The Family

After my Family of Origin (FOO) submitted their affidavits and we went to court, the judge assigned us the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL).  I was still reeling from the fact that my family had so profoundly betrayed me when the GAL told me that it would be in the children’s best interest for me to try to reconcile with my family.

I still kick myself for opening up to her because she simply didn’t hear me – whether by lack of understanding or by choice, I don’t know.  So, I set off to try to make up with my family.

I phoned my mother on her birthday and we had a very stilted conversation.  All I wanted to do was cry and ask her what I’d done to her to make her hate me as she so obviously did now.

Then I emailed my parents.  I tried once again to explain the level of abuse I’d been living with.  I asked them to please read Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? (WDHDT?) so that they could hopefully understand abuse a bit more.  I told them that I would wait for them to contact me.  I sat back and prayed that they would read that book and have an epiphany.

Meanwhile, the GAL asked me how things were going with reconciling.  I told her what I’d done and that I was waiting for them to contact me.  She urged me to go ahead and contact them.  I was very against this as I told my parents I would wait for them.  She pushed for me to go ahead and contact them since I was the one who had broken contact.

I called and talked to my father.  It was like talking to a stranger.  His voice was so cold and I knew the tone he was using with me.  It was the tone he reserved for people he has no respect for and was planning to destroy.  I’d watched him do it to people in the past.  I’d heard him use that tone with people as he collected “evidence” to take them down.  I knew I was in his crosshairs and it scared me.  Yet, I had to make this effort to appease the GAL.

Finally an extended break rolled around where Bubba would have the kids for ten days.  Serenity received a Skype message from my parents that they asked her to pass along to me.  Since Bubba was planning to take the children to visit them, they were inviting me to visit too.

I was simply stunned that my parents had issued this invitation through Serenity.  She knew nothing of what had been happening between me and The Family except that I was very upset with Nancy for sending Serenity an email to me about how I’d lied about the sexual abuse.

Serenity had read that and now knew all about what I’d accused her father of doing to me.

Serenity thought that was the reason I’d cut contact.

Now Serenity had hope that I wouldn’t be letting her spend ten days alone with Bubba and my family.  I had to be the one to tell her that her grandparents issuing that invitation through her Skype was inappropriate and that, no, I wouldn’t be accepting it.  I had to figure out a way to tell her without telling her why it was such a bad idea.  My parents put me in a very bad position – exactly what I believe they meant to do.  I think they preyed on Serenity and used her to get to me.

I sent my parents a very well thought out email as to why I was declining their invitation.  First, Bubba hadn’t seen the kids in over two months because he said he had to work and couldn’t get time off.  Second, I thought it would be too confusing for the kids to have us together, playing at being one big happy family.  I also thought there would just be too much tension between myself, my parents, and my siblings.

They responded by pretty much blaming me for everything.  They told me that they didn’t want a relationship with me until I was ready to listen to their point of view and respect that point of view.  They wanted my absolute submission but I was not willing to give it.

There was also one very telling place in there where they said that after reading part of WDHDT? they are convinced that all men should wear duct tape over their mouths or they will be accused of abuse.  They said that you could read that book and see every person in there.

I beg to differ.  I read that book multiple times.  I never saw Luke in there.  I never saw Maria’s or Arcadia’s husbands in there.  It just showed me how steeped they were in their dysfunction.  Everyone around them could be seen in the pages of that book.  I think that speaks volumes about who they are and who they surround themselves with.  The people I have surrounded myself with are not found in those pages.

I shared their response with the GAL.  Then I stepped back and quietly went about my life.  If the GAL asked, I made it sound like I was still willing to work on the relationship with them but we’d hit an impasse.  I do not believe in lying but I was willing to do so in this case because my children’s future rested on the GAL’s decision about where my children should live.  I was just biding my time until the divorce was final and I could stop acting as if I longed for reconciliation with my family.

In truth, my family does not deserve me.  I deserve so much better than how I was treated by them.  I deserve to have a family who loves me unconditionally.  My family set conditions on their love and I have no more time for that.

Since the divorce, I have made no more overtures toward my family and I do not believe I ever will.  It would take absolute repentance on their part for me to even consider speaking with them again.  Even then I believe I would tell them that I forgive them, I wish them well, but too much water has passed under the bridge, and I choose to have no relationship with them.  Their actions have spoken louder than their words.

Now my silence will drown out everything else.

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12 Comments

  1. I don’t know if it’s been intentionally left out, or if I’ve simply run over it somehow (which is entirely possible, I do this at home a lot), but I have wondered how old your children were during all this?

    Sometimes there are relationships you have to simply cut. I’m sorry it had to be your FOO. 😦

    • Serenity and Liam are teen-agers and Shane is in elementary school.

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