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Anybody Have a Hard Time Due to People Holding a Grudge On You?

It's so hard to hold everything together when there are people in my family who won't talk to me or look at me because of something that happened 32 years ago.

First, I thought it was because I started dating someone of another race and religion. He turned out to be a really bad guy. Besides trying to put me on the street, and beating me terribly when I refused and fought back, he turned out to be a serious criminal. I ran away from him many times but he kept finding me, beating me, and bringing me back. On several different occasions he broke my foot, my leg, my hand, 2 of my teeth and my nose.

I don't know if there was such a thing as a battered woman shelter back then because I never heard of it. And my family wouldn't help me. Whenever I called them for help, they hung up on me. Like it was my own fault I was a victim. Even the police wouldn't help me because they said it was a "domestic issue" and they didn't get involved in those things back then.

To get completely away from the situation, I ended up writing a lot of bad checks at places that let me get cash back so I could buy a bus ticket, and I went as far away as I could get. Then I cut my hair and dyed it and started eating a lot so I would gain weight. I moved around a little at first and worked in restaurants because I could work for cash and tips and eat for free. After about a year I had gained 65 lbs and looked so totally different that I wasn't afraid anymore. I moved one more time, ending up more than 1000 miles away from my home town. And started using my own name again, went to school, got a job, etc... Never saw or heard from the bad guy again. After about 5 years I contacted my parents again and they talked to me, but didn't seem happy about it. My siblings refused to communicate with me.

Here we are 32 years later and my parents talk to me but my siblings act as if they never had an older sister. When I bring my children & grandchildren to see my aging and very ill parents, my siblings stay away. And when "the family" goes out to dinner while we are in town, we aren't invited because it would upset my siblings. My parents must defer to my siblings.

Now when I called yesterday to wish my dad a happy father's day, I was told by my parents that they are still upset with me because I was so "under serious drugs" that I stole from everyone to get "a fix". I was never on drugs. Except the ones prescribed by a doctor for sinus infections, etc. Antibiotics that you take for 10 days. Or the occasional aspirins for a headache. And the incidents of theft they mentioned to me are absurd. I wasn't even still living in their state at the time they say the thefts took place. And when I was living in their state, I had never been to the locations where they say the thefts occurred.

So yes, I got fat on purpose. Then several years later I had a baby and of course gained weight with the pregnancy. So for decades I've been hefty and finally decided I have to get height/weight proportionate and try to be healthy again so I can spend quality time with my children and grandchildren. But with all this crap coming at me from my "first" family, and knowing they are holding serious grudges against me for not only being a victim of domestic violence by a terrible person in general, but for things I didn't even do -- how am I supposed to focus on taking care of me?

Mon. Jun 21, 10:53am

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Not sure what you want to hear!

Well obviously I dont know you .....I am only picking up on what I am reading. First of all it sounds like youmay be in denial of what really took place. For a parent to "cut you off" like you say they have,,,you must have done some pretty awful things! So much so that they finally just threw up their hands and said "thats it, enough!" As a parent I could not see myself banning my children unless I was COMPLETELY at wits end. I do not agreee with bi racial relationships personally but I certainly WOULD NOT be upset with my child so much that I stopped all contact with him/her. I may disagree but would try to have an open mind and get to know the person before judging the realtionship. Now you are older and want the realtinship, but they are hesitant. I am truly sorry you were beaten, but perhaps your parents sensed the trouble in this man and tried to tell you, but you did not listen! And also, just reading the things you have been through and the life you led, it does sound to me like there were drugs involved WAY beyond the antibiotics.....I have known several people who remind me of you and your story. Iwould suggest being honest w ith yourself first of all and work on the realtionship with the family.
Best of luck!

Monday, June 21, 2010, 12:11 PM

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Wow PP, you obviously know nothing about the race relations, segregation and integration issues of the 1970s. Most people on both sides went apeshit when their daughters dated out of their race. A lot couldn't abide inter-religious dating either.

Though I can certainly see how someone in this situation might start drinking or using drugs, for you to say that a person MUST have been on drugs and should be honest with herself, well that is just an unfair leap at a conclusion. Being abused does not mean the person is on drugs.

Anybody could make a mistake in dating the wrong person. At first almost everybody is on best behavior. The really wicked ones don't show their true selves until the other person is so hooked and so dependent that there's literally no way out. And this has nothing to do with race. There are evil people of all races and religions. Though the alienation that the abuser depends on comes quickly with racial/religious differences that the family can't tolerate or accept. Once he has the family and friends out of the way, he can do whatever he wants.

Monday, June 21, 2010, 1:24 PM

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She wants opinions..I gave her mine! And I am well aware of how things were in the 1970's. I'm just saying it sounds like she must have really done some bad things for her parents to shut her out like that! I wish her all the best!

Monday, June 21, 2010, 1:39 PM

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12:11--I haven't spoken to my parents or sister in almost 2 years because my husband and I disagreed with my mom's politics. That's all it took. Oh, and she disowned her sister for 11 years because she bought their mother's headstone and put what she wanted on it, not what my mother wanted on it.

Here's my tough love opinion OP: life sucks. You were in a bad situation and did what you had to do to get out of it. You know have a family and a life of your own. Screw them! Move on and be the best wife and mother and person you can be. They don't deserve you.

Monday, June 21, 2010, 1:47 PM

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I do know that people get tired of helping those who do not seem to help themselves. Why help someone get away from an abusive BF when they run right back to him and then turn around and bad mouth you? But the second he gets angry again - where do they turn? After years and years of watching someone make a mess of their life and constantly wanting you to pick up the pieces and then dropping them all again - it's just less painful to stop watching.

If that sounds familiar - that may be why your family avoids you. If not, then I'm sorry but you won the bad family lottery.

In either case the strategy is the same. Take control of your life and make it the best it can be.

Keep moving forward taking positive steps. If the chance comes where you can try to do some fence-mending, then do so, but you may also have to accept that your family may have a hard time with the healthy new 'you' and show them over time that you've made healthy changes.

Monday, June 21, 2010, 2:04 PM

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OP, sometimes there's no one "aha" reason for everything. It's a culmination of things, and to try and wreck your brain for something that happened 30+ years ago is not necessary to get you on track to where you want to be, with who you want to be.

First things first: although family is supposed to be there for you, they are people, and people are negligible. Imperfect. Do you have close friends? If your family can't help you, perhaps your friends can. You also have the online network here. I've found that true, long-lasting results start with you and your mindset. You set the stage, you call the shots. Your diet is a result of what your hand puts in your mouth, not someone else. I would try and work towards a hard, determined mindset to make it work, set some goals, and then ask my friends to help if they see me veer off the beaten path.

I wish you success, and if you need us, we're here. But from my experience, blaming others or staring in the past does nothing but irritate your present and shunt your future. But that's just me.

Monday, June 21, 2010, 2:11 PM

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"I wish you success, and if you need us, we're here. But from my experience, blaming others or staring in the past does nothing but irritate your present and shunt your future. But that's just me."

I agree with this sentiment. You ask how do you take care of yourself with all this family stuff? You just do it. You don't let your past define you, hold you back or allow you to make poor choices. Decide what you want and who you want to be and start making choices to get you there.

Monday, June 21, 2010, 3:17 PM

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For those who don't think my parents could shun me based on just race and religion: you are sadly mistaken. I grew up in Birmingham Alabama, a white catholic. I started dating a black atheist. That's when all hell broke loose. He was so sweet, so wonderful, and I couldn't believe my family would be so shallow. But it was Alabama in mid1977.

I was 23 and we'd been dating for 5 months when I moved out to my own apartment. He wasn't living with me and we still had not yet had sex, but my family disowned me anyway. Then my boss saw him pick me up from work, kiss me on the cheek and put his arm around my shoulder. He waved to my boss and smiled. The next day I was let go for "performance issues". Funny because 2 months before that I had a performance review and he said I was doing better than expected and gave me a $30 a week raise in pay. That was a big raise back then for a girl with no college education.

So I had an apartment but no job to pay the rent. Perfect for the boyfriend because he didn't want his woman to work anyway. He moved in and took over paying the bills. All I had to do was cook, clean, wash & iron his clothes, and always be at home. The first week it was fun. Then it got claustrophobic. I couldn't even go to the grocery store by myself. He made sure there was no money in the house for me to use for bus fare to get anywhere. Then when he found that I was going out for a walk during the day, he beat me up and took my shoes. I went out barefoot to the corner store to call my family to see if I could move back in with them but they hung up on me. He came home just as I was leaving the store to go back home and started beating me on the sidewalk and dragged me into the apartment to beat me some more. A neighbor called the police and they came over, but ended up saying it was a domestic issue and they wouldn't get involved. One of them even had the nerve to pat the boyfriend on the back and tell him if he couldn't keep me in check he should probably get a new girlfriend. Didn't I wish!

After that he installed a padlock on the outside of the door and locked me in whenever he left. All this happened within 1 month after the day I lost my job. And no family or friends to give me moral support, no police to help me. So I crawled out the window and jumped down into the bushes to run away. I got about 3 miles away before my sore bloody feet made me sit down on the grass to rest. Someone who knew the boyfriend saw me and drove off to find him. They came back and the boyfriend beat me again. This time breaking bones. A bystander called the police and an ambulance. When the police came I begged them to arrest him but he said I was his fiance and we were having a lover's spat. The cops left but the EMTs took me to the hospital. While I was in there getting my leg bones reset and casted I begged the doctors and nurses to get me away from him. They said they couldn't help me, then they let him in the room with me and he took me back to the apartment. Where he nailed the windows shut from the outside. Though with a broken leg I wasn't likely to climb out the window again.

After the cast came off, about 5 or 6 weeks later, he said I was going to have to make some money for the household. I thought he would let me go on job interviews, where I could lose him in a large office building and get away somehow. But no, he drove me to a bad part of town and put me on a street corner. Told me to invite men to have sex with me for $25 or more and said I could go home after I had given him at least $200. I refused and he beat me again, breaking more bones so I had to go back to the hospital.

I never went back to him of my own accord. I tried as hard as I could to get away from him but with no money, no friends or family, no shoes, no telephone -- it was pretty damn hard. The way I got out was when the landlord came to do some work on the building and got mad when he saw the padlock on the front of the door. He removed it and came into the apartment to see what was going on. I told him and he helped me get my things (a shopping bag's worth of clothes and my wallet). He took me to his house, which was about 15 miles away. He and his wife said I could stay there for the weekend but on Monday I had to find other accommodations. They bought me a pair of shoes so I could go out looking for a place and a job. I knew 15 miles wasn't anywhere near far enough away to be safe. That's when I started going into grocery stores and buying a pack of gum or a soda and writing a check for $20 so I could get cash back. I did that until I had a few hundred dollars. Then I bought a bus ticket to Phoenix Arizona.

I stayed in Phoenix and worked in a restaurant a little over 2 weeks, then I got another bus ticket to St. Louis Missouri. Then Dallas Texas, then Boston Massachusetts. I worked cleaning tables and washing floors in a bunch of restaurants in a lot of different states before I finally ended up where I am now. I worked hard as hell to get away from him and stay away from him. I never once wanted to go back to him.

My family didn't then -- and doesn't now -- care a bit that I was an unwilling victim of abuse. It doesn't matter that I fought back. My parents will talk to me and see me if I go to visit them with my children and/or my grandchildren. But they don't want to see just me. And my sisters don't want to acknowledge that I am related to them. It's just too horrible for them -- even after almost 33 years -- that I went out with a black man who was also an atheist. And it matters not that I did eventually marry a white catholic man and raised my children in the church. When my husband died in a car accident 2 years ago, they said it was probably the best thing for him to not have to be with me anymore. They didn't know how he could possibly have loved me, since I was "spoiled" by being with a black atheist for those 9 or 10 months more than 30 years ago.

Monday, June 21, 2010, 5:02 PM

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Yeah, OP, sounds like you won the awful family lottery. It happens. My advice? Forget them, seek some counselling, and concentrate on the family you created with a man who truly loved you.

Monday, June 21, 2010, 7:02 PM

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OP, Ye Gods.

If you want my opinion of what happened, your siblings probably stole whatever it was from your parents and blamed it on you. So they're too guilty to see you now.

If you want my opinion of your "family," the person who said your "family" didn't deserve you is right. They are, in their way, just as abusive as that long-ago batterer. Turn your back and walk away; at least they won't beat you up.

If you want my opinion of your weight loss journey: GO FOR IT, GIRL! Turn your face to the future and a healthy life with your children and grandchildren. Who knows, there might be another good man out there for you, too. You can never depend on others to treat you right, but you should always be able to treat yourself like the strong and wonderful person you are.

Monday, June 21, 2010, 8:42 PM

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OP, I'm in SC, and although I was only 7 in 1977, I remember very well my parents talking about inter-racial dating. First of all, you are a very strong woman. You chose to go against the norm (in Birmingham of all places!), and see past color. You made a poor choice in men it turns out, but then you did what you needed to do to get out. And look at you today. Y'know, perhaps a letter to your siblings would make you feel better. You can present your side of what happened-I wouldn't beg them for their companionship now as I don't really think it will benefit you-but setting the record straight may be good for you. I'd sit down and tell your parents everything as well. Again, not begging for anything like love or relationship, just telling them what really happened. The last thing that I'd do if it were me, and I may get flack because of this one, is to go make your bad check right. Yes, it was forever ago, but it is the right thing to do. My dad worked in a bank whose flag was stolen. 15 years later, a man walked in and returned it and apologized! You have peace that you've done everything right then. Congratulations on your are an awesome woman...your siblings are the ones who are missing out on a great person.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 9:36 AM

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Thank you SC. I already paid those grocery stores back a very long time ago. I actually started as soon as I got my first week's pay in Phoenix, and continued until I was done. About 4 months total to pay them all back. I mailed them each a money order for $30 (the $20 I wrote the check for, plus the $10 NSF fee). I also repaid the bank for all the NSF bank fees.

Long ago I told my parents everything. It was about 5 years after I left when they finally talked to me, and listened to what I had to say. Unfortunately they just didn't care. No, it was more than not caring. They said I deserved everything that happened to me. My choices, my fault. Or some such flawed opinion.

As many of you have said, it's not worth it to continue trying to have a family relationship with any of them. But my parents are very ill, not long for this world, and I want my children and grandchildren to have the relationships with them. They are perfectly willing to participate in that. But the children and grandchildren are hesitant to contact people who have been so cold and mean to me. So I have to be in the middle. If I don't initiate the contact, then they don't all talk on the phone or visit in person. Though they all seem genuinely happy to get together when I make it happen, when I don't they just ignore each other. Sort of out of sight/out of mind.

And when I am the go-between I seem to get the flack. Like when we are told not to come visit during the time we have for vacation because my sisters want to be there at that time. Or like when we are already there and my sisters show up for a surprise visit, and then we are ignored for the rest of the time my sisters are there. Once that was our whole vacation because my sisters showed up 5 hours after we did and were still there the day we had to leave. Oh, and the sisters with their husbands and children get to stay in the guest rooms of the family home, while we have to stay in a motel. Maybe I should just stop trying to get them together...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 2:28 PM

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From someone with 'those' grandparents...

based on that post - yes. Stop trying. They do not seem to be benefiting, and neither are you.

My Dad's father passed away before I was born. My grandma remarried a widower with 4 sons of his own. 'Her' children have never been very welcome in his house. Her daugthers are tolerated, but my father is not welcome. However my grandma and step-grandpa are happy to gush over me - their grandkid. Ummm - hell no! First I'm p*ssed at my grandma - that's her baby boy and she let her new husband cut him out of her life. My father continuously tries to spend little secret chunks of time with her, but it just makes me see red. As for my step-grandpa? If my father isn't welcome then neither am I. And there was no falling out between them, no one knows what the man has against my father (even his own sons who have been nothing but nice to our family - we get together without the grandparents and I call them 'uncle' without hesitation).

So my parents would like me to go see my grandparents and have a relationship with them but why would I? They've never been part of MY life - I've always had to go visit them in their environment on their terms. So while it certainly sounds like it from what I've written, I don't actually bear them any ill will, I just don't have room in my very full and happy life for these people with whom I have nothing in common.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 5:45 PM

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OP, you should write a book about your life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 9:02 PM

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PP, I feel like I already have -- in this thread!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 9:26 PM

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Just continue to love your parents be there for them. Hold no grudges as yes those times were different and no excuses for hurting your daughter with abandonment...but you should be the only on ein the familiy that shows true love unconditionally care and love for your parents as they are now the ones in need. perhaps your stubborn siblings will learn from you .
Good luck. I will just end with perhpas write a letter to your siblings where you can speak uneneded and even attempt a the end always make sure you can hold your head high. I have learned you really can not change people othe rthen yourself so take control and set yourself up to succeeed

Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 11:58 PM

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SC here. I have to agree with those who have said stop trying. Your children and grandchildren are not missing out on anything. My dad came from a highly disfunctional family, but deperately wanted my brother and me to know them all. Maybe part of the dysfunction? Anyway, he started a family reunion that was just horrendous. After my dad died, the reunion did too-thank goodness. I hadn't gone in years anyway, but just knowing it was there was enough to be stressful! If your kids and grandkids don't want the relationship, I'd drop it and be done. Again, I admire you. And it sounds like you've raised smart kids!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 9:06 AM

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re: Not sure what YOU want to hear!

I disagree. She doesn't sound in denial at all. She sounds like she's accepted that it was a poor decision in the past. I realized that you didn't care for 'biracial' relationships before you mentioned it.

To have a woman pour out her soul and admit to being a victim of domestic violence and swallow her pride to admit that it was the very man that her parents were against and then have the first reply be from someone so uncaring and as judgemental is sickening.

I am sure her family has good qualites but rejecting their flesh and blood is wrong. You are no better than her family.
In fact, you are exactly the same, you dont agree with interracial relationships and neither does her family, the only difference is they actively held a grudge and you would just 'deal with it'. It makes you no better than them, you'd still be judging. And then you go so far as to accuse of her of being a drug addict when she has said this was untrue. It's her story and her life, so her word beats YOURS anyday! So why dont you get honest with YOURSELF?

Yes it's good to weigh both sides of a scenario. I myself wondered if she might have been the 'troubled' kid that everybody just gave up on. But even still 32 years later? Why hold a grudge now? She's no longer putting the family at risk. It seems like their resentment stems from something much deeper.

Every part of your post, screams 'closeminded moron'. You say maybe her parents 'sensed something' in the man, perhaps they did. But she has already mentioned it was his race. The only thing that they SENSED was a different race. She could have dated another man of his race and had an entirely different outcome, and Im sure that she would have gotten the same treatment. Stop trying to make her feel bad. She doesn't deserve that treatment.

NOBODY deserves the silent treatment or to be neglected. People who do that to others have no true understanding of life and it is obvious that they are taking it for granted. Tommorrow is promised to no-one and whether or not her siblings or family would miss her if she passed tommorrow, it would eventually get to them or Karma would find a way back to have someone treat them the same.

My advice busy yourself with YOUR life. Do things that fulfill YOU, if that means visiting your sick parents regardless of how they treat your or if your siblings leave, so be it. If it means take a step back and continue to build good relationships with your daughters and grandchildren, then do so. Just make YOU your number 1 priority because you're no good to anyone else if you're not taking care of YOU. It's hard to not think about people or negative things and when you understand how short life is, you find that you want to REACH out to people and pull them in so that you can cherish some time with them. BUT remember just as you have the desire to pull toward them, they are allowed to have the desire to pull back. It is their own right.

Im sure you know that you can't force yourself on anyone. So that said, accept that they are not ready to reconcile yet and they may never be ready BUT you have reached out and shown them love from your direction, so therefore you have done your part. And your goodness and your warm heart will be rewarded with richer, more fulfilling relationships with people who ADORE you and do not want to ever be estranged from you.

A heart of love always attacts more love.

Sunday, June 27, 2010, 12:03 PM

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Someone had the opinion that one or all of my sisters stole the things that were missing way back when. Well today I saw some of the jewelry that went missing in 1977 and I was completely shocked.

I had a skype phone call with a cousin I talk to pretty regularly (his mother was my mother's brother's second wife and neither he nor his sister are actually related to us by blood -- they were already in their teens when my uncle married their mother). He is house sitting for his sister while she is on a vacation out of the country. She goes all over the world quite frequently for her job. He was using her bedroom computer to skype me, and in the background I saw something that looked exactly like my mother's antique engraved locket and chain hanging as decoration over a lampshade. I remarked to my cousin how much that looked like the locket that had belonged to my great-grandmother on my father's side, that my paternal grandmother had given to my mother as a wedding present. He said how interesting, but he was sure it was just a pendant because his sister had told him all about how she found it in an antique store in Europe somewhere and specifically called it a pendant. She never said it was a locket. I said just humor me and try to open it, knowing that my mother's locket had a wedding picture of her and my father inside. Well guess what? It was the locket with the picture.

My cousin said he couldn't imagine how his sister got it because my mother has been repeatedly telling people all these years that I stole it. She specifically remembers wearing it for their 25th wedding anniversary party in December of that year and then never seeing it again. Except I had already left town long before then. That didn't matter; she still kept telling people that I took it to hock it for drugs.

Well then my cousin told me his sister spent winter break from college -- specifically the month of December that year -- at my parents' house, socializing with my sisters and all their friends.

Then he decided to look through his sister's jewelry box and found my mother's pear shaped diamond earrings, her emerald ring and bracelet set, and her sapphire and diamond 20th anniversary band. All are things I have been accused of stealing and selling for drug money. So I told him to look through the house for a few other things that went missing from my grandparents' house. My great-grandfather's 1800s gold and crystal anniversary clock, my grandmother's 1920 Tiffany lamp. They were there in her house.

Then my cousin said he was going to skype with my parents and place all their things that he found in his sister's house within view of the web cam. See if they say anything about them. I waited for hours to hear back from him and then he said he wasn't able to get them on skype today. They must not have been home. But he'll try tomorrow. His sister isn't due back til Wednesday, so he has a couple of days to let my parents see their things that they still keep telling people that I stole more than 30 years ago to pay for a drug addiction that I never had.

Sunday, June 27, 2010, 11:10 PM

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Well now I know I'm through with these people. My cousin said he skyped with my parents and had all their things on the desk in view of the webcam. My mother commented on how she once had things that looked "similar" to them but that I had stolen them. He said they were probably all her things, and opened the locket to show her. He said she looked shocked for a minute, then got mad at him and blamed him as much as me. She is now saying that we were in it together and he's trying to blame his sister for what we did to her. Further, that he is probably the one who stole the cash while I stole the "things".

Now my cousin is upset with my parents. And he hasn't yet figured out how to approach his sister when she gets back tomorrow. Since she is the thief and we both know it now, but my parents think she is being set up by us.

Good grief. What a mess. I'm out of it and will not even mention them to my kids and grandkids anymore. They certainly don't need a relationship with this kind of person who is filled with anger, hate and blame and refuses to see any truth.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 10:24 AM

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Yeah, seriously, sounds like these people are way high maintenance. All you can do is move on and let it go. Yes, its hard, but if you want to survive and you want to thrive, then you put it in the past and you don't look back.

Thursday, July 01, 2010, 9:54 AM

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