Direct Answers - Column for the week of January 19, 2004
I grew up in a very abusive family. Physical, mental, and emotional abuse were the norm. My father was the most abusive, but my mother echoed his sentiments and couldn't see why we were unhappy with what he was doing to us. Add to this sexual abuse suffered at the day care center they dumped me at, and I was hurt, confused, and losing myself.
After one particularly nasty fight I told my father I had enough. He couldn't hit me anymore without me going to the police. He turned it all on me by saying my parents never wanted to have kids, and I was getting what I deserved. By 19, I felt so awful about myself I attempted suicide and thought about locking myself away in an institute to be safe from my family.
I moved to Australia to study and met a nice boy. I'm 23 now, engaged, and we are planning a 2004 wedding. Since moving I've attended counseling, and I'm taking antidepressants. But my parents still run my life from thousands of miles away. They send me the most hateful e-mails and told me unless I get married at the family home, they will not consider me family.
This they then retracted, but they call incessantly--which I don't answer--and criticize me over and over. Without asking they send money that I hate accepting, but it seems they always seem to know when I need more. They're honestly destroying my life. I feel so much guilt and sadness inside I am getting a facial twitch. My doctor told me my stress levels are rocket high, and that I'm slowly killing myself.
My partner is very supportive and his family as well. They've suggested severing ties with my family since I am suffering so much stress and since I'm an otherwise bright, funny, and bubbly person. But I feel obligated to my family to solve their problems and make them happy with me.
How do I stop the guilt? What if my family hates me? I'm 23. I can't imagine going my whole life without them. Even if they're completely worthless, they are still my family.
Lynne, some people have an allergy to shellfish so severe eating shellfish will kill them. The only safe thing is to give up shellfish totally. But what if a person can't see living their life without eating shellfish? Then shellfish will kill them.
Andrew Vachs, an attorney and child welfare advocate, said something we believed in long before we heard it. He said, "Family should be an operational term, not a biological term." To say it more simply, a man is your father because he acts like a father. A woman is your mother because she acts like your mother.
Some people are born in poverty; some people don't get a chance for an education; some people grow up in homes with severe abuse. Wishing things were otherwise changes nothing. For people who grow up with severe abuse, the only way to save themselves and have a decent life, may be to walk away from their abusers.
In the final Godfather movie, Michael Corrleone tries to escape from organized crime, but he finds it impossible. "Just when I thought I was out," he says, "they pull me back in." Your family is trying to pull you back into the cycle of abuse. In your own words, "They're honestly destroying my life."
The behavior we would never tolerate at the hands of a stranger is sometimes routinely accepted inside the family.
Your father was abusive in every way, and your mother supported him. Unlike Michael Corrleone, you have a choice. You now have people in your life who support you, care about you, and love you. Delete the e-mail and change your phone number. Choose the people who deserve to be in your life.
Wayne & Tamara
About The Author
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.
Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.
I stepped up to the edge and looked down. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath... and jumped in head first.
?Back to CYA on a Mission?
Six former wards came back to the California Youth Authority (CYA) earlier this month. This time they volunteered to return. They were on a mission to deliver a message to the wards at N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility, which houses California's most violent youth offenders ages 18-24. The diverse panel of ex-convicts purposefully stepped through the fences of Chaderjian as law-abiding citizens. They each wore visitor's passes clipped on their shirts and security alarms attached to their belts for their safety in the event that a riot "kicked off".
Direct Answers - Column for the week of June 2, 2003
It's funny how an acquaintance from the past just pops into your head sometimes. Usually the flashback is brought on by a phrase someone says, or a thought you have. Today my particular flashback was induced by the words "this guy," which were uttered by one of the custodians where I work, as we passed in the hall.
Clearing Your Inner Landscape: Freeing Yourself From Emotional Deadwood
Do you suffer from emotional clutter? Is suffering even the right word? Maybe it is, maybe a better description is 'living with' emotional clutter. Emotional clutter is like an addiction.
I feel rather foolish writing this letter, but I need help. I am a 67-year-old man living on social security. My wife and I divorced, but I never lost my love for her. One day we ran into each other and realized the magic is still there.
Innovation Management ? Being Receptive to Inspiration
Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.
The Power of Inner SELF
I am sharing one of the great insights.The fear that we have about venturing into anything new is our past memories and darkness. There is a way out to walk in the darkness. It's to seek active guidance from within and trust deeply that we are guided from within. The intensity and accuracy of the guidance dependence on our contact with inner teacher/leader/light. In fact the fear is nothing but fear of being alone. Some day, we deeply and experientially understand that we are not alone but intimately and moment to moment guided by the inner teacher. Seek to be guided and your trust will never be faltered, you got to remove the thought that you are alone.
Make Life Work: Repair the Relationship with Yourself
What areas of your life are working well? Career? Finances?
Create Resistance or Creative Acceptance
Resistance is not a new word, but for many of us awareness of resistance is new. In Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, resistance is defined: "to withstand, to strive against, to exert force in opposition, to counteract, defeat or frustrate."
Anamchara - Living An Essential Life
What is essential in your life? This question contains one of the most important words an question can address. This is the word "essence." To know your "essence" is to live the mystery of life rather than the illusion of "your life."
Silence means no voice input of any sort. What happens when there is silence? We cannot hear anything from the outside, but the voices inside are what we hear pretty clearly. We can hear ourselves. We can loudly hear to what we think and how we think, if we do.
Where You Can Find Sympathy
Ask any of my kids and they'll tell you immediately that you'll find it in the dictionary between "sh-" and "syphilis". Wasn't that absolutely cruel and unkind of me to instill in them a nearly total distain for the concept of "sympathy"? With so many individuals in the world suffering in so many ways, how could I possibly be so heartless? I am without a doubt, an uncaring, evil SOB!
Where Did We Miss?
Talking with friends, people I meet on a regular basis, I realized that many of us make a bigger a deal of meditation than it actually is. For some people, meditation is somewhat of a discipline, and for others it's the discipline about meditation that makes them run away from it. People, organizations, and any other form of disciplinary establishment we look to for guidance, tell us that meditation is disciplinary in its formality and requires a certain set of rules.
Inspiration: Some Things Ive Noticed Along the Way So Far
Let's file this one under the heading of random musings and observations, or what I like to call "things I've noticed along the way so far."
By Now, Im an Expert at Memory Loss
I sat down to write my weekly humor column, but I just could not remember what I wanted to write about. This seems to be an increasingly more common affliction, ever since I turned 40. For instance, like most people over 40, I often can't remember my age.
The Power Of A Dream - Success Always Start Off With A Dream
Back in the good old days of school, the teachers would often catch us for daydreaming in class and not paying attention. "Stop dreaming! Dreaming will get you nowhere," yelled the teacher. Is it really so? Does 'dreaming' really get you nowhere in life? The answer is 'Yes'...and 'No'. If you dream and you took massive action to achieve your dream, your dream could very well come true for you. However, if you dream and take no action, it remains just a powerless dream.
In the Eyes of a Child
It was way past 10:00 pm when I came home from a grueling day of schoolwork and extracurricular activities. The wind was rustling about overhead as I paced through the door of our humble abode. I moved towards the nearest couch and plumped myself to rest. Defeat and exhaustion filled my frame as I laid back against the soft cushions. But then I remembered our Hematology project which was due the next day. Galvanized, I scrambled off my feet and immediately headed towards the personal computer situated on the other side of the room. Just then, my little brother Michael dashed out of his room and came straight at me. He was holding a pen on his right hand and a piece of paper on the other.
What is the Meaning of Life?
A young man in search of enlightenment had traveled to Tibet at great expense and more than a little consternation amongst his family and friends. It was a week before he was allowed to speak with a red-capped administrator of the Dalai Lama's personal staff; in the meantime he enjoyed the wondrous sights of the Himalayas. The people of the countryside had welcomed him and he was learning their language slowly. They had made it clear no one got to talk to the Dalai Lama and ask a personal question unless they had waited a long time and shown proper respect and intent.
Clicking to Good Vibrations!
Recently my dad visited me in Victoria, BC. He is THE most appreciative person I know!
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