands was over my nose and mouth, and the other was around my throat. I forgave you. Again, years of therapy, but I forgave you. I could ask you do to the same for me, to forgive whatever it is that has made you so angry at me. But frankly, I don’t care anymore. Be mad at me. Drag your image of me through the mud as much as you want. I’m not watching it anymore. I’ve blocked your account from viewing mine on Facebook (your favorite means of communication it seems). I might see you at our next family dinner. Maybe, maybe not. That might be the day that I finally decide that trying to have a relationship with my mother isn’t worth putting up with you. I guess we’ll see.


Brandy Stegall said...

I don't know you, and I don't know the situation fully, but I understand similar pain, anger, and confusion. My parents, my mom, is a more passive aggressive version of your dad. I just wanted you to know you are supported by someone, because I think your blog is great. I hope this road bump comes to an end and your father gets over his anger and learns to treat you the way a DAD should treat his daughter.

Nikoel Anders said...

Brandy, you are favorite reader right now. Thank you for your supportive words. I wish you all the luck with your parents and your mom.