Monday, March 22, 2010

Finding My Center

Last Thursday I left work late after another extremely trying and stressful day to walk into a hornets nest. My phone had several angry messages waiting and people were calling to bitch some more. Basically, my dad was up to his games again. He had called late Wedensday night to ask my younger brother to help him with something the next day. My younger brother said he already had committments in the morning but would come over in the afternoon. He then called me to let me know he would be helping dad so I didn't have to worry about it. Well dad being the impatient, world-revolves-around-me person that he is decided that wasn't good enough.  Around noon on Thursday he called my older brother at work and told him that my younger brother was supposed to show up that morning and had not. Dad said he called him and my bro said he would be there in a 1/2 hour then didn't show up so dad called again and my bro said he was on his way out the door and 2 hours later had not showed up. So my older brother gets mad and calls my younger brother and starts yelling at him on the phone and they get into an arguement. Then my younger brother calls my mom and before I know it I have all these people calling me.

I walked into my dad's place and he was ranting at me about everyone and I listened for about a minute and then I lost it and yelled at him to knock this shit off. I didn't appreciate leaving work and having to deal with this and then told him that unless this bullshit stopped, I was walking and he was on his own. He immediately stopped and dropped his head. I have to admit I even shocked myself a bit. The act of yelling at someone is highly unusual for me. I'm the peace-maker, the logical one, the one who tries to solve the problems. When I yell, I mean business. After dealing with dad it was time to deal with my brothers. I called the older one and discussed that fact that dad had twisted the truth just to get him angry and we couldn't let him play us against each other; we had to be a united front. Dad was playing the poor-poor-pity me game and attention seeking. Negative attention is better than none, right? Plus he always wants to be in control.

Now I wish I could say that dad's manipulative behavior was related to his illness but that would be delusional in my part. He has always been this way-controlling, manipulative, selfish, narcissistic. He's never at fault, always the victim, always right, short tempered (he communicates by yelling) and just talks at you constantly. My uncle described him the best by stating that "until just recently he never realized there was anyone in this world other than him".

My parents have been divorced since I was six years old and all my life dad has done everything possible to keep control over mom, stalking her and interfering and destroying every relationship she ever tried to have. When I was a kid it was common for him to stalk around our house at night and peek in the windows trying to catch mom doing something with someone. When we went for Sunday visits with dad he would question me (at age 8-10 years old) asking if my mom had any men around and and telling me things like "you know your mother is having sex with *insert name*". Sometimes he would even accuse her of being involved with her cousin or nephew. How sick is that?!!! On these same Sundays when he was supposed to be spending time with his children he would drive my younger brother and I around all day while he was stalking some married woman he was running around with. I witnessed more verbal fights than I can remember, numerous physical altercations and my mom receiving one severe beating. This behavior continued on-and-off into adulthood. My mom had several restraining orders against him over the years; he would settle down for awhile then start again. When I was around 19-20 we even had a physical altercation when he showed up at my apartment threatening and refusing to leave my home. He then went to his job and told people how he was going to shoot my mom, brother (he was still a minor at the time) and I and anyone else who was in the way.

By the time I turned 30 I had enough. After one more terrible situation I just said to myself "I'm 30 years old and I don't have to deal with this shit anymore". I walked away and until he was diagnosed with cancer last fall, we had not spoken 5 words to each other in nearly 3 years. He came to me asking for my help. He needed someone to be responsible. I agreed and accepted the responsibility because I felt it was my duty.

Isn't it funny how posts sometimes mutate into something completely different than what you planned? I know I have a lot of unresolved anger and every time I try to put it aside, rise above and be the bigger person he has to act this way and remind me why I walked away in the first place...actually it tempts me to walk away again and just say fuck it once and for all. The only thing that keeps me around is my sense of duty--that duty to care for your parents. Why I feel it so strongly, I really don't know. Maybe it was instilled with me during childhood since my mom took care of my grandpa. Maybe it's from the years of working in the nursing home and witnessing how some families take no interest in their elderly/sick family. Maybe it's just part of being a woman. Maybe it's just my weakness.

Thats why this weekend I decided it was going to be about me. I had to just spend time doing what I wanted to do with the people I wanted to spend time with. I actually felt much better after my "blow-up". I just wanted to curl up next to A and have her hold me. She is my center, my peace, my stability and my saving grace. I think I've said before that from time to time we just need to stop and re-connect with each other; shut out the outside world and just be together. Maybe that's the key to our happiness together. We went shopping Friday night, went out for dinner and drinks with friends Saturday night, caught up on our episodes of The Soup, finally watched  "500 Days of Summer" (it's been sitting at my house for 3 weeks), spent time with the pups, rode our bicycles all over town and just relaxed in general. I feel renewed.

This is my idea of a nap. The newest foster puppy, Jayna, is sleeping on my chest, the old man, Giz, on my stomach and Orv at my feet. A took this picture and said at one time there were actually four dogs sleeping with me but Tim had moved when she went to grab the camera.

Today I was asked by the rescue to organize a "Meet-N-Greet" at one of the pet supply stores near my home. Basically we just set up an info table and talk to people about our rescue, educate about puppy-mills and the breed and show off some of the dogs waiting for homes. I've been to a few to bring my foster dogs for people to meet but have never actually done the organization of an event. It will be something new but it gives me a purpose and will do anything to raise awareness and hopefully get some dogs into new homes. Now I have plans for next weekend and once agin I will be focusing on doing the things I want to do.


Ms. Moon said...

I think it is absolutely no coincidence that you have chosen to work with dogs no one wants or has mistreated- dogs are nothing BUT gratefulness (well, except for mine) and anything you do for them matters immensely. Whereas with your father...
I can't believe you will have anything to do with him. You are a better person than I. And that's all I'm going to say about THAT.
I'm very glad you took a weekend "off." You certainly deserved it.

Jude said...

Don't you look all snug and comfy! I totally believe in having days dedicated to yourself esp with your situation.

That Jayna is one smart pup ;)

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I'm glad you are taking some time for you.

Love you, Mel. Hang in there.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the situation with your dad. That sucks. I'm glad you got some you time in this weekend though! It's ever-important. :)

Bethany said...

love that photo. and i think you're going to do a super duper fantastic job at the table. yay! such important work.

as for your dad, holy yikes. i hope he gets some kind of grip. and i hope you don't stand for much more. he sounds like he TORTURED not only your mother but you as well. Unbelievable, really. I don't know what to say except he doesn't deserve you, at all, and I'm sorry.

Camlin said...

I'm glad you took some time for yourself.

You must have a heart of gold.

jelly said...

It is good to take time for yourself, everyday if possible, but especially during stressful times.

I hope you can continue to work things out with your dad :-)

Queen of Ruckus said...

Ah, Mel! I love that picture! :) The dogs all look so comfortable. Too too cute! "Notorious Royal Marriages," huh? Is it any good? lol I too have been known to knock out on the couch, reading. Nice shot by A.
Unresolved anger is something that I am familiar with, sweetie. It has taken it's toll on me and I decided it was time to stop. So, I am now in therapy (which would explain my absence from blogging..well, that and my girl!) and I am working through those issues. I do think that it is important to try to come to terms with you dad, but at the same time, I understand how frustrating it can still be. Take more "me" time and relax, Mel! You deserve it, you know.