They Came Softly

I know, the title, but come on, it wouldn’t really be my blog without at least one slightly inappropriate innuendo, now would it?


I saw my mother at the grocery store the other day. 
I needed to go to the health food store and I drove 12 minutes out of my way just to avoid having to drive near her neighborhood, because that is how much I did not want to see the woman; the woman who I haven’t seen since I had essentially burglarized her house. I figured it was worth adding an extra twelve minutes to my drive just for the peace of mind that I might not accidentally pull up to a stoplight next to her; as if we are that much alike to plan our schedules accordingly.

Except that OH NO HA HA HA apparently we are because I ran into her at the grocery store. Now when I say I ran into her, I literally mean I RAN INTO HER. Actually, she backed into me, shopping cart and all, but nonetheless,

NO. Just NO.

That is much too close, STEP AWAY FROM EDEN.

How dare this former family member of mine SHOP at the GROCERY STORE for things that people eat EVERYDAY!?

Actually, I would have been less surprised if she had showed up on my doorstep, seeing as how I was in a health food store….but that’s another story for another time….

I digress.

So, the woman backs into me and it was all….


It was nothing. I was all “Hi mother” and she was all “oh!!! Eden!!! Whatever in the world are you DOING here!? How are the kids!? What are you up too!? You look wonderful! How is work!?”

and I was all “……yea, I’m fine, take care.”

Then I simply walked away and that was it.

That was really fucking weird and also, who was that woman?

I spent the rest of my shopping trip peering around the corner of each aisle like an absolute psycho in an effort to avoid haphazardly thrusting myself into another random run in with her. Eventually I got everything that I could not live without in the next twelve hours needed and left.


Ugh. Ok, so like I said, I haven’t seen nor heard from my family since I shoved my way through their front door and got my things back.

“How has it been?” you may ask.


Oh the peace! How I do love life without family drama.

You see, here’s the thing; my father’s side of the family is weird. Not to be confused with my mother’s side, the side where her abusive father drove her mother to suicide and then the new step mom murdered her father and then she herself disowned the rest of her family when I was 12, no, not them, my father’s side. They are weird. They are weird in the sense that I have come to believe that they may be some sort of cult.

I’m kind of joking, but at the same time I’m really not. That entire side of my family, all 40+ of them, live within a 30 minute radius of my house. “Why?” you might ask, well it’s because they live and work together.

No seriously, they like LITERALLY live and work together. I’m talking communal houses, I’m talking “buy a gigantic office building so that they can all run their respective businesses together,” I’m talking “if one person buys a vacation rental property, another person is sure to buy the one next to it,” that kind of thing. On one hand it has worked out wonderfully for them because they own businesses, properties, vacation homes, and assets all over the place. They are no small group of people and are quite profitable in what they do. On the other hand, they seem completely unable to function without each other.

They are one big, happy-go-lucky, codependent, cult.

I once found a letter that a family member had written to another family member laying face up on a desk. I wasn’t snooping and I did come across it innocently, but even though I did not touch it, I’m not going to lie, I read it.


It was laying there, wide open, and the first line caught my eye. The letter was all about how the writer of the letter needed to get out of the family. How this person needed to figure out who they were and not live in such a constricted environment. That because of the family dynamic, they felt “less than” other people.

It was everything that I had always been feeling, minus the abuse.

That person did make a pretty drastic life change and for a while they really did seperate themselves from the family, and I have to say, I was proud of them, but then as everyone in this family does, they came back.

I have nothing negative to say about them personally, individually, or the choices that they make (it may have always been part of the plan to come back), but the dynamic of how this family functions together is just strange. It’s like they are this tiny little self contained….cult.

Does that sound normal to you??


We were never an extended family that talked about emotions. We were always a family that swept everything under the rug, put on our happy faces, and pretended we were fine.

Throughout the years there were whispers of suicide attempts, affairs, and other hot topics, but no one dared ever actually talk about anything. Literally a pregnant girl (or in our case, two pregnant girls) who we had never even heard of before showed up at a family party one day, carrying a couple of new family members, and no one said a word. Not, even “this is my girlfriend and she is going to have our baby,” it was literally just like a “pretend that they have always been here” kind of thing. A spouse went to prison for selling drugs and guns to an undercover officer and aside for whispers amongst different people, not one conversation was actually had about his absence.

It was just as if he had never existed.

While I truly have nothing negative to say about the people involved (even came to love the pregnant girls that joined our family), there was an unspoken rule that you handle your own business and you don’t talk about it with the family. Because of that, I never told anyone what was actually going on in my marriage and I suspect that is why no one ever said anything about my childhood.

When my ex left, the outpouring of support was….minimal. There was an aunt and uncle who were helpful getting my locks changed and trying to recover some computer files for me, and an aunt who took me grocery shopping once, but that was it. Forty people and not one person just showed up and hugged me.

I was expected to handle my business and move on with life as usual, but I just couldn’t.

I didn’t want “life as usual,” I wanted a new life, a better life. As I shunned my parents, my extended family shunned me. They didn’t understand why I wasn’t following the rules. They didn’t understand why I didn’t sweep it under the rug. They didn’t understand me.

They would reach out to me in the only way they knew how; they tried to convince me to “come back.”

I made attempts to get together with them individually, but it was hard. When you have that many people in your family there is always a birthday party or an event to go to; events that I did not attend in an effort to stay out of my parents way. As time went on, we just faded from each other’s lives. I spent holiday’s with friends, I didn’t throw a family birthday for my kids, and slowly we all just sort of faded away from each other’s lives. As much as I miss my cousin’s and their children, we are a vastly different group of people and beyond DNA, we don’t share much in common.

I have a couple of older aunts that will babysit my kids from time to time, but our relationship is very…business professional. Actually, I’m more emotionally connected with the people that I work with than them, and I’m fairly professional with the people I work with. I try to connect with them but I’m not even sure if they know how, or maybe they just don’t want to.

I had climbed out of the little petri dish that was my self-contained family and they had shut the lid tightly behind me.

What is a family? It is supposed to be a group of people that love you unconditionally and will always have your back. In my case, my family had failed me in every aspect of the word “family” and without having anything else in common, we are nothing more than strangers.

So here I am now. I had the sudden realization the other day that despite my independent family status, I’ve actually and unbeknownst to me, been building myself a new family over the last two years.

I’ll be honest, it scares me, a lot.

Let’s take Frisbee Boy’s mom for example; she is like the mom I always wanted. Oddly enough it was her on my wedding day that took over the roll of my own mother and helped me with my wedding dress, just like it was her all those years before that mothered me at school.

It was her that sat with me when my son had surgery on his eyes just weeks after my ex left and it was her that brought me groceries after my rhinoplasty. It was her that drove me to all my follow up appointments and it was her that helped me burglarize my parents. It was her and her husband that covered my mortgage for a few months when I needed help. It was her husband that ended up taking my daughter to the “Dad and Kid” pizza party at school, and it was him that stepped up and offered to be her mentor. It was also him that whispered “I love you” to my daughter when he dropped her back off that evening.

Frisbee Boy’s Mom and my Boy Child at the hospital awaiting surgery

I don’t think I saw everything that they were doing for me until now, because I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want to see it because they are acting like a family should and family hurts.

I don’t want to be hurt.

It’s a tricky situation, being a grown up abused child. There is nothing in the world that you want more and at the same time there is nothing in the world that you want less, than parents.

I know that they aren’t my parents, I get it. I’m not some loony tune that envisions family vacations together and to be sitting around the tree with their kids. I will never be one of their kids, but I see my kids falling for them, I feel my heart yearning for acceptance, and it makes me want to run away.

I want to shove away some of the only people in my life who have cared for me with no expectations of getting anything in return.

I want to protect my children from becoming attached to more people that may be ripped from their lives and I want to protect my heart from anymore rejection.

There is no rule book for this, there are no clear answers. I’m not sure what to do next.

Gosh I hate this.

I hate knowing that people care about me and that being cared about is such a terrifying feeling.

I’m easy to like but I’m hard to love, because I don’t let people love me, and yet somehow, I think they care about me anyways.

I took inventory of the last two years of people caring about me the other day. The Christmas holiday where I was all but kidnapped by my best friend’s mom. The Thanksgiving dinner that I was invited to where another friend’s mom went out of her way to make an entire gluten free meal for us. The people that bring cleaning supplies and Gatorade when I’m sick and happily show up to cheer for my daughter at her ballet recital. The friends that check in with me when they haven’t heard from me in a day or two and the sweet friend that repeatedly mails me items from Florida. The friends that organized a small fundraiser for me after my ex left, not once, but twice. The neighbors that take my trashcan out every week and clean my car off when it snows. The girl down the street who read my frustrated Facebook post about a lost pacifier and a still crying child, and then showed up at 10:30 pm with a package of paci’s and a bottle of wine.

How did I not see how many people care about me?

Because I avoid looking at it, because it scares me so much that it hurts.

I don’t know how to be loved.

I don’t know how to let someone love me.

It’s a tricky thing, being a grown up abused child and a finally free abused wife; the only thing I’ve ever known is how much people can hurt me. Gosh damn can people hurt you, but as I’ve suddenly realized, they can also love you.

When it really comes down to it I only have two choices. I can hide away in my house forever, keep the doors shut and never have to face another storm, or I can open the door and hope to see a rainbow on the horizon.

I won’t get hurt inside of my house,

…..but on the other hand, I’ll never really live.

This is the only life that I will ever have and at the end of my time, I really don’t want my obituary to say “Eden learned how to survive not being loved.”

What a tragedy if my greatest accomplishment is learning how to live without one of life’s greatest blessings?

I want more for myself than that.

Pain comes hard but blessings, they can come softly. Most people would not willingly accept a tragedy and the fact that they come anyways is what makes them so out-of-control painful. But most blessings, they take time to seed and grow, and oftentimes that is done quietly.

I don’t know if I’m ready to be cared for, but somehow, I think people care for me anyway.

The storm that is my life shook me. It rattled my walls and shook my foundation, but it passed and then the rainbow, it came softly even though I wasn’t looking for it.

It’s scary, venturing back out after a storm. The threat of being hurt again ringing fresh in my heart, but what’s scarier, is letting that be the end.

Blessings, unlike storms, they don’t come with a bang. You can’t ignore a storm when it’s beating down upon your roof, but the rainbows, they come softly. Sometimes they come when you aren’t ready to look at them and so you don’t even notice they are there.

My ex, he stormed through my entire life, yet the people around me now, they came softly.

The tragedy of life isn’t that the storm came, it’s in failing to realize that it ended. It’s in failing to see the blessings that came after because you were too scared to open the door.

If we spend the rest of our lives hiding from the rain, we will never see the rainbow that came softly.

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  • Steven Theiss
    November 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Well, I'm probably not the only one of your blog readers that wishes they could adopt you. You know how weird my family is, so you must also know that you would fit right in. I've already got two daughters whom I love fiercely, so adding another one to the mix wouldn't be too hard to manage.Sending you lots of hugs, Eden.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      Lol thanks!! What a generous offer 🙂 You are right about the strange part, I think I would fit in nicely. What element would I be though for the convention?

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 9, 2014 at 3:44 am


  • Anonymous
    November 3, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Posts like this are my favorites! Gives me chills

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      Aw thanks 🙂


  • Anonymous
    November 3, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Keep reminding yourself that you are a mother and you love your children and you can be trusted by them completely. And you are a friend and you don't mess your friends over and you can be trusted by them completely. Then remind yourself that there are other people like you besides you. (As in, those loyal and compassionate folks who are doing their best to faithfully support and cherish you right now.) And that you can trust them just as sincerely and totally as your loved ones can trust you. And that it is okay to let them love you and to love them, just like you love your kids and they love you. (Deep down you know and can trust that there is no way that your almost mom would hurt you or be loony towards you any more than you would be to your daughter, right? Even if she isn't your actual bio mom you can still rely on her and be thankful for her.) You have always tried very hard to be the mom that you wished you would've had, right? Here you have the chance to have that sort of relationship in your own life. Reach out and hold it close and be thankful. You've been broken and you've healed, but you need to let go of the old scars and damage. Don't let those past breaks warp and cripple you, go ahead and run and jump. Fly, even. Real love is a gift, let yourself enjoy it. (For one thing, if you react funny to such situations, as you claim your responses and inner dialogue is causing you to do at times, then you are setting a confusing example for your children! Part of breaking the pattern is changing your responses.) If you want your children to accept love and be loved without analyzing and fearing and wariness and suspicion, they can't be seeing weird responses from mommy to love and caring being shown from the only “family” circle they know. (It's different when you react to their dad, they understand his actions are wrong. But when you respond inappropriately to support and concern from the loving people in their lives then it will confuse them.) Love and acceptance is golden, it helps us grow and bloom and expand and endure. Stop fending it off and fencing and holding it at arm's length, take an accepting breath and start (doing your best) to take it as it comes and take it for granted, in the good kind of way. Be less reluctant and more accepting and matter-of-fact about being cared for and supported. And more outwardly appreciative too, even in the happy expansive “lots of hugs and thank yous” kind of way, if you can. It may not seem natural at first but just think of it all as an investment in your children's future. Their emotional and spiritual growth and the foundation for their own adult lives and relationships. (Remember, it is not just for you.) But the more you accept love, the more it will nurture you, and the more you will be able to love and care yourself, it's a big circle. Faith, hope, love, but the greatest is love. That's from a very famous book and it is true. (All you need is love, that's from a very famous band!) It can sound corny but it is indeed what makes the world keep going. The hate and fear and misery in the world can only be overcome by love and compassion. Allow yourself to be loved as well and as completely as you yourself love. Be thankful and joyous that you are blessed by this love and support and revel in it. Even when it is a struggle. Just do it, until it comes more easily and naturally. (And until then, just “act as if.” That's the best any of us can do. We all just keep our chins up and Act As If. AAI, if you will.) It will all be easier for you once you open up to being nurtured. Embrace it all with outstretched arms and a full heart. (Remember, Love is the answer. And the question is, Everything!)

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Wow that’s a lot to take in but definitely a few things that I needed to hear! Thank you for reminding me to set a good example for my children 🙂 You are right, this is not going to feel natural to me, but I need to change my way of thinking!!

      Thank you 🙂


  • MeowMix
    November 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    COMMENT PART 1: Eden, Sometimes I read certain posts of yours and sit shaking my head, laughing under my breath, thinking “oh my god… oh my god…” Because it's like you're talking about ME. Your dad's family sounds just like mine! And my ex's, in many ways. The skeletons in closets that no one speaks of, cult-like co-dependence and dysfunction, all those RULES about not individuating, having a voice or identity of your own, not speaking ill of ANYONE in the inner circle, not telling ANYONE about the abuse you see behind closed doors, not thinking about the bad stuff, smiling and just being “happy” or “thankful”. I can't tell you how many times as a young child I was told that “we don't need to air our dirty laundry” so I tried not to tell anyone anything about the bad things that happened in our house but I was suicidal and going crazy and eventually had to tell SOMEONE. It scares me how easily I can still fall into following unspoken rules, how easily I can play along, play my part, fake it, make them happy, be the good puppet, execute the perfect performance and make everyone smile and clap. I know I need to get farther away to be more free but every time I've tried, I've fallen into a worse situation with someone even more abusive than my family because I was never taught how to protect myself, recognize predators, say no or truly stand on my own two feet. I want to try again, but I am terrified I will fall into danger and I can't let that happen for my daughter's sake. On the outside I look very independent: financially, professionally, emotionally, socially, and in many ways I am, but underlying that there is still a covert, sinister cord of control that my family has over me and we both know it although we would never speak of it. If it were not for that control, we would never speak again, and they know this, which is why they keep it. I have no emotional connection to them and don't remember ever having one. People growing up would talk about missing their parents at camp or other times away from home and I thought they must be babies, but looking back I’m sure a part of me that I didn't have access to felt sad, unlovable and jealous that I was never anybody’s “child” like that; I was always “so mature for my age”. I went overseas as an exchange student at quite a young age and never missed my parents for one second. People think I'm horrible for knowing I will be happy when they die, aside from the grieving for all that never was. They don't know what it's like to have a family like this.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 4, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Yes, I too still do the whole “smile and say I’m fine” thing when inside I’m like “I’M ACTUALLY DYING HERE PEOPLE.” Thats exactly how I ended up with my ex, because my family never taught me to protect myself or recognize predators, or say no.

      Sounds like our family was cut from the same cult!

      I often think about what I will feel when my family dies, but it makes me so sick and guilty to think about that I just push it aside. It’s literally something I have nightmares over; showing up at the funeral and being chased away by an angry extended family.

  • MeowMix
    November 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    COMMENT PART 2: I don't let people love me either. I don't think I even let my daughter love me fully. Now I understand better why I act so fiercely “independent”. I thought it was because I was so neglected growing up that I had to be. My mom said she did it to raise me to be “independent” but that is another ball of dysfunction and abuse I won’t get into. I “do it all” “on my own” “without any help” because I know that depending on anyone for anything is dangerous and stupid. Give people any reason and they will hurt and try to control you to feed their sick needs and desires. I don't believe people can even really love each other. I think everyone is selfish and cold-hearted at the end of the day, when all the warm fuzzies run out and the other person doesn't benefit you at all. It makes me feel sick to say that but at least I can be aware of it and hope that I am wrong and that someday I will feel differently. Good thing overall I am pretty damn happy and free, and so is my daughter. More and more, that's all I really care about. Thank you for being emotionally brave, taking the time and investing the effort to write these posts, for giving voice to an experience that if you’ve had it, and I’ve had it, there must be thousands more. Sometimes all you need is someone to give a voice to your story so you can read it more clearly and make more sense out of what sometimes feels so confusing, strange and unbelievable that you start to wonder if you made it all up.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      I agree with the independance thing, I think that’s why I push people away. I don’t want to feel like I need anyone because then if they leave or hurt me, well who cares, I didn’t need them anyways! 🙁

      Thank you for commenting back! I know you guys have said before that you appreciate my voice, but it is good to hear from you otherwise I’m never really sure if it’s just me feeling that way and am I crazy!

      Glad that we can wade through this together since I don’t think the cesspool is going to drain anytime soon lol

  • MeowMix
    November 3, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    OK, Part 1 disappeared, oh well, it was super therapeutic for me to write it. 🙂

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 3, 2014 at 2:06 am

      It was in my spam box, I moved it back. I’ll reply later to you and everyone else! 🙂

  • Koro
    November 4, 2014 at 2:03 am

    I struggle with that feeling a bunch, because it's hard for me to trust other people. I've been hurt, and being vulnerable is the last thing I want to do.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 4, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      Meeeee tooooo as you can see. Me too.

      Wish me luck on this one….

  • Anonymous
    November 4, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Is that side of your family Irish? (I remember you were Irish, because I'm 100%) If so I can tell you that's it's definitely a cultural thing. Problems just aren't talked about, and I think a lot of it is a result of the family being too damn huge. (Usually a lot of drinking, too… yes the stereotypes are true, folks.)My dad's side is a lot like yours, though, which is why I'm going to ask – would it be different if you were to open up to anyone about the past? My mother is only a little less worse than yours – everyone knew she was psycho, but didn't know about the abuse. I'm hoping it's somewhat of the same thing with your family. Is there anyone you think you could talk to, preferably someone who doesn't see her regularly? I only say this because so far, this has been the biggest factor in my recovery. There's still no real “family” I belong to (since my grandparents are all dead) but so far, I've learned these people cared more about me than my mother ever did.Glad she didn't cause much trouble, though! Of course, the fact that she was in a public place probably had something to do with that…

  • Sara A.
    November 4, 2014 at 3:44 am

    The term you were looking for when describing your Family Of Origin is “enmeshment.” I don't jump to this easily but, they are completely enmeshed. It would probably be best to cut the lot out of your life, including the elderly babysitting aunts, because they will report your doings to the hive and were probably complicit with your abuse. You're doing a great job re-calibrating your normal meter! You've got a great model of how relationships aren't supposed to be in your FOO.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Yes!!! They totally are.

      As far as the aunts go, the one good thing about the fact that no one talks about anything, is that they don’t talk about anything, so they don’t report anything. At first they would call and try to get me to talk to my mother, but I was fairly firm one day and said “do you think this is something I’m doing for fun? Do you think I’m doing it because it’s easy? Who doesn’t want a family? Who wants to lose everyone they grew up with? Who wants their kids growing up without extended family? Look at my life, it’s completely wrecked. How do you think I ended up here?”

      Naturally they didn’t say anything but they never brought it up again either! I don’t see them very often because like I said, my huge family has things going on ALL. THE. TIME. that I don’t attend because my parents are there and I don’t see them on holidays, but at least they are kind of there I guess.

      Thank you for your confidence in my re-calibration 🙂

  • Mzfuzz
    November 5, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Crap…I didn't see this until today. What a soul search! I don't even pretend to know what it's like to go through that process, but I do want to comment on just a couple of things:Eden, you DO know how to love. You love your kids to death and beyond. You also are learning to love yourself. Now you get to learn how to give that to others, and accept it from them. It won't be easy, but I've never met anyone who went through the process, looked back on it, and regretted it.Also, I know it's hard to be without family, but from a different perspective, you're the luckiest person on the planet! Your family isn't the awful, ungrateful, demented, abusive, selfish mutts that share your genetic code. You, with the benefit of years, experience, and wisdom, get to CHOOSE your family! You have the opportunity to seek out the people to fill those roles in your life, and you get to find the best ones for you and your situation. I'm just stuck with my family, whether they're good for me or not (not lying, they're great, but just making a point). This is just another extension of you being able to create the life you need for yourself. I know it's scary as flock, because of how you've been hurt. And honestly, nobody can promise you that you'll never be hurt again. But like you said….You can live “safely” in your little tiny box, or you can go out and experience life with all it's dings and dents. It's all those dings and dents that give us character, make us who we are, and set us apart from those around us.As always, *HUGS*

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 4, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      You are right about the blessing that is choosing your own family. I really hope that I choose right, not sure how much more I can take!

      Thank you as ALWAYS for your perspective and kind words 🙂


  • Emmy
    November 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Off the topic: your baby boy looks so cute in that pic I just want to eat him!! What a cutie. Give him (and your daughter too, why not!) extra hugs from your readers today OK? Hmm…maybe not so off the topic after all. LOL.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Hahahaha, LOVE it. Thank you and I will give him (and the Girl Child) many hugs from you!!

  • MeowMix
    November 5, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    It reminds me of that old song from the mid-90's, you are probably too young to know it, called Mother Mother by The Veronica's and it went “I'm hungry, I'm dirty, I'm losing my mind, everything's fine!” LOL

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 5, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Ha, I had not heard of it (or them), but thanks for enlightening me!! 😉

  • MeowMix
    November 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Hmm… never thought about the Irish thing before, my ex's family is Irish and I have some in my blood, too… hmmmm…..

  • CD
    November 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Oh, Irish grandmas. They always mean well, at least (I really miss mine now more than ever!) I'm sure they at least know she's crazy, even if the abuse isn't something you feel like you can talk about.I think the main difference in our situation is that on top of being crazy as it is, my mom is a huge alcoholic, so she isn't really able to “hide” her crazy as much. Ironically, if my parents divorce (they've “talked about it” for years now but nothing has happened) I might be able to have some semblance of family with my father's side, but as we both know, it doesn't make up for what we lost. My “family” interaction is pretty much limited to Facebook at this point, but honestly, it's okay for me. Because it's SOMETHING.By the way, it was actually you who made me realize I had the strength to stop speaking to my mother when I first read your XOJane article and found your blog (I've been lurking for a few months now, but this was the first post I commented on!) I don't know why, but I couldn't put your story down. Now that I've officially said something, I'm definitely going to be commenting some more from now on! 😀

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 5, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Irish grandma’s, unite! LOL.

      In a sick and twisted sense you are lucky that your mom doesn’t hide her crazy as well. Mine would gaslight the hell out of me and I felt like screaming “can’t anyone see what is going on here!?” Still obviously sucks that you had to go through it at all though 🙁 I hope someday you are able to have even if not a relationship, maybe some closure with your father’s side. You are right, it won’t make up for anything, but maybe it will be a little something that helps.

      Thank you for your sweet words. It’s funny to me that anyone would look at me trudging along over here, not really sure where I’m going, and be like “yes. I need to do that too.” Haha.

      I’m so glad that you commented, I love hearing from my readers and I really hope you comment again!!

      CDNovember 5, 2014 at 10:00 PM
      As funny as you think it is, I’m still kinda starstruck that Eden Strong is finally talking to me lolol!

      Unfortunately though, my mother gaslighted the hell out of me as well. Actually, I learned that term on here when someone else posted it… it was like… SO THAT’S WHAT IT’S CALLED? They see the crazy and the drinking, but they don’t see the abuse. My dad “sorta” gets it but says “her actions were misguided, but remember, SHE LOVES YOU.” Yeah, ok dad.

      Weirdly though, in the hours since posting this, my lifelong friend’s mother (a la Frisbee Boy’s mom), who I haven’t seen in ten years, invited me out to dinner with her family. This family, as well as the one that basically took me and my sister in (led by another “Irish grandma”) were so influential during those early years of hell (which I’m sure they didn’t know about, or at least didn’t know much). Oh man. I cannot wait to see them again!

  • CD
    November 5, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Well I can tell you this: The more you stay away from your mother, the more your aunts (and everyone else) will realize it's not some teenage rebellion thing, that she really IS that bad. Of course, like when your brothers were doing this, it was probably your mother trying to get them to do this (or maybe your father, since he seems more like her personal slave than anything? Talk about enmeshment…)Just remember Eden: It is nice to have relatives, but your kids are all the family you need!!!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      That seems to be what is happening, that that they are having a realization. Either they gave up or they realized I was serious because they don’t really ever mention her anymore, where as before it was unavoidable.

      I completely agree, it was my mother pushing my father to get the rest of the family in on it. I don’t even think he intentionally does this stuff, I really think he is completely unable to think for himself at this point because of my mother.

      Yes, that is a good thing to remember 🙂 I’m very blessed 🙂

  • Anonymous
    November 5, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Welp, I'm crying my eyes out at work now. At least my co-workers were already convinced I was a weirdo.Seriously, though, thanks so much for this. It's something I needed to hear as I try and decide whether our little family should stay in a familiar place where old friends are geographically close but rarely seen or move to somewhere new and strange where there are no friends but family that loves us passionately.-JH

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      Oh no, don’t cry!! (the weirdo part is kinda funny though. Join the club with me!)

      I hope you find peace in whatever you feel is the best decision for you. Sending you BIG *hugs* tonight.

  • Koro
    November 6, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Wishing you a bunch of luck. It helps if I remember to breathe deep.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 3, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      Is that side of your family Irish? (I remember you were Irish, because I’m 100%) If so I can tell you that’s it’s definitely a cultural thing. Problems just aren’t talked about, and I think a lot of it is a result of the family being too damn huge. (Usually a lot of drinking, too… yes the stereotypes are true, folks.)

      My dad’s side is a lot like yours, though, which is why I’m going to ask – would it be different if you were to open up to anyone about the past? My mother is only a little less worse than yours – everyone knew she was psycho, but didn’t know about the abuse. I’m hoping it’s somewhat of the same thing with your family. Is there anyone you think you could talk to, preferably someone who doesn’t see her regularly? I only say this because so far, this has been the biggest factor in my recovery. There’s still no real “family” I belong to (since my grandparents are all dead) but so far, I’ve learned these people cared more about me than my mother ever did.

      Glad she didn’t cause much trouble, though! Of course, the fact that she was in a public place probably had something to do with that…

  • CD
    November 6, 2014 at 4:00 am

    As funny as you think it is, I'm still kinda starstruck that Eden Strong is finally talking to me lolol!Unfortunately though, my mother gaslighted the hell out of me as well. Actually, I learned that term on here when someone else posted it… it was like… SO THAT'S WHAT IT'S CALLED? They see the crazy and the drinking, but they don't see the abuse. My dad “sorta” gets it but says “her actions were misguided, but remember, SHE LOVES YOU.” Yeah, ok dad.Weirdly though, in the hours since posting this, my lifelong friend's mother (a la Frisbee Boy's mom), who I haven't seen in ten years, invited me out to dinner with her family. This family, as well as the one that basically took me and my sister in (led by another “Irish grandma”) were so influential during those early years of hell (which I'm sure they didn't know about, or at least didn't know much). Oh man. I cannot wait to see them again!

  • CD
    November 6, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Lol, you may not be a star, but two other old friends randomly contacted me as well, I don't think it's a coincidence it happened as soon as I commented here. With all that I've learned (gaslighting IS A THING, and oh man don't even get me started on my dad!)That's actually the third time Casablanca has come up in discussion in my life this week! Love that you know that movie, one thing my crazy mom made sure was that we saw all those classic movies!Also, 100% dude here – but no, you don't look crazy. Not anymore than any of us are. 😛

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Haha, sorry dude! I actually thought about that when I wrote girl and then just kept writing!

      Yay for great movie quotes!!

      Crazy about the other friends contacting you do (enter creepy music here).

  • Steven Theiss
    November 7, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Oh, I think you would obviously be “Aether”, the unchangeable, heavenly substance from which the stars are made!

  • Anonymous
    May 11, 2015 at 1:06 am

    You are a very brave lady! Many people go their whole lives….” learning how to survive not being loved.”I love reading your blog. Donna in California

    • NotMyShametoBear
      November 12, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks love 🙂 I’m happy to have you on this journey with me!!

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