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#201107 - 01/24/08 04:38 PM Saying Uncle
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Soooooo, a long time ago I decided that the only way to survive dealing with my abuse issues was to start writing out of my life toxic people - especially relatives - who just never seemed to have anything but callousness, disrespect, criticism, or disregard for me. Why should I trouble myself, I thought? I didn't act with any hatred or rancor. I just stopped trying to communicate with them and I stopped making efforts to see them when I was back in the States. I figured, okay, if anyone changes that will be fine, but I wasn't expecting anything, and sure enough, there was no reaction at all.

Until recently. One of the most toxic of my relatives is my Uncle on my Mom's side, an alcoholic and selfish self-absorbed person who could just never be bothered about anyone. He drank and painted in his studio in his basement, and at 0'dark:30 my aunt would go down and help him stagger up the stairs to bed. What a piece of work.

But now that my aunt has passed away he is seeing things differently. He was pretty broken up at the funeral because all the relatives he had spurned and disrespected over the years were nevertheless there to support him and console him.

Now he's in touch with me because he knows I will be in the States in March for my parents' 60th wedding anniversary. He also knows I have a lecture at Penn State and he wants to know if I need a place to stay and hopefully we can go out and have dinner while I am up there.

Huh? I was astonished. This so felt like an ambush, but my sister Cathie says no, he has indeed changed. At age 80+? Okay.

So yeah, I agreed. I am off to the lion's den in March, having vowed that I would never let this happen to myself again. In a way I'm glad I'm going this. I did decide I would be willing to get back in contact with any of these toxic characters who was willing to be at least as civil and decent as they would be to a stranger, and my uncle is being (genuinely) nice. If the whole thing goes pear-shaped I won't be badly hurt like I could have been a few years ago.

But Little Larry is working on his foxhole already. He should be halfway to China by March. I hope this works. If it doesn't he will be telling me "I told you so" for YEARS.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#201110 - 01/24/08 04:52 PM Re: Saying Uncle [Re: roadrunner]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
Great for you Larry. If this works out well maybe little larry won't be so quick to reach for that spade and start digging. I look at it this way.....ANY progress is progress. You go guy!!! and try to cut the guys some slack, he had his own demons and is 80+ facing his mortality and obviously rethinking his life.

He probably didn't have access to


Edited by Freedom49 (01/24/08 04:53 PM)

#201115 - 01/24/08 05:07 PM Re: Saying Uncle [Re: Freedom49]
James_dup1 Offline

Registered: 04/13/02
Posts: 1332
Loc: Wyoming

I so understand:

who just never seemed to have anything but callousness, disrespect, criticism, or disregard for me.

This is one reason I have not had any contact with ONE member of my family in over 10 years. Heck they dont even know what state I live in.

Be strong man. You have proven time and time again in your dealings here you are just that a strong man.


I have more issues than Rolling Stone!

#201117 - 01/24/08 05:17 PM Re: Saying Uncle [Re: Freedom49]
mogigo Offline

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
I would think things would be different this time around anyway Larry. I've also removed several toxic people in my life, but on occasion I do run into them. There is such a difference now though when I'm dealing with them. Before I always took all they're insults and crap as my own "they're mean to me because of me". Now it's so much easier, now I know they're just jerks and I have no control over that. It sounds like you know exactly who this uncle is now, and if he has changed then it just reinforces you're character that you can forgive him. If not, it probably wouldn't take much just to remove him again.


PS: remember my post on "be nice to everyone", maybe he's got a million stashed in that basement of his, lol \:\)


#201121 - 01/24/08 05:26 PM Re: Saying Uncle [Re: mogigo]
alexey Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 08/16/05
Posts: 1677
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Glad for you Larry, and I feel your ambiguity.

I am thinking of you.


When you feel all alone and unhappy, turn to you Inner Child and talk to Him.
You will see He can comfort you like nothing else!

#201124 - 01/24/08 05:39 PM Re: Saying Uncle [Re: alexey]

Registered: 08/12/07
Posts: 1298

I hope he is genuine and you are able to talk and be ok.


#201130 - 01/24/08 06:05 PM Re: Saying Uncle [Re: SEVEN ARROWS]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
I would NEVER pass up the opportunity to allow someone to redeem himself, especially if the personal cost is next to negligible.

You're totally doing the right thing Larry, and if you see a change in his character and accept him and embrace the stronger relationship that your next meeting may foster, well, what greater gift could one receive?

#201132 - 01/24/08 06:13 PM Re: Saying Uncle [Re: SEVEN ARROWS]
DanM Offline

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 540
Loc: So. California

I have observed in my family and in my wife's family, that some of the most toxic, mean spirited people have actually changed as they have aged. I am not sure if they sense their own mortality and decided maybe they have not been the nicest of people. Or, maybe they are lonely because most have avoided contact with them. In either case, my experience has been that they are actually pleasant and cordial.

Give it a chance and see what happens. What a wonderful thing if you could see a person change for the better before they depart this earth.

With warm regards,


#201285 - 01/25/08 01:40 PM Re: Saying Uncle [Re: DanM]
anyway90 Offline

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 148
Hi larry,

I feel a bit weird giving "advice"... but perhaps your uncle had issues himself...although I know that is no excuse for his behaviour towards you and his loved ones. It is indeed sad that he has only realized his mistakes during such a late stage of life. If you feel hurt when you meet him,or if he's still callous, then maybe you should forget about patching things up. But if you feel genuine empathy for a man who has changed, then you should probably give him a chance for love and redemption.

Edited by anyway90 (01/25/08 01:44 PM)


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