A Rare and Priceless Phone Call From My Dear Brother

Amazing what parents can do to their children.

Good for you though in making the conscious decision to honor yourself first and surround yourself with people who are healthy for you and who bring you happiness.

I too have no contact with 95% of my biological family and those few who I do still speak to are pretty much at arms length. My father was a lot like yours except since I was a girl he preferred to molest me. The screaming tantrums and beatings were there too… I remember being held up to the wall by my throat on more than one occasion. He too has no remorse. After all we kids were his property to do with as he saw fit!

Sadly, you’re not alone and I’m sure you already knew that but… You’ve done an important thing in surviving and in not continuing the behavior with you as the abuser. hugs

Go, Zenster!

Hold on – I think I have one of the kazoo-like blowing thingies left over.

[celebratory kazoo sounds]

**Zenster! ** —you are a beautiful soul…
so many of us can relate with you, and it does other wounded people good to know we are not alone in our horrors of the past…smooths out the utter hopeless feeling…thank you! Keep your spirits up and feel the love of your friends (your true family!)

Aye say I! smooch! Take care, and bask in sunshine!

I’m not usually one to get into touchy-feely posts, but I have read a lot of your posts, Zen. The ones about the funeral of a dear friend, your amazing recipes, the care and passion you have about life in general.

Seems like the emotional hell that was your earlier life has spawned a truely fine person.

I’d blow the whole lot of them off, they don’t deserve ya!

Zenster - one of these days we’re going to have to have a chat about breaking the cycle of abuse. I did it, and you’re obviously doing it too. While I think you and I are both reasonably bright, neither of us is probably possessed of startling insight - so how come so many others fail to break the cycle?

(Sorry for the slight hijack. Maybe I’ll go start a thread somewhere…)

Zenster, your perfectly done name change spoils my bad joke. I was going to suggest taking a name from that most dubious of films, Kentucky Fried Movie:

Zenster we share a low tolerence for abuse and callous behavior because we’ve drank from the same poisoned spring.

Keep walking and don’t look back, my friend.


I liked ya before. That you’re as grounded as you are despite what you’ve been through speaks even more about your character. You’re alright, guy.

Being able to walk away with your soul intact is a remarkable thing.

Don’t let the bitterness consume you. Learn from their bad behavior, as you have, and do the opposite, as you do. Know that as rough as you had it, someone out there has had it much worse and isn’t doing nearly as good as you. And That person isn’t doing nearly as bad as someone who had it much worse than them…etc, etc, etc.

Isn’t it fun, fun, fun watching family members play Rescue-The-Codependent again and again and again? Who needs soap opera’s when we can have Thanksgiving Day Arguments all throughout the year? Yet, I’ve found that these co-dependents are hugely popular with the slack-jawed, mouth breahing wide-eyed lemming crowd. It’s like a cult following. ( Not that I’m cough speaking from cough experience.)

Co-dependents need someone to feed off of, we know this, but in their twisted little world, they think they are helping the weak person that is unable to say no to them and their little crisises that keep cropping up, over and over and over again. As if their crisis were a personal hobby for someone.

Fortunately, instead of feeling like I am an island where the bridge has been washed away, I occassionally get to hang with other women who are the black sheep of their family. Y’know the kind, don’t put up with crap, state their minds and discipline their kids. When we get together, nearly never, it is quite communal bitch fest on who has the most dysfunctional set of family or inlaws.

The sad thing is many people just don’t grasp the Family of Origin and Family of Choice stuff. Just because you are born into a family does not make you friends. And if you drive each other nuts/shit on each other/have nothing in common with/etc, you can always leave and find other people who do not cut you down and demolish your self esteem. There is always a choice.


Zenster: I’m quoting an e-mail I sent to a close friend after her (asshole) father died. I totally agree with the Family of Birth/Choice dichotomy Shirley talks about. I think this quote applies at least a bit to your situation:

Sometimes, you even have to close the door completely. Self defense is always a justifiable reason for declining to take part in emotional warfare.

Zenster: Up until now I have respected you more than almost any other person on the boards, just from your postings. Your clear sense of moral clarity above all has contributed to this respect.

Now I realize that you deserve at least as much, if not more, respect in your “real life” as you do on the boards. I see that your ability to stand strong against injustice extends into your personal life as well as the stances you take on the SDMB.

Only forgive when the person you are forgiving has freely acknowledged both their responsibility and their guilt. Forgiveness can be a good thing, but never make peace just for the sake of making peace.

It sounds to me like you’ve managed to clear your own path through the jungle, Zen, and good for you for managing that–think how many people never grow beyond the behaviors of their parents.

Forgiveness is a lovely thing, IF an abuser has made sincere and lasting changes, has admitted his/her abuse, and asks forgiveness without demanding it. Apparently that’s not the case here. You owe them nothing, and your contempt is completely understandable.

You’re good people, and I’m honored to know you.


Zenster you and I have been through a lot of “thick and thin” over the course of our friendship and I thought I knew you pretty well. While I probably know more about you than most of the posters here, I am always amazed at the level of your depth.

I am deeply moved at your original OP, as I am not sure I could have opened up the same depths of my wounds and posted the same as you did.

I am so proud to be one of your true friends, through all matters great and small…today, tomorrow and always. I am proud to count you among my friends–in addition to Baker, who, among other things, stands up for the rights of children locked in cars during the summer heat. (Oops! A different thread!)

When you first told me of this phone call and that you were going to do a post on staightdope, I was really pessimistic as to what the response would be. Was I ever wrong!

To all the SD’s who have posted such positive responses to my friend…I thank you. You are all the epitomy (sp?) of the current life force!!

Driving along the coast on Sunday was just the “breath of fresh air” I needed to clear some of the “political cobwebs” in my mind. Not to mention the quality of the black gill rock fish dinner (or whatever colors it was we got from the pier) and your superb preparation of same.

If any of you want a great dinner, ask Zenster to cook for you…but be ready to pay the price of his ingredients. I will assure you…you will not be disappointed, my friends.

Mahalo Nui Loa, Zenster , for sharing your soul with this list.


Zenster, you are a good person and an inspiration. May your soul find true peace. Keep cooking !

(I’m going to be asking for some of those fish recipes very soon …)