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#434803 - 05/16/13 03:32 AM Some Family Healing
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
I wasn't really sure how to title this thread...or, frankly, whether to even post it given many of the horrible stories we read here. I don't know that there's any point except this is my story of healing.

A lot of you know I was raised by an abusive adopted mother who had custody of me, had three marriages and moved me out-of-state. No siblings. That abuse particularly as she partnered with husband #3 as a tag team - set me up as perfect prey for my high school guidance counselor perp. Dad, his second wife and his family, with whom I was permitted very limited contact, were the only semblance of stability I had. His death many years ago devastated me because he was the only one who truly encouraged my interests. His closest brother's death just over a year ago, for some reason, gave me the inspiration to reconnect with my cousins...and my family name.

I have LOTS of cousins in a family that's proud of its name. But I took an aunt's vicious comments to me at Dad's funeral as the family's verdict on me. Hell, I already felt like an outsider and it seemed like more confirmation I wasn't wanted. It was familiar pain, not surprising and I just lived with it.

I was surprised the cousins welcomed me back with open arms. One in particular, who Dad had repeatedly encouraged to get into recovery as he had, connected with me. Not only was he like a second son to Dad, he has now become like an older brother to me. I almost cry when I think about this guy. His voicemails messages will start with, "Hi, this is your favorite cousin!" Touch! What started as a mutual connection between us and our fathers is developing into our own relationship, particularly as we gradually and candidly share the worst part of our personal stories with each other.

When speaking with another cousin a couple days ago, I felt it necessary to confirm the dead aunt's identity. I don't like family secrets. Within hours and with some trepidation, I also shared it with the "favorite cousin" who had earlier suspected I was referring to his mother. He was okay with it, especially when I explained I thought Mommybitch was the very likely source of the vicious aunt's vitriol. He knows the Mommybitch story, despite her attempts to keep her true nature under wraps for years.

The other significant person is my stepsister. We had a wonderful two-hour convo a few months ago during which we confirmed our impressions of the Mommybitch with each other and filled in a lot of blanks for each other. In short, the situation was actually worse than either of us had alone imagined. The woman's gold-digging, self-centeredness continues to leave a trail of damaged or destroyed relationships with almost every family member with whom she's had contact. (She was out buying tennis shoes while husband #3 lay dying the hospital!).

My stepsister and her brother have been saddled with meeting Mommybitch's unceasing, unreasonable, ungrateful demands almost by default. They're nice, emotionally healthy people whose patience is wearing thin after seven years. Though having ditched Mommybitch myself, I hope my opinion as her "son" carried some weight. In short, I told them I didn't see they were in any way obligated to an abusive stepmother who has a couple of emotionally-distant nieces and drunk nephew to fall back on. As far as I'm concerned, my stepsiblings would incur no judgment from me if they continued to interact with her less and less...or not at all.

My stepsister and I haven't had further contact. Nor did I put any expectation on her. What I took away from the convo was that we completely validated each other's impressions.

What's almost overwhelming is that in the past five months I've regained much of the family I for whom I longed for decades. Some individuals I like better than others. But I really, really have a family. Not as many shared experiences and connections as I would have liked, especially from our childhoods, but we're making the most of what we have.

#435309 - 05/21/13 02:39 AM Re: Some Family Healing [Re: Lancer]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5972
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
This feels like the warmest of hugs Lancer, thank you for sharing!

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#435322 - 05/21/13 04:50 AM Re: Some Family Healing [Re: Lancer]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6387
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
it's good to hear some good family news for a change.
mine shows no signs of improvement. i seem to have lost them all. can't relate to blood relations i mean.
still have wife and kids.


#435339 - 05/21/13 12:08 PM Re: Some Family Healing [Re: Lancer]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Thank you both. It's been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders that I've carried for years. Having just a few good connections - it's FOUR cousins so far, but who's counting - is incredibly validating. More than I ever, ever expected in the head count and in the emotional support.

This also happened as I started the new HIV meds which have turned back the clock on my fatigue to where I was probably a couple years ago. The combination of familial connections and the meds have lowered my stress to levels I can't remember ever having.

Not to sabotage - oh hell, perhaps I am - but seems my HIV is still a secret with the Mommybitch, despite my disclosure to her nine years ago in a letter. The only clue I have is that her drunk nephew pointedly asked me, "How's your health?" So, it's apparently The Big Shameful Secret. For example, I learned she'd never mentioned it to my stepsister. Sheesh. Same old shit.

Two feelings. One is that I'm glad I cut her and hubby #3 off when I did almost 25 years ago. Her handling of the HIV disclosure - perhaps hoping I'd die quickly? - tells me a lot. OTOH, probably completely irrational imo, I'm surprised she wouldn't at least have a third party, step-siblings for example, reach out to me when I clearly indicated I'd needed that when I was first diagnosed.

That's what's going on in my head lately. It's going to take a while to process. Perhaps, too, it's because I suddenly have the familial support I never had - at least on Dad's side - and don't always quite know what to do with it.

#435357 - 05/21/13 04:23 PM Re: Some Family Healing [Re: Lancer]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1345
I'm happy to hear that you have some good news!

Reading between the lines, it sounds as if you went into things with very low expectations---but have been thoroughly (and authentically) pleased with the outcome.

I've been riding pretty high lately, but I always wonder what might happen to ruin my good mood---a trigger---a self-induced sabotage of some sort. Focus on the good you've achieved. You have more people in your corner than you realized. Thanks for sharing.

I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before


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