Posts Tagged ‘issues’

Brothers Again

July 9, 2014

Sunday July 6th, 2014 – Watertown, WI

2014 has been nothing short of a blockbuster personal year for me, and at the moment nothing else matters. It’s easy to take positive things for granted, and I think we all make that mistake on a regular basis. We focus on what we don’ t have and would like to rather than our greatest gifts.

Since my earliest childhood memories, all I wanted was to fit in with a family. Playing the role of the outsider grows old in a hurry, and I grew weary of it so long ago I can’t remember exactly when it was. All I know is what I wanted more than anything was to connect with my siblings.

I realize no family is perfect, but a lot of them I’ve seen are extremely close and there’s a sense of belonging and acceptance that I know I’ve missed for so long. It’s been unbelievably lonely to have gone through much of my life without that support structure, but I’m making up for it now.

Meeting up with my sister Tammy last month was a priceless gift. We got to say anything we’d ever maybe left unsaid, and there was no animosity or lingering soap opera story lines. We had a coming together for the first time as adults, and I know it’s going to be a permanent connection.

Today I drove to Watertown, WI to visit my brother Larry and his son Jake. Larry wanted to be at Tammy’s last month but he couldn’t make it. I think it worked out for the best because it was a chance for Tammy and me to clear any personal business we may have needed to. It was perfect.

Larry and I had our chance today, and it went exactly the same way. We hung out for the same five hour block of time Tammy and I did, but that was totally unintentional. I happened to notice the clock on my phone both times when I got in my car, and was amazed at how fast time flew.

While Tammy and I had our various minor issues over the years, I don’t ever remember Larry and me arguing, fighting, raising a voice or having a single cross word. Ever. He’s one of if not the most peaceful human souls I have ever known, and I appreciate him more now that I haven’t been in touch with him for so long. Getting to spend time with him today was a splendid treat.

I wasn’t going to jump on him for not staying in contact. That’s just the way he is. He’s got his own personal Mt. Everest of life problems to climb, and I knew it was nothing I did. I hoped we would be able to finally get back in contact, and now that we have I won’t ever let it lapse again.

Larry took the lion’s share of the abuse from our father. That poor kid took so many punches as a child – and for no reason other than our father was a sick mean spirited bully that needed to get help – none of us thought he’d ever make it to his 18th birthday. But he took it, and never bitched.

I don’t remember hearing Larry say even one negative or unkind word about the vicious son of a bitch, but I do recall him laughing pretty hard as kids when I came up with a nickname “Darth Father”. I think he may have felt ashamed for laughing, but he did anyway and I’m glad he did.

No child deserves to take as many cruel beatings as he did – especially when he did nothing to deserve them except being born at the wrong time to the wrong parents. I may have had issues of my own living with my grandparents, but it wasn’t that. My heart has always gone out to Larry.

We all felt horrible for him. Something of little to no real significance would infuriate the old man, and we all knew Larry would eventually have to take the beating. Some were much worse than others, but those bad ones still make me wince. I can still hear those screams, and I cringe.

Larry’s childhood was basically a forced labor camp. Our father was a notoriously cheap prick, and decided that wood heat was all that was needed. He forced Larry to cut the wood supply for the winter, and that’s basically all he did when he had any free time. What a waste of childhood.

Did Larry complain? He did what he was told, and all he wanted was to please that bag of shit. This went on for years, and no matter what problems I faced I always thought of Larry and knew that could have been me. I wouldn’t have handled it so peacefully, and I think the old man knew.

Larry eventually moved to Watertown, WI from Milwaukee, as that’s where quite a few of our mother’s family is from. Larry knows our mother way better than Tammy or I do, and he doesn’t have any ill feelings against her either. I’m telling you, he’s one of the calmest souls I ever met.

By all accounts, he probably should be in prison for a six state killing spree by now but he has worked at the same company for thirty five years and tried his best to carve out a life for himself. He’s a WONDERFUL father, and although he doesn’t have much whatever he does have goes to his son Jake and his daughter Gina. He tells them he loves them constantly – and really means it.

We went to have some pizza, and Jake was asking Larry about the material I do on my comedy CD about my brother beating me up all the time. Larry looked at him with a somber face and put his hand on Jake’s shoulder. “I sure did son, and BOY was it fun. Your uncle DESERVED it!”

Jake’s eyes got big, and Larry and I burst into laughter. I assured Jake it was only for comedic purposes, but even if he did beat me up I probably did deserve it. I didn’t go into detail about the beatings Larry took all those years, and it’s not my business. If Larry wants to share that, he will.

What I was able to share with Larry was some one on one time after we ate. Jake left us alone, as he knew we needed some time to reconnect. I told Larry I loved him and was proud of him for how he played the rotten hand of cards life dealt him. I told him he was a class act of the highest order, and I was proud to have him as my brother. The look on his face said it all. We both wept.

He shared some very deep thoughts, and said he still has nightmares about his childhood to this day. He told me he was filled with rage but channeled it by getting into martial arts. He’s nobody to mess with, and can pretty much handle himself with anyone walking the planet. He never uses it to show off, and never provokes anyone. He told me if he hadn’t gone into that he’d be dead.

I don’t think I could have absorbed Larry’s childhood, and I’m glad I didn’t have to. Mine was a difficult enough challenge, and I’m still mopping up the mess. Tammy has her own dung heap to navigate around, but at least now we can all help and encourage each other with the struggle.

The wonders these meetings are working inside my soul are miraculous. They are giving me an opportunity to get over my anger and issues and realize it wasn’t any of our faults. I need to meet next with our other brother Bruce, and we’ll get to it. For today, Larry and I are brothers again.

This picture was taken on the day I was brought to live with my grandparents. I was five months old. Look at my eyes. I knew.

This picture was taken on the day I was brought to live with my grandparents. I was five months old and separated from my siblings. Look at my eyes. I knew.

Fathering Forgiveness

June 16, 2014

Sunday June 15th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Happy Father’s Day! Those that know me well may think I have finally flipped completely, but I couldn’t be more sincere. I think this is going to be the best Father’s Day of my life, and it once again took me by surprise. At this point I don’t care how it took me – I am just delighted it did.

I have finally found it in my deepest being to forgive my father unconditionally for everything he ever did or said to hurt me. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I know that I have finally gotten over one of if not the biggest psychological humps in my life. It won’t be an issue again.

There have been so many things going on in my life lately, Father’s Day took a back seat in my mind this year. As with all the family based holidays that have been so difficult for so long, some years are better than others. This year Mother’s Day sent me over the edge, and that was enough.

I’ve still got some hurt I need to work through with her, but the old man and I have completed our business as of today. I think it was due to my sitting with my sister Tammy and talking about everything I felt a need to talk about on Friday. As we were looking through family pictures, we ran across his driver’s license and old work ID. Seeing him from a distance changed everything.

As a child, he was a giant fire breathing dragon to be feared. One little mistake or indiscretion could and often did bring the undiluted wrath of hell’s fury. Sometimes it involved beatings, but even getting yelled at with his intimidating snarl would strike extreme fear into every one of us.

He was a bully, and loved to get over by using fear and intimidation tactics. I eventually caught on to his game, and after that I no longer feared him. I learned to despise him and all bullies, and I have stood up to them in all forms my entire life. I’ve gotten some world class ass whippings as well, but at least I went down swinging. He was the inspiration for it, and the emotions ran deep.

For years and years no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t let it go. I read books and articles about forgiveness, and I knew they were correct by saying I needed to do it – but I couldn’t find the button and it wouldn’t go away. I thought I did a few times, but I was only fooling myself.

My step mother was the only person I ever knew that was in his class of evil, and between the two I had more issues than Mad magazine. She was the only humanoid I ever ran across that was in his league of evil, and as a child I prayed for her slow and painful death. Guess what? I got it!

It was only when I heard she had died that I was able to forgive her. My grandmother told me, and Grandma’s brain was in outer space due to Alzheimer’s. She must have told me ten times in two minutes, and when she did I immediately knew how wrong I was for wishing what I wished.

I was an adult by then, and when I heard the witch was dead I was able to see the situation a lot clearer than I could as a child. My step mother was a small town girl from the U.P. of Michigan, and came to Milwaukee the ‘big city’. Then she married Satan, and she had her cross to bear for the rest of her life. I’m not condoning her treatment of me, but I was able to forgive her for it.

I knew right then I was over it, and that it wouldn’t be an issue ever again. It hasn’t been, and it won’t be in the future. The damage is done, and I see things differently now. I don’t want to wish her soul to barbecue or anything like that. I’ve got my own problems, and wasting energy on her is not going to help either one of us. Getting closure on it all has been a huge load off my psyche.

I now have the exact same feeling about him, and I can finally dust off and move on. It used to eat at me from within, and quite often Father’s Day was a major trigger. I’d see my friends with good fathers be able to have someone to go to in times of need, and know I’d never have that. It made me angry, bitter and hurt more than I can put into words. Now, I don’t feel that anymore.

Do I still think he was a butt plug in the poop shoot of humanity? Without question. He was an all out loser that never should have had children, but he had his own problems. He was never that all powerful ogre he portrayed so well all throughout my childhood. He was a scared little boy all along, and didn’t want anyone to know it. He tried to cover it up by pretending he was a monster.

I think the biggest monster of all lived inside his own head. My grandfather used to tell me of how he would try to motivate my father time and time again and was never able to reach him. It always bothered Gramps, but he never stopped trying. When I got to be a teenager we would go out for breakfast once a week and catch up. He did the same with my father. It became tradition.

Gramps told me many times that between the two breakfasts each week I was without a doubt the adult of the two. My father apparently bitched about everything and was still that unsatisfied kid while I was growing into adulthood and maturing. For whatever reason, the old man was not able to figure life out. He told me himself that he was “a major underachiever and proud of it.”

There are a grand total of ZERO pictures of my father and me at any point in our lives. Not as a baby, not as a kid, and surely not as an adult. We didn’t have contact for years, and I talked to Tammy about that. She said he was a huge pain in the ass at the end, and made all of their lives a constant circus. I’m glad I wasn’t around for it, but I’m sorry they had to endure that for so long.

I know I’m not the only one that has had father issues, but mine were pretty intense. My friend C.J. Vincent reminded me that “you don’t forgive your father, you forgive yourself.” I agree with that wholeheartedly, but I think it’s important to be able to see things from the father’s viewpoint to do it completely. I’m not saying anyone has to forgive the actions, but knowing why is crucial.

My father was a coward. He was a social misfit, and had extremely low self esteem. None of it gives him a pass for how he treated us, but it sure does explain why. I looked at his picture on his driver’s license and ID card, and I saw a pathetic lowlife rather than that fire breathing monster.

I should have had Tammy make a copy of it so I could show it, but I didn’t think of it then. All I could do was just look at it with disgust and know with total certainty that it wasn’t any of our faults that we were treated worse than cattle by him. I think that’s what C.J. means by forgiving ourselves. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get to this point, but I can feel that I absolutely have.

That doesn’t mean I’m ‘fixed’ though. There are still a few bubbling issues with my mother to work through, and I’m just not there yet. I know it’s basically the same story and the exact same principle should be used, but I’m human and there’s still some hurt there. I’ll get to it when I do. Apparently according to Tammy she’s still alive, so maybe there will be a meeting in our future.

I have a strict limit of one crisis at a time, so I’ll just enjoy this victory and know that I just got dealt a bad hand in the parental department I’ll have to play out for as long as I continue to draw breath. The only kind of true revenge I can get is to be a father figure and mentor to as many kids of all ages that I can. I was shown kindness from Gramps, and that’s what I am going to use as a model to show others. I feel like I’m finally free from the dragon’s evil grasp. Next crisis please.

Father issues run deep, and unfortunately with many. Forgiveness can be extremely difficult, or even unheard of to some.

Father issues run deep, and unfortunately with many. Forgiveness can be extremely difficult, or even unheard of to some.

Apparently I'm not alone or this poster wouldn't exist.

Apparently I am not alone, or this poster would not exist.

Mother Flunker

May 11, 2014

Saturday May 10th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I am in pain today. It is excruciating pain. It is a pain so intense and overwhelming that I don’t want to live anymore pain. I thought I would never have to come back to this horrible place, but here I am. It is an ugly and a terrifying place. I wish I wasn’t so damn familiar with it. But I am.

It’s like my soul is a teatherball attached to a giant rope on a pole, and no matter how hard I try to escape I just come back to where I started. This is the place I have been trying so diligently to escape from as long as I can remember, but here I am again and I don’t know how to deal with it.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and I have been getting that stinging fact rammed down my throat every time I have turned on my radio for the last week. It’s been non-stop, and it’s getting to me just like Christmas ads. It’s unavoidable, and a constant reminder of what I have missed in life.

I must admit, I assumed getting back in touch with my siblings would finally remove that pain, and to some degree I think it did in the Christmas department. I felt a strong need for some kind of closure, and I got it. One dinner meeting doesn’t mean everything is now “fixed”, but it was a gigantic step in the right direction. At least they showed up so we could compare notes as adults.

I didn’t think we’d ever have the chance to do that but we did, and I know it was good for all of us. I’ve been in touch with my brother Bruce since, and it’s been all positive. He was the one that I never dreamed would be willing to come around but he’s been unbelievably great. I hope we’re all able to keep it going so we can heal. It took a long time to get it done, but it was SO worth it.

Deep inside I always felt that if we could just sit down peacefully as adults we would be able to talk things out intelligently, and that’s pretty much what we did. I don’t anticipate any arguments with any of them ever again, only because it takes two to argue and I’m not up for it. If they had smoldering issues with me, I’m sure anything would have been brought up during our meeting.

The issues we all had with our tyrant father are hopefully dead along with him. We don’t miss him, but we all missed out on a nurturing father/child relationship. He was a vicious bastard, and a bully to boot. He didn’t love himself and he sure didn’t love us, but his memory is now fading.

With my mother it’s a different story. All of us are united on the fact our father was a pecker of epic proportions, but our mother situations are all different. Bruce’s mother and I never hit it off, but I will say she doted over Bruce and gave him everything she could under the circumstances.

I say good for Bruce and good for her. She was forced into the role of step mother, and I have a whole different view of it now than I did then. Bruce was her only child, and I see why it worked like it did. It was brutal to deal with back then, but I get it now and have no hard feelings at all.

Whatever problems Bruce may have sure don’t originate from a lack of love and attention from his mother. In retrospect I’m very happy for him, because he doesn’t have that hideous feeling of total isolation that I have felt for a lifetime. It’s overwhelming, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

My mother Jean left abruptly when I was five months old. Tammy was 4 ½ and Larry was 2 ½, and that can’t be good for any of us. Kids need a father figure at the very least, but the mother is the source of loving and nurturing and life itself. Fathers take off all the time, but whoever hears of mothers doing it? I can’t think of many others, and most people can’t relate to the aftershock.

Looking back from an adult perspective, I have no doubt my mother leaving when I was at the age I was did major damage to my emotional growth. How could it not? I have to believe it was also devastating to Tammy and Larry. They were to the age where they had at least some sort of memories of her. Larry might have been a tad young, but I would think Tammy still has some.

I never talked about this with either of them, because it just never felt right. I was never all that close with any of them growing up, and it was a delicate subject that wasn’t ever brought up. Our father never sat us down and told us what went on, so it kind of got swept under the rug forever.

This is all very deep and personal, but I’m writing about it because I need to get it out so others that have similar struggles – and I hope they are VERY few and far between – can know they’re not alone and hopefully gain at least a little comfort in knowing others are suffering like they are.

I don’t enjoy knowing that others are in pain too, but it does make me feel a little less freakish. Nobody wants to be out there all alone, but that’s where I’ve been for as long as I can remember. I grew up with our grandparents, and Tammy and Larry stayed with our father who’d married the woman that became Bruce’s mother. They all grew up in the same house, while I was the freak.

People have told me my entire life to just “shut up and get over it already” and “that was in the past” and any other kind of half baked Zig Ziglar or Hallmark Card cutesy slogan. “God is in the driver’s seat” and “Everything happens for a reason” is really easy to say when you’re doing ok.

Well, I’m not ok and I know it. I’ve tried to “suck it up” and “hang in there” as long as anyone can, but after enough time passes one realizes the hoped for “ship” is just never going to come in. If it hasn’t by now, it isn’t coming. My mother left and never came back, and that’s what dented my can the deepest. If she was dead at least I could have closure, but she isn’t. All I have is pain.

My self esteem and self worth is completely in the toilet. How the hell could I expect to attract the ideal quality mate when I’ve got so many things still hurting so badly inside? If I at least had some financial security I wouldn’t be under so much constant stress to survive month to month.

The people that tell me to “lighten up your blog” can kiss the fuzziest part of my pink buttocks. This is not for you. If you want light and fluffy, go read Marmaduke in your morning newspaper. This is mainly for myself, but also those that have had to navigate their own insane life jungle. It isn’t easy even when things are ‘normal’, but for dented cans life can be absolute hell on Earth.

That’s where I am now, and I’m not going to lie. I am REALLY hurting to the point of wanting to end my life. I’ve had enough and I can’t stand the pain anymore. I have talked to a few shrinks over the years, and I guess it maybe helped a little at the time – but I don’t see what’s so different about writing about it here. The only hope I have is that it might give someone else a little hope.

No matter what happens, I can honestly and proudly say I have tried my best to pay back all of the bad breaks I’ve caught in life with good. I never thought I was the only one suffering, but my problems are far from what most others face. I have helped a large number of other people when I didn’t have to, and I did it because it was the right thing to do. Warts and all, I do have a heart.

What I don’t have is someone to go to when I need a boost. Where was my mother? I never got even ONE hug, or a cake for my birthday or anything a child is supposed to get from a mother. If you haven’t experienced that deep emptiness, you have zero right to tell me what to write about.

No matter how old I get, there's always going to be a lost little boy inside looking for his mother.

No matter how old I get, there’s always going to be a lost little boy inside looking for his mother.