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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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