A Rare and Priceless Phone Call From My Dear Brother

Zenster, coming from (on both sides) a caring family as I do, it’s hard for me to cocmprehend the pain you have gone through. I can’t imagine not being part of my family.

But as as already been said here, and better than I could, it still doesn’t sound as if you have totally let go. How could anyone though? I will pray for you, that you achieve the peace your heart desires.

Keep on with that circle of friends. It’s not blood, but love, that counts. I have two second cousins that were adopted from a Korean orphanage. They are plunk down on the family tree diagram with no special distinctions. As they should be.

And hey, I have several family names I could let you have. I am proud of them all.

Zenster darlin’ - just as you were there for me earlier this week… likewise, and then some.

My family is a lot like yours, although I was able to avoid some of the poison by cutting off all contact with my biological father and three of his sons 21 years ago. It was easy at the time, and it wasn’t until several years later that the angst hit, but I only spent about two years wallowing in “woulda coulda shoulda” when sense kicked in, and the bitterness went away with it. Now I am a very grateful person, because I made good choices for MYSELF, and my husband and daughter have benefitted as well. I can now proudly give my daughter the family I chose for her to have, composed of both blood relations and “family of the heart.”

Be good to yourself and your future. Settle for nothing less.

Oh yea, and just so you guys know…I’m not gay or anything…

But you do have the crabs, right?

Zenster, you’ve been dealt a shitty hand in the Family Bridge game; it sounds like you’re dealing with it as best you can.

I’m tempted to say something like “you’ve clearly got a lot of anger toward your family, and while that may be understandable, it’s not healthy, and maybe you should consider blah blah blah.” But I’m not going to, because it’s not my place to be giving you advice on family matters. You’ve had a rough time of it, and you’re dealing with it. If what you’re doing works for you, then keep doing it.

Sorry you had to deal with this. Oh, and as long as you’re legally changing your name, have you considered “Max Power”?

Oh goodness Zenster. How awful…(((hug)))

I think you’re doing the right thing. My husband cut his mom out of his life 2 years ago and since then I have never seen him happier…You don’t need that ca ca in your life.

Keep on doing what you’re doing. You sound very strong. Yay for you!

Zenster, there’s an old saying: you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your relatives. And you sound like the type who’s got a lot of friends.

If you want to let your family go, then do it. I’ve known a few people who have done the same; they’re happy with the choice they made. If they had chosen otherwise–well, I hate to think what may have happened. Ultimately, though, they didn’t seem to think they had lost anything; except possibly ulcers, heart problems, etc. etc. You get the picture; I’m sure.

You’ve got friends, you’ve got the SDMB, and I’m sure you’ve got a lot more going for you than your family no doubt thinks (and as you no doubt know). Head confidently into the future, buddy; don’t wallow in the BS of the past. Good luck!

Riiiiiiiiight…the crabs I got…from not being gay…

(Stands up, smiles broadly and wildly applauds Zenster)

Way to go, man.

And don’t beat yourself over the words of a few who would tell you that you need to forgive them, blah, blah. In time, you will hopefully be able to do that. On your terms. People shouldn’t be trying to make that a guilt issue for you. That’s just plain wrong, no matter their high and mighty motives or words.

I’m with Jackelope on the name thing. :stuck_out_tongue:

There are some of you who are mentioning things like forgiveness, reconciliation and unlisted telephone numbers. Here’s some perspective.

I’m not about to change my phone number. I’ve had it for almost twenty years and it is the one way my family has to contact me in an emergency. Had I changed my number, I would have missed a final chance to talk to my dying Danish grandmother last August. Rest assured that my phone book listing shows no address. There are limits.

As to forgiveness, some things are essentially unforgivable. I find it especially so when the person who has done all of the harm is unwilling to admit the least responsibility and instead pretends like nothing ever happened. I find that sort of blithe and uncaring attitude beyond disgusting. No, past hurts and harm DO NOT need to be the central topic of discussion at all times. However, if they cannot be faced up to AT ALL, then the same abusive mechanisms still remain firmly in place and it is nearly worthless to try and make any progress. My father has NEVER made even the slightest attempt to recognize the harm he has done to his own children.

I can still clearly remember hearing my father say;

I can also remember my frantic mother trying to pull him off of me when the stick he was using had a nail in it. I recall standing in the doorway of our dining room and watching my father slap my oldest brother across the head so hard that he temporarily lost hearing in one ear.

Only decades later did I find out how my oldest brother had been sent to the hospital with a broken collarbone at age three. My father had thrown him back down into his playpen because he would not stop crying. My father had a particularly vicious streak in him. I can only wonder that the potential loss of face for being known as a wife beater (I never saw him physically abuse my mother) forced him to vent his rage upon us children.

Were any of us boys so lazy as to leave our toys on the lawn over the weekend, my father would make a point of running them over with the power mower. Since my father was a school teacher, all of us had rather meager allowances. The toys we bought for ourselves were pretty well treasured. There was a particular odor of cruelty to finding our favorite play things strewn across the lawn in an unrecognizable scattering of mangled bits.

This sort of callous behavior wasn’t limited to our toys. I can still remember getting separated from my father and brothers during an afternoon shopping trip. The store was a solid ten miles from our house. I recall wandering around the store for another hour or so looking for my family. After a while, I gave up and began the long walk home. Nearly half way home, dark had fallen and as I walked alone alongside the road. Suddenly the family’s car pulled up and I was treated to a sound beating at the curb. I couldn’t have been more than eight or nine years old at the time, if that.

The nearly total inability of my father to show any love led him to immerse himself in his work. He became chairman of the PTA and president of his district’s teacher’s association. He was rarely home for dinner (a blessing, I suppose) and was gone a lot during the weekends. My mother began to work as a travel agent and did so well at it that she was given free tickets on SAS for a vacation back to Denmark, her mother country. My father was intellectually lazy enough that he had never bothered to learn much Danish and didn’t want to go. I can still remember how during one of my mother’s absences on a trip back to Denmark, all of us were fed TV dinners every single night for weeks on end.

Around that time we finally acquired a television set. With my mother overseas and my father out late each night, us three boys were supposed to hie ourselves off to bed at the proper time in his absence. Of course, we would stay up and watch television until we heard a car in the driveway and then dive into bed fully clothed and pull our covers up before my father got in the door.

He quickly learned to place his hand on the still-warm television set to ascertain whether we had stayed up past our bed time. Then he would haul us out of bed and spank us for disobeying. Finally, he got it down to an art. He would turn off his engine and headlights, noiselessly coast down the driveway and barge into the room where we three sat watching television so as to catch us by surprise. Much later in life, a girlfriend who had a psychology degree listened in horror as I told her about this. She thought it was one of the sickest things she had ever heard.

In reflection, I have to agree with her. From all appearances, my father wanted us to misbehave so that he could take out all of his frustrations upon us. I wonder how it was possible for someone who had fathered three children to not understand that kids aren’t going to show any devotion to someone who shows them no love. I’m rather sure this never occurred to my father and probably hasn’t crossed his mind to this day.

All I know is that I will never permit myself to be such an unloving person. I can forgive a lot of things, but I refuse to forget when someone has been viciously cruel. I would be an idiot to do so.

All righty then. I’ve had enough of this maudling about for now. I’m off to visit my friend, aloha aloha. She and I are going to hit my favorite hole in the wall fried chicken shack up in Hayward and then head out to Half Moon Bay for a pumpkin patch art and wine festival at the coast. After that, we’re going to hit the docks and buy us a fresh caught salmon off of one of the boats. It will be dressed according to the Chez Panisse method my friend taught me and then find its way into an herbed poaching pan to be served with lemon, butter and capers.

All in favor, say “aye!”

Life is good when you have the brains to love your friends.

I’ll see your Aye and raise you an Amen, Brother.

Yummy, fresh caught salmon.

You will heal on your own time. There is nothing to forgive if the abuser does not show remorse. Meanwhile, tuck away those lessons learned on raising children. You know very well what NOT to do. As to what to do…well, you kind of pick that up as you go.

Besides, you’ll be robbing your father of the greatest treasure, his grandchildren. And worse off, he will never know what he is missing.

Actually, come to think about it, Zenster would be a reasonable sirname.

Don’t know your first name, but consider the following examples on for size;

Tom Zenster
Bob Zenster
Frank Zenster

Seems to work, doesn’t it?.

I like the concept, but then you’ll probably be forever known as one of those dorks who changed their name to something computer-related. Remember that DotComGuy…err…guy from the late 90s? Total dork.

And I’m a dork for remembering…

As to name change.

I was fortunate enough to be given a rather patrician sounding middle name that serves perfectly well as a surname. All I did was delete my last name from any legal documents. I’ve not had to learn a new name and my only sacrifice is that I have no longer have a middle name.

Best of all, if I really wanted to, upon getting married, I could take on my wife’s last name if she did not want to abandon it. There would be zero loss upon my part seeing as how my surname is completely artificial. Some female friends of mine have expressed great approval for this idea.

Another not-so-fond memory came up while reading my previous posts.

Whenever any of us boys would neglect a final order to clean up our room, my father would enter, fling open the window and proceed to shovel everything on the floor out the window. It mattered not if it was fragile or precious, out it went.

I’m glad to say that today was very enjoyable. Unfortunately another 250,000 people thought so too. Traffic was so backed up going over hill to the coast that it was faster and less ennervating to drive north twenty miles and come down the coast to Half Moon Bay. By the time we got to the docks all but the largest salmon had been sold.

Buying a thirteen pound fish for $65.[sup]00[/sup] just didn’t fit a dinner-for-two equation. We strolled around just for the halibut and passed up some of those too. Some sole looked more like something from a cobbler’s bench and was nixed as well. The very last boat we checked had some black gill rock fish. One was a seemingly puny little four pounder. We bought it for a whopping $8.[sup]00[/sup] and took it up to the the fish market to be cleaned for another buck. The salt dogs on the fishing boat chided us, saying that we would regret not having bought one of the bigger fish. They extolled this odd looking fish and mentioned bringing it up from 200 fathoms (almost one quater mile underwater)!

They were right. We had two moderate fillets to show for our troubles. I gave them an egg wash and panko (toasted bread crumb) coating, then plated them with fresh picked English peas, Brussels sprouts, a breaded sirloin pork chop on the side and some pan fried white potatoes. A little home made tartar sauce rounded out the menu.

Bloody Hell! It was some of the finest white flesh fish I’ve ever had in my life. Tender, flaky and sweet as a bay scallop. My toque is off to the crew of the Aurora for steering us towards this fabulous marine morsel.

So, as you can see, it’s not all about the suffering.

And now I have such a craving for fish…

Damn you, Zenster, damn you! :smiley:

Seriously, I’m happy for you that you’ve been able to move on and make a good life with friends and “chosen” family. You sound like a survivor.

I know something of what you’ve gone through. In my family, it was mostly alcohol fueled. Foutunately there were enough good times as well, that I was able to maintain a relationship with my parents that did, eventually, get much better. They’re both gone now.

Hang in there.

Zenster, I’m sorry about your family. Here’s an alternate name for you. Friends of mine who’ve also had a few family related issues (very few, compared to you) introduced me to two terms: Family Of Origin (FOO), and Family Of Choice (FOC). This is why I can look around at some people, including them and some of you people here, and say “It’s a honor to be associated with you FOCers!” :smiley:


I have often said that being related to someone is NO reason to associate with them. Oddly enough, that attitude has not increased my popularity.


((((hugs to you Zenster))))

If you can forget that bastard, then do so (and it sounds like most of the time you can). But don’t forgive. Not unless he’s willing to face the past honestly. You’re right - there’s no way to move on without acknowledging the past, and there’s no point in being victimized again by his present-day lack of accountability. He’s still giving beatings, just with a different stick.

They say that living well is the best revenge.
Cheers to you for knowing that & doing it!

To me, it seems that maybe in order to purge the last of the “poisins” from his “wounds”, Zenster should work towards being able to think of them, and honestly wish them well.

It’s part of finally letting go of the last of the pain, and healing. It’s also a part of forgiving. The scars will still be there, and a remembered ache, but the wounds will hopefully stop throbbing.

I don’t believe that forgiveness necessarily entails forgetting, or not staying wary of the person who “did you wrong” all of the time. It’s a survival tactic to avoid situations that can damage you.

Once he’s managed that, I think he’ll be able to have a more complete peace on his new path. I hope my words have made sense to you, and that they have at least helped you find what it is you need to do for yourself to finish healing.

Bright Blessings