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  #1  
Old 11-08-2017, 09:38 PM
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Default My abuser's lack of insight

Although my relationship with my abusive father is almost non-existent, I sent him a gift basket for his birthday, which he got a little early. He thanked me and said that I'm one of the very few people who still remember his birthday.

I have since calmed down (that was yesterday), but at the time I got really upset and actually cried. The problem is his serious lack of insight into his role as an abuser. He reminded me of his age and said that he's glad that, even though he may not have helped much (that must have been a reference to me), at least he never hurt anybody.

I told him that he hurt me, and not just passively, by being part of our dysfunctional family or by failing to do what a responsible father might have. He physically hurt me by pulling on my fingers so hard that two of them were placed in a cast for a couple of weeks. Also, a father does not push his teenage daughter to the floor (I don't know what I said but I was just braiding my hair and trying to pin it up). I could even have lied and accused him of actually trying to sexually molest me on that occasion, which he did not. Nowadays, that's the very thing other people would probably imagine if such an incident was reported (that one was not).

I also said that even though I was part of that family environment and my mother, not him, was the one who tended to stir up the most trouble, the fact remains that he was the head of the family and helped maintain a climate of terror. He may not have realized it, but I finally told him that when he and my mother were simply gathering around me to argue with me, I was afraid for my physical safety. It's not that violence happened a lot, but they were unpredictable.

I ended by saying that our respective life trajectories could have been better than they actually were, but we could also have ended up doing time in prison if not for the fact that some issues were resolved some other way or went unreported. I did not call him an abuser. I did not mention why there was a chance I could have ended up in prison too but he is aware of something, such as the story about how I had to reimburse some welfare benefits.

The reason I got so upset is that he would actually brag about how he never hurt anyone, as if hurting me was not a big deal or he actually had the right to do it. I told him that whatever the reason he thought he had at the time, he had no excuse. I can't believe his lack of insight is such that he would actually have the guts to brag about his "good" conduct to his own victim! He may not even have realized he did anything wrong.

I did not say this, but the social circumstances that used to enable him have been removed, so I think that's the real reason he's not like that anymore (he got better after we moved to a condo in a larger city where the walls have ears). To the extent that some of the change may have come from inside, it may just have something to do with poorer health and/or lower testosterone levels. I don't think he's a better person. Maybe if he had someone to abuse and could get away with it like he used to, he would still be doing it to this day.

We both used civil language. He sent me an email and I sent him a reply (a long one, it is true). Therefore, this was not the emotional verbal exchange you may imagine. I have not even told him that I got upset or that I cried.
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Old 11-09-2017, 04:16 AM
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Abusers ALL lack insight, when it comes to their actions. They see nothing wrong in what they have done and we the abusers brought the abuse on ourselves (as they like to tell us).
If he has not received any help, he is likely to still be abusing people in some way shape or form, as they do not just quit abusing for the sake of quiting.

It sounds like you have done some healing but still have contact with him, why? If someone has abused me, the last thing I would be doing is buying them birthday gifts or even giving them a chance to abuse me again. Even if I have healed and forgiven them, I still will not allow them to be in my life whatsoever, no matter my relationship with them.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:15 AM
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JustBeingMe is right - abusers don't have that kind of insight. They believe that what they do is right and justifiable, and they have little in the way of empathy. They can't understand why or how you should feel hurt, or that children can't process everything through the abuser's logic frame. Don't expect more; you're asking a stone to bleed, and it can't.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:20 AM
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Most of them are narcissistic personality disorder... they don’t think they are the problem and that’s why they aren’t treatable. Studying NPD is what gave me the tools to deal with my abuser.

I’m kinda struggling with the fact that you seem so smug about not falsely accusing someone of sexually molesting you. Umm... falsely accusing someone isn’t ok, no matter what they DID do. You don’t get to hold it over his head that you could have ruined his life by lying but chose not to.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:34 AM
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I am not quite sure what this whole post is about? I got you feel as if you were abused, maybe you were maybe you weren't. But why are you seeking attention and recognition from someone you claimed abused you is beyond me. I don't believe you are past it and that's more concerning then what happened.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:02 AM
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I was not being smug about not having accused him of what he didn't do. I was simply pointing out how, far from having a life well lived, he could have ended up in serious trouble and done prison. Honestly, what's the first thing most people would have in mind when hearing that a girl was pushed and pinned to the floor by a male attacker? Perhaps once upon a time it would have seemed hard to believe that her own father would sexually molest her. Nowadays, he would be suspected of that very thing.

Besides, other things could have happened (I did not elaborate). He could have killed me by mistake just as, I would assume, it is by mistake that he injured my fingers. The neck is not easy to break, but he could have broken my trachea or applied pressure on the carotid for too long, I could have hit my head while falling down when he pushed me, I could have fought back violently or stabbed him from behind once he turned and tried to walk away, etc. There are a number of ways this could have ended really badly. Some of them may not even be likely for us (I wouldn't have stabbed him), but once an individual gets attacked, very bad things can happen.

I was not seeking recognition from him. I simply sent him a gift for his birthday, which had been my habit lately. Since he is my father and nearly 80, it's understandable that I would at least do that much (we hardly talk). I didn't ask him whether he thought he lived a good life and never harmed anyone, he volunteered that information.

Last edited by prisonlady; 11-09-2017 at 09:06 AM..
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by prisonlady View Post
I was not being smug about not having accused him of what he didn't do. I was simply pointing out how, far from having a life well lived, he could have ended up in serious trouble and done prison. Honestly, what's the first thing most people would have in mind when hearing that a girl was pushed and pinned to the floor by a male attacker? Perhaps once upon a time it would have seemed hard to believe that her own father would sexually molest her. Nowadays, he would be suspected of that very thing.

Besides, other things could have happened (I did not elaborate). He could have killed me by mistake just as, I would assume, it is by mistake that he injured my fingers. The neck is not easy to break, but he could have broken my trachea or applied pressure on the carotid for too long, I could have hit my head while falling down when he pushed me, I could have fought back violently or stabbed him from behind once he turned and tried to walk away, etc. There are a number of ways this could have ended really badly. Some of them may not even be likely for us (I wouldn't have stabbed him), but once an individual gets attacked, very bad things can happen.
The fact that you are creating elaborate scenario's of what could have happened is very disturbing to me. I had a pretty good upbringing and to some more like a dream life, but I got smacked when I mouthed off to my parents and yelled at just like everyone else. I don't know how old you are but back when I grew up we wouldn't have dreamed of reporting abuse to the police, kids didn't have the same rights. Not saying abuse is okay but getting a smack or pushed or whatever wasn't considered abuse.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by prisonlady View Post
I was not being smug about not having accused him of what he didn't do. I was simply pointing out how, far from having a life well lived, he could have ended up in serious trouble and done prison. Honestly, what's the first thing most people would have in mind when hearing that a girl was pushed and pinned to the floor by a male attacker? Perhaps once upon a time it would have seemed hard to believe that her own father would sexually molest her. Nowadays, he would be suspected of that very thing..
Something about the way you wrote it is just bizarre... like... why would you even plant that seed? He wouldn’t be suspected of it unless, as you said, you lied about it. Not everyone immediately assumes sexual assault.

It sounds like a threat and I feel like it’s becoming more common for women to use that as a threat against men... “give me what I want or I’ll tell people you sexually assaulted me” knowing full well that even an accusation with little or no evidence will still wreck someone’s life (see: Zeke Elliott). No, no... I’m not saying that you threatened your father or anything, I just think it’s unwise to plant the seed of sexual misconduct where none exists. The situation is too volatile and the atmosphere far too harsh against sex offenders... even alleged sex offenders... for you or anyone else to be flippant or cavalier about throwing those words around. Just think before you say it and stick to the facts.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:20 AM
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Not saying abuse is okay but getting a smack or pushed or whatever wasn't considered abuse.
I don’t know, I think getting smacked and pushed and yelled at can be abusive. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss her experience... it affected her and still does...
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:53 AM
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But I was sticking to the facts: that there were a number of ways the consequences of what really happened could have been worse, for whatever reasons, whether fair, unfair, a little in-between or for whatever reason whatsoever. I was not saying that it would have been a good idea if the worst scenarios happened.

That being said, my father did, in fact, exploit to the maximum the power differential that was in his favour at the time, his parental rights while I was a minor (and what he still saw as such even afterwards), my financial dependency and difficulty making a living when I was young, the psychiatric system (I was never psychotic, suicidal, dangerous, etc.), you name it. Fairness and the truth were the least of his concerns, and since he used control mechanisms and lies that are hard to fight based on facts and demonstrable evidence, it is my personal opinion that it would not have been wrong to exploit, even by lying, the first opportunity where he was more clearly in the wrong and perhaps, as a female, I would even have had an unfair advantage if I were to report the incident.

But I never threatened to do so or specifically say that I should have, and I probably wouldn't have. I was just talking about how he could have ended up in huge trouble instead of being a retired professional with a clean record who says that he never harmed anybody. And hey, he could have lied too, for instance by saying that I was lying (or falsely believing things) due to mental illness.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:59 AM
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I don’t know, I think getting smacked and pushed and yelled at can be abusive. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss her experience... it affected her and still does...
I am not saying it wasn't abuse. I got yelled at smacked whatever I don't think it was abuse in my case. I think op has some twisted thoughts and I am really not sure if its her disturbing scenario's of what could have been that make me not believe her. I was in a bad DV relationship and never did I think to make up anything to make it worse or to punish the person. I was glad to get out and never wanted to see the person again. But I don't play the what if game. I know everyone deals with things differently but this just is bizzare.
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:22 AM
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Maybe it would have been bizarre if, out of the blue, I decided to confront my father at this point or threaten him to make allegations that I am no longer in a position to prove, if I ever were in the first place. I was just responding to his own comments about how he is glad that he got to live so long without harming anybody. I hadn't asked him whether he thought he did.

Do you realize that part of the reason he got away with his abuse is precisely that I wouldn't have been believed? And for good reason: it should take more than my say-so to put someone in prison, and many incidents happened in private and did not leave any physical evidence. Even on the strength of facts alone, not to speak of our apparent credibility and social power differential, I didn't think I had enough evidence to prove my allegations, if I were to report him.

And sorry, but I think that most of you are focusing on side issues instead of the real reason I even got so upset after so many years: that he actually had the guts to brag about how he supposedly never harmed anybody during his long life. And to brag about it to his own victim, without even being asked about it or otherwise prompted to raise the issue. I had just sent him a gift basket from Amazon and the note on it said "Happy Birthday" followed by my first name. I never asked him if he lived a good life or harmed anybody.

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Old 11-09-2017, 11:39 AM
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Despite reading about DV abusers and the results of their abuse, you seem invulnerable to the words.

You are, in fact, still pretty focused on revenge fantasies, which means you have a lot of work to do with the therapists you won't go to see.

That makes me feel really sad for you, because things can't change until YOU change them. Until you understand why your father would brag about not hurting anyone, until you realize that you were fundamentally nothing to him except an area where he could exercise power.

You need help getting out of the tangled forest of your own mind, prisonlady. I say that with all humility - I needed it, too. And it hurt a lot for a long time. But I did emerge on the far side, and I am better than I was.
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Old 11-09-2017, 12:25 PM
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If I was thinking of revenge, wouldn't I have cut off even this extremely limited relationship I have been having with him for the last few years? But I thought it's just wrong, since he's old and alone.

Thinking of it, he may have had other family members in mind. My mother divorced him really late and got to keep a fully paid condo and half his income even though she had not worked anymore since she was in her 40s. The child he loved and supported until he was nearly 30 is no longer talking to him. That adult child is a professional and he was in university or a recent graduate when he was living with my parents or father and he has moved to Europe after my parents' divorce.

The pretext used to divorce him (or perhaps the actual reason my mother eventually got so upset) was that he was seen with another woman. But that happened in his own condo in another city, as my parents were separated in all but name except whenever they would visit, such as during the holidays (my mother still had access to his bank accounts and credit cards). He lived there for 10 years or so while still supporting my mom and paying her mortgage. I would say that maybe that's why he used to be so afraid I may cost him a penny or two except that by then, naturally, I had long been living elsewhere and supporting myself, which is just normal (I left the parental home at a much younger age than my brother, for example).

So he may actually have had such people in mind and how he had been accused of things like breaking up the family and "stealing the family's money" (earned by him). My mom would actually use the term "inheritance" too rather than money, wealth, assets, etc. Maybe he simply forgot that I was the wrong person to brag about not having harmed anybody.
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Old 11-09-2017, 12:29 PM
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But I was sticking to the facts:.
The words “could have” don’t fit in a discussion that is sticking to the facts. Either it did happen, or it did not happen. He could have been accused of this or that, he could have killed you... but he didn’t.

What happened to you was enough. You don’t have to speculate or dramatize or embellish to make it more than it is. There’s no point system here... you don’t have to rack up a certain number of Abuse Power Points before you’re considered a victim. Just.. turn down the rhetoric a bit.
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Old 11-09-2017, 01:04 PM
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You don't get it. I am not speculating or embellishing anything for you. I have just pointed out to my father that he has no reason to be proud of having reached old age without having ever harmed anybody (in his opinion, that is).

I said to him that this is simply not true, so it is only by chance that he can now talk like this instead of having a criminal record and having served time. Things could have been worse, better or just about the same, but he has no reason to be proud of having preserved his reputation or a clean criminal record. It's not a matter of personal merit. It's just what happened.
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Old 11-09-2017, 01:21 PM
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Prisonlady, he's old because that's the way life works. He's alone because he's a manipulative SOB. He doesn't feel sorry for himself, but he's put you (over the years) in the position of being sorry for him. You get to carry the burden and he's scot-free. You go over these questions in your mind constantly, he thinks of none of this. You are still his captive because you won't do the work to get free. You keep up a relationship, regardless of how tentative, and have revenge fantasies. And you make your mother sound extremely manipulative, too, (which she may be) but with none of the doubts you express toward your father's behaviors.

The essence is this - YOU don't get it. You don't get that you're still enmeshed, that there's a way out, that this is a pathological pairing, you and he. If you don't do work about it, fine. But don't keep telling us we don't get it. We do, fully. You are damaged, and you won't do the work, possibly because you feel you're beyond repair.
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Old 11-09-2017, 01:30 PM
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I agree 100% with Nim.
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Old 11-09-2017, 02:20 PM
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But the relationship will inevitably end when he dies. I'm afraid of losing him, yet realize that at his age, he's living on borrowed time. We all are, but more so in old age. Wouldn't I feel worse if I had to regret not having had anything to do with my father at all during the last years of his life? My mother is a little younger. Besides, it was her who stopped talking to me since the divorce.

She was the parent who used to have a relationship with me while my father was even less present in my life than he is now. Now that I've thought of it, I think that he simply didn't think of me when he bragged about "not harming anyone". He thought of the life and the people who were truly part of his life, such as those who accused him of hurting his "real" family (my mother and brother).

I had tried not to get involved in their divorce issues and to remain rather neutral when they did tell me a few things. However, the reason my mother stopped talking to me is that I have nevertheless betrayed my true opinion on their financial issues.

It's not that they concerned me. It's just that, unlike my mother, I had been supporting myself, so I was thinking a little like my father. I realize that it's different when one is married, but I found it wrong for my sibling (actually worse, the sibling's girlfriend at the time) to confront my father about "stealing the family money", i.e. the money my father himself earned by working. And who was that girlfriend to interfere when, technically, even adult children are considered third parties in their parents' financial affairs? I had certainly not tried to interfere, one way or another, and I'm the daughter, not the son's girlfriend du jour.

Concretely, what I said to my mother that she did not appreciate is the following: I understand that she had the right to be supported by her own husband. I can't complain about that or say that I should have been supported too (unless, of course, I married a man who would).

However, my mother used to scream at me, in my father's presence, that I was going to be a burden to someone my whole life and expect someone to support me. Or, I did not do that, but she did exactly that starting in her 40s. [I did not say that but at the time, she did not have small kids and I was, in fact, a very young adult.] What right did she have to scream at me about how I was supposedly going to have somebody else support me when that's exactly what she was doing and continued to do?

That's when she ended up cutting off the relationship, although there was a very brief attempt to resume it a year later.

By the way, my paternal grandmother was a decent woman, living with the family and a mother figure to me. When I was a child, my mother used to work, so I was left with my grandmother a lot.

Last edited by prisonlady; 11-09-2017 at 02:40 PM.. Reason: Grandmother's role
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Old 11-09-2017, 05:41 PM
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You're still justifying staying connected to someone who hurt you physically and mentally. And every interaction and every exchange with him maintains your slavery. If you ever want to heal, to stop making excuses for him, to cry over who you should have been, you have to stop!

Mind you, I had to do the same with my mother, until I was strong enough finally to confront her directly. Which I did, defending both me and my brother.

You would have been appalled at our behavior when she finally died. The funeral director came to the house to wheel her out and sat down with us to show us coffins and vaults and such. My brother and I were looking through the whole damned book of funereal paraphernalia, and my brother said "I want to bury her myself, and 'way below 6 feet down, and when I'm finished, I'm going to leave the earthmover right on top of her so she can NEVER get out!" Poor man turned whiter than I've ever seen in anyone who didn't outright faint. We did actually cremate her, but in a plain box, and throw her ashes out in the Sound in front of her house, but not with any kind of ceremony.

That's how you treat someone who abuses you all your life. You make a party to celebrate your freedom! They have earned no better. And then you go onward deeper into that freedom.
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:12 PM
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Honey no one is saying you were not abused but get some help, we can't give you the support your wanting and I can't understand why this is still an issue for you? But that's not what's wrong your carrying around some very very old baggage and you either learn to live with it or let it go. The only people I know or have known who still carry that kind of baggage either end up on drugs or alcohol, or on some other addiction. Get some help you need it, I am not trying to be mean but eventually your parents are going to die do you want this between you???
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:27 PM
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I understand that my mother has already made her own burial arrangements. She chose cremation. I would have chosen a traditional burial with a marble cross, at the very least, and the rites of our family's traditional religion even though I am an atheist (this is what I would want for myself too). My father, I don't know if he has arranged anything, but he lives far.

I would attend the funeral in a proper black dress or I would not attend, but I certainly wouldn't make any scene or any disrespectful comments. It's a matter of showing some class. If the actual individuals who happen to be my parents are as they are, that's no excuse not to show some respect to the family as an institution, to the family as the extended family largely composed of innocent people, to my lineage, including my deceased ancestors (the nice grandmother who was my father's mother, for example), and to myself as a member of that family and as someone who, genetically and through upbringing, resembles those people.

If I were to disrespect them, I would be disrespecting myself, because I have inherited a random selection of chromosomes among their own, half from one and the other half from the other. I'm not going to disrespect myself or the people who knew them as a brother, sister, aunt or uncle (or some other kind of relative) rather than as my abusive parents. I wouldn't want my uncles or cousins, for example, to think that I am disrespecting them by disrespecting their brother, uncle, sister, aunt, etc. I would not throw a party. I would actually wear mourning clothes every day for a while out of tradition and respect.
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:34 PM
xolady xolady is offline
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Originally Posted by prisonlady View Post
I understand that my mother has already made her own burial arrangements. She chose cremation. I would have chosen a traditional burial with a marble cross, at the very least, and the rites of our family's traditional religion even though I am an atheist (this is what I would want for myself too). My father, I don't know if he has arranged anything, but he lives far.

I would attend the funeral in a proper black dress or I would not attend, but I certainly wouldn't make any scene or any disrespectful comments. It's a matter of showing some class. If the actual individuals who happen to be my parents are as they are, that's no excuse not to show some respect to the family as an institution, to the family as the extended family largely composed of innocent people, to my lineage, including my deceased ancestors (the nice grandmother who was my father's mother, for example), and to myself as a member of that family and as someone who, genetically and through upbringing, resembles those people.

If I were to disrespect them, I would be disrespecting myself, because I have inherited a random selection of chromosomes among their own, half from one and the other half from the other. I'm not going to disrespect myself or the people who knew them as a brother, sister, aunt or uncle (or some other kind of relative) rather than as my abusive parents. I wouldn't want my uncles or cousins, for example, to think that I am disrespecting them by disrespecting their brother, uncle, sister, aunt, etc. I would not throw a party. I would actually wear mourning clothes every day for a while out of tradition and respect.
I have to say I would never do that either and I don't believe in disrespecting the dead, JMO. I was never abused as a child so maybe I don't quite understand so I can't say how I'd feel I just hate anyone who still has live parents to feel like you do, I know it's my problem. But life is to short and you can never take back what you do. So if you can't get to the point to forgive then just stay away, for your own sake.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:24 PM
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I have already chosen - green burial (shroud, no embalming, nature preserve). My father was a minister, and he's been properly buried and mourned. My brother's dead and properly mourned. It's not that I'm incapable, it's simply that we had no respect for our mother; she emotionally destroyed everyone she was around. And was told she was doing it, and justified it because she just had to be right.

And remember, funerals and memorial services and such are for the living. They are our way of showing our feelings, and my brother and I did. Respect is earned, but she never earned or showed any interest in earning it. We were browbeaten, maligned, dismissed, berated (I have this insanely clear memory of being sat down for an hour and a half lecture/rant about getting a B+ in handwriting on a report card). Our respect mean nothing to her, and in return, we gave her none. We were simply glad that the poison was no longer dripping into the porches of our ears.
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Old 11-10-2017, 11:52 PM
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Prisonlady, This is my first post because I wanted to reach out to you. I’m worried about you. I’m a nurse and have done some work at homeless shelters and a tribal jail in the past.
I hope you will take this in the good intentions that I am feeling. Your posts on this topic with your father seem a bit chaotic and the writing is really off for you. I clicked on your profile and I read a post you wrote in October and it was very clear and logical.
Do you have close friends who would give you honest feedback about what they think about your current state of mind or do you have a doctor you trust? I think it would be great for you to have some additional support. It’s so important to take care of yourself and perhaps take a step back and get some rest and some good. I wish you well.
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