This is very good stuff Gary.

As many of you know about me, this has been one of my toughest struggles, but most rewarding. It was The Dreaded Mommybitch (TDM, as I'll now call her) who, with her third husband set me up as perfect fodder for my high school guidance counselor perp. I recently discovered it's likely her personality disorder is what's called narcissism. Alcoholism, selfishness, pettiness, controlling, incapable of empathy. And it's a no-win.

The better side of this is freedom to choose those with whom I will and will not associate. TDM's blood family, I've just discovered first hand over the weekend, is far more dysfunctional than I'd ever imagined. They're out. However, her third husband's kids (my generation) are sharp, responsive people and responsible parents. The love sharing their adult kids' accomplishments. For the first time as an uncle, I share their enthusiasm. I treasure our reconnection.

Though I was his adopted son, Dad is dad. And her first husband. His nephew and neices are similarly responsive...a particular bonus for me as we all share the same last name and considerable extended family.

What's most empowering about all of this is that, by taking that scary step, I have a familial support structure I never felt (or even knew) I had. And it's also clear TDM's run at being a demanding, unreasonable bitch is over, at least where my group is concerned. We've tried but - perhaps partially as a result of my reaching out - now we're getting back to our lives...without her. She's retreating in bitterness to her dysfunctional family roots where, imo, she belongs. It's pretty damn sad, really. As my step-sister put it, "What a waste." But TDM has made her own bed.

Here's the other thing Gary: I never expected any of this.