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Old 08-03-2016, 02:51 PM
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Nobody's doormat.

Hi folks. I know that there used to be a co-dependency forum here, but I donít see it anymore. I used to be addicted to alcohol. I have been sober for about 10 years. I hope it is ok for me to post here.

I have a problem that needs a quick solution before I say something that I might regret forever.

A little background: I am the daughter of a Dad who is not a substance abuser, nor a former substance abuser. He is in a co-dependent marriage with my stepmother. I was 7 years old when they married. I had visits every other weekend, and my Dad did not spend time with me. My most vivid memories of him during those times were of beatings. My Mother was neglectful and unable to handle parental responsibility, so I went to live with my Father when I was 13. From the time my Father and stepmother were married, she never wanted me around, and when I was 18 my Father severed ties with me.

In January of 2015, over 30 years later and after numerous attempts on my behalf to reestablish a relationship, my Father located me and informed me that my stepmother has stage IV lung cancer. Since that time, I have been ENORMOUSLY supportive, lending moral support, love, cards, handmade gifts, etc. Since that time, my stepmom has sent me one (1) thank you card, and that was over one year ago. She has not expressed one iota of gratitude since that time. My father has continually threatened to abandon me with regard to certain communication topics. He refuses to discuss the cancer, other family members (all of whom he has severed ties with as well), and in the last message I sent, when I told him about mental health issues I am being treated for and how my providers are not responding to my messages, he replied ďI might just follow their lead and sever all ties with you forever.Ē I am sick and tired of this abuse. It brings back traumatizing memories and he keeps threatening to traumatize me over and over again with these threats of abandonment.

Recently it was announced to me that my stepmother is nearing the end of her battle with cancer.

The above mentioned email culminated after I sent my stepmother a set of rosary beads (it should be mentioned here that she is a person of faith Ė during the one phone conversation I had with her, she told me she prays). They are both uncommunicative, so I donít know what she likes and dislikes. Every gift I have sent her has been thoughtfully planned based on information that I have gleaned from photographs I have seen and tidbits my Father has told me about her. Regarding the rosary beads, they belonged to the mother of a long-time ex-boyfriend who passed away from emphysema (her name was Gladys). They sat in a tattered old box in my drawer for over a decade, and I felt that it seemed selfish to not pass them along, and that perhaps they had a new purpose. I sent them along with a very loving note that said that Gladysís angel was watching over her, and hoped that prayer would grant her a healthier, happier, longer life as perhaps it had done for Gladys. Well, she went absolutely BALLISTIC. My Dad emailed me and told me that she was extremely upset and once again, I was very validating and supportive of her feelings (keeping my own to myself). I did not issue an apology. My thoughts about his last email were that he was attempting to evoke an apology, anger, tears, or some other such response. He mentioned that he has all this ďdamage controlĒ to do with her. Her response is unreasonably out of proportion with the situation. And SURELY she has had suggestions of prayer coming from every imaginable direction. Once again, she is attempting to push me out of his life.

My father and I communicate primarily via email. He is very self-centered and dominates each and every verbal communication (one of those ďcanít get a word in edgewiseĒ people). My stepmother is always within earshot. We also live 2500 miles apart. Itís been three days since the above mentioned threatening email and I have not responded. Frankly, Iím at the point where I would never respond to him again except to tell him that Iím completely done with him except that would be JUST WHAT SHE WANTS. I think he would like that too, just to keep the peace with her. Honestly Ė they are the most selfish people I have ever known.

Any thoughts on how to handle this?

Thanks so much.
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Old 08-03-2016, 04:35 PM
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Maybe my silence is message enough. Clearly they are both very insecure individuals. Maybe I am insecure myself. I missed my Dad. Why? I have to think that an emotionally healthy individual wouldn't have even allowed him back into his or her life. I don't even know if he would have ever contacted me if he hadn't found out she was going to die.

It's probably unlikely that she would die in peace if I decide never to respond to his email, but in her twisted mind it might because it's the kind of mentality she's comfortable with. I, however, am not. She doesn't deserve peace.

The past 30 years without my Dad has eaten away at ME like a cancer.
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Old 08-03-2016, 04:41 PM
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I wouldn't be surprised if you are dealing with more here, such as narcissism attributes and you are a scapegoat. I would suggest reading a little bit about it in families and a light bulb may go off, it did for me. I know it may be different but that is what I could offer as something to investigate. hugs to you. My story has many similarities in this area.
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Old 08-03-2016, 04:42 PM
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and welcome yours truly, stick around, you will get a lot of support and learn a lot.
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Old 08-03-2016, 05:17 PM
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Hi Ring. Oh yeah, he's definitely a narcissist or a sociopath, if not a narcissistic sociopath (not sure if an individual can possess one trait without the other).

I'm sorry you have had to deal with similar issues. It's a lot to sort through.

I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I'd hit the "thanks" button(s), but it's just my personal opinion that the feature is lacking as a personal means of communicating the sentiment. I wish I could remove the button from my posts.
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Old 08-03-2016, 05:27 PM
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I want to add that my Dad does use marijuana on occasion. There are many conflicting opinions about marijuana use; mine being that it's relatively innocuous while others consider it drug abuse. Being that this is a substance abuse forum I'll defer to the latter.
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Old 08-03-2016, 05:34 PM
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Welcome, Yours Truly, most of us here are codependent, I KNOW I am , so you have come to the right place.

I am so sorry for all you have been through, right since childhood, and I hope that you will consider some counseling to deal with the issues that surely must be a struggle.

I hope you hear the love in my heart when I say this...these people have abused you long enough, nothing you do or don't do will change them, they are toxic and it's not your fault, not at all.

Sometimes we just cannot get love and approval from people who refuse to give it. There is a great author who writes some great books about codependency, Melody Beattie, and she says "nothing is more frustrating that trying to get something from someone with nothing to give".

These people have no love in their hearts, so they are incapable of giving love to anyone, no matter how worthy. This is about them, and not about you.

There is a really great book by that same author called "Codependent No More". Many of us here found it touched us deeply and helped us figure out why we are the way we are and what we can do to rise above it all. I highly recommend it.

Stick around, others will want to greet you also. There is a lot of good information in the Sticky Threads at the top of this forum, you may want to take a read around.

I am glad you found us, you are among friends here who understand. I hope you will stay and continue to share with us on this journey of recovery.

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Old 08-03-2016, 05:54 PM
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Yours Truly, I found letting go of needing there approval empowered me greatly. it took a lot of study, therapy but my life has never been better. I still get triggered buy I am armoured with knowledge. Get exciting about removing the mask they display and making you carry what they hate about themselves and do you. It really can be a great journey for you with many positive outcomes if you are brave enough to see it for what it is.
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:02 PM
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Hi there Ann. Thank you so much for your thoughtful post.

I have heard of that book "Codependent No More". The other day I bought a book titled "Toxic Parents" but I'm being very careful with it because some suggest that the book promotes a lot of anger. In the author's defense, she does offer suggestions for coping with anger and it is, after all, a normal part of the grieving process for the loss of a "normal" childhood. If I choose to continue a relationship with my Dad, I will seek out Melody Beatty's book as well as one on dealing with a narcissistic sociopath. I just don't see how I can carry on with him and expect to be emotionally healthy.

And although it's beyond heartbreaking to hear it, you're right. My Dad and my stepmom have no love. And they don't change. The simple fact that they haven't changed after 30 years of absence is proof enough.

Ann, do you think it is the right move not to respond?
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ring View Post
Yours Truly, I found letting go of needing there approval empowered me greatly. it took a lot of study, therapy but my life has never been better. I still get triggered buy I am armoured with knowledge. Get exciting about removing the mask they display and making you carry what they hate about themselves and do you. It really can be a great journey for you with many positive outcomes if you are brave enough to see it for what it is.
No, I see it for what it is. I really do. It's the hope part that I can't get past. Hope that he would just be a normal Dad. I recognize who and what he is; maybe it just boils down to acceptance.
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:07 PM
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Yours,

I would let them go for now. Once your step mom is gone, your Dad might come around to you.

My Mom basically abandoned me at 5. My Dad didn't really care if I lived or died. He told me that once. Thank God one of my Grand Mothers loved me so much. My aunts too. Otherwise, I was just a little kid that nobody cared about. Pretty sad.

Back to you....I would not keep a light on for my Dad, but I might turn it on if he shows up. That will be up to you.

Otherwise, I'd let it go. You deserve to be loved. There are so many people in this world who will love you.

The internet has made the search a whole lot easier. In the mean time you have a caring gang of addicts right here to chat with until you get sore thumbs.
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:07 PM
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Well, acceptance could be tricky, too. Because then I could become trapped forever, lol.
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by D122y View Post
Yours,

I would let them go for now. Once your step mom is gone, your Dad might come around to you.

My Mom basically abandoned me at 5. My Dad didn't really care if I lived or died. He told me that once. Thank God one of my Grand Mothers loved me so much. My aunts too. Otherwise, I was just a little kid that nobody cared about. Pretty sad.

Back to you....I would not keep a light on for my Dad, but I might turn it on if he shows up. That will be up to you.

Otherwise, I'd let it go. You deserve to be loved. There are so many people in this world who will love you.

The internet has made the search a whole lot easier. In the mean time you have a caring gang of addicts right here to chat with until you get sore thumbs.
D, I think you're right. I'm glad I haven't responded to his hateful email. My lack of response will give the old man something to chew on and perhaps teach him some humility.

Though I'm not counting on the humility part.

Your comment about how your father told you that he didn't care if you lived or died reminded me of a time that my Dad told me "I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it."

I bet this thread has raised a lot of horrible memories on behalf of respondents and readers as well, and I am so, so sorry for that. :-(

Thanks for your message, D. It means a lot to me.
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Old 08-03-2016, 07:46 PM
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When I was a kid my Dad used to order my stepmom around, and one of the things I must of heard him say a hundred times was "Vic, hand me the remote." It keeps replaying over and over in my mind.

I flew out to visit them in May of 2015 and he was still ordering her around. I was appalled. I don't know why. . . .maybe it was because although she was still almost perfectly functional, she was ill; maybe it was because so much time had passed; maybe it was because I was seeing it through the perspective of a grown woman's eyes who doesn't take kindly to orders.

I think due his lack of conscience, his probable reaction to my lack of response is something along the lines of. . . ."Vic, hand me the remote." Lol! So I made it my signature.
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Old 08-03-2016, 08:17 PM
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Ann, you most likely wouldn't remember me, but I remember you from around the time that I created a prior account here. We never crossed paths much because I used to post primarily in the alcohol addiction forums. It was around the time of the late Dangerous Dan (whom I miss dearly), Muse, Don S, Music (is he still here?), etc. I posted here for a couple of years, was going through a lot of transitional issues with my sobriety and got caught up with a lot of nonsense. Anyway, there was a major upheaval, and a bunch of us were either banned or left at the same time. I wasn't banned, but I left. I created this account soon afterward thinking I would just start fresh but ultimately decided to move on. It's good to be back.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:47 PM
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Sorry to derail, but this place is like a ghost town. I mean, as far as the people I mentioned and then some. Even Chy's profile is gone. I heard she started her own forum or something. . . .I hope she was able to make a success of it. Sober Musicians is gone. There was a thread dedicated to Dan on this website that I bookmarked, and even that's gone. How sad.

Well, I guess I won't have to face a whole lot of "You don't know me, but. . . ." kind of scenarios. . . .
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Old 08-04-2016, 06:04 AM
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I remember all those people, Yours Truly, most were my friends too. Sadly, times change and people move on, sometimes for the good and sometimes not. Sadly, DangerousDan died a few years back, I don't know much how the others are doing but my prayers include them all. I don't know your name back then (you could PM me if you want, or not if you don't), but I am glad you came back to work on some painful issues.

You asked me if it was right to not respond, this is entirely up to you of course. Personally, I have found with some relationships in my life it was good for me to wish them well and then move on. Responding in anger, blame, shame, or any other negative motive does US more harm than them. They are incapable of remorse.

No response is okay, response is okay, just maybe examine your motives and how what you choose to do will affect you.

Leaving in peace is often what serves us well. Forgiveness is also about us, read my signature, that's how I feel.

You are not what your past would define you to be, you are a vibrant smart human being worthy of love and a happy life. Live it, find the joy, embrace the new freedom and enjoy every day.

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Old 08-04-2016, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Ann View Post
I remember all those people, Yours Truly, most were my friends too. Sadly, times change and people move on, sometimes for the good and sometimes not. Sadly, DangerousDan died a few years back, I don't know much how the others are doing but my prayers include them all. I don't know your name back then (you could PM me if you want, or not if you don't), but I am glad you came back to work on some painful issues.

You asked me if it was right to not respond, this is entirely up to you of course. Personally, I have found with some relationships in my life it was good for me to wish them well and then move on. Responding in anger, blame, shame, or any other negative motive does US more harm than them. They are incapable of remorse.

No response is okay, response is okay, just maybe examine your motives and how what you choose to do will affect you.

Leaving in peace is often what serves us well. Forgiveness is also about us, read my signature, that's how I feel.

You are not what your past would define you to be, you are a vibrant smart human being worthy of love and a happy life. Live it, find the joy, embrace the new freedom and enjoy every day.

Hugs
Ann,

Thank you very much for your kind words and thoughtful reply (and for offering to discuss matters privately). As far as my previous existence here, itís just that. I do need a new user name though because I donít belong to anyone. I do see that my old account is still active Ė maybe Iíll go back to it. Thereís nothing really to be embarrassed about. I mean, I guess thereís just some stuff there that Iíd just rather not rehash, so maybe Iíll add that to my signature or something. ďDonít be poking around!Ē Lol! But then, whatís the point of going back?

There is one thing, and itís somewhat tied to the thread here that I posted but Iíll get to that. When I left here, I was very, very angry with religion. Before I got online, I was struggling to get sober. I had failed repeatedly with AA (or vice versa). It wasnít until I got online that I discovered alternative methods of recovery. Basically I took personal responsibility for my sobriety rather than turning it over to a higher power and have been sober ever since. I respect that everyoneís approach to sobriety is different and if a spiritual program is what it takes to get Ė and stay Ė sober itís all that matters. But I digress Ė itís still a fine line with me, so Iíll try to keep it in the secular forums.

I have had a very, very difficult life, and my lack of faith hasnít been for lack of countless genuine attempts to reach out to god. I consider myself agnostic but lean heavily toward atheism. There may or may not be a god, but if there is, I donít believe IN him, and I never, ever will. That being said, it was a stretch for me to send those rosary beads to my stepmother. Personally, I donít think the end of someoneís life is the time to withhold spiritual support regardless of oneís beliefs, but I googled for advice on how atheists should handle issues with spiritual individuals at the end of their lives. Most atheists would simply express their appreciation for the personís favorable traits, happy times, etc. and would not offer any spiritual support at all. So this rejection on behalf of my stepmother was a HUGE slap in the face. Both from her AND from god.

Last night I felt really comfortable with my decision not to contact my Dad and was relieved. It felt right. Then when I woke up this morning I was feeling sorrowful and really, really sorry for them. I had a visceral yearning to reach out to him. It IS a very sad situation. After having written this post my sympathy has turned simply into pity. If there ever was such a thing as karma, and her death, his resulting loneliness and my decision to turn my back was meant to be, Iíd better roll with it. No doubt godíll strike me down in a heartbeat if I interfere.

Whether he exists or not, godís big fat head gets in the way of everything.
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Old 08-05-2016, 06:50 AM
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Dear YoursTruly
So sorry you are suffering.
Even though you are agnostic, I hope you don't mind if I pray that loving, peaceful people come into your life to replace those you lost. This has happened in my case, chiefly my higher power, whom I call God.

Please keep coming back for support here.
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Old 08-05-2016, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Eauchiche View Post
Dear YoursTruly
So sorry you are suffering.
Even though you are agnostic, I hope you don't mind if I pray that loving, peaceful people come into your life to replace those you lost. This has happened in my case, chiefly my higher power, whom I call God.

Please keep coming back for support here.
Hi Eauchiche. No, of course I don't mind if you pray for me. I don't view prayer as much different than meditation, really. Both of my parents were severely lapsed, non-practicing Catholics and never took me to church, but I went with my Grandma a few times. I watched her pray the rosary once and it was so beautiful and very intense. Her expression was so passionate. Catholic ritual in and of itself is.

Anyway, it was very thoughtful of you to post after my rant and I appreciate it. A bit of influence in the humility department never hurts.

;-)
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