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bix

FOO story

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bix

I started typing this in response to Chloe's "Do we all have FOO issues" thread in the main forum. But once I started typing it turned into a rambling epic (gosh what a shocker from bix) So I thought I'd put it here in the My stories section instead.

==================================================================

I have mixed feelings about my FOO and how it relates to my abusive marriage.

I had therapy for 12 mos once a week about 12 years ago for one year. Not once did the subject of my FOO come up. In the one hour I had I usually banged on about the 'drama/upset' of the week/the day usually to do with my stbx's behavior and then the hour was over usually before I felt that I'd even got started.

One online counsellor that I spoke to for a couple of sessions said that people usually tolerate abuse because it's 'familiar'. But I never actually described my FOO experiences ever to him - he just declared this as kind of a "general rule". So I'm like "OK".

So what I'm trying to say is that I've never had a therapist officially declare my FOO as 'Dysfunctional' and the cause of my abusive marriage situation (I've never had a therapist call my stbx 'abusive' for that matter - but I've had 3 separate counsellors immediately describe his behavior as "bullying" as in "I'm sorry he's bullying you" or "when someone bullies you..." those types of comments.

Then again our marriage guidance therapist ( 6 years ago) who we saw for several months, never mentioned 'abuse' or 'bullying' either. As for stbx's protracted silent treatements and simmering resentment & nastiness and his need to "make me pay" for my transgressions for months and months on end.... She just shrugged and said "well everyone has a different "process" and you have to honor his "process" and let him take the time he needs. And I'm like "well Ok"

But FWIW here's a very condensed version of my FOO history.

My mom was not abusive to me but she was IMO abusive to my brother. (and I hated her for that because I loved my brother) I used to stick up for him but my 2 sister's didn't. My eldest sister was simply awful to him (I saw that with my own eyes). My middle sister was always trying to get him into trouble and tattle on him but then my brother apprently was absolutely horrible to my middle sister (but I never saw it - he never hit her in front of me). So I was kind of in the middle of it all with everyone trying to get me on "their side" or try to win me over.

The reason why I love my brother even though he's abusive to his partners - is because I know the person he was "meant to be" and I feel like crying just saying this. No one probably understands this when he behaves the way he does. I've probably seen him 3 times in the past 15 years, because first, I've had to set boundaries with him due to his late night drunken phonecalls (he's been sober for 3 years now - yay!) but mainly because my stbx cannot tolerate him. because he's afraid of him (and so he should be) and because he's very jealous of our friendship. I think it just rubs in his face that I'll never connect with him the way I do with my brother. Which I've always sympathised with as probably difficult to watch. Me and my brother are like best friends - soul mates I suppose - he's the only person who understands the way I think the way I have all these endless streams of ideas. We're both interested in computer programming and 'systems' in general and we just analyze things the same way. We can "handle" and totally enjoy a certain amount of intellectual intensity with each other. He's a bit of an information junky like me and he flatters me a lot. He would drop everything to help me out no matter how many years have passed. There's something messed up about THAT relationship I'm sure particularly because he's been physically abusive to his partners. (but he's NOT manipulative like my stbx, he's defintiely not vindictive like stbx so I've never really understood that) I think I'm the only person in my brother's life who loves him unconditionally.

My middle sister is my best friend also - I just love her very much. (but we are VERY different) We're not "soul mates" - we just get along very well.

I was the one in the family that everyone liked and wanted to be like. I was the easygoing one. I was the one that got along with everyone even though they didn't get along with each other. I became an expert at remaining neutral.

I was the one that my 'father loved' (apparently) although he never got in touch with me since he left when I was 11. I've seen him twice since then and both times it was not instigated by him - it was because my middle sister pestered him.

My oldest sister (7 years older than me) when she lived at home was nice to me and spent more time with me than my mother. She would take me everywhere with her. so I have a lot of fond memories of all the stuff that my oldest sister would do with me. Take me to the movies, swimming, iceskating, shopping. she liked me and 'spoiled' me a little I suppose. She hated my middle sister with a passion though and was really mean to her. I on the other had adored my middle sister I always stuck up for her when the others would try and get me to gang up on her. I refused to do this.

When my mom remarried, my oldest sister moved out (she was only 17) so did my brother and that's when her attititude changed towards me. she would invite me to stay with her at her apartment during the summer vacations (she would INSIST) and then every time she would find some excuse to literally beat the crap out of me while I was staying with her. I think she felt "kicked out" of the new family (i.e. my mom, my stepfather me and my middle sister) and she took her resentment out on me. I never fought back - the thought of hitting someone I loved even though they were hitting me used to sicken me. (which is probably messed up). But I was very scared of her too.

Me and my middle sister used to argue and because we were closer in age it was more of an argument between "equals" as opposed to the bullying by my oldest sister after she'd left home. Arguments with my middle sister would sometimes come to blows (i.e. she would hit me) but it wasn't the relentless beating that I got from my oldest sister. I was not scared of my middle sister at all. I thumped my middle sister back ONCE hard and I hated it so much. I can remember to this day that feeling of hitting her arm that feeling of her flesh - I thought I was going to throw up. It bothered me so much that I never ever hit her again. I dodged and blocked but I refused to hit her back. I have a problem hitting people that I love. Same with my kids - I hit them ONCE in desperation when they were younger and it was pretty hard and I can hardly bear to even think about it. It was wrong and I've apologized to them over and over again.

So maybe my toleration for abuse is more to do with my siblings than my parents? Also my Siblings bullied my mom to be honest and I hated that too. My Dad just had nothing to do with my parenting - he was just an occasional visitor who hugged me and was always very nice to me (but I never had any one on one time with him EVER)

When I was 16 I decided to leave home (I was supposed to go into 6th form) - I moved to the same city (200 miles away) that my brother was in but got my own apartment. I wans't unhappy at home at all it just occurred to me after visitng my brother as a more fun way to live life. Living on my own seemed as natural as breathing I think that I'd been "on my own" for so long at home and making my own decisions that it didn't seem any different - just more fun! So I suppose that's not normal - my mother never gave me any "guidance" about anything she trusted me to make all the decisions for myself concerning school work or anything. She'd always say "Bix - you're the level headed one of the family - I trust you to make good decisions" Which maybe was a cop out or abdication of parental responsibilites but.......it was probably TRUE.....I don't think she was able to make any better decisions than I could... I think half the time she didn't know WHAT to do. She didn't 'mother' me the way the mothers seem to be expected to do these days - but then in the 70's in the UK I think a lot of parents were like that - just 'not involved'. But I could be wrong. When I say "not involved" she didn't interfere in anything but she did attend every single school function and bought everything that I needed. she knitted and sewed and did all the housework and cooking (she required absolutely NOTHING of me with the housework) she RARELY got frustrated or angry with me because she never REQUIRED anything of me.

Growing up and even after I left home., my mother always had a lot of time for me and we'd chat and go for walks together a lot. I would talk over EVERYTHING with her and she'd listen patiently and let me vent. she was a really patient thoughtful listener. she'd give me her honest opinion or if she didn't know what to advise she'd say so. There was a LOT of laughter in my house growing up. The amount of times the five of us would just be helpless with hysterical laughter is a huge part of my upbrigning. My Mom taught me that life can be hearbreaking and tragic and disppointing but also things, people situations are FUNNY! My mom also gave me my love of wildflowers and gardening. She always respected my opinion on anything and listened respectfully and would disagree respectfully. I don't think my mom ever criticized me nor did she really "require" anything of me. I guess that's kind of strange? I think this probably turned me into a "big head" but I didn't realize this was how i came across until I left home. I an just very comfortable and confident when believe in something. And I am very secure in being challenged or proved wrong because i just have no problem with that. I don't really understand why people sometimes see me as presumptious and arrogant when I see myself as simple confident in what I think. (I'm still working on that)

I learned from my Mom the practice of honorable debate and respectful discussion. I had ZERO experience of all these underhand tactics and headgames and "not saying what you mean" and all this crap that I've since learned about from STBX. I was a true naieve "innocent' ripe for picking for a manipulator like stbx.

Probably my biggest influence concerning 'abuse' is my older brother who I was scared of physically so I avoided crossing him if at all possible. We used to hang out all the time in my teen years after I'd left home. He hit me once (knocking me out) because he'd got into a fight with 5 guys because he told me to stop talking to this guy in a club and I'd carried on (I'd complained to my brother that this guy kept pestering me to dance and wouldn't leave me alone - He was really persistent) - My brother was my 'protector' and if anyone gave ne any hassle all I had to do was tell my big brother and he'd warn them off. he went up to this guy and told him to "back off his sister - she doesn't want to dance with you". that was that. but this guy started trying to talk to me again (even though my brother had warned him off) and I was talking to back to him to tell him to leave me alone. but all my brother say was me talking to this guy again so he was furious with me for 'making him look like an idiot' so he told me to 'get outside; and he gave this guy (who'd ignored his warning - a piece of his mind) then he came outside and said we had to go home. then this guy and 4 of his friends started fighting my brother. (my brother is tough though - if someone got in his face and threatened him he'd stand his ground and fight back). but it was 5 on to one so he got hurt this time although he did take on every single one of them but he was furious with me for what he thought was 'encouraging' this guy.

I later explained things to him and he was really apologetic.

But he blamed that incident on me because I should've stopped 'encouraging' this guy. So he lamped me.

I never heard my Dad saying anything nasty to my mother. I hardly remember any arguments. But what deeply affected me was the horrendous 'stories' that my oldest sister would tell us that my mother had confided in her. Things that my father apparently did to my mother. Stories of horrible cruelty, debasement and humiliate (even some sexual sadism stories) and I was told all this from the age of 5.

When I was older my mom told me some stories about my Dad that he'd only give her the housekeeping money if she got on her knees and begged for it. she told me that when we were all little he'd drive us to the beach but he would never sit with us because he was ashamed of his big family (something to do with being Irish catholic and having a 'big' family young was somehow 'trashy") I was oblivious at the time - like I said it's all the STORIES I've been told that have burned my brain.

She told me about the horrible shame of being known as 'Suicide's" daughter' because her Dad committed suicide. she told me the horrible stories about how neglected she was by her mother when her Dad went off to fight in the war. tMy mom and her brother were dirty and covered in lice and her mother would leave them at various friends houses for months on end. Tthey were always being palmed off on different people. They had to endure being bullied and teased in shcool because they were so raggey and dirty. One family refused to give her brother food so he had to scavenge it from various places for a couple of months. When her Dad came back from the War and saw how neglected they were he 'beat the hell' out of her mother. Once her Dad came back everything was OK and he took care of them properly. But my mom said that all she can remember is her mom screaming and yelling at her Dad for days and days and weeks and it would never stop. Whe would just sneak around like a little mouse and spent a lot of time at her grandma's house around the corner. argued for days and days and she described her mother as ranting and screaming at her Dad and it wasn't until he hit her that she would stop ranting. She would then go to all the neighbors and say look what he did to me. Her father lost a finger in an accident at the factory and was unable to perform his trade any more so he had to take some job that wasn't as 'respected' as the one he was doing and her mother just riduculed and belittled him into the ground pouring scorn on him for weeks on end and that tipped him over the edge and that's why he committed suicide.

But the worst story my mom ever told me was that before she was born there had been another baby girl which had been stillborn. She was born in the house and she wasn't breathing so the baby was dead and was thrown on the fire. I'll say that again - they threw the baby on the fire. the story when my mom was born is that she wasn't breathing and then her grandma came in and said that baby's not dead and she tapped my mom and my mom started crying. My mom said she's always haunted by the fact that if her grandma had not tapped her and made her cry then SHE would have ended up on the fire too.

It wasn't until I read "Angela's Ashes" that I could hardly believe that this kind of thing went on. But pretty much reminds me of how my mother described the depravity of life back then (she grew up in an irish settled part of the northof england - a factory town)

When my mom met my Dad. He literlaly swept her off her feet. He said she was the most beautiful creature he'd every seen. (and she was 'movie star' beautiful). My Dad was very insistent about marrying her and very intense about it. But she was actually in madly in love with another boy called John French and they'd had an argument and had split up again. and then at a dance her friend pointed out my Dad saying look at that boy - he looks a bit like John French. So she danced with him and then my dad pursued her relentlessly and he was very "take charge" and his family was very prominent in the community - and he was a police officer which she was impressed with. alhtough she said he wasn't terribly good looking. She still loved John French but my Dad promised her the world and he wanted to marry her straight away but she kept turning him down. He kept pressuring her to get preganant because as a policeman if he had a wife and child he could get a "police house" and they could both get out of this grim industrial town they were both desperate to escape from and pursue a life of respectablity. Eventually he did seduce her and of course she got pregant straight away. My Dad of course was delighted. My mom now preganant told her parents that she didn't want to marry him and her Dad told her to go ahead and marry him and if it didn't work out she could always "come home". So they got married had my oldest sister and 12 months later my brother was born. she named my brother "John" after John French.

Problem was that my Dad was not happy that his beautful wife was now a mother with 2 small children. He was a strict catholic and the church forbid him to use contraception. It was at this point that my Dad started to turn on my mom and become cruel and abusive. My mother planned to go "back home" as her dad had told her to. but 3 months later her Dad was dead (from suicide) and 6 months after that her mother died from cancer. Her grandmother had recently died too. so that was that as she put it "I was stuck - I coudln't go home" To this day she's furious and heartbroken that her Dad abandoned her like that when he'd promised her that if it didn't work out she could "go home" from that point on she says "I HAD nowhere to go". She had no choice but to tolerte how my Dad treated her. she always wanted a big family my Dad did NOT want a big family (because that was shameful somehow) my mom wanted 6 children. (she only had 4) After my brother was born my Dad completely abandoned the catholic church because he couldn be "sort of a catholic" with him it was 100% or nothing. and to him if he was using contraception (which he decided he HAD to lest he ended up with 12 kids) then he was no longer catholic. Me and my sister were born because my mom loved children and wanted more and 'made' it happen I suppose. Apparently my Dad used to joke "I only have to look at your mother and she gets pregnant!"

So I've been deeply affected by the "stories" more than what I've witnessed with my own eyes.

So I'm kind of burnt out with this story for now. (there's more) It's the first time I've ever told my FOO story to anyone so thanks as always for providing a place to be heard.

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moongoddess

thanks for sharing bix...........

*HUGS*

MG

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maggiez

((((Bix))))

Thanks for sharing.

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bix

All this thinking about my FOO started me realizing how bad my father was and how amazing my mother was.

My mother was basically a single mom still married to my Dad who worked away (because he chose to and wanted to live a single life) yet would come home every weekend. Then every other weekend then one weekend a month.

He didn't divorce my mom because it's "Cheaper To Keep Her' a saying used in divorce lawyer circles that my lawyer told me as to why men who clearly don't like their wives don't initiate divorce.

For the first time I now see how the 5 of us would build something good and to be proud of and then my father would burst into our lives like some critical stranger, sneering and mocking my mother and picking apart what she'd built. Every visit from him was a denigration session. We would run around tidying up the already today house scurrying to make everything right so that maybe we'd be good enough maybe he'd stay this time. Maybe he'd like us this time or say well done or not sneer at my mother.

But no he'd always have this imperious sneering pompous attitude to us. I don't think he ever left without calling or implying that one of us or all of us were "filth , scum and rubbish" - His favorite expression.

I've always thought of humor as a healthy defense mechanism. but now I'm not so sure. After he'd left the 5 of us (my mom included) would giggle nervously with the relief that he'd gone and crack hilarious jokes at his idiocy and pompousness and one of us would perhaps mimick him and we'd laugh and my mother would 'try' not to join in but you could see she was enjoying the relief brought by the humor.

Looking back I can see that this humor was a way of trying to restabilize ourselves as the aftershocks of his insults and sneering coursed through our bodies.

And it's only today as I sit here that I realize what a f*ckin heartless b*strd he was. Today I'm not laughing.

Today I think I realize for the first time what an amazing job my mother did. She was endlessly reliable, endlessly giving - so there's got to be a happy ending right?

No. My mom is criticized and guilt tripped and manipulated by her grown children still to this day. My Dad remarried and has had a very nice life - he got off scott free. I can see me ending up the same way as my mother- being endlessly manipulated and criticized by my grown children.

Some days I really just want to get away from all of them stbx, D10,S13. To escape the constant fight to be respected and not treated badly. the constant struggle to 'explain the obvious' because treating Mom like sh*t comes as natural as breathing - they've watched their Dad day in day out - their 'obvious' is a different 'obvious' to mine.

Some days I just want to say to hell with all of them. Ooops mustn't say that I'm supposed to just stay and stay and take the abuse and pretend that there's always a happy ending, the karma bus always get them - when I've seen with my own eyes that happy endings are usually for life's bullies NOT the victims.

But no victim will ever truly accept that reality. Myself included.

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