I was adopted. It happens, thankfully, for children whose biological parents can’t “be” there for various reasons. People aren’t perfect, but some intentionally try to be and screw everything up for everyone else.
At least that’s how I view it given my situation.
My father – my adopted father – was awesome. The best. I wasn’t aware of his personal costs, but they were his decisions, influenced by his role as enabler and peace maker. My “mother” was another matter entirely. I’ll refer to her as Gunn. It’s an abbreviation of her first name. She made our lives hell and she enjoyed it, because that was what she was entitled to. At least in her mind. There were a ton of issues when it came to what was appropriate in “her mind”. And that changed based on things she had read (paper or National Enquirer), seen (TV or the news), and heard (neighbors, her few friends, commercials). Gunn wasn’t a Rhodes Scholar – not even close. More like a country bumpkin with a narrow uneducated world view. She claimed to be a nurse, but she was little more than a nurse’s assistant. Until her dying day, she claimed to be nurse. I knew plenty and why that was a lie. She had proved throughout my life she was anything BUT a nurse.
Children can tell when people lie, even their “parents”, and she told some big ones until Alzheimer’s Dementia took a strong hold of her. She still kept it up in order to “save” herself. Dad was dead by then and she was responsible for that. I am to blame too, because I knew she was capable of anything except death. How wrong I was. How naive.
I still thought well of her. Even loved my “mom”. She didn’t deserve that emotion. What she craved was pity and to always be “right”. Loyalty and deference. She wasn’t a queen and I certainly wasn’t her servant. She would have preferred that. To have complete reign over me. Dad was different and showed me how insidious her rules were and how to be independent and morally correct. How NOT to be like her. One of the last things he told me was that she was “sick”. He warned me, even though it was too late for him. It took a few years to understand what he meant by “sick”. I was powerless against the narcissistic succubi she would fully become.
Childhood should be remembered for the family vacations, excursions, summer breaks and family get-togethers. Not arguments, fights, beatings. Those aren’t “memories” a person should have. Certainly not the type of relationship between a mother and daughter. Certainly not the type of memories a daughter should have well into her 40’s and 50’s. And certainly not the hatred and lies taken as fact by her family who lived 7,500 miles away. A cousin named Freddy becomes a craven and despicable being with written words and he is lauded for writing it so well by her youngest sister. If being a desperate liar is a family trait, he is the king of this generation. Long live the King! Gunn’s reign continues, craven and Godless. I doubt Grandpa would have liked this, as he was a Godly man.
Having been adopted by a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder – untreated, undiagnosed and unmedicated, sucks donkey balls. There is no polite way of saying it. She was also paranoid, which didn’t help anything. It just made it harder living a normal life around her. Everything was her private business, even Dad’s death. She wasn’t going to bother contacting his family due to them not caring about him in her opinion. She hated in-laws, the theory of in-laws, and most specifically any family connected to her by marriage to anyone she wasn’t directly biologically connected to. I heard this and saw it for years. With her in-laws and sadly my ex-husbands family. She did not accept them as “family”. Better to lie about how she felt when confronted. The thing is, actions speak louder than words especially with a barely educated “know-everything” like her.
Reminds me of Trump and his “base”, the new “Know Nothing” party. Turn a blind eye and march to his tune. Gunn would have loved him! Besides, he’s rich and famous! Champagne wishes and caviar dreams in the words of Robin Leach. God, Gunn loved that show! Ivanka and Trump were on that show quite a bit back then, before his affair and Tiffany. How things haven’t changed. He’s 71 and his son Baron is 11. Melania is getting kinda long in the tooth and may not be a “10” on his list anymore. Who would want to marry him, except for his money and “fame”. Old fart. Like you know anything that hasn’t been spoon feed via TV, or specifically Fox News. Or Putin. #PutinsPuppet
My apologies for going off on a tangent. Narcissists do that to me. Or martyrs. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with one, you will realize it’s almost as bad a being with a narcissist. They are still self-involved, just not as poisonous. But if they preach their religion as a reason, yet they don’t follow the tenants of the faith, it feels almost the same. Same self-indulgent bullshit.
The memories are hard to take most of the time. They are all mostly shaded by words and actions that often repulsed me, left me wondering how can anyone go through life with so much discontent, so much hatred or lack of empathy or refusal to accept how other humans are. It is often that I think back to how Gunn was, how Dad’s dealt with it realistically or logically. Logic was that one thing we shared most. A foreign thing to Gunn, along with reality. Empathy was the one thing my Ex lacked in spades. Gunn just blamed.
She blamed her sister-in-law for her brother’s death. He was supposedly “healthy” when he married her. She bore him 3 children, whom he loved very much. I doubt he planned for his death when he died, but he only had one lung due to tuberculosis he contracted in the Nazi work camps of WWII. It probably was in the back of his mind when he married, but he desired a normal life. He was happy and had his own family to love. He had a good life and saw to his children’s future. She was in her late 30’s when he died and found another man to love, which she married and gave him 2 sons. He was happy too. Lucky woman to have 2 men who loved her so much and gave her children. Gunn said lots of crap about her. Always putting forth the fact that her sister-in-law had killed her brother. Two-faced bitch. Welcomed her with open arms and spoke ill of her as soon as she was gone.
Another sister who had lost her young husband at a young age with 3 small sons. Inoperable brain tumor stole his life. She eventually fell in love with and married again and had another son. That husband was a rake. My Dad took him to task for his words and actions, especially with me and Gunn there having to listen to that man’s blather, slurs and misogyny. I’m sorry to say, that was Freddy’s father, but the apple didn’t fall far from that tree. Being a bully who assumes he’s right, well, because it’s him, Dad would have an issue with the son as well if he spoke of women as the father did. Dad was an Officer and a Gentleman in the Navy fashion. Gutorm was a sailor with a lady in every port, at least that’s how he spoke. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Dad didn’t like that, especially such talk in front of his wife and young daughter. Reality is hard to accept Freddy, especially when you’re wrong and it sucks.
Or her own younger brother and his alcoholism. An addiction and, very sadly for everyone, a disease. Gunn thought he was weak, a shame upon his parents and to his own wife and children. Gunn blamed his wife, her sister-in-law, when she left him and returned to her parents home with her kids. She left because of his drinking and it’s impact on his family. That without them, he would realize they were more important than the alcohol. She was right. She did what she had to to save her family. Gunn never understood this, blamed her sister-in-law for her brother’s drinking. Because no one in the family could be addicted to something! Alcohol, cigarettes, nasal spray. They were better than that! Yeah, I call bullshit on that Gunn! Addiction has nothing to do with heredity. Has nothing to do with how you were raised. Heredity can play a part, but there is no guarantee. Kind of like the last and most insidious belief. How did that nasal spray treat you? Ate your nasal passages? You couldn’t use it anymore per the doctor? Your habit had permanently harmed you? As a nurse, wouldn’t you have questioned that? Oh yeah, the doctor didn’t know what he was taking about. He learned nothing in medical school. You learned everything. Wear was that again? Hmmm, did you say something? No? Just silence and withering looks? How typical.
I have a cousin, the only child of Gunn’s older sister. I wanted her to be my mother. She was good and loving and taught me so much, including how to cook! I still use some of the recipes she taught me. None were written, just fond memories that I could duplicate with a lot of trail and error and ultimate success. She was such a good soul, and her husband. Salt of the earth, so to speak. She loved her son, his wife, and their two boys I fondly remembered from our trips to see the family. Two very good boys. Still are. I was proud to call them all cousins – Dad and Mom and the boys. The father, Gunn’s nephew, even tried to help me learn Norwegian. I still have the books he gave me by Knut Hamsun. I have read them in sections over the years. A cherished part of my library.
Gunn didn’t read books, even to me as a child. Reading ruined your eyes, and made you dumb as a post as well when avoided due to vanity. She hated how much I read, the amount of time I took in bookstores, the amount of money I spent on books as opposed to makeup and clothes. I wanted to enrich my mind, not catch a guy who had but one thing on his mind. We were as different as a cool alpine lake and a raging forest fire driven by gasoline and dry tinder. Guess which one was me?
My cousin had a good job and was well educated. His wife was as well, but she developed lung cancer and had to have a lung removed. On a weekend getaway, she caught a chill and developed pneumonia. Their sons weren’t that old when she passed. It saddened me so much to realize she was gone. I felt so raw for my cousin. He had loved her so much. And those poor boys! It affected all of us.
My cousins oldest son was a little different from the rest of us. He was more like an uncle of his mother’s. I didn’t see it as anything to discuss or make a big deal out of. He was just being him. Gunn’s family, her sister’s, had another view. At least what I heard from her. Her sister still loved her grandson, even if he was Gay. My first thought was, cool, let that rainbow flag fly! Gunn’s opinion was an old one and vile. It was wrong, that was it. It was against God and not normal and how could her shame his father and grandmother that way. Really, Mom? Like it’s a freakin’ choice? Who the Hell are you to sit in judgement? It’s that Uncle, he turned the boy. There’s a secret handshake? There is initiation? It’s so exclusive and special that only certain people can join? They make a choice to be set aside? Explain this to me? It’s just wrong. How could he do that to his grandmother?
Gunn’s feelings on the topic of homosexuality was from the dark ages. AIDs was a God given curse for their unnatural acts. Gunn had patients at the convalescent home she worked for, the husband was a hemophiliac and had gotten AIDs through a blood transfusion and had infected his wife. They were both in the home because they were both dying. Gunn was scared that she would get it. It was still early on in the AIDs epidemic, but enough was known that you couldn’t get it through casual contact. She was an ignorant bitch who didn’t pay attention to real news reports from real hospitals and organizations that knew what they were reporting. Like the CDC, or medical journals. No, the National Enquirer wrote the truth! Bah!! That man had sex with another man and killed his wife. Way to go, Gunn! Make a victim feel even more guilty for having a medical issue that shouldn’t have had anything to do with his wife if they had only tested the blood for AIDs. They started doing that within a year of hemophiliacs contracting AIDs, or anyone needing a blood transfusion. She often just made me physically ill with her hatred of things she wouldn’t understand.
Or when my friend Damon became Hostess with the Mostest at my Dad’s memorial service and all the little old ladies fell in love with him as he freshened their coffee or removed their plates. How Gunn gushed over him, even forgot for a short time he was one of “them”. Dad had gotten over it, because he was my friend and he knew how much I hated their comments, especially Gunn’s in general.
I had a brother-in-law through my first marriage who was gay, exiled from Kuwait due to his AIDs status, escorted by armed guards to the airport and placed on a plane bound for London with nothing, all his interests and money confiscated by the authorities for “endangering” the public. Me and Ex#1 acquired AZT and sent it through a family member who worked for an international airline so Eli could hopefully live a little longer. Eli died on October 31, 1988. A part of me died with him and my hatred for the religious bigots here in the US started burning brightly. Every time I defended the rights of LGBTQ, I did it for Eli. I walked in the first AIDs walk in L.A. because of him, and every time I walk in San Francisco his face still shines brightly with each step I take. He and his partner Danny. Your brother was an asshole, Eli, and I wish you were still alive. The wrong brother left too soon.
Gunn was worried that I would “get it”. She worried when their sister Gladys came to visit us with her daughter. She never understood that illness, never wanted to. It just happened to Gay people because they were wrong, they were deviants. She still thought that when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. I was in the Castro celebrating with thousands of strangers. It felt like such a wrong had finally been righted! Love who you want. Be who you are. Enjoy life and all it’s up’s and down’s. Get married and eventually get divorced. Have kids and screw them up. Try to be perfect and fail miserably. Join the rest of society!
I fear what will happen under the Trump regime. It doesn’t look good – for LGBTQ or women or anyone not rich or simply blue collar. He’s screwing the country with chaos and lies.
Sorry – bad juju again.
Damon got married after that. I went to their wedding with my soon to be ex – I was the estranged wife. Such a happy day with so many smiling faces. Eli would have loved to experience that. My 2nd cousin is in a relationship and I believe he is happy. His partner seems to be a good match. I am happy for him. I am still saddened by what his great aunt’s and grandmother thought of his “lifestyle”. Granted, I just heard what Gunn said, but even if some is partially true – well, fuck them old bitches. Who the fuck are they? And if I hear one more person claim they weren’t around it and aren’t used to it, get over yourself. The folks who are just trying to live don’t owe you anything and aren’t impacting your daily existence, ok? Stop making them the reason for your issues. You’re just scapegoating your own irritation with a life that didn’t turn out like your 12-year old plan had laid out. Oops, sorry loser.
Adoption doesn’t always turn out all that bad, but if you insist on lying and denying the truth, not telling the child he/she was chosen above all others, when they find out it won’t be pretty. What were you ashamed of? What did the child do wrong? What had her/his biological parents done that was so wrong? There are many questions that shouldn’t be part of the story of their lives. Honesty, though it may hurt or be uncomfortable, is best. Facing reality is best. Not ostracizing family, especially a son, because he’s the result of a prior marriage you were instrumental in ending, definitely not! Getting your family to “back you up” on everything, even lying about the adoption, fuck y’all. If she lied to you, welcome to the club, but saying I’m speaking ill of the dead and not telling you EVERY INSTANCE SHE WAS FUCKING CRAZY THROUGHOUT MY LIFE, we didn’t have the kind of relationship, did we?
We didn’t have that kind of relationship on anything. Did you know I miscarried a child? Did you know that Husband #1 took pictures of you sunbathing braless on the patio when you were here for our wedding? Did Gunn tell you I filed for divorce twice and PAID FOR BOTH OF THEM? Or did she tell you that they left me? They used me? That the first one was still sleeping with that skank of an ex-wife and gave me chlamydia? “Poor Venke. She can’t keep a husband!” She told me I shouldn’t marry again because I don’t know how to treat a man like he wants. Hell, she accused me of trying to “steal” Dad sexually. She was sick as fuck! I moved to Northern California to get away from her and her sickness! And I dealt with her crap for 49 years. I should have left in my 20’s and never looked back, but I couldn’t because of Dad. I never regretted my decision until after he died and she expected too much from me for nothing. I took care of her crazy ass for 15 years and did you all ever help? Fuck no. I didn’t tell you? She fucking beat me if she even thought I had possibly mentioned her a little unfavorably. I didn’t want her stabbing me with a knife while I slept. She stabbed me with scissors just because her “programs” weren’t on. I couldn’t just leave her and not be criminally charged with abusing a senior. She fucked me over.
I learned not to trust men because of what Dad taught me, not the articles you so carefully cut out from the newspapers when I was 13. I learned not to trust an open can or bottle from tales he told me, not the articles or rants on how I was whorish Gunn. He instilled the thought of losing control, or having my personal control taken away from me. It happened once over a Diet Coke can on a bright, sunny afternoon with a crew that I had come to know, and one person realized I was alone and could be taken advantage of, and he did. I was raped and he ended up beaten nearly to death by that same crew when he became boastful and they figured out what he had done. Did I tell you Gunn? Of course not. You would have said I deserved what had happened. I was a whore and that’s what happens. You had told me often enough, since I was 13. You weren’t a mother. You were barely human. You sniffed me every time I came home, for weed, for alcohol, for sex. You were a mental case and I had to put up with it because I couldn’t get a job that would pay me sufficiently to support my living on my own. And you never wanted that, did you? I hated you, but I still took care of you to honor Dad. You had to have a keeper, and you were stuck with me.
Having a child to take care of you when you get old is the wrong reason to have a child. Or a science experiment to see what your DNA would look like when mixed together. Even just joking about it is wrong. I’m bitter for a good reason. Being married to someone shooting blanks and didn’t have corrective surgery until he’s 42 (and I’m a year older than him) and then denying any hope of adopting because he’s worried we’ll get a “defective” child is so self-serving and selfish, is it any wonder I filed for divorce? Hell, I paid for the wedding, the rings, nearly everything we owned worth anything, why not pay for the wedding so he couldn’t claim he couldn’t afford it? It isn’t like he put up a whisper of a protest. Maybe tithing for his temple, or group, or whatever you call it, would be impacted. I couldn’t have cared less. His religion was more important than our marriage. I hope they are very happy together.
As children, we have hopes and dreams what our life will be like. I just wanted a life without Gunn. I have it now, with so much bitterness brought on by her. The reason for my stroke was lack of medical care due to taking care of her and being cut off after my divorce. Riverside County screwed up my MediCal and dropped me. I have no one to blame. It was my responsibility. She did throw out my medications, but I was going home and could get a job and have insurance again and if I kept to my diet plan, could keep the diabetes under control. It was a good plan for a year, but I was burning the candle at both ends and occasionally ignoring the Plan. That hypertension thing became an issue, and so it happened. I wasn’t paying close attention to my health. Other people depended on me and I didn’t want to let them down. Stupid me had the stroke and it was intentional in one person’s fractured mind. I was stealing her glory. Well…..fuck you Amanda. It wasn’t about you, but that’s what you claimed. Heartless bitch. You ended up being like Gunn. Go figure.
Childhood should be fun and easy. I want it back so I can try again. Just without Gunn. I’ll take Dad. He was the best part of my childhood. Him and the dogs. And that sense of love with every look, every word, every action. I don’t have such memories of Gunn. Just all the times I got hit and accused of wrong doing. I wasn’t Miss Goody Two-shoes, but I wasn’t the whore she accused me of being either. She was just to damn stupid to understand there is a difference.