Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dear Fil

(Warning: strong language ahead.)

Dear Fil,

Please don't call here anymore. Every time you call, you set off a shitstorm of abuse in my household.  Once it even ended in a suicide gesture.  The worst part of that incident was that it involved criminal activity that endangered other people.  Yes, the missionary kid got blinding, puking drunk chugging Four Loco and malt liquor in the Wal-Mart parking lot and drove home.  He could've killed not only himself, but other innocent people.  This last phone call had him driving 25 miles over the speed limit in poor weather conditions, angry at all those people who were "in his way".

What did you do to this man's heart as he grew that has filled him with so much self-loathing and rage?  And why does driving seem to factor into the fallout?  You, Mr. Missionary Preacher Man, are a wicked, heartless, cold-blooded reptile.  You are completely self-centered.  You don't give a shit about your children's hearts, only how they make you look to your cult peers.  You don't even ask any important questions, ever, and when people try to talk about things like feelings, you change the subject.  You are a braggart, and the only value your children and grandchildren have for you is for bragging rights.  Fuck you.  You have contributed nothing  but harm to your family; your legacy is broken men who abuse their wives and children, religious addicts mired in depression and who seek release in bullying others. You are the lowest of the low.  And you suck up undeserved respect from your career choice and the children you intimidated into never questioning you or your cult.

In a perfect world, you would be having some kind of end-of-life fearless moral inventory.  In a perfect world, you would be seeking to truly know and truly care for the hearts of your children and grandchildren.  Hell, if you were even human some of that might be happening.  Non-religious people live this way all the time, without any prompting from moral tomes.  Here you claim to follow Jesus the Christ, a man who promoted love, sincere love, as the highest way any man can choose to live, and you have one of the most cold, lifeless hearts I have ever known.

But, it's not a perfect world. You won't ever change.  You are a self-centered, self-involved religious bigot and all you care about is gaining religious hit points to increase your stats with your fellow fundy cult members.  Shame on you.

What makes me the angriest is how *I* catch the heat for your abuse after you call.  My husband doesn't even try to talk to you about anything important anymore, though he has in the past.  It's too painful to come face to face with the reality that your parents don't love you.  So, he plays along with your little games.  Talk about the weather, talk about nothing, and then you issue your demand for him to show up and pay homage to you in person, opening that "invitation" with a remark of how older brother has just fulfilled HIS obligation, so when are you going to get with the program?

He stuffs all his feelings when you call. He becomes numb.  He says the phone call went well, and then changes the subject. The only difference in his demeanor right away is that he is a bit more distant.  Over the next few days he becomes less and less affectionate, a little more irritable. He starts to spend more time watching sports and disappearing into computer games.  When someone calls him on bad behavior, he will apologize, but not with the affection and sincere regard for the other's feelings that had characterized him in more recent weeks. In short, he becomes his "old self".

He disappears back into PAPD, needing to cause a conflict in order to discharge all of his anger, and ultimately, give reason to the overwhelming shame he feels because of your indifference to his heart.  The conflict has to arise from someone's response to his silence or inaction, so he can tell himself he didn't start it, it's the other person's fault.

That other person is always me.  That's because you, Fil, by your overt and covert teaching, raised my husband to hate women.  You raised him to view them as empty-headed and emotional, with emotional being a bad thing rather than a part of the healthy human condition.  When he is in this, his reptile brain, he becomes you, Fil.  He treats me with the same contempt and resentment that he saw (and I have seen) you treat his mother.  This time it took over twenty-four hours for him to come back to reality.

Right now I am not in danger when he gets like this, but only because my son is here to protect me.  My son goes away to college in a year.  If my husband isn't free of the bomb in the brain that you planted, that you set off every time you call, then I will have to leave him.  I will be forced to leave him for my own safety, because he won't stop taking your calls.  And you won't stop calling.

And fuck you for that.   Fuck you because you never call because you care for anyone but yourself.  You call because you have no heart friends, and the wife is in long term care now.  You can't even abuse her openly anymore.  It won't have the same affect when you tell her that her contribution to the conversation is "the stupidest thing you ever heard", because she has Alzheimer's now.   I wonder who you DO abuse now to try to feel better than everyone else?  People at church?

I think old abusive people are the saddest people on earth.  But don't come looking for pity here.  You won't find any from me. I wish my husband could tell you the truth about how you've hurt him, even though you wouldn't care and/or would deny responsibility.  I wish he was strong enough to cut you off completely from his life.  But he's not, not now, and he may never be.

And then your abuse just keeps on hurting him, because I will have to leave him if there's no hope he'll ever be completely safe for me to stay his wife.  That will really really suck if you get to cut him off from the only person in this world who has ever truly loved him or cared for his heart.  At least the children we raised together will always care for him, unlike your children who only come around you when the guilt you lay on them gets too much to bear.

Please don't call here anymore.  Just don't.  Oh, and get some help for your religious addiction before you die.  It would do so much good on the earth if you would.


  1. Oh, Shadow!! and Hubby!!! It is not at all the same degree of safety issues but I know the incapacity to cut out the abuser. My family begs me to cut off relations with a certain person and I just can't, it doesn't even feel to me that I won't (though I suppose in actual terms it is), but the dynamic is the same: after contact with this person, I turn into someone who damages others out of my own pain without even knowing that I am doing it--despite all my years of introspection, analysis, therapy, prayer, and desire to be/do otherwise.

    And, truly, suicide seems a much more reasonable alternative way too often--since I can't stop hurting the people I love, I will just take me out of the equation. It will only hurt once (or so my thinking goes).

    My heart goes out to both of you. And I hope karma bites FIL's ass real soon.

    1. But does suicide just hurt once? For the one committing suicide, probably. But for the children you leave behind, no matter what age, who wonder, 'why was I not enough for you to stay? I needed you!', I don't think the pain goes away. Don't know about spouses. My guess is they could move on, but the kids will deal with it forever. So, that is not an option for anyone around here. :)

  2. I'm so sorry to read this... Oh boy- and I can relate, though it's not my in-laws, and I'm the one who takes it out on... When I did try to deal with feelings and behaviors, when I did try to talk honestly about the issues, I got blanket apologies and was asked to forgive without clear change in behavior being agreed on and acted on. I get treated like a child- one parent patted me on the head last time I saw them! I have done all I can to communicate, and they wonder why I don't call much. It is just too painful to have fake-ness in the place of mutual relationship. I'm sorry it has hurt you too.

  3. Oh Shadowspring... I can relate to your frustration and it's also the FIL who always manages to wreak havoc in our lives. My husband also keeps answering his phone calls, but I don't answer them any more.
    I hope your husband is able to stop answering the calls.
    I am so sorry you are on the receiving end of the abuse when your husband is triggered. My husband doesn't become physically or verbally abusive, but he has let his father walk all over us, take over our lives, derail us and get us into all sorts of trouble (including arrest for dh). Not fun.
    It's so hard to deal with..
    I hope your husband finds healing for his heart and is able to cut his father off for as long as that takes.
    And FIL, DON'T CALL! (have you thought about getting a different phone number?)


  4. Children of preachers/missionaries just can't seem to NOT answer the phone. I think the early and often threat of bad things on earth and possibly hell if you don't always surrender to your parents is to blame. "Honor thy father and mother, that it may go well with you and you may live long upon the earth." is not a general principle.

    My husband grew up believing in childlike simplicity, that if you obey (honor) your parents, good things happen and if you dare defy them or disrespect them, the opposite happens. It will NOT go well with you, and you will die an early death. We just discussed this last night. Hopefully he will be able to break the power of this unspoken life command (I must always suck up to parents) by realizing it exists and that its silly.

    As a general principle, meh. All depends on the parents, no? Treating this as a spiritual absolute implies that all parents love, respect, value and cherish their children. We know this is not true. Treating this as a spiritual absolute makes no sense. What about all those who die in childhood? Were they all rebellious youth? Likewise what about all people who live long prosperous happy lives? Are we to believe that they were all lifelong suck-ups to their parents? Ted Turner, for one, hates his father, and yet he is still around and has accomplished quite a lot.

    The doctrine of Biblical inerrancy is what is whack. Previous generations did not try to make spiritual absolutes out of OT commands. I reject the Ten Commandments as being the absolute will of God, personally. As priniciples I am good with them: generally children should obey their parents, generally we should not steal, generally we should be content with our own possessions. But they don't stand up as absolutes, because they must all be filtered through the great command of Christ: Love like I love.

    So, if sucking up to your Dad is a stumbling block, and apparently it is, I think he should swear off talking to Dad, for the sake of love. That's my opinion, fwiw.

    1. Best thing I've ever done is turning off my phone's sound and screening my calls for times when I can handle them. Lately, I don't get any calls, because they are waiting for ME to apologize- for holding them accountable for how they have treated me and my family. There is a huge barrier of guilt to press through when you take a stand against your own parents' dysfunction, but it can be done- even missionary kids such as me can do it, but it is not something they can do without help and a pile of good supporters.

  5. "My husband grew up believing in childlike simplicity, that if you obey (honor) your parents, good things happen and if you dare defy them or disrespect them, the opposite happens. It will NOT go well with you, and you will die an early death."

    We were both brought up to believe that. But my father also believes that when one marries, one leaves father and mother (he and my mom both moved very far away from their parents).
    FIL believes in Noah-style patriarchy, boat-building included. Dh would do well in not answering the phone, for the sake of love (for everyone else but his father).
    I agree with your opinion :)

  6. Ugh! That cycle of self-loathing and guilt sounds so so familiar. It's incredible how much power they have to send us spiraling back into despair, distance from them is so healthy, and yet they do everything in their power to make me feel guilty for that distance, whether I put it in place or not. It's exhausting.

  7. I'm so sorry to hear about that, Shadowspring. And yeah, if you guys could get a new phone number that would be great. Maybe just add a number and turn the ringer off on the old one?

    For me, I'm still working on boundaries, mostly internal ones. When I'm around my mother it's difficult to stay superficial chit chat and not end up discussing more about my recent life, but that always ends up with me in some small way talking about my progress in figuring life things out and her saying something about how obvious that is and why am I having trouble with that anyway? The thing is, it's ALWAYS stuff that she is responsible for hindering me learning and it kills me when she blames me for it. So, I only talk a few minutes at a time and try to stay on the surface. But my dad interactions are almost always positive now, and he has felt a lot more freedom to talk about his thoughts and questions with me lately and it feels great to be a safe sounding board!

    But yeah, if you guys could just bury and turn off the ringer for your phone so that you can still pick up messages but not talk in real time, maybe that would help...

  8. Don't I wish. I typed up a possible response for my husband to send Fil just asking for a time and a space of no contact- and the thought of sending it shook him to the core. He wound up sobbing and questioning the reality of God. It's all so fucked up and intertwined in his brain, I guess, that asking Dad for no contact was like telling God you want no contact. Seriously effed up.

    So he's working on it in therapy, and in the mean time, the Fil can call and fuck up my world anytime he damn well feels like it. Grrrrr.

  9. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I'll be hoping he wakes up in time.

  10. Shadowspring, reading about your husbands issues reminds me of the 1980's SPECTRE run by Osmander and Mandrake. Too bad they've never collected it in bound volumes. The protagonist is a ghost who, when he was alive, was horribly beaten and abused by his hateful, Fred Phelps-esque iternant preacher father. He has conflated God with his father and God is a vengeful, jealous, greedy horrible God that he kills in a dramatic moment ... only to realize that he was only battling his own demons from his tortured past.

    Anyway, I am posting here because I saw your profile on olive branch & phoenix and I too had an NPD mother who was a total feminist when it suited her. I just thought that was really interesting. NPD people always look for a philosophy that rationalizes their behavior and for some NPD women feminism is the ticket. Of course like many NPD people she also had strict authoritarian and conservative ideas. And she would change her story a lot, though not as often as some other NPD people I know. In retrospect, though, it makes sense.

  11. Hey "not a gator", sorry that you went through all that shit too. But life does get better, and sometimes it gets way way better. Hope that is the case for you, that your life just keeps being more wonderful everyday.

  12. Sorry about this, but good to see you holding your ground.

  13. Hope things have gotten better since this post- it's hard because you can't change your guy's brain or thought processes... Easier when it's you... Hugs.