Saturday, May 21, 2011


My favorite aunt was the black sheep of the family. Not that there was any reason particularly why that was the case. The only thing I knew was that maybe Margie had called CPS on my grandmother when my mom and her were teenagers.

Of course, the implication at the time was that Margie was just trying to make trouble for Grandma. Or maybe it was the belief that life wouldn't be any better away from her. Maybe just maybe it would be worse. Still it was Margie's fault that the powers that be looked at the family and we all knew what a big sin that was.

Yet, one little sentence about Margie's wrong doing was all I ever got. Loaded with all that innuendo. It never put me off. I loved Margie. She was bigger than life, beautiful, funny and she cared about me.

I didn't care for her family much. She had three boys. They were wild, destructive. One even torched a garage. Can't remember if it was the neighbor's or their own. Clearly they were a family in crisis.

I heard stories about her controlling husband. Possessive, jealous, with a bad temper yet wanting her to be in the limelight and then maybe beating her for it. But I was young. I didn't understand the implications of all these things. All I knew was the couple of times I remember staying with my aunt I felt special even if her bratty boys picked on me. Being seen in her eyes somehow made me important, at least to her.

I dont' know when Margie went away. Maybe after the kids were grown. I just know she was moved off and had no contact with the family. She had a problem with booze but then all of them did, only she was the one that got pointed out.

Margie got heavy, very heavy. Her beautiful model's body lost under layers and layers of fat. I remember her face was so distorted I hardly recognized her. It was her laugh that confirmed for me it really was my beloved Margie.

She would be ostracized for a while, years sometimes. Then she suddenly reappear and I'd be so glad to see her. I never knew what or why she was come and gone only that she was. Still I worshiped that woman. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to be beautiful and funny.

I didn't care that the family considered her to be the black sheep. She was a queen to me. Probably because she cared about me, or I thought she did. Who really knows with her disappearing like that for years at a time but it never changed my feelings about her.

I don't' even know what happened to Aunt Margie. All I know is I ended up like her in a way I hadn't figured. I ended up the black sheep of the family. The one who told secrets. The one ostracized. The one spoken about in illicit terms.

I'll bet my siblings refer to me in the same terms as Margie got. Nothing specific anyone could put a finger on. Heck, if you did that, it might be possible to find the truth. No, the implication of secret unthinkable things has so much more power to keep one pushed off in a corner and ignored. For the first time in my life I understand why I never knew what Margie did or said for sure but with all I've been through I can certainly imagine. Makes me love her even more. Guess Margie and I were kindred spirits. I just didn't get it at the time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Little Bit of Clarification

I was thinking about my last post, Decisions........... and the fact I lumped most of my family within the scope of that post. Thinking about it now, I think I show do some clarifying about what I said.

The title of the post, Decisions, might make it sound like I made more than one decision at this time. That is not, however, what I did. I actually made the same decision to include my daughter and her family in the list of those family members that I keep my distance from. The rest of those on that list, I decided about many years ago. This newest decision was the most difficult because it involves one of my own children and my grandchildren.

I did not come by this decision lightly and I didn't actually push anyone away. The distance had already been imposed by my daughter who has not really spoken to me since she hung up on me sometime last summer.

I have posted about the issues that I thought were developing between my daughter and me. One of them, Betrayal was just at the beginning of me really realizing the differences between my daughter's values and mine. While I didn't have answers when I did that post, all I had was my feelings about an evolving situation, I probably "should" have realized where things were heading.

It was only as I began to learn of my daughter's involvement with "those people" around my recent lawsuit, that I began to see what I should have seen much earlier. There really has been no healing on the part of my daughter from things long since past. Her patterns of blaming me for her problems is still very much at play in how she navigates the world.

I thought the two of us were getting closer over the past few years. From the point I began teaching my granddaughter to ride, I thought our relationship over horses was healing our personal relationship. It turns out that I was wrong. It is obvious there has been no healing on her part. She is still very much set on punishing me for things that do not go her way.

From her days as a teenager whacked out on drugs to now, the only thing that seems to have changed in her behaviors is she is no longer doing drugs. She is still a victim and living by the rules of victimization. Her personal power is constantly manipulated to make it look like she is powerless. Life is something that is done to her, not something she lives. AND I am the source of her pain, IT is my fault.

Playing the victim all the time seems to work for her. It is a skill she has honed to a fine art and unfortunately she has passed it on to her children. The way the truth has been manipulated to support their behavior has not only shocked me but broken my heart in a way I'm sure my posts these last months has reflected.

It has been a difficult dark time, this realization that our relationship was based on a lie. My daughter has not healed nor forgiven despite years of counseling. Every thing she has done has been for a reason, to obtain a desired result, to manipulate, to gain my trust where it wasn't really deserved.

I was not ready nor prepared for the discovery that nothing had changed in our relationship over all these years. Nor was I prepared for the fact that my grandchildren were actively involved in helping to paint that picture of me as someone who I am not. I DO NOT NOW or have I ever hated my daughter or my grandchildren, nor am I the ogre she tries to make me. Them saying I am, will never make it so.

I am not going to go into all of the facts that have come to light that have made it clear how manipulative and dishonest my daughter actually is but I am going to say I have learned enough to know that the best place for me is at the distance my daughter has delegated me to, both from her and from her children.

I have no expectations that my daughter or her children will ever seek a real relationship with me. Should the day ever come that any of them are willing to step up and take responsibility for themselves and their lives, I will be there ready to help. I will not, however, open myself up again to having my heart stomped on. My expectations will not change until I have learned they have truly changed. In the meantime I will continue to protect my heart in whatever ways necessary.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Laying in bed as I wait to fall asleep the things I want to post here easily come into my head. It's only when I get here in front of the computer that I can't remember a single thing. Last night there were more things rolling around in my brain than I can count. Now I wondering what in the heck they were.

I do, however, remember the premise. It's the same thing over and over for me lately. On one hand there is the family I wish I had and on the other there is the family that is real. There's quite a conflict between those two images. Resolving that conflict has been the trial for me this holiday season.

I think that's what has made holidays so hard for me the last few years. I love all those sappy holiday movies about family and love and things working out. However, we all know that isn't reality. Hopefully, we know too just wanting something doesn't make it happen.

I wish I had a wonderful relationship with all my children and my brothers and sister for that matter. The fact is that my values have changed immensely since I did therapy. I no longer function under the scope of those destructive old family rules that governed me when I was a child and dictated how I dealt with people and raised my children until I learned otherwise in therapy. Unfortunately much of my family still function under those old family rules.

Those opposing beliefs, of course, are a source of conflict. That pretty much means interacting with those family members who still follow those old family rules can be pretty stressful and even quite hurtful at time.

Since I cannot control their behavior, nor would I want to, that means I have the choice of either dealing with the conflict all the time or keeping my distance. Because there is such heartache involved I have chosen the later. It has been sad to make such a decision but in the long run it makes my life much more peaceful.

I cannot live up to a standard that is unrealistic and I will no longer try. I am not responsible for their unhappiness. That is their issue and since there is nothing I can do or say that will help there's really no point in continuing to try to make relationships work that are at such opposing odds.

This does not mean that I don't love these people. I love them with all my heart. It does mean that I am letting go of any expectations that we will be the type of family I long for. I know that just is not possible when blaming, lying, manipulating and protecting offenders is at the root of their behaviors and self awareness, responsibility for one's own actions and taking charge of one's own destiny are the last things they want.

I hope they will find true happiness some day. However, the road they are willing to travel to get there is just not one I will ever travel again. I know what works for me and those old ways aren't it. I will never go back to being a victim again, not even for those I love.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Little More on My Rape

Funny how things can take twists you didn't expect. The character in the storyline did come around to tell her story. By that time the prosecutor refused to bring charges against the perpetrator because of the victim's initial actions leaving this perp out there on the streets.

While the details getting to this point are different from my rape, the end result is the same. I think the thing victims fear most is perpetrators still out there doing what they're doing.

In my case it was so long ago that the term "date rape" hadn't even been born yet. The fact I knew my perpetrator, even though I was not dating him, put law enforcement in to that mode it somehow must have been my fault. They didn't come right out and say that to me but they did say that rape would be very difficult to prove because I let this man into my apartment, not to mention the fact I'd been wearing my pajamas and a bathrobe when I did.

I don't really understand how my system functioned to get me through this ordeal. I have few memories of the actual assualt although I was covered in bruises and my body ached. I do have clear memories of speaking with the two officers that responded to my call, our conversation and the physical shape I was in.

I think these officers did believe me. I also think they thought the guy who did this to me was scum. I think they were frustrated by the system and how it functioned. I never got the impression from them it was my fault, only the impression that the system would not be so kind.

Since the patrolmen discouraged me from pressing any charges, they did agree they would speak to the man. They threatened him with charges if he didn't keep his distance from me. Keeping his distance was not going to be any easy thing to do because we worked in the same department at a large aircraft production plant in the computer division but they spelled out what they expected and this guy really did not come near me again.

I ended up loosing my job because of this rape. After the assault each time I reported for work my pulse elevated through the roof and I was sent home. I would miss weeks and weeks of work before my pulse would settle down where it belonged only to report back to work to have it rise through the roof again.

To be honest I didn't really even correlate the connection between the rape and these incidents at the time. It was only when I got older looking back on it that I put two and two together. Recently I was speaking about this with a friend and her response to me was "Your were having panic attacks."

Back in those days there wasn't such a diagnosis. No one, not even the doctors had an explanation for what was happening to me. Eventually my employer got tired of all my missed worked and it was used as an excuse to lay me off so there I was another example of how the victim is punished and the perpetrator goes free but even that is not why this rape mills around in my mind.

To be continued......................

Monday, November 29, 2010

Anniversary of Four Fallen Officers

Last year on this date, I was still recuperating from my trip to Tulsa for the US National All Arabian Horse Show when the news came across the airways that four police officers had been ambushed and murdered in my community. I was so exhausted from my trip, I didn't think much could phase me but the news of this terrible tragedy knocked me to my knees.

My entire community and the whole Pacific Northwest seemed to be right there with me. People across the nation were reeling as well. No one could fathom such an event happening yet there it was right there, smack dab in front of us, for all the world to see.

At the Forsa Coffee Company in Lakewood four officers getting coffee at the beginning of their shift were maliciously gunned down by a career criminal. Fast thinking baristas fleeing for their lives had enough sense to notice the white pickup truck that led to the perpetrator of this crime and his accomplice.

Broadcast across the world the memorial service for these fallen officers.
was only the beginnings of this story for my community. Over the past year we have gone from trying to care for the families of the fallen, remembrances of them at holidays and such, to witnessing the beginning of the trials of those who aided and abetted the fleeing gunman.

Still in disbelief, each time our wounds were reopened. We watched in horror as those involved in hiding the gunman tried to justify their behavior. We wondered how anyone could really believe there was a justification for hiding such a perpetrator. Before us the worst of what human nature has to offer.

We also watched the torn hearts and broken dreams of the families of the fallen officers sharing their stories or sitting there in the court room. There we saw strength and courage as these families put their personal feelings aside to honor the memories of their lost family members always being there to see their loved ones not forgotten and for justice to be served. Before us the best of what human nature has to offer.

Today on the anniversary of this tragic event a ceremony dedicating a memorial to these officers is being broadcast. To begin the acknowledgement of this day, family members went together to the Forsa Coffee Company and bought a cup of coffee at the exact moment their loved ones were gunned down one year ago today.

One of the speakers at the memorial service compared this tragic day to the explosion of the Challenger, the attack on the twin towers and the assassination of a president. I must admit that comparison rings true for me. My world was rocked as dramatically by this event as any of those national tragedies. My false perception of my safety was once again shaken to the core. If four police officers were no safer than that, how could I possibly feel safe in this world.

My all of my community has felt this fear, they have not succumbed to it. Instead of shrinking from this disturbing event, the community has embraced it as a way to honor these officers. From the beginning the families of the fallen have been taken under the wing of the community which has raised money for college funds for the children, seen to the day to day needs of the families, collected massive amounts of food in the names of the officers for those in need etc.

Funds were raised for two memorials to be built, one at the Forza Coffee Company and one at the Lakewood Police Station. The ceremony today officially dedicates these two memorials.
Once again, the tragic event of a year ago today is being used to gather food for those in need. Records for donations were already being broken before the ceremony was even finished. While these officers are gone from us, their memories are serving as an reminder of the strength and goodness people are capable of.
What better tribute could there be?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thinking about Rape

One of the television shows I watch has been running a storyline about one of its main characters being raped in her office at work. It has been a realistic, dramatic portrayal from the beginning of the actual assault itself on through to how the victim has handled the situation.

Having been raped myself, you might think I'd stay away from what might push my buttons. Yet right from the beginning of my journey through recovery I've done exactly the opposite. I've utilized any and all triggers as a way to open up any wounds that need healing.

Now, many years after I've officially ceased therapy I am still drawn to things that are triggers for me. Sometimes I think I do it because it reaffirms for me that some people really do treat others as badly as I remember. Other times, maybe, I'm still working on accessing old wounds that need healing. Whatever it is, I found myself drawn to this storyline even though my family had hoped to avoid watching it.

In this particular drama the victim decided she didn't want anyone to know that she'd been raped. While she couldn't hide the fact she'd been badly beaten, she denied right from the start there was any rape. She just couldn't face people seeing her differently and was afraid of their pity. Her pride got in the way of doing what she needed to really heal.

Since I began my journey toward healing, I don't think pride has been my problem. It may have been at the root of the secrets held by some parts of me, but once I decided I was only as sick as my secrets, I was determined not to be captive to them anymore. When each new revelation became exposed I spilled my guts to anyone who would listen. I guess that was my way of taking my power back and getting free from the constraints inflicted upon me through the actions of others.

To be continued...............

A Little More on My Rape

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What about Fair?

I know that life isn't supposed to be fair but despite that fairness is an important measure for me. I live my life trying to deal with others in a fair manner and I suppose I expect that others will do the same with me.

That expectation is where I get into trouble. I know most people expect others to treat them fairly. There's plenty of evidence of that in today's world. I also see that many of those people do not make dealing with others a practice they chose. They do as they please, regardless of the feelings or needs of others, yet expect everyone to be fair with them. The double standard drives me nuts.

I suspect that Muddy K in her comment on Bitter is correct. Bitterness is probably not what is behind the feelings I am experiencing. My rage(and believe me it currently is RAGE) is more about fairness than me being bitter. I am inflamed that I have been judged on someone else's manipulative portrayal of my behavior by a person with no first hand knowledge of my character.
Then that woman, having decided that I am what?...... the enemy of all her friends, joined into the beginnings of an unseemly and totally inaccurate confrontation on my FB page. I tried to suggest to her that maybe she should get the facts before she encourages someone to continue on in an inaccurate and troubling attempt to discredit me. The woman's response was a justification of her behavior filled with venom that makes no sense to me.

I have had no direct dealings with this woman. What is this assault from her about? Why is it so easy for her to attack someone she doesn't even know? AND why does she want to jump into the middle of something she doesn't even understand.

Do I have an opinion about this woman? You're darn right, I do. It's based on my personal experience with her and what I have personally seen. It is not based on what someone else has told me about her and that's where the fairness comes into this, I think.

I know enough about this woman to know she'd be screaming to the rooftops about fairness should the same thing happen to her. Yet, there she is carrying around this chip on her shoulder about me for something that has nothing to do with her and isn't even accurate in the first place. How do you deal with things like that?