• jess

Death of an Abusive Parent

Hey Fuckers. Few weeks, no see.


I know what you're thinking, "What the hell are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be grieving and sorting out your new, estate-tethered life or something?"


Yeah. Well, you know me. When times get tough... just work yourself into the ground for a sense of purpose and clarity. Plus, writing is my primary source of catharsis and processing. So here we are, back in the saddle, Fuckers. No time like the present. Might as well keep writing in real time while you ride this rollercoaster. We'll all go through it some time or another - who's ready for a preview?


Yeah, fuckit. Here's what you've been missing in the ever-growing fecal forest that is my life.


Let me start by saying, not for sympathy, but for the sake of having a good shared laugh about how unwanted events seem to travel in packs for folks like us... here's what happened in the course of one month, between the middle of October and now, the middle-end of November.


October 16th - Boyfriend (his label, not mine) randomly freaks out about his feelings in relation to my departure to Atlanta and breaks up with me, via text, in the middle of the night, with zero prior signs indicating that this was headed my way. In fact, all interactions pointed to the exact opposite - but, nah, plans and promises don't matter anymore. No discussion, just another human abandonment in the name of emotional avoidance. See ya, I've got too much shit to do to handle my feelings. Does my head break? Oh yeah, that'll happen when someone vaporizes from your life after working really hard to be a part of it.


Did this seem like the worst thing that could happen at the moment? Ha. Ha. Ha. Yes. Buckle up, bitch, you dun know.


October 24th - Tragedy at my mom's horse farm. One of the boarded horses is colicking, we spend all day trying to help, his owner won't pull the trigger on taking him to a veterinary clinic, legally our hands are tied, and there's nothing else the on-site vet can do. After 16 hours of this, the horse is finally taken to an emergency facility in the middle of the night. Guess what? Too late, he dies. Deal with the empathetic heartbreak and concurrent fury directed towards his owner, not to mention the pity for this animal who needlessly suffered. Fantastic. What's up with these two shitty weekends in a row?


October 31st - Just a lonely, depressing, super low Halloween spent alone, dealing with the conglomerate of emotions from the past two weekends and waiting for something worse to happen. Maybe the election? Stress is piling on from all directions while waiting for our democratic process to fail. Shitty holidays are nothing new... just hang tight, you're fine, it'll be over with soon.


November 8th - The election is over! Huzzah, things might be okay! And... then there's a rudely loud and aggressive knock at the door. I answer it, ready to scream at a motherfucker, only to find a cop standing there. Confusing interaction ensues, before she sadly and reluctantly informs me that my dad died in a vehicular accident the evening before. The kids are next of kin. Better start making arrangements. Oh, and now I get to tell my two older brothers that their fucking dad died before anyone else senselessly lets the cat out of the bag. So, just imagine the joy of telling your big, strong, ultra tough brothers that they apparently just lost a parent and hearing them completely break down in wails of disbelief, denial, and immediate suffering. Yeah, those are images, sounds, and memories that will haunt me for the rest of my fucking life. No one could have ever anticipated this. I didn't ever want this task. But, in a way, I'm glad I could do it. Who else would, ya know?


Three days later. We got my middle brother home from Ukraine, we're heading 5 hours north to the old family cabin in Wisconsin where my dad lived for the past 15 years, and we have nothing but legal questions and personal affects to sort out... not to mention all of the death arrangements, memorial services, and financial crises. Oh, plus, authorities don't seem to have my dad's keys anywhere so we can get in the house. Let's have a police escort take us to the impound lot and the scene of the accident before we even get to said family cabin. Nothing like seeing my dad's destroyed motorcycle or pacing the side of the road where he died alone less than 4 days earlier before we've had a chance to comprehend any of it or even unpack our cars. Thanks, world! But hey, we found the keys in that ditch. So, good for us.


What else... A week spent at the cabin with zero internet or phone service, cleaning and sorting belongings while looking for clues about his assets and debts... Maybe along with a few terrifying illegal things that I'm not going to speak of. Then our trip back to Illinois, where we got to investigate our abandoned childhood home which we now have to deal with. Hey, how debilitated is it? Extremely. Have fun with those emotions and new worries about renovating an enormous project house! Was your head spinning before? Fuck you, try to see straight now! Then what? Oh, is it about time for my brothers lose their shit and decide they're heading to Mexico two days later, on Thanksgiving day, instead of taking care of the ever-growing pile of arrangements that need to be made? Yeah, that's the ticket. Hope you wanted to feel alone, left out, and responsible for everything. Here it comes.


Interspersed between all of these events? Keep up with writing SEO articles for work and finish out the semester at school. Oh, did you need the internet to do your homework and quizzes? Here's 3 hours of Wi-Fi access in a sports bar in Wisconsin. Good enough? Oh, you have a final exam to take? Well, can't you just do it from Mexico so we can call this reckless, pointless, avoidant vacation a family memorial for dad?


No.


And I won't be going to Mexico - or, Mexi-NO, as I cleverly wrote in my journal under the influence of copious smoking the other night - on Thanksgiving day in the middle of a pandemic. So, am I now the shitty kid in the family who rained on everyone's asshole parade? Yes. But what else is new. Might as well have my brothers hate me in the midst of everything because I don't want to contribute to the COVID nightmare that never ends.


Annnnd here we are. The day before my least favorite holiday of the year - which is, again, proving to be nothing but depressing and filled with personal crises.


So, that basically catches us up on the past month of my life. How's your fall been?


Fuck.


How am I doing? Well, I'm definitely learning a lot of big lessons while I wade through this trauma swamp. I'm doing my best to keep up with life, but clearly some things have to be put on the back burner. I'm so sorry for anyone who has felt unanswered or ignored - I'm reading messages, but have zero energy to respond to them at the moment. I am living in a hole at this point in time. Functioning, but I have no idea what to say to people. Especially after that week of things piling up while I had no service - whew, too overwhelming to even consider.


That being said, I've heard some really beautiful sentiments of support and love. And I appreciate you so much. Some of you Fuckers have brought me to tears with your kindness, and I want you to know that you aren't unheard. I'm just incapable of answering. I will get back to you someday, but, uh, it might be a little while before this engine is chugging at full capacity again. Also, a huge shoutout to my patreon and paypal supporters. Holy shit, you guys are really saving my butt right now while I have some depression-based productivity problems. I can't tell you what it means to me or how shocked I am that anyone cares enough to contribute to this project. Good humans really exist, and I hear from them around the world on a regular basis.


So, thank you all, so fucking much. The love is received and returned more than I can express to you. And I'm okay. And it will all be okay. Don't worry about me - just be ready for potential disruptions in service as I muck through things. Maybe even darker humor than usual. Probably a few rants about my family going batshit insane. But, hey, such is 2020.


Now, let's move on with real points, not just an overview of how distressing life has been. Sorry about that. Want to get to the meat of this rant and chat about the experience of losing your primary abuser without any warning while watching your family fall to pieces? Because we're about to.









Let’s talk about this dad situation.


Well. This is a big topic that I’m not sure how to tackle, per se. Death is a new one to me. I’ve been relatively lucky that way. The death of the person who passed down most of our family trauma… that’s an even trickier situation to tackle, probably for anyone, I would guess.


So, make no mistake - yes, I am talking about the father who I’ve been estranged from for about 20 years. Yes, you’ve probably heard mention of him before. Yes, that probably seems like it should be a quick shrug and move on sort of situation, all things considered from the outside. But, as usual, this trauma journey is more complex than that.


So, make no mistake - yes, I am talking about the father who I’ve been estranged from for about 20 years. Yes, you’ve heard mention of him before. Yes, that probably seems like it should be a quick shrug and move on sort of situation, all things considered from the outside. But, as usual, this trauma journey is more complex than that.

Truthbetold, I’m going through a whole host of emotions over here. There is no one-sided experience to report on. It’s a rollercoaster, of deep feels, moments of clarity, regrets, depression, gratitude, spirituality, sadness, exhaustion, anger, self-hate, and catharsis. All rolled into an undulating, fluctuating, mass of energy that rises and falls inside of my head and chest depending on the second. Each day is different than the last, each hour, each minute. They all hold some new experience, recently revealed thought, or just an unbridled sense of dread.


Then… throw in the family drama. Trying to figure everything out with my two oldest brothers, who are incrementally sad, upset, and angry, just like I described, myself. But, you know, probably times 100 plus with an enormous sense of daily disruption and loss, since they actually had relatively close relationships with my dad. Emotionally, it’s a huge mess for them. And yes, they are internalizing as much of the event as possible. Also, maybe losing their goddamn minds. But I’ll mention more on that at a later date.


To make things extra fun, don’t forget, there are enormous legal issues on our shoulders as next of kin to a man with no known will. The practical property matters we have to resolve. The delipidated houses we have to clean out, rehabilitate, and sell. The personal effects that need to be divided or donated. The dizzying credit lines, back taxes, and bank accounts that need to be sorted, so we can understand what we’re liable for as his heirs. The eight billion junk-vehicles that need to be sold for peanuts or scrapped. The arsenal of weapons that need to be re-registered and disposed of. Oh, and recall that this is all spread across two states - states that I don’t exactly live in, don’t know the estate laws in, and definitely don’t want to be spending the Midwest winter in.


But here we fucking are, Fuckers. Fuckery, fuck, shit, fuck.


And you know what? Besides my decreasingly creative swearing capabilities, I’m noticing a lot of things that relate to this trauma journey… beyond, you know, reckoning with the fact that we’re talking about the passing of my most potent source of complex trauma.


So, let’s talk about coming to terms with generational trauma, being the familial black sheep, suffering with inner critic brutality, and having a newly terrified outlook for the future in the fortune-telling remains of this untimely loss. It’s hopefully not as whiny as we both fear.





Generational trauma


You know what really kicks me right in the fucking gut about all of this? Yes, it’s the fact that I honestly expected to talk to my dad some day in the future. Yes, it’s seeing my family crumble with grief and guilt. Yes, it’s worrying about my brothers and their respective addictions in bad times.


But it’s also realizing that my dad was a real Motherfucker. And, for once, I’m not saying that he was a terrifying figure who had a reputation for taking shit from no one. This time, I mean, he was one of us. He was a Traumatized Motherfucker.


But it’s also realizing that my dad was a real Motherfucker. And, for once, I’m not saying that he was a terrifying figure who had a reputation for taking shit from no one. This time, I mean, he was one of us. He was a Traumatized Motherfucker.

I know, I always knew it. I’ve mentioned it before. It’s obvious that trauma begets trauma. And yeah, for the past few years I have considered what my dad went through growing up and how that shaped who he became. How the terrifying events I witnessed were symptomatic of PTSD throughout life. How his socialization obviously impacted his personality. How it wasn’t really up to him that he had a temper, chronic depression, and terrible relationships in life.


But it really drives the point home when you start going through his belongings and finding worksheets from a recent therapy venture that detail things like “learning to name emotions,” “what are triggers,” and “how to understand boundaries.”


I mean. The man, my father, actually started regularly seeing a therapist in the past few years and taking it seriously. Beyond that, he was clearly learning about all the things that I’ve also been learning about - all the things that I talk about on this multi-media forum. Feelings, finding confidence, understanding other people and ourselves. To a tee, we were going through the same educational process. Just… thirty years of life experience apart.


I mean. The man, my father, actually started regularly seeing a therapist in the past few years and taking it seriously. Beyond that, he was clearly learning about all the things that I’ve also been learning about - all the things that I talk about on this multi-media forum. Feelings, finding confidence, understanding other people and ourselves. To a tee, we were going through the same educational process. Just… thirty years of life experience apart.

He didn’t start to learn about himself until he was about 60 years old. That’s when he finally started making changes and understanding how to approach life, love, and emotions. In the meantime, he was a wrecking ball of unfettered brain dysfunction and unreckoned memories. And, you know, with the knowledge I have, I can’t really blame him for those actions during the decades that he had no idea why his brain was such a fucking disaster.


Is it his fault that he didn’t have the answers to his mental disruptions? Sure, he could have gotten psychological help sooner, I guess. But I think we all know there is a massive chasm between the generations and genders when it comes to exploring our inner turmoil.


My content consumers, for example, are about 75% female. The men who do reach out? They’re generally between 50 and 60 years old. There is a clear pattern here when it comes to learning about trauma between the sexes. There’s a massive delay, if not an outright devaluation, in getting mental health answers for men. Is it a diagnostic issue or a seeking help issue? I have no idea. But my dad falls squarely into the demographic statistics that I already have floating around in my head from this podcasting experiment. Can’t blame the guy for being in the same boat as so many others.


Even more enlightening and heartbreaking than seeing all his therapy worksheets scattered throughout medical paperwork and journals is the notes that are intermittently dispersed through his recordings of daily life and illicit activities. Things like, “I’m so tired of fighting” penned at the bottom of a planner page really, uh, fuck me up, for lack of a better term.


Even more enlightening and heartbreaking than seeing all his therapy worksheets scattered throughout medical paperwork and journals is the notes that are intermittently dispersed through his recordings of daily life and illicit activities. Things like, “I’m so tired of fighting” penned at the bottom of a planner page really, uh, fuck me up, for lack of a better term.

Do you know how many times I’ve said that? Verbatim? How many times have I broken down crying in frustration, exhaustion, and forfeit and said the same fucking thing - to myself or others? I have no idea, either, but let’s estimate that it’s a minimum of several times a year, if not several times a month or a week, when things are really going south.


Seeing my own words written by the same person who terrified me for my entire life? Yeah, it messes me and my “git fucked” perspective up. It makes me think so hard about what he went through. The early life experiences with my equally-traumatized grandfather. The rough upbringing with few financial resources. The ways his young experiences shaped him into a hardened roughrider as a defense mechanism against the world. The misfortune that befell him from birth until death.


It’s just the same old pattern on repeat. Handed down from his father and his father’s father to my father and trickling through all three of his kids. It’s generational trauma. It’s early life abuse. It’s the cyclical clusterfuck of poor socialization leading to mental dysfunction leading to life destruction that extends to the next souls brought into the mix.


It’s just the same old pattern on repeat. Handed down from his father and his father’s father to my father and trickling through all three of his kids. It’s generational trauma. It’s early life abuse. It’s the cyclical clusterfuck of poor socialization leading to mental dysfunction leading to life destruction that extends to the next souls brought into the mix.

It’s what I know, educationally and personally. It’s what I’ve seen play out in my own life. It’s now what I’ve seen sprawled across random journals, scraps of papers, receipts, and calendars, straight from my father’s hand as if he’s writing to my trauma interests, personally.


And as you can imagine, I’m having a rough time with it. Bottom up and top down.





Inner critic


Hey, what happens when I start to empathize with someone? You know I also start to beat the shit out of myself for every imagined way I could have contributed to the problem or could have helped change the circumstances. It’s my way of life with every friend, romantic partner, and downtrodden stranger off the street. Even with the man who showed me how to fear, of course things are no different.


Finding his sentiments about disorganized thoughts, insomnia, and clinical depression… yeah, it’s not easy. Learning that he was just starting to understand his emotions and how to deal with them hits me right in the gut. Finding notes to his family about his love, confusion, and regret in the context of an unraveling brain and addictive tendencies is a blow to my brain.


It shows me what was really going on under the surface that presented in such volatile ways. It makes me understand him to a degree that I never could in life. It makes me feel like an asshole.


It shows me what was really going on under the surface that presented in such volatile ways. It makes me understand him to a degree that I never could in life. It makes me feel like an asshole.

I mean, isn’t this the exact sort of person I’m trying to help? Isn’t the point of this project to let people know that even though they feel horrible, confused, and overwhelmed most of the time, they aren’t broken, they aren’t doomed, and they don’t have to go it alone? Isn’t this the same way I would describe myself?


Yep.


So, it looks like I can reach people all the way across the world. I can get my message across and connect through the internet and airwaves to strangers on the other side of the planet. But I could never reach my own father in the same way, not even when we were one state away. And before you get all gushy on me - no, it’s not because he didn’t try.


He occasionally reached out to me over the years. But because I wasn’t willing to open my heart, to expose myself to the potential difficulties that inherently followed my dad, and to put myself on the line after an early life that left several scars. I wasn’t ready yet. I thought I had more time. I believed that I could make the decision later. When I was more stable or more forgiving or more settled with a secure support system or… something.


The truth is, I just wasn’t brave enough. I was stubborn. I was still carrying resentment. And I missed my chance. I’ll never know my dad. And even worse, he never got to know me, his only daughter.


The truth is, I just wasn’t brave enough. I was stubborn. I was still carrying resentment. And I missed my chance. I’ll never know my dad. And even worse, he never got to know me, his only daughter.

We had so much in common, it turns out. Everything from our shared mental health struggles to a love for all things nature. A penchant for collecting rocks, feathers, and bones. A morbid curiosity in things that frighten others. Love for the ocean and everything in it. Fascination with the causes for our inner workings. A preference for being surrounded by beautiful views and solitude. A constant desire to be out in the woods, appreciating trees, stones, and moss. Adoration of being reckless, driving fast, and gambling with death. A tendency to write about our plans, actions, and feelings with data-collecting detail. A sense of lifelong independence and quick-trigger “fuck off” reaction to others... that rapidly turns to debilitating loneliness.


I had no idea. I didn’t know my dad that well in life. I didn’t know we were such similar beings. Not until we were cleaning out all his things and the evidence was slapping me right in the face.


And boy howdy, do I have a lot of reckoning and regret to contend with.


I’m doing my best not to let my inner critic slam me to the ground. I know things were much more complicated than me just “choosing” not to have my dad in my life. I realize that even if we had reconnected, there would have undoubtedly been a great deal of conflict between us due to mutual triggers and differing opinions. (The dude was flying a Trump flag, for fuck’s sake.) There’s no doubt, I would remind him of my mom and he would… well… remind me of the man who terrified me growing up and all the people I can’t understand in my adult years.


I’m doing my best not to let my inner critic slam me to the ground. I know things were much more complicated than me just “choosing” not to have my dad in my life. I realize that even if we had reconnected, there would have undoubtedly been a great deal of conflict between us due to mutual triggers and differing opinions. (The dude was flying a Trump flag, for fuck’s sake.) There’s no doubt, I would remind him of my mom and he would… well… remind me of the man who terrified me growing up and all the people I can’t understand in my adult years.

But at the same time, I wish I would have given it a try. I really, really wish I could go back and do things differently. I don’t know if it would have been successful or not. But I have no doubt, he wouldn’t have been on that road, at that time, to hit that deer, had one single thing in his life been different. I also know he would have lived a less tortured, angry, and depressed life had his daughter ever returned a word to him. And that’s shit I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life. Ironically, I’m sure it will come with enormous torture, anger, and depression. And there’s no hope of hearing back from the other party to change that.


So, fuck me. I’m supposed to be enlightened, empathetic, and caring for all trauma sufferers. That’s my goal in all of this trauma talk. And meanwhile, I never was able to be there for my dad. Not even in the smallest ways. Not even sending a fucking card for his birthday, accepting his friend request on Facebook, or acknowledging the weird dollar store gifts he would send from time to time.


I was shitty. I’ve been playing the victim my whole life. And all the while, I was just shoving another nail into the coffin of my father’s similarly tormented existence.


I know I’m being hard on myself and internalizing all of this as though my 12 year old self was capable of reading tea leaves. It wasn’t intentional. It’s certainly not what I wanted. But I didn’t do anything I wish I would have now.


I know I’m being hard on myself and internalizing all of this as though my 12 year old self was capable of reading tea leaves. It wasn’t intentional. It’s certainly not what I wanted. But I didn’t do anything I wish I would have now.

I’m ashamed of myself. I feel like a failure and a phony. I feel like I’m fucking rotting from the inside out. I’m not the human I wish I was - or, I wish I had been. And as you can imagine, the people around me are aware of it, too. No, it’s not making things easy around the family home.






Black sheep


So… like I briefly mentioned, I’m the only kid who didn’t have a relationship with my dad. Even growing up, my big brothers spent a lot of time with him.


During and after my parents’ separation, they went to visitation while I got a court amendment to avoid it. I couldn’t stand his constant yelling, ranting about my mom, and endangering behaviors during his morphine popping decade. I had also seen a lot more of the household dynamics that left me fearing my own father before he was taken out of the house with legal force. I wasn’t really excited about spending time with that human as a pre-teenaged girl who barely knew the man.


During and after my parents’ separation, they went to visitation while I got a court amendment to avoid it. I couldn’t stand his constant yelling, ranting about my mom, and endangering behaviors during his morphine popping decade. I had also seen a lot more of the household dynamics that left me fearing my own father before he was taken out of the house with legal force. I wasn’t really excited about spending time with that human as a pre-teenaged girl who barely knew the man.

They, like good sons, powered through visitation together. Whether it was terrifying, violent, or just boring… they went. They devoted weekends to him. They made trips to his home in Addison or Wisconsin. They went to sports games and bars. They shot guns into the forest. They saw fireworks at Navy Pier. When they lived in distant places, they endured hours’ long phone calls and guilt trips.


And I… didn’t. I didn’t do any of it. I cut and run while they continued to pursue a relationship that had many drastic downs and relatively few ups. They’re the first to admit now, it wasn’t ever easy. But they kept things alive, nevertheless. And I never did.


Yep, it is causing drama between us.


In the aftermath of this disaster situation, which has really just begun, there’s a clear delineation between my brothers and I. I’m here, sticking around Illinois indefinitely so I can help with the emotional, legal, and practical problems that are facing us all as his closest kin. It’s overwhelming, no one knows where to get started, and we have roughly a billion decisions to make together, beyond all the physical labor and paperwork. But truthfully, I don’t think anyone wants the assistance that I’m offering.


I can tell you, it’s partially because of the relationship I didn’t have with my dad. It’s also partially because of the same old family patterns that have defined my home life for as long as I can remember. Black sheep, anyone?


I can tell you, it’s partially because of the relationship I didn’t have with my dad. It’s also partially because of the same old family patterns that have defined my home life for as long as I can remember. Black sheep, anyone?

So far in this experience, I’ve been largely left out of the communications. I’m pushed aside when I ask how I can help with the tasks at hand. I’m encouraged to just head back to my other life every time I open my mouth and ask what needs to be done.


It’s rather isolating and hurtful, as you might guess. I feel stuck in purgatory. Wanting to be here for others, but being rejected. Meanwhile, dreaming of my return to hiking in Atlanta, where the weather doesn’t suck and nature can bring me mental peace. To some extent, I get it. I know that I’m not one of the dudes - I was never a part of their family trauma bonding or experiences together - but I am a part of the family. I’m a blood relative. I’m one of “us” through and through. And I’m beyond willing to be around for as long as necessary to make sure everyone and everything is taken care of.


But it seems like the old family dynamics are at play, nonetheless.


As most of us experience in our traumatized lives - I’ve been the black sheep of the family for a good part of my three decades on the planet. I don’t want to get too wallowy here, but trust me when I say that I’ve been the preferential bane of the family for a long time now. Too emotional, too focused on the past, too difficult, too sensitive, too pot-stirring, too reactive.


As most of us experience in our traumatized lives - I’ve been the black sheep of the family for a good part of my three decades on the planet. I don’t want to get too wallowy here, but trust me when I say that I’ve been the preferential bane of the family for a long time now. Too emotional, too focused on the past, too difficult, too sensitive, too pot-stirring, too reactive.

I’m not saying it isn’t true. I think I honestly relay the ways that my emotions get the best of me, I react quickly to my old interpersonal triggers, and I refuse to just put on a smiling face to talk about the weather when there are years of unresolved events dancing through my brain. I don’t respond well to being shushed or ignored. I hate when there are words clearly being withheld to sustain a false sense of support.


What can I say? I’m just not a fan of the surface-level relationships that everyone else subscribes to, the rejection of important feelings and events, or the way that I’m regarded as a wild idiot girl who has no merit to her words, experiences, or knowledge. It’s always been this way. I think it was relatively fine with me when I was much younger because I didn’t know any better. I was treated how I was treated - that was all I expected.


Obviously, the older I get and the more I feel I understand, about myself, the world, and others… well, the more enraging it becomes to be chided and written off.


Not to get a big, obnoxious ego about things, but I am the one who has experience in living different places, learning about our family history, and connecting with others over the struggles of life. I’m educated, experienced in taking care of myself and others, and the most professionally accomplished member of the family - for whatever that’s worth.


At the bottom of it all, people outside this household generally consider me intelligent, wise, and insightful in the rest of the world. But in my family home - nah. I might as well be a toddler throwing macaroni on the floor while the “adults” deal with the “real world problems.” When I speak up about any topic, it’s met with exasperated sighs, rolled eyes, and ridicule.


At the bottom of it all, people outside this household generally consider me intelligent, wise, and insightful in the rest of the world. But in my family home - nah. I might as well be a toddler throwing macaroni on the floor while the “adults” deal with the “real world problems.” When I speak up about any topic, it’s met with exasperated sighs, rolled eyes, and ridicule.

So, the old shit that always brings me down and brings my personal tension up is really throwing me for a loop in the midst of already feeling like my world is spinning. I’m not feeling like an included part of things. I’m on the outskirts of all the plans and arrangements unless someone passes third hand information and clues me in. And meanwhile, I feel as though I’m being treated like the childhood old self that learned to just sit in the corner in silence because I would be ruthlessly mocked if I dared to open my mouth.


All the while, I get the sense that everyone is holding their tongue around me. And hey, it isn’t just trauma paranoia speaking. I’ve had the legitimacy confirmed by my mom in the past 24 hours. Turns out, no one knows how to deal with my unique blend of emotions and logic in this situation… and everyone is apparently afraid of making me angry. I’m told my family discusses their need to walk on eggshells around me because of my snappy mouth. Everyone knows I’m prone to overwhelm and sarcasm. And so they just keep their space and silence.


Great, so I’m the terror in the family. Not the ex-heroin addict, not the current alcoholic - it’s me. The bitch in the corner with the defensively sharp tongue.


Great, so I’m the terror in the family. Not the ex-heroin addict, not the current alcoholic - it’s me. The bitch in the corner with the defensively sharp tongue.

As if that’s not enough of a kick in the teeth, in and of itself… You know who else that sounds a lot like? My dad. It’s the same exact MO as the family instituted to deal with my father. Be civil, be patient, keep your words to yourself, and hopefully leave the firecracker unlit. Just say nothing, do nothing, and hopefully you won’t set him off. The difference being, I can be pissy for 10 seconds and come right back down; he was set off for days once the ball got rolling.


This similarity, combined with the discoveries of our shared personality traits and interests, leaves me with another unique perspective to be gained from this experience.


Everything considered, I’m pretty sure I can look into a crystal ball and see exactly how the rest of my time on this planet is going to play out. And it isn’t enviable, Fuckers.






And into the future


Remember how I mentioned earlier that I found notes from my dad about being “so tired of fighting?” How that really rung a bell in my own head as a commonly repeated truth of my life?


Yeah. Well, can we go ahead and extend that sentiment a few extra words to make some Off With Their Heads lyrics? “I’m so sick of fighting… with every single person that I know. I’m so sick of lying, and burying myself in a hole. I just want to fill that tank up and drive

It's the only thing that still makes me feel alive.”


Yes, we can. And that would also very accurately describe the experiences of my dad and I.


Both of us have clearly struggled with our familial, friend, and romantic relationships for our entire lives. Both of us considered them very important. Both of us just wanted to find a place to belong and be accepted. And hey, I’m guessing there’s a good chance that I never will locate what I’m looking for, just like he didn’t.


Both of us have clearly struggled with our familial, friend, and romantic relationships for our entire lives. Both of us considered them very important. Both of us just wanted to find a place to belong and be accepted. And hey, I’m guessing there’s a good chance that I never will locate what I’m looking for, just like he didn’t.

No, I don’t have the same drastic outbursts as my dad in his associations. I mean, the dude was known for threatening to kill people when he got riled up, and he had the conceal and carry license to follow through at any time. I’ve never had an order of protection against me. I’ve never been in a physical fight or found myself in court for any meaningful matters. When shit goes bad I beat myself up, not other humans. There are definitely some differences.


But at the same time, I also don’t understand how healthy relationships work. I desperately want to fit in with people. I care enormously about everyone I connect with. I can get obsessive, anxious, and insecure in the context of those I care about most. I’m tortured by the things I have and haven’t done in my relationships.


I lay awake at night feeling remorse. I slouch over my burning stomach many days feeling a lonely, aching void. I make friendships and partnerships that explode and disappear without warning. There is a constant revolving door of people coming in and out of my life, even when nothing happens to justify the entrance or the departure.


I go days without speaking to other humans. I incrementally hate and love our species. I crave attention, affection, and understanding… but also wonder if I’m not capable or worthy of finding any of them. I strongly fear being a negative force in the lives of others. I wonder if I’m better off just giving up trying. I sincerely think about forfeiting. I’m just so tired of fighting.


In short, I can understand how someone winds up living in the middle of the northwoods of Wisconsin, in a cabin with no internet or phone service, living like a recluse for a majority of the time. It makes sense that under these circumstances, turning to seedy bars where equally troubled humans trade stories, drugs, and guns would be a likely course of action. I fully see how family relationships would be the only thing desired, but the shallow and unreliable nature of busier humans would leave one unfulfilled and more lonesome than ever. I relate to the ways someone can wind up with dozens of letters that remain unshared - words felt, written, but never communicated. We both had unsent letters prepared for each other, stashed away in defeat and dismissal.


In short, I can understand how someone winds up living in the middle of the northwoods of Wisconsin, in a cabin with no internet or phone service, living like a recluse for a majority of the time. It makes sense that under these circumstances, turning to seedy bars where equally troubled humans trade stories, drugs, and guns would be a likely course of action. I fully see how family relationships would be the only thing desired, but the shallow and unreliable nature of busier humans would leave one unfulfilled and more lonesome than ever. I relate to the ways someone can wind up with dozens of letters that remain unshared - words felt, written, but never communicated. We both had unsent letters prepared for each other, stashed away in defeat and dismissal.

So yeah. After this week, I clearly see myself in my dad. I see my dad in myself. And I see the ways I’ve been pushing my life, step by step, towards the same traumatized path that my father cut for himself.


Let me say, as much as the isolating beauty of tall pine trees, neverending lakes, and textured landscapes speaks to me… the personal struggle and strife of living a life undecorated by real human contact is not what I want.


Let me say, as much as the isolating beauty of tall pine trees, neverending lakes, and textured landscapes speaks to me… the personal struggle and strife of living a life undecorated by real human contact is not what I want.

As much as I despise humankind at times in my life. As much as I want to scream about my family’s inability to see me as a relevant human. As many times as I’ve been fucked over by flippant friends and partners. I don’t want to live a life where I can’t understand myself so wholly that I can’t understand other people. I don’t want to live like a loner rebel day after day after day.


I don’t want to reach out to anyone for 20 years, only to receive radio silence in return because the relationship was so marred by my unresolved mental strife and unexamined ways in the world.






Wrap it


Learning all of this information about my dad. Seeing how we aren’t so different after all. Dealing with the black sheeping dynamics of my mom and brothers… it sucks. It’s hard. It has made me want to throw in the towel of life, to be completely honest with you. I’ve been having some “I could just drive into that tree” ideations in the face of feeling rejected from my family unit. If they can’t understand me, who ever will?


But at the same time, it makes me all the more dedicated to figuring out this stupid fucking Complex PTSD disorder.


This was the underlying issue that shaped my dad’s life. This was why he never found happiness or comfort despite having all the resources he needed. This is why he couldn’t complete a single fucking project despite being wildly imaginative and mechanically minded. This is why he couldn’t find stable, lasting relationships with his own kin, his romantic prospects, or any of his fluctuating “buddies” despite being a vibrant, interesting, capable human.


This Complex PTSD that he just started to learn about was his Achilles heel for 62 years. Just as it has been for my own nearly 31. There’s nothing I can do to settle up the regrets and empathy I have for my late father. But in his memory, I’ll be motherfucked if I relive the same generational misery.


This Complex PTSD that he just started to learn about was his achilles heel for 62 years. Just as it has been for my own nearly 31. There’s nothing I can do to settle up the regrets and empathy I have for my late father. But in his memory, I’ll be motherfucked if I relive the same generational misery.

Maybe that’s my lesson in all of this.


Coming soon from my personal corner; the universal drive for finding purpose and meaning in disaster as a means for healing. Because it turns out, I’m not the only one who’s searching for a former clarity. Even two gruff older brothers with overconfident atheistic dismissals of universal order are apparently subject to looking for signs as a tactic for coping with trauma. And hey, there’s research to back up my musings.


Thanks for letting me take this dive into personal bitching and moaning. It’s a process for me, and hopefully a cautionary tale for anyone who expects to have another 20 years to settle up interpersonal business. Turns out, you never know when one Traumatized Motherfucker will permanently leave another.


Thanks for letting me take this dive into personal bitching and moaning. It’s a process for me, and hopefully a cautionary tale for anyone who expects to have another 20 years to settle up interpersonal business. Turns out, you never know when one Traumatized Motherfucker will permanently leave another.

Not a guilt trip, not a plea to end any family distance, not a nudge to worry about the other shoe and catastrophic situations… just a word to the wise.... Before you gather up unsent letters, just consider how quickly life can change. How little you might understand the person who has scarred you. How little they probably understand themselves.


There are many more Motherfuckers out there than any one of us can realize. Are you ready to give up the opportunity to realize these shared journeys together? If not, just send the fucking letter. It’s better than living with compassionate regrets.


I’ll talk to you guys soon.


Traumatized Motherfxckers

Not doomed. Not damaged.

Not dead yet.

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