Would you care for a truckload of veiled hostility with your cup of manipulation?

Why is it so hard for some people to differentiate between unresolved personal resentment and social outrage? Why do some view manipulation, insults, and threats as viable persuasion tactics?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/toxic-relationships/201704/are-you-being-manipulated

Are they simply superimposing their inner anger and insecurity over the top of current events as a veil to shield themselves from introspection and personal responsibility? Or, are they really just truly shitty people who want everyone else to feel as shitty as they do?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201901/why-narcissist-will-never-back-down

Are they nasty human beings that actually hate others because of their geographical location, skin color, religious/non-religious beliefs, political/non-political views, socio-economic standing, sexual orientation or gender identity? Or, are they damaged mentally and emotionally by years of personal abuse that they refuse to seek help for or publically address for fear of unfair judgement?

Take that in for a moment…

There is the possibility that they judge others harshly because they fear to be judged themselves?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/i-hear-you/201710/10-reasons-why-people-refuse-talk-therapists

What?

There is a fix for that you know?  It’s called therapy. It’s called personal insight. It’s called being sick and tired of being sick and tired. It’s called doing the opposite because everything you have done up to this point in time has not worked George!

Haven’t you had enough?

I write this piece because I once lived in a “swamp” of unresolved resentment, anger, and fear over how others might perceive me. I was raised to care more about how others viewed me than how I viewed myself because to be sensitive, thoughtful and kind was weak. I was taught that everyone was out to get me and that it was every “man” for themselves in this dog eat dog world. I knew that was crap and a lame attempt at shifting responsibility but it still corrupted my world view for many years.

Newsflash: NO ONE IS OUT TO GET YOU!  The only enemy you have is the enemy within. But, if holding onto rage fuels your soul then good luck with that. I for one would like to live without the worry of dropping dead from a rage induced heart attack or a stroke. I’d like to live to see my future grandkids.

Why is this so hard to understand?

When you think you are right but you are hurting everyone around you=WRONG!

I have many, many questions about the current state of affairs; why people cling to misinformation, fear, myths, lies, and prejudices.  Is it a dirty badge of honor? Is it some sort of reward for having gone through hardship?

Everyone goes through some hardship at one point or another in their lives. Some dwell on it, reveling in the tales of fights with family members and how they were the victor in an imagined battle of wills. What trophy did you get? Fewer family members or friends and a prospect of future personal isolation? That isn’t a trophy I want and will gladly concede defeat in the great War of Manipulation and Imagined Hurt.

Does this mean that those who pull back and refuse to engage further are weak? Does it mean they are losers?

Sure, I lobbed a few bombs back at first, in defense, but retreating now holds no shame when it protects peace of mind, physical wellbeing, and self-respect. I respect myself for having the courage to voice how I feel and will not apologize to anyone. Speaking truth to tyranny is never offensive because truth is power and those who take exception to my speaking out should be disappointed in themselves for refusing to be honest. It’s not like others don’t already know bits and pieces of your personal drama so you might as well own it. You aren’t fooling anyone.

And, it totally is stupid shit, isn’t it?

The world contains enough negativity. Choose to engage with the positive side of your soul and learn to forgive yourself, others, the world…whichever you deem most deserving. It’s time.

Being grateful in ungrateful times…

I try so hard to see the positive attributes in people. I try even when people are the worst.

This past Christmas I dutifully sent out cards and gifts to people that I thought needed to be shown a sign that they are still loved despite the nasty blow-ups of 2018. Some may assume I send gifts to these people who rarely give me the time of day, unless they need something, as a way to curry favor or manipulate.

Nope.

I do it because I’m not an asshole.

The gratitude I feel because of the fortunate breaks I have received in my life is what fuels me to reach out even when I’m being slapped away. It makes me want to continue trying even though I know I am being vilified and discussed in a negative and inaccurate manner.

The only commandment we truly need

It’s okay. My soul will stay intact should the world blow up tomorrow. And yet, I will still hope they see the light before the big BOOM! It is how I was made, although I’m not certain how that particular personality quirk came about given the fucked up DNA that produced me.

The Universe is a curious place, with a wickedly cruel sense of humor it seems but I don’t spend a lot of time pondering why I am the way I am and my family is the way they are. They just are. I can hazard a guess as to why they react and strike out and rant and rave the way they do but it would fall on deaf ears because those who seek to tear down others invest no time in self-reflection.

Speaking of self-reflection and insight and personal evaluation, all of which I work on daily, I’d like to reiterate that not once have I ever crowned myself Queen Perfect. Nor have I ever reduced anyone to the level of an utter fuck-up. Even my ex-husband and ex-in-laws get good wishes from me because if they fail in life it not only impacts them, it impacts my daughter because her DNA is forever tied to them as well.

https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/qvwjm5/when-its-time-to-cut-off-a-family-member

I try to express gratitude every chance I get and have found that the best time to do it is right after the feelings of being slighted creep in. Honesty urges me to state that it is very hurtful when my daughter gets ignored by all of her maternal relatives except one.

Honesty pushes me to admit that I feel the sting of disappointment when, after taking the time to send a card, money or whatever I get a short text thanking me for the card but then don’t hear from the recipient again until the next gift-giving cycle. There are those who think I should stop sending cards and stop sending money since no meaningful contact has been made in nearly a year. Not for any graduations, birthdays or Christmas.

Should I show these unresponsive takers the same lack of consideration they show me? I don’t know if I can do that. Not the way I was made…remember? But, I do know that something has to give soon because the day may come when I realize that the best way to show gratitude is to start being good to myself and let go of those who find it perfectly okay to hurt, ignore and use others.

I’m not there yet. I still want to continue trying but in the meantime, I will cultivate and feel gratitude for the growing relationship I do have with one, singular sibling. I have not always been fair to her over the years and have not kept in touch like I should. I am working on changing that because I am grateful for her and my brother-in-law. Aside from my daughter and amazing partner and dear friends, they are all the actual family I have left.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lying Tree…

I do not have a conventional family tree. I have a lying tree.

For as long as I can remember the “facts” behind who my blood relatives really are have been blurred and carefully edited to fit a narrow narrative of acceptability. What will the neighbors think? What will random strangers on the street think? And, finally, what will the people at our church think? That last one always created pause for me since church implies certain moral values and the very act of lying to cover personal embarrassment from fellow churchgoers is ironic and laughably hypocritical.

But, don’t say this to the patriarch and matriarch of this fabricated fable!

In modern times there is this little thing called the internet. On this construct exists a massive online newspaper archive called Newspapers.com ( and I am sure there are many more) where anyone willing to pony up a few bucks a month can search the names of relatives, friends, ex-friends, and ex-lovers to see if they ever “made the news” from the 1700’s to the 2000’s.

On this website, I found out that my paternal grandfather was charged with and eventually found guilty of misappropriation of funds while a Justice of the Peace for Cook County, Illinois in the 1960’s.  He was sentenced to 6 months in county jail and not once, in all the years I have known my mother or father have either said one word about this.  Not surprising really since my mother said once, in church, that my older brother was “away at college” when he was actually in jail.  Being a scofflaw runs in the family you see but, Que sera sera, there is not one thing that can be done about it now. The fibbing branches just keep falling…

IMG_7660

Several years ago, after a few glasses of wine around my younger sister’s kitchen table, my older sister mentioned a conversation she had with our mother that included the words, “That was the time when your grandfather was away in jail.” Wait! What?  “Oh, didn’t I tell you that?” was my mother’s response to my sister’s shocked surprise. No, you sure as hell did not!  Much like the various health conditions relatives had that were not shared with us or the fact that she had been borrowing on life insurance policies our maternal grandmother purchased for us for years without our knowledge. I’m sure there is more but will stop at the tip of the ice burg for now. What they don’t know won’t hurt them right?

THIS is the kind of thing I am talking about here. This is also the kind of thing that the truth-impaired bemoan as  “ancient history” and “what’s in the past is the past” but my argument is that this very shit stabs right at the heart of what is wrong with my family and many others. Lying just for the sake of lying, lying for personal financial gain and finally, lying to save face. Once you have protected your image to the point of alienating and potentially physically harming family it becomes clear what is more important to some people:

Not us. Not me. Not my daughter. Not my partner. Everyone is fair game for an attack apparently. I have the letters, emails, Facebook posts and text messages to prove it.

My family is a sad stomach churning potluck of avoidance, delusion, resentment, and selfishness. And, I too have experienced and participated in all of these things over the years and will make that clear. In order to write this I have to be honest and in order to write this, I also have to shore myself up for any pending attacks on my recollection and character. I have been attacked on both fronts by both my mother and my younger sister so any further vitriol is easy to shrug off. They will do what they do and have always done and I will do the opposite because to do anything else is a sure recipe for self-harm and I’m too old for this shit!

As you, dear reader, peruse this little essay I am sure that there are other eyes scanning as well. Eyes that are looking for any mention of them, any mention of blame, any mention at all. Hello! Despite our falling out, I am glad you are here and I am even gladder that you might be reading my words. Take them in. Mull them over for a bit before responding and, might I add, before firing off in a flash of keyboard courage consider picking up the phone to address any grievances with me personally. I will take your call and I will listen to what you have to say. I may hang up without saying more than an initial “hello” but I will listen none the less.

So, for the foreseeable future, I will be HONEST. Everything I write about will involve confession, confrontation and, finally the search for redemption. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to be redeemed in my family’s eyes but in my own. I am looking for peace, nothing more and nothing less.

Stick with me on this journey okay? I might need a cheering section when the wolves arrive…

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The fluidity of change…

Everyone has the capacity to change. Everyone has the inherent will to do better. It’s the motivation factor that trips us all up.

Do I really want to change or am I just saying this because its what people want to hear?

I’m sorry.

I won’t do that again.

I learned my lesson.

Mere words. Without conviction, determination, and drive, these words, hammered into the human engine compartment are meaningless and just fill uncomfortable silences.

12930854_1169147253130504_87887366_n

Meaningless words fill our heads all the time. Okay, that was an awkward moment…what can I say to ease the tension? What trite quip can I toss out to bridge the gap? Sometimes, it’s better to suffer the silence, to feast on the uncertainty until our bellies ache and we are forced to seek relief.

And now, we get to the CHANGE chapter in life.

What I Have Learned From My Mistakes…

Am I going to invest all I have in changing my habitual patterns? Am I going to live up to my mantra of Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say?  Honestly, I am trying. It’s hard. I absolutely want to view change as a river that flows from my heart to my brain and out through my feet and hands with the kindest of intentions. I want that!

When I was a child I remember my father saying something to the effect of: “I don’t make mistakes. Everything I’ve done, I meant to do it so it wasn’t a mistake.” And, at the time, I thought it was just his way of getting around having to say he was sorry for being abusive but now I see that he truly thought he was right and everyone else was wrong. Changing anything about himself was never a consideration. To my father, “change” was for the weak, the godless, the ignorant.  Now, I realize I was none of those things and he feared the day when I would come to this conclusion and rise up. And, rise up I did.

Why People Have Such A Hard Time Changing

Whats so awful about change anyway? Why is it so maligned, so rejected, so ridiculed?

In thinking back, I can now see a clear picture of how I have always been seeking change.  I wanted to change my home life, my parents, my relationship with my siblings, my looks, my way of thinking…change it all! If I could just change then maybe those beating me down would finally love me. God, how pathetic right? Except, that version of “change” was not realistic because I was seeking to change into a person that I thought these other unchangeables wanted me to be. In hindsight, I suppose I was really just looking for approval and never needed to change for these people at all. Truth right there!

Today, I view true CHANGE as a breath of fresh air, a new way of looking at life and not negative at all. It IS fluid and it does move and bend and grow with time, just like me. I am working on moving the obstacles out of my path, releasing the barriers that have kept me stuck in the past. I am also working on a new mantra because saying what I mean and meaning what I say is no longer effective. Now…..

Everything will work out to my advantage…

Everything will work out to my advantage…

Everything will work out to my advantage…

It will because I deserve this, I earned it and I worked hard for the life of purpose that I am living now. No one can take it away from me.

Love, Light, and Peace

Reverie

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

We all need a break

Well, it’s been a few days since the Big Blow Up.  How do I feel now?

I feel okay.

980x

At first, it was a sense of shock at having a family member lash out at my daughter online over her stance on gun control and the short-sighted blame game both sides engage in. Then it was irritation that they moved on to heap scorn upon the thoughtful words of the man I love. But, when the real story revealed itself, the continuation of a gripe started months before and long-held resentment, it became clear that whatever relationship we may have had is now almost certainly irrevocably broken.

Can it be fixed?

I don’t know.

Am I going to apologize?

I did apologize to the people that I owed an apology to.

To those that aren’t owed one?

Nope!

That may sound harsh and cold but you know what? I have never really felt like I was a part of this family unit so whether I acquiesce and roll over for these DNA bullies or not it still won’t matter much. Their resentment will remain and I can do nothing to change their minds.

I could never quite put my finger on what it was that set me apart from them and that is not to say that I feel better than them on any level. I just feel different.  Maybe it was that I learned to mistrust people at an early age and the teachers of that lesson were other members of my own family. Maybe it was just some difference of heart that I inherited but they did not.

As time goes on the real outcome of this reality check will make itself known but for the time being, I will just keep breathing, keep improving and keep living my life. I know who I am and take responsibility for the mistakes I have made. I will not, however, take responsibility for the mistakes, misunderstandings, and misery of others. And with this declaration, I accept what the future holds for me and wish them peace.

Elle

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The family that sociopaths together…

Today I came to the resolute conclusion that I come from a seriously fucked up family. I knew we were dysfunctional and broken but today we crossed the line and became a scuffed, tarnished menagerie of shame, abuse, excuses and crippling paranoia. Whispers behind every back and unspoken resentment crammed into every available mind space.

At first, all the blame for our personal pain was assigned to our abusive parents and, for myself, the brother who targeted me for molestation from the ages of 9-13. I didn’t talk about any of it publicly until recently and this was only out of solidarity to, and support of, other family members who were also molested by additional male members of this religion stamped clan. One of those abusers is dead but another, mine, is still very much alive and apparently on a “rehabilitation tour” with family members he once had no real contact with for years. It’s a lot to follow, I know, but this is the sick diagram of my past. I’m still figuring it out myself.

Trust is a rarity amongst the shame controlled and so it was brought to my attention that my sister and I never really go below the surface with one another. This tidbit of unusual insight was attached to a Facebook post wishing me well on my birthday. It wasn’t talked out over the phone or in person but, the message was still heard. A tiny splinter of truth offered as almost an afterthought and a quick glimpse at the resentment she held towards who? Me? Her abuser? Her life choices? Herself? I have no idea and have tried to share honest expressions of my own pain with at least three players in this dysfunction but suddenly that effort got caught up in the firestorm over gun control rather than tackled under the umbrella of the real issue.

Really?

Guns over family?

That is the take away here?

sott.net/…/268449-Empathic-people-are-natural-targets-for-sociopaths-protect-yourself

And so, we come back to today. A simple heartfelt plea to help end the carnage of young children, teens and other innocent people at the hands of mass murderers was posted online. In not knowing how to do anything else in such a moment of shock and disgust a simple Facebook post became the catalyst or “trigger” for releasing anger on more than the topic of the insane proliferation of guns in America. The boner some segments of America has for guns is mind-boggling but I truly believe being able to purchase these imagined tools of power and control cloud the reality that power comes from within rather than from a gun. Confident, non-conflict seeking people don’t typically feel the need to arm themselves to the teeth in protection of some threat that hasn’t come to them and may never come to them. But, what the hell! Better to be safely paranoid than sorry. It wasn’t about taking your damn guns away.

So, an honest opinion piece posted on social media, by the only positive male in my life and a reply from my 18-year-old daughter to a less than factual missive posted by her almost 40-year-old aunt, acted as the proverbial straw that broke the fragile family into sniping, passive-aggressive shards. Documenting the slashing comments from other family members or my follow-up text asking the sister who felt the urgent need to embarrass and scare my daughter online to call me, if she dared, would certainly feel satisfying but, I choose to exhibit some restraint. However, out of the need for full disclosure of my own failings I will own up to asking this sister about her psychiatric med regimen and followed up by asking her to “lose my phone number” and pronounced her no longer family. And, in place of goodbye I sadly ended with a rousing, “go fuck yourself.” When we burn it down, we go all the way to the ground.

I’m not proud of how I did it but I am also not sorry for shutting down an isolated, reactionary bully. Two wrongs (or two bullies) don’t make a right and I know I will look back on this moment with edits I wish I could enter but, I can’t. It’s out there, it was long overdue, and now I will work with what I have while sending my deepest apologies to her children out into the atmosphere because doing anything else would anger the beast further. (IT DID…SEE UPDATE BELOW. I AM A SLOW LEARNER)

Disagreement online should not be grounds for imploding a relationship with family when the real issue is personal insecurities and guilt. And, initially, my intent was to ignore and move on but then…Brother Molester joined the fray.

And they know what he did. He knows what he did. Yet, there he was joining in on the roasting of “snowflakes” which was stoked by a sister and brother-in-law who arrogantly and erroneously assumed the original post was all about them. And instead of saving the discussion for the next face-to-face get together it gets parceled out, online, for other family members and friends to see. I am more embarrassed for them than myself because I did not respond online but I was also disappointed, hurt and angry they chose to use my daughter and the man I love dearly as a launching point to express their resentment. If it’s really about me then address it with me. Don’t hide behind a flash-point issue.

thoughtcatalog.com/…/26-siblings-of-sociopaths-reveal-the-moment-when-they-realized-something-was-seriously-wrong

It wasn’t about you.

It was about a national tragedy.

It was about yet another school shooting.

It was about our growing lack of concern about the well-being of others.

It was about our own government, the NRA and gun manufacturers putting personal profit over the lives of people.

To not consider any of that and to only take it as a hit piece written all about you surely vindicates and legitimizes the author. Right? If you saw yourself in that mirror of personal opinion and recoiled in anger then maybe the response should have been to consider what you can do to help rather than rushing to defend your guns. But, if it was really about built up anger over personal insecurities then address that with yourself.

The moment the perpetrator of my abuse joined their ridicule party and…they let him, well this is where I lost my collective shit.

I should have let it go, like I stated previously, and ignored it as the kind and considerate man in my life suggested but the more I read their true opinion of me, my partner and my daughter the less I cared about their feelings. I let my ego take over. That in itself is a common trait in my family. The skill of forgeting about the feelings of others when we are so invested in being right rather than loving.

Defend your guns, mock the ones urging action to stop the continued human carnage, I can deal with that. But, to actively engage with someone who destroyed my childhood, trust and innocence while spewing bile about me and at the people I love? That is when the real ugliness is revealed about us all. The long denied self-loathing, guilt and shame ran straight up that middle finger flagpole and flapped right in my face. I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

The things I write, comment on and like online aren’t targeted at anyone specific.

They are a composite of everything I feel inside and want to get out.

They are about how I wish the world could be.

They are about my journey to the person I want to be.

I have no control over how my family feels or reacts but I do have control over how I let it impact me and how I react to it going forward. To distance myself now will be hard but it has to be done so that, maybe in the future, we can come back together as repaired, caring people. It is all I can do. I will work on me and they can work on themselves, or not, that isn’t my choice.

And so, for now I will just sit back, wait and remain open in real-time while disconnecting from them in the vast wasteland of online shout downs, personal insults and purposeful deflection. The welcome mat remains out.

*UPDATE*

So, I made the choice to unfriend all of my family on Facebook. Harsh choice but the paranoia runs deep in social media land and to save the headaches I just unplugged. Also the interactions of late have made my own daughter very apprehensive about these people she once thought she could trust since her own aunt lashed out at her.

My dear, sweet nephew reached out right after and asked why I did that. I told him why and said I was sorry. He said it was up to me to add him and his sister back because they had done nothing and weren’t involved in the “feud.” If you can even really call it a feud since it was really a cheap one-sided attack that had to be pointed out to me by a third-party because I wasn’t even following the grousing to begin with.

Anyway, in dutiful hangdog fashion I sent new requests to each child and added a note to my niece’s request telling her I was sorry for deleting them and that I was also sorry that the adults in her life were choosing to behave childishly. I said in closing, “We should all do better.”

WE SHOULD!

ALL of the adults in her life should behave better. They didn’t, including me, and I apologized for my part in it.

And…it got sent on to her mother, who is a master grudge holder, for report and inspection. My fault there since I, myself a recovering grudge holder, should have known better. So now I am “a game player” manipulating her children against her for trying to apologize yet she is a martyr protecting her beliefs by blasting her own teen age niece online for daring to question her fact checking. Undiagnosed Pot Calling Kettle Black Syndrome?

For added perspective, her “children” are teenagers as well whom she states are free to make their own decisions so… yeah…there is that.  But again, my fault. No excuse. Her kids, not mine. Hand slapped and the cone of silence is back in place.

Lessons learned?

Two.

1. Don’t pull kids (teenagers or not) into adult issues.

2. Reading comprehension flies right out the window when self-righteous paranoia is in charge.

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.