Thursday, January 26, 2012

A chasm of rage

The fissure of the tentative rock that sort of held us together as some sort of cordial family unit has become a broad chasm.  All attempts at civility and kindness have been replaced by anger and full out rage.

We spent all of last night in the ER with both in-laws. She was in because she fell in a melee of anger.  He is there for a psych evaluation and an attempt to stabilize his mood.  It was one of the worst nights that I have spent in a long time.   My father-in-law wants nothing to do with his daughter or with me.  We are dead to him at the moment.  All the seething rage that could be brought forth was spewed on us.  And there was also spewing back.  I feel sick and sad.

Right now, I don't know what my amends will be.  When he shoved and screamed at his own daughter, it was too much for me.  Enough said.  I am out of his life.  After all these years, it has come to this.  And his daughter, my wife, has also been ex-communicated, rubbed out, and hollowed out by all of this.

I have much processing of my reaction to do.  I am appalled at my own reptilian reaction.  That being said, I am somewhat relieved to no longer be a part of some tragic play where people are pretending that there is no elephant in the room.  Right now, all is calm because the elephant is in restraints.  Yet the echo of his rage is still ringing in my ears.

Time for some merciful sleep.


  1. Wow, Syd. Heavy stuff you and C are going through. I wish I could make it all better for both of you.

    As a person far away and outside the situation (both physically and emotionally) all I can say is you've done what you can do. I know you and C hurt and feel anger. I sense you have done alot of work spiritually and mentally to get where you are today both as people in in your marriage. And that's what counts - not what her dad is saying and doing right now.

    It's really hard to love someone and extend grace to a person who is so mean and angry back to you adn rejects you. I have first hand experience with this dealing with my mother who has chosen to not acknowledge me, my husband and our son.

    But we cannot accept the grace of our Higher Power without extending the beauty and healing power of that grace to others.

    So...process your emotions - the hurt, the anger, the natural reaction that comes when you deal with a difficult person like C's dad. Take the time to do that a and then move forward in grace when you can. That's all I can try to add to help here.

  2. I am sorry for the fissure. I too have a very old one to heal. Mostly with myself, some with one Grand Mother.- that inherently includes my Mother...

  3. Sleep well and do not wake with this heavy on your heart Syd.

  4. Go gently Syd. He is out of control and probably not responsible for his actions. Step back and get some rest.

  5. I'm so sorry Syd. Sleep sounds good. When you get up I know what will be on your mind but coffee and some peace can do wonders for clearer thinking. You and C are in my thoughts.

  6. Syd, I am sorry you're going through this. Dealing with the elderly can be unpredictable, but adding such anger makes things so much more difficult. I've dealt with my grandmother and her insistance that we are not helpful (when we were primary care takers for my grandfather) and that was very difficult to handle. I wonder what happens...maybe some people get to an age where they don't think they have to/arent able to regulate the way they interact with people. Who knows. I hope that the relief from this situation lasts.

  7. Wow. PLEASE don't beat yourself up. You reacted the way our minds and bodies are meant to react when someone we love is threatened. This means you are a human being. And a male.
    I hope they figure this out and soon. In the meantime, yep, step away. That is the best thing to do.

  8. So, so sad. There is no answer either.

  9. ugh...i hope they get the help they need...and perhaps they can find something to stabilize his mood...that is def over the top and there is a point where you have to put healthy boundaries in place for your own health...

  10. Syd-I have no advice for you, but I would like to offer a few words to let you know that others are out there, thinking and praying for you and C. I don't think you should be hard on yourself for reacting in anger to an obviously volitile situation. You acted out of protection for your wife and yourself. We can only learn and grow, and it seems to me you and C have been doing that and should be proud of where you are. I pray that you can look at this incident with peace in the future. Not necessarily peace with what happened, but peace in the hurt and anger that were brought up and then defeated with healing of yourself. I do feel for you and especially for C, as she has lost her father--no matter how horrible he is/was. God bless

  11. It is hard to not take such out burst as personal. It isn't personal nothing is they are coping and lashing out at who ever gets in the way.

    C. will need you to support her because you can't divorce your family. Maybe time off let you see just how much this is affecting you both.

  12. Thank you for your honesty in sharing.

  13. I hope the psych evaluation leads to some solutions. You will be okay because you have the ability and willingness to examine what causes your actions and reactions, and make course corrections. Wishing for peace for your family.

  14. Ugh. I am sorry sorry for both you and C. This SUCKS!

    I agree... it is always so surprising to me when I think I have grown so much and am in such a place of peace and grace and then I react in this way I forgot was even IN me! I feel like "2 steps forward 3 steps back? Really?!?" But I think it would've been near impossible under your circumstances to NOT react in that way when you and C were being attacked. I am sure we could evolve in our responses, but your response was "normal" (whatever THAT is :)

    I am glad you have a few moments of peace while the "elephant is in restraints".
    Sorry again, my friend.

  15. Sending positive reinforcement for you and C sweet friend.

    In all things remember fear makes tyrants of us all. Fear let's out demons that play with emotions and hearts like no other. And from the sounds of it, fear was on a rampage last night.

    I'm with you in spirit dear friend, let the heat of words cool into another day. (Hugs)Indigo

  16. Waiting out my own emotional responses without reacting while in the grip of that adrenalin rush was a long and difficult road for me.
    When I do that which I wish I hadn't, I make the amend, then forgive myself, let it go, and move on. Bashing myself only ever makes me feel much worse, instead of just imperfectly human.

  17. Syd: Remember the Serenity Prayer?

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    I call it "blowback". I used to fear it. Now, I anticipate it. I am ... used to it. I simply repeat the Serenity Prayer and know I have no control.

    And I step away.

    I am sorry for you and C.

  18. Be gentle with yourselves. You have given more to these people than would be expected. Time to take care of YOU TWO for a change.

    The gorilla to stay out of the ring.

    hugs and hope to you!

  19. I am so sorry this is all so hard Syd. Sometimes someone else other than family can bring in some peace and some calm....dr.s, nurses, caregivers? Its ok to step back.

  20. It is so sad that many alcoholic families have those unseen elephants that come out years later. I'm so glad that C has you in her corner and pray that you can be strong together.

  21. Syd, sorry to hear about this. I think your reaction was reasonable - you were protecting your wife. Does the fact that he is not mentally stable help her understand why he's being so awful? I feel really bad for her.

  22. I have read and re-read every word of your journal, along with comments attached from friends. I also spent an hour in the sunshine, praying, and just being quiet to possibly hear God's words to me. Yes, I felt your frenzy, pain, and anger; then came the beautiful calm I needed - - - that I hear about so often from you when you are on the water.

    Here is what I have sorted out - in my own head - about all of it. Mind you now, this is MY opinion, and may not be agreeable to you at all. It will seem like a bit of an inventory, so here goes. Just remember, please, how much I love you, and admire you for being the support you have been to these elder folks, in spite of negativity.

    Step 1 - Admitted powerlessness, unmanageability: took action - phoned friend, talked it out, and wrote about the pain.

    Step 2 - Acknowledged the goodness of the HP. Also heard about the presence of an evil energy that could be interacting with all involved.

    Step 3 - Made a decision - to write down all names involved and place then in your God Box.

    Step 4 - With the writing, and talking things over with others, had an inventory of YOUR PART in all of the actions, which was fearless and honest as possible.

    Step 5 - After admitting to God and to yourself these things, you talked with a trusted friend, telling your part in the situation, not placing blame or guilt on anyone else, but accepting your own error of a heated moment.

    Step 6 - Now you are ready to give this to God and let Him with and through you to remove a character defect.

    Step 7 - You fill this one in - please make sure to remind yourself of your own love of self and of an energetic Higher Power in your life.

    Step 8 - The list is made - check your journal (blog)

    Step 9 - Wait. God will provide the time for amends. Perhaps He will take care of this; just wait. You will know.

    Step 10. All of this is applicable to Step 10 - since you did not let it dwell in your heart and psyche for a long time. You took immediate care of it.

    Step 11. Suggestion: Re-read the St Francis Prayer, and go back to the example of living it provides.

    Step 12. After you restore love of self, and affirm that you are still the same good person you were and still are - with or without the steps - continue your life with giving away what you have received.

    I love you so very very very much. I am so grateful for your trust; you will never know how much you have helped me. As I finish this, I am tearful with goose-bumps.
    Anonymous #1

  23. I don't comment but I have been following your blog for awhile. I was always interested in your posts about the in-laws as I am dealing with many of the same issues.

    Recently I read a book called Elder Rage by Jacqueline Marcell and found it to be very helpful. Thought you might be interested in checking it out.

    Good luck.You sure have lots of good advice and support from all the comments above.

    It isn't easy and nothing in our lives prepare us for taking care of our elders.

    God Bless.

  24. Hi Syd....I have been thinking of you alot today. I also wanted to add that some folks, when they become afraid they process that fear into anger. They hate the feeling of vulnerability. Also, the people who are closest to them emotionally are the people who make them feel vulnerable. cope...they take those feelings of vulnerability and turn them into anger so they don't have to feel loss and fear.

    Also, there is a really good chance your father in law feels unworthy of the love and care he is getting from you, C and the caregivers at this point in his life because he never would have cared for people this way. So guilt transforms itself into anger.

    Either way, I am thinking of you and C and sending you healing thoughts and prayers.

  25. There is a lot of love out here for you and your wife. Soak it in. Detach, first from your FIL. Detachment with love may be difficult, but prayer for the in-laws may help. Also detach from yourself. If someone told the situation, you would say that the son-in-law was sticking up for his wife and was entitled to a normal human reaction after all of the wonderful things he did to dedicate himself to his in-laws. Go easy on yourself. I would also recommend trying to get away from there for the weekend and get to a bunch of meetings. As my sponsor texted me yesterday while dealing with a difficult personality "THANK GOD FOR ALANON"

  26. The man just went way to far for whatever reason. He needs to calm down and the rest of you need some distance as well.

    I liked Annette's view of this situation.

    I hope things get a lot better in the next few weeks. The elderly can go off the deep deep end when they have a urinary tract infection. I know that sounds strange but they can get downright demented. It might be a good idea to check for that.

  27. What a difficult situation. I'm sorry that you and your wife must face this. Breathe deeply and don't forget to pray.

  28. Oh my Syd. I am so sorry. But I am glad your reptilian brain kicked in to protect C.

    Can you get out on the water with your beloved and hurting wife? Can you take some time for yourselves while FIL gets the help he needs?

    I will be praying for you all.

  29. So sorry, Syd. Please take good care of yourself and C. Praying for you. xoxo

  30. Recovery does not make us perfect, kind man. You reacted on instinct and that is forgivable. I am so sorry. I worked in head injury for many years and am very familiar with spontaneous rage from adults. It is frightening.

    Be well and stay grounded.

  31. hi Syd, I am obviously coming to this party quite late...

    I hate this for all of you, and I hope that somehow peace can be achieved, and healing can occur. I will pray for that.

    As a husband and father, I respect the fact that you felt compelled to protect C.

    God Bless

  32. I'm also coming in very late, and I apologize for not being here more timely.

    My heart goes out to you, my friend. Brings tears to my eyes...

    We are all human. Be gentle with yourself.


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