Family can be a real b*tch

Hey gang,

It is Sunday, June 15th tomorrow. A date that has changed dramatically for me over the years. Now it is just another day, and I’m very happy about that.

I’ve written about Father’s Day in the past but I want to touch on it again because family ‘stuff’ never goes away, and the bs that comes with these relationships hits home for most of us. The more we talk about it, laugh/cry about it, the healthier we’ll be. In my opinion, anyway.

Mothers Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, and Christmas are charged events because they a) have expectations, and b) usually involve family. These can be wonderful events but they can also be hard and stressful. Mine was the latter because unfortunately, Roy Ferris was a really horrible man. No dancing around it, no self pity, and no point in the ugly details, but trust me when I say, he was a detrimental and dangerous presence in out lives.

When he died my brother and I were actually relieved which made the decade after his death very challenging of me. When Father’s Day came along each year I would try to feel something emotional for him. Something simulating love or loss. I couldn’t do it.

Then I started to feel guilt. What was wrong with me that I didn’t miss my dad? Feel bad that he’d died? Was I a terrible person, missing some emotional make-up that most people have?

Then I spent a couple years being angry. Angry that he was making me feel guilty from the grave. Lol. Which is ridiculous; no one can make you feel ANYTHING without your permission…. Especially from the grave. You are in charge of how you feel. I know that is annoying to hear because it’s SO MUCH EASIER to blame someone else. Sorry. You are in charge of your thoughts and feelings. But that’s a topic for another time.

Then I got angry at him for not being a good dad. For not being there. For bullying, endangering, and manipulating his family. That lasted quite a few years, and boy was I pissed.

It has now been over 15 years since his death and I am at peace with my father. I did a lot of work on it and learned some very important things, so let me share them with you so you don’t have to put decades into figuring it out.
* your parents are really only ever doing the best they can WITH THE TOOLS THEY WERE GIVEN. My dad was a monster, but his mother (grandma Dolly) was even worse! He never got love, warmth or decency so he couldn’t give what he didn’t get. Poor bastard. He couldn’t do better because he didn’t know better.
* family is relation by blood and doesn’t automatically come with a stamp of approval to treat each other like garbage. Society puts pressure on us to accept horrible treatment, treatment we wouldn’t accept from our worst enemies, from our family. In the medieval times relatives had to stick together because survival was sketchy and people died early. They needed to stay close to STAY ALIVE. Thank gawd, we no longer need to do that, and we are able to decide who gets the honour of our time and attention. And it is an honour.
* every family has baggage of their own. I looked up to the people next door for years. I envied them. They appeared so functional and stress-free. Ha! I learned later that the dad had a drinking problem and was cheating, the mom locked the girls in a closet from time to time, and the oldest daughter developed an eating disorder because she didn’t think she was ‘good enough’. Got issues in your family? You are not alone. We all do. You just don’t see it. Family dynamics are complicated, and dramatic, and mostly happen behind closed doors. We are not perfect. Not one of us.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-dad…lol….If you’ve got a great dad and/or a great relationship with him then I am thrilled for you. Maybe even envious. But if Father’s Day is weird for you, don’t sweat it. You are not alone. Hallmark cards puts pressure on it to be this great movie-perfect day. F**k off, Hallmark. It is just another
Day. You can make it whatever you want.

Be well,

Sam
XO

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13 Responses to Family can be a real b*tch

  1. gail says:

    i never Ever knew my Dad,but i understand how you felt Sam about your Dad. i feel that way towards other members in my family…

  2. Cathy says:

    I recently was telling someone that their parents “did the best that they could” And then I realized that they really didn’t. People don’t always rise to that. And sometimes people could learn to do better, but they don’t. In the end though, I think we have to accept that they did what they did. And there may have been mitigating circumstances, for instance your father’s being abused, and we can feel empathy and forgiveness toward them. But I don’t think we can know if that was the best they could have done. I don’t know if this makes sense or even matters. Just something I was thinking about. I think the sad thing is that some people, given their internal fortitude combined with the circumstances of their birth, just don’t have half a chance of getting life right. And that is sad for them and the people in their lives. Given what you endured and what you have become, I salute your fortitude and applaud your awesomeness!

  3. Ally says:

    I feel nothing for my father. Nothing good anyway. He’s 85 now and he still is the most selfish, unpleasant man I’ve ever known..Today more than any other I am reminded of the fact that sharing genetic material doesn’t qualify as family. Not in my book. I hide my feelings about him from the rest of my family but today is the hardest day. I won’t get a thank you for anything I do so why bother.

  4. Dawn says:

    Fuck off Hallmark. Wow. I have said that so many times standing in the aisle buying the socially demanded cards.
    Family knows how to push buttons, piss you off, and hurt you more than anyone else on the planet. I’ve punched people for a quarter of the emotional grief I’ve gotten from my own parents.

  5. Melvin says:

    no thing can hurt you like family
    good or bad

    stand up straight
    that’s the lesson they left me with

  6. ickyemy says:

    This time last year, my parents neighborhood was on fire and they had a BBQ for father’s day. I was pissed. How could they be so insensitive? People died in that fire. Hundreds lost their homes. A friend of mine had 3 dogs who burned alive. But people deal with traumatic events in their own way. I am a runner. Shit goes down and I am gone before the smoke settles. It’s who I am because of the things I have been through. My dad copes by pretending nothing is happening. It’s no better or worse than running away, it just is what it is. I turned the big 30 this year, and the older I get, the more I realize that my dad is just a human like everyone else. He isn’t perfect, but compared to your dad and many others, he did right by me. He has always been there for me. He messed up a lot of things, but so did I. I like what you said about how we get to choose who we honor with our time and attention. My therapist recommends limited time with my family, because they are not exactly healthy people, but they are the only family I have, and ultimately I think I will regret not appreciating all the things they have done right. That’s not to say that I don’t still have feelings about the shit that went down when I was a kid. I didn’t end up in foster care for nothing. But I do believe my dad did the best he could. My mother, however, is another story, for another day.

  7. I celebrate Father’s Day with my son, who is a better father than mine or my son’s ever were.

  8. Tracie_Mishafan says:

    My dad Was not perfect, but he was a loving kind dad and when he died aged 63 i was devastated, miss him still after 19 years, i cant understand these men who have children and are total Bastards, children need love and guidance not abusive alcoholic emotionless perverse dicks.

  9. amber28wwmwd says:

    I agree with Cathy that saying “he/she did the best he/she could” is just an assumption. It’s dangerous to assume that. It lets them off the hook. It’s fine if you want to let them off the hook, but don’t devalue your own feelings or excuse the way you were treated just because it sounds nicer to say “that’s all they could do”. Maybe it was, but let it be a conclusion from logic, not a pithy phrase designed to end the discussion.

    In my case, it seems my father was similar to Samantha’s. He was abused, and he abused. I do not believe it would be accurate to say, “therefore he abused”. The very thing that pisses me off most about my father is that he gave up, and continues to do so. He slid into the role of Victim and has languished there his entire life. The only constraints on him (now, and since he left home the first time) have been the ones he invented for himself.

    Maybe your parent did the best they could, maybe they didn’t. You need to figure out how to heal from them regardless. Every situation is different, but the one thing that holds true for every single one of us is that we are responsible for what we do and who we turn out to be. If your parents are poison, avoid them, just like you would avoid any other poison person. I have this saying about bad dads: “Congratulations, your junk is functional, that does not make you a father.” Make sure you apply that logic to yourself as well.

    This is not meant for anyone in particular, i.e. I do not believe that Samantha or any of the commenters are NOT doing the best they can. I just mean that… well, I’ve seen people come out of bad family situations and just assume they can’t do better “because that was the best their parents could do” so obviously the whole family is just limited somehow. It’s a horrible thing and I don’t want anyone to do that!

  10. Melissa Cruz says:

    I understand where you are coming from. These days I celebrate father’s day with my two girls and their dad. My dad has been gone a year now and still going through all the emotions from sadness to anger and some pity as well.

  11. Ellen says:

    I have not always got on with my dad, I have been scared of him, I have hated him. But he is the only dad I will ever have. He has a serious illness and I don’t know how long I’ll have him, I choose to forgive and care for him, love him and thank him for making me the person I am today xx

  12. izstuart says:

    I agree with this so much, even though I don’t really have family issues. I just disagree on days dedicated to parents. I believe that letting patents know they’re appreciated is something that can be done in many ways at any time of the year, and these ‘holidays’ are just a way for card companies to guilt people into buying crap they wouldn’t normally touch. I love my mother and father, but I have never celebrated a marked day for them.

  13. Melvin says:

    i don’t even want to start with this
    I just heard today that my adoptive cousin had his childhood home torn down
    The house my grandpa built for his daughter and her husband as a wedding gift
    I can’t even describe the noises coming out of my throat

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