Family Reunion

Don’t panic, it’s not MY family, it’s my wife’s. However, in the wake of my mother’s stalker-like note, I’m a bit twitchy about family. I normally like my wife’s family, they’re religious (in that gay-hating, women oppressing way, not the good way) but we stay away from that and they don’t tell us we’re going to hell or anything. They’re actually quite nice people, and there is a small but friendly non-religious contingent as well so it’s not too bad for a couple of lesbians all in all.

However this year is a milestone birthday for my wife’s mom, and everyone will be there I’m guessing, including one set of relatives I got my therapist to call social services about. I’m afraid of seeing them and probably discovering they’re still abusing and neglecting my neices and nephews and nothing has been done. Although, the Goddess works in mysterious ways, perhaps I’ll find out their kids have been removed to foster homes and they’re too ashamed to show up. One can hope. The only good thing is that their kids getting older and are leaving home, but they’re so badly injured psychologically. There are reports from other relatives that the kids steal from family when they visit, which is a sign of neglect to me, and also absorbing the values of their sociopath father. They’re skinny, needy and haunted when I seen them.  I wonder if I was like that. It’s a bit triggering to say the least. I suppose I should be a good survivor aunt and take notes to pass on to social services, and try and find out where they’re living now, but my inner child wants to stay the hell away from all of them. I actually think I ‘passed’ for normal quite a bit better than they do (I’ve been told I had a kind of quiet dignity, and a flair for the dramatic at times), which makes me really fear for what is happening to them.

It’s also getting close to my visit to my aunts and uncles out east. I leave next week. I”m looking forward to the trip, but frankly this is all a bit too much family at once for me. I’ve been working and packing non-stop to get ready for all this, so I’ve been overwhelmed. I’m one of those highly sensitive people who gets overwhelmed if I do too much or have too much stimulation because I process it all so deeply. It makes me a good writer, and gives me a rich inner life, which I wouldn’t give up for the world, but it also makes me exhausted by interpersonal conflict. I work for myself, alone most of the time, for that reason. When I see people I’m happy to see them, and I’m not a total hermit, but I like my space.

The wife and I will be staying at a hotel rather than with relatives, which should hopefully help, and we’re bringing our dog, which I anticipate will need a lot of long walks during the day.

Wish me luck.

0 thoughts on “Family Reunion”

  1. Good to read that everything went well enough. I’m for calling the social services, of course. Yeah, I remember telling to friends that my father was an asshole when I was younger. They were startled. I don’t know if they understood the insult to be stemming from abuse.

    Now, when needed, I’ve decided to tell people that my father has abused me, though not telling whether violent or sexual. I don’t think they would dare to ask. This way I can stay polite about him.

  2. Hi, SDW –

    Lots and lots of luck and best wishes being sent your way from this part of the world . . . it sounds like you are taking some great steps to take care of yourself.

    I hope to hear how things go . . .

    – Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

    1. Thanks! We just got back from the reunion and actually it was pretty nice. By the time we’d driven up there I wasn’t too twitchy. There were over a hundred people there, and nobody likes the family that I called social services on anyhow, so I was nice to the children and stayed away from the two creepy adults (abuser man and his wife), who helped by staying away from me too. I pointedly did not hug the man or speak to him, but ended up having to shake his hand goodbye at one point, which was tolerable. Self-protectively, I resisted the temptation to do detective work on whether the kids were still being abused, but noted that one of the girls was overly clingy, and only with men, and seemed spacey to me. I pointed it out to some of the others and said how I thought it made her vulnerable to exploitation, and they agreed. I made a point of being nice to these kids when they came around, but couldn’t do much. I also found out where they are living now, so I’ll probably pass that on to social services when I get up the nerve. Creepy bastard! They only came because it was my mother-in-law’s 90th, and left soon after, so I doubt I’ll see them again for awhile.

      However, I managed to have a good time, and bond with my inlaws, and generally be a great aunt (and a great-aunt) to the rest of the kids, who thankfully, all seemed to be fine. I even disclosed the abuse, in a round-about way that felt appropriate to me. We were talking about changing names and I mentioned I’d done that, and someone asked me why. So I said calmly and fairly casually, “well, my father’s a dick-head (yes I used those words, which appalled my wife) so I wanted to change my last name” and then lightly told the rest of the story about how I picked my new name and such. I’ve never really mentioned my father, letting people assume he was dead. I made it sound a bit like it was a rebellious young person thing to do, which in a very minor sense it was. Nobody asked for details, which was a blessing, since I probably wouldn’t have wanted to get into it with everyone there. I had changed my name to disown him in my 20s, and also so I could talk about being an abuse survivor without fear of being sued for liable. However, since then I’ve told all his relatives or my mom has, it’s no secret and he’s never sued me, probably since he knows he couldn’t win.

      Next I’m off to my mom’s family, which I think should go fine.

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