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No Contact made easy

Old 12-26-2011, 08:23 PM
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No Contact made easy

When I first came to this board back in *looks at her profile* 2006, I was debating going no contact with my dad. At the time, his drinking was spiraling and he was getting more and more belligerent, calling me names and insulting me repeatedly while having no memory of doing so the next day.

Fast forward to 2011, and surprise! He's more drunk, more belligerent and still drunk dialing me to tell me what a horrible person I am (only to have his words abjectly denied later).

And a little further into 2011: he's arrested on multiple felony counts. To the best of my knowledge, right now, grand jury is still open, and my dad has 29 felony counts already indicted against him. Until the rest of the evidence comes in, we won't know how many more counts will be added to that list.

So what does that have to do with going no contact? Well, see, like many ACoA's, I spent years trying to hold my family together (and more recently wondering why I bothered). So about 30 years of trying to keep my family a family - maybe it's just habit to try to hold them together now.

But this morning, my dad called my mom (he's not allowed to talk to me as I'm a state witness). He told her he was angry at me because "She's the one who put me in here." Yup. You read correctly. Because in the US, a single person can, with no evidence whatsoever and with no due process, lock a person in jail and keep them there under a multi-million dollar bail amount. It was not his own behavior that landed him behind bars, it was my doing.

He then went on to tell my mom that when he got out, he was never going to speak to me again. This is/was a long-standing pattern: he'd get nearly unintelligibly drunk, call me and tell me he was never speaking to me again. Then he'd bring me a token gift of some sort or invite me out for dinner or something along those lines. It became a running joke with my husband - any time my dad would say "I'm never speaking to you again," I'd tell my husband, who would ask in a sing-song voice "agaaaiiinn?" The difference this time is that he's been in jail, not drinking, for four months now. I can't blame the alcohol for his statements. Somewhere in my dad's head, a gear has slipped, and it no longer matters whether he's drunk or sober.

Something snapped in me today. I did not PUT him in jail. He committed multiple felonies. I didn't even know he had done it until this past July. Did I give the police information? Yes. They interviewed me. I told them what I knew. But had he not done the actions in the first place, he would not be in jail.

I had been sending him postcards, even though he wasn't allowed to contact me. No more.

It's surprisingly easy to go no contact with someone who isn't allowed to talk to you anyway.
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Old 12-27-2011, 04:39 AM
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Maybe that's what it took, forced no contact. I would also suggest that you limit your conversations about your dad with you mother...it accomplishes nothing, except to upset you.
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Old 12-27-2011, 04:45 AM
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I would also suggest that you limit your conversations about your dad with you mother
If circumstances allowed, I would. Alas, they are still married, though she's leaning very strongly towards divorce right now. And her dementia will prevent her from being able to navigate the divorce bureaucracy. I go to her house once a week to pay her bills and check on things and do little chores. He often calls while I'm there. She then tells me about the call.

And any time he calls her and it upsets her, she calls me.

I doubt I'll be asking about him anymore though. But I can't avoid the topic without leaving her in a lurch of confusion, anxiety and agitation.

Interestingly, this morning I don't feel upset. Perhaps it's shock or perhaps it's acceptance (sometimes I can't tell the two apart initially). I simply feel as if the inevitable has finally happened, the shoe that I've been waiting to drop has finally dropped. It is what it is.
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:47 AM
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29 felony counts? Wow...
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:09 AM
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My prayers are with you, Ginger. You seem to me like one of the great voices of wisdom on this board, who is walking the path before me, but in this instance, yes, I have been there, albeit on a much smaller scale.

My dad spent a night in jail for domestic abuse when I was sixteen. When he came home after two weeks away, he was blaming me, a 16 year old, for putting him in jail and humiliating him in front of the neighbors. He blamed the police for their tazers failing and injuring him (the fact that he refused to cooperate and come out of his bedroom--which they knew had firearms--had nothing to do with it.)

It was only a few years ago, nearly 25 years after the fact, that I came to understand in his mind, he almost without a doubt still blames me for that, and all these 'nice' things he's done for me all these years were, in his mind, him being the bigger person forgiving such a lousy, rotten, no-good daughter who would put her father in jail.

It's so hard for sober, rational minds to grasp the audacity, but they're locked in a hell of their own creation, in some respects, seeing things in such a twisted way.

(((Ginger)))
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:41 AM
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Ginger, sorry you have to deal with this but thanks for your sense of humor about it. I think going no contact will be good for you. I was asked to testify in a custody battle my family was having and my family lost after I told the truth in court. It was the hardest thing for me to do and immediately afterwards my entire family has stopped talking to me. But I get to have a relationship with my nephew still who the whole battle was about. He's a great kid and I'm glad he was taken out of my mothers home. God Bless You Ginger!
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:00 PM
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I do understand, however, does your mother have anyone else she can share her upset with? Sometimes, we all need a break.

My best..Dolly
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:27 PM
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Well once again kindred spirits. When my Dad was in forced AA in a lock up treatment he wrote apology letters to my 5 siblings and me. In theirs he was amazingly forthright and truthful, admitting his preference for my two sisters and apologizing for beating the other three. But, when it came to me, the 5th born, his letter stated it was all MY fault. So from 100 miles away I must have made him take my grandfathers rifle and try to shoot my Mom and then go on a drunken rampage that got him arrested. Yeah right. My fault. Maybe he singled me out because my Mom was living with me while he was incarcerated. But whatever the reason, I didn't really even care.

I think their brains are fried and they can't think straight. Don't be surprised by your Dad's logic, they have none or they wouldn't be where they are. I just say a prayer for you and your folks. Hang in there, you are not alone.
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Old 12-27-2011, 03:56 PM
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I'm sorry for everything that's bought you here Ginger but I think, in a way, maybe this was meant to be?

Have a great 2012

D
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Old 12-27-2011, 04:50 PM
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does your mother have anyone else she can share her upset with?
She sees a therapist once a week, but on a "dad just called and I need someone to talk to" scale? Nope, just me. She has no one else she trusts enough, and she has no one else who can understand.

She calls me for everything - today her modem/router needed a power-cycling and she called me at work (while I was trying to train 2 people simultaneously on 3 different things) asking me to help her fix it. *sigh* It took me about 4 minutes on the phone just to figure out what the problem was she was trying to fix.

So I get all of that. She's not spoken to her brother since they were teenagers. She has no friends close enough to her for her to vent to (she's got some sort of mental illness, along with the dementia, and her social skills are stunted severely). That leaves me and my sister, but as my sister lives several states over, my sister is no use for things that break, nor is she useful for venting about my dad since my sister has already said she wants nothing to do with him ever again.
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Old 12-27-2011, 04:52 PM
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Thank you all for your support. This has been an unreal and extraordinarily hard trail to traverse. And every time I've said to myself "It can't get worse, right?" it does.

Thank you again. I'm doing my best to continue to live my life by my own internal compass, to not live in a perpetual state of re-action, but rather, in a state of action, and to continue to be able to look myself in the mirror each day and be at peace with the person I see looking back at me.
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Old 12-27-2011, 04:54 PM
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It's so hard for sober, rational minds to grasp the audacity, but they're locked in a hell of their own creation, in some respects, seeing things in such a twisted way.
This is what I've been trying to explain to people who aren't ACoA's. It's really nice to come somewhere where people do understand without having to have it all explained. Thank you Rose.
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Old 12-27-2011, 04:59 PM
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Hi Ginger,

I really have no magic words to make this better for you. Just wanted to offer a hug :ghug3

I hope that this new period of "radio silence" will allow you to experience true peace.

Hugs, HG
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Old 12-27-2011, 05:31 PM
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(((Ginger))) - I'm so sorry you are going through all of this. You've been a tremendous help to me, and I wish I could do the same, but all I can think of now, is send extra hugs and prayers your way (more than I already do).

Amy
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:35 AM
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((Ginger))

I too wish I had words of wisdom, but I have none ~ but I do have lots of prayers and PINK HUGS for you ~ good thoughts for you of peace, comfort, and guidance for what is healthy for you!

Never forget you deserve the very best and it's totally ok for YOU to be the person to give the very best to YOU!

PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:09 AM
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Ginger, I too am grateful for the "don't have to explain" understanding I find here on SR. I hope that sharing here will be of some comfort to you. I support you in your continuing, shining Recovery.

I'm holding your intention to "be at peace with the person I see looking back at me" for you and wish you peace.
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:08 PM
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Dear Ginger,

Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately, I also understand.

Here are two examples from my life that made me shake my head in amazement ...

My father developed dementia near the end of his life. He was placed in a nursing home. After decades of hardly ever seeing him, I would visit every month just to make sure he was okay. During one of my visits, he started to express regrets for the life that he lead (he drank his entire life and basically died penniless). He then started to blame my mother, his ex-wife. They had been divorced for 37 YEARS, but in his opinion if she had stayed with him he would have been able to turn his life around. I did remind him that she waited 16 years for him to turn his life around.

Another example involves my mother. When my dad finally died, I held a small memorial service for him in the church he went to as a child. The service was less about him and more for me, my siblings, and my children. When my mother found out she was furious at me. She berated me over the phone for over an hour. How could I do this to her?!? She called me thoughtless, cruel, and blamed me for making her think about my father again. She said some pretty awful things and when I started crying she accused my of "turning on" fake tears.

My way of coping with undeserved blame/anger is to try and not take it personally. My parents were both dysfunctional in their own way. They have a lot of repressed angry and regrets. All this energy needs to go somewhere and unfortunately I was the lightening rod too many times. It has absolutely nothing to do with me. If it wasn't me, I'm sure that one of my siblings would have experienced it instead.

It doesn't make it right, but somethings it makes it easier for me to handle.

Hugs,

db
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:32 PM
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My way of coping with undeserved blame/anger is to try and not take it personally
I don't take it personally very often (oh, we all slip sometimes). It's still a very energy consumptive process though. It wears me down, even when I'm not taking it personally.

Right now, it's wearing me down more, mostly because my dad's behavior has become so erratic that it's scaring my mom silly (my mom is already a nervous person, and normally it's my job to pull her off the ceiling - but in this case, I can join her in her anxiety. He is acting erratic enough that the thought of him living with her again scares ME. But we will cross that bridge after adjudication). Every time he calls her (and he tries to call twice a day), she calls me to get herself grounded again. Then I try to call her at night to give her a chance to vent off the stuff that's been running around inside her head. I don't always listen all that thoroughly, but at least it helps her sleep.

I don't know how to explain it, but being told that it was my fault and that "this could have been handled differently" - well, there's a lot there. For one thing, he said that on a recorded call, which means that something has really slipped in his mind. He used to be a superb logistician and tactitician, and worked under high security clearance for the gov't. Saying "this could have been handled differently" is an admission of guilt - something a superb logistician would NOT do ESPECIALLY while on, not only an unsecure line, but a line he KNOWS is being recorded.

So my dad has officially gone nutters. He's not my dad. I don't know who he is, but he is erratic and unpredictable, and the swings that used to only be visible while he was drinking are now happening when he's not drinking. That makes for a dangerous man. I have no desire to speak with him again.

When I spoke of something having snapped in me, the snap was not an outburst of anger or a feeling of revenge or any of the usual suspects. It was a quiet thing. More like an acceptance - I'd been waiting for the other shoe to drop, I knew that it was going to drop, I'd been trying to prevent it from dropping, but it dropped. Okay. It's dropped, time to re-evaluate and move on. That kind of snapping. The last thread of attempting to hold my family together just frayed apart, not with a bang, but kind of like that last thread that holds a button on frays - the button's there one day and gone the next and you don't really know where it went, but you knew it was only a matter of time before it fell off anyway.

This has been a long time in coming, and it doesn't have that emotionally charged feel of a decision made in anger or haste. He can decide whatever he wants. He can blame me, my sister, his victims (he did that too). He can blame God, the weather, the US Constitution (document or ship, either/or). He can blame whoever he wants to blame. Those who know the truth will shake their heads. Those who don't know the whole story will come to their own conclusions, and quite frankly, any conclusion they come to will not be as bad as the truth.

It does help me greatly to have a place I can go where people understand the crazy that can lead someone to blaming me. Many of my non-ACoA friends (and my husband, who simply can't understand crazy, although he's coming to at least understand that he can't understand it) think he's being an a** and intentionally trying to smokescreen so he doesn't have to take responsibility. They don't/can't understand that it isn't him making conscious decisions - it's the weird skewed version of reality that he's reconstructed from bits of dust and string. There is no understanding it.

I really appreciate being able to come here where others understand that there is no understanding it.

Thank you all.
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:57 PM
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(((Ginger))) - I'm sorry for all that this is doing to you and your family, especially your mom. I understand why you help calm your mom down, as it sounds like she's not capable of doing that on her own, and I know this has to be hard on you. As always, I admire how you see things for what they are, and how you deal with it. I can't help but pray that you and your mom get some kind of break from the madness.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:07 PM
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My thoughts are with you.

One thing I have learned over the years is that I don't have to listen to it. If someone calls me and is telling me bad things about myself and raging, I can just hang up. For a long time, I would listen to my mom's tirades. I even listened to her VM tirades about me. I thought that she might say something important in there that I needed to know. Or, she might slip in an apology or something, LOL

I know what it's like to have a mother with mental illness. It's great that you are taking care of her. How about giving her boundaries about not talking about your dad's calls? Could you tell her that it is just too upsetting to talk about? Or, can you try to turn the conversation to something else? My mom is a very depressed person, and will often turn the conversation to the latest bad thing happening to her. I try to just not talk about the negative things and change the conversation to something more positive. That might sound heartless, but in my mom's case, the negative thinking just spirals out of control.

In terms of your dad, I don't know what to say. My dad is also a mentally ill, narcisistic alcoholic, so I feel your pain. It is not your fault that he ended up in there (obviously). He made the bad choices and he has to pay the consequences. It's not anything you have control over and anthing that you choose.
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