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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 40,332

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It's Father's Day. My father is dead and I don't miss him at all.

He was cruel to me almost as a quest. He tried to break me through punishment, criticism, manipulation of my relationship with my siblings, minimalizing my graduations (3), and trying to hold us out as a happy, perfect family.

I'm not happy that he's dead. I'm just relieved to be free of all that emotional tumult and future threats.

My mother tricked my father into sending me to an independent all women's college.

Sweet Briar.

Actually, both parents wouldn't let me apply to any other genre. I applied to Randolph Macon Women's College, Beaver College, Gaucher College. And I got into all of them.

1975. I was a senior at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. B-plus average. Impressive SAT scores.

My father had issues with control as far as allowing me to make my own decisions. It was oppressive and onerous. I hated it.

I got into Beaver first and I had the delusion that I could at least choose where I'd attend college out the small selection I was given.

Nope. Dad wanted to wait to see if Sweet Briar and/or Randolph Macon accepted me. They did. OK. I still chose Beaver simply because it was in metropolitan Philadelphia instead in the middle of Virginia, where the other colleges were located. Dad nixed Beaver, told me it was my "back-up" school.

I chose Sweet Briar as it was a pretty campus, it was 15 miles closer to home (honestly), and someone I really didn't like from high school was going to attend Randolph Macon.

The very first course I attended at Sweet Briar was Logic. It totally opened my mind with its mathematical analysis of arguments, proof, process of validity of facts. Each subsequent course I took, my intelligence increased, my critical thinking improved, my collection of principles and facts grew. I became independent through knowledge. This was the purpose of liberal arts.

You're asking, "How did your mother 'trick' your father?"

My mother attended Barnard and had a similar experience. She understood the family situation where my father was desperately trying to direct my life. Mom wanted me to escape her fate of a marriage with little or no independence. She was as oppressed as I was in our family. And she couldn't help me by advocating for me -- except to make the case that I should go to an "exclusive, all-girl college" -- to find a suitable husband. That's right. Not that she believed her premise, but Dad would believe that.

My father was a shameless social climber and was concerned about me both marrying the "wrong sort" and not enhancing his social climbing. By following Mom's premise that I could marry well at an exclusive all-girl's college, I'd be rubbing shoulders with girls from exclusive private schools, debutantes, etc. and meeting visiting male students from the equivalent background. And maybe, just maybe, the college could turn me into a "Lady".

I know, I know. It was 1975. Feminism had not yet hit its stride, especially in our household and Sweet Briar.

Mom knew my only escape was independence, being able to think for myself, support myself, etc. until I could find a like-minded partner. Obviously THAT premise wasn't the one to use on Dad. So she fell back on the 1950's marriage argument. And it worked.

I graduated. I went to get a Master's and a Juris Doctor. I never married and never missed getting married.

Honestly, I initially resented being sent to a school where I believed I would have to wear starched-white shirts and white gloves to pour tea on Sundays. Instead, I met some very interesting young women with intellect and spirit. Yes, there were the debutantes, who were marking time at Sweet Briar, waiting to get married. I even learned to make friends with them.

But my character and opportunities developed as a result of my mother doing me the biggest favor in my life.

P.S. Dad never caught on that he put me on a trajectory to autonomy and independence.

Follow-up on my investigation re choking a six year old boy.

Thank you one and all for your support.

To refresh your memories: https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1124&pid=13818

Here's what I found out about my investigation.

There was no report of any marks, bruises, scratches, etc. on his neck. While I'm not an expert, when the neck is compressed, it's loaded with blood vessels and there would be some bruising. And/Or scratches.

And there were no medical reports submitted. If your child claimed to have been choked, wouldn't you take him/her to an ER or clinic immediately? If not for concern for his/her wellbeing, then for documentation?

So, in other words, I was suspended and investigated on just hearsay and no evidence submitted. Words.

A six year old boy accused me of grabbing him by the neck and choking him

when I was a substitute teacher for his class last month.

My agency suspended me and I was investigated for "misconduct", until yesterday when I was interviewed.

On the day of my assignment, I was told before the class came in that there two boys were "problems" (by the principal, by the "money teacher", and by the nurse). And I vowed to stay on the other side of the room all day in that case. And I did.

They were disruptive, destructive, insolent, and more. All I could do was manage the rest of the class.

More problems: the class went to recess before lunch and these boys refused to climb off the jungle gym and come in. I had to send security out to get them into the building. At dismissal, they "locked" themselves into the coat closet in the back. I got the door opened 2 inches and they slammed the door shut on my hand, crushing my fingers.

So long story short, I was assaulted and I was the one accused of "misconduct".

The investigation found not one student to corroborate the accusation; the principal and teachers gave me stellar reports, and . . . . I had the prescience to leave behind a detailed report that specifically documented all the problems these boys caused that day.

Apparently the boy told his mother who reported the allegation to the principal who had no choice but to report this to the state.

While I have been exonerated, I faced losing more than a few more years of substitute teaching. I risked losing my teaching license and possible criminal prosecution/conviction. The charges could have included attempted murder.

I can't get over a six year old (and if not him, then his mother) could make such an accusation.

In any case, I don't have the stomach to return to teaching if I'm going to wonder which kid is going to report abuse when I was merely doing my job.

Processing my familial PTSD

You know, it's been bad enough to heal myself from the malignant narcissism regularly doled out by my father. Not to mention his explosive hysterical temper. I literally wake up each morning and remind myself that he's not alive and I'm safe.

I'm also processing how he terrified my brother and my sister. My sister was so scared of our father, that she was a positive Quisling against me at any opportunity. I suppose it was to distract and redirect our father's ire away from her. Talk about sleeping with the enemy. I never laid a hand on her, not even in reflex. Not to mention that she'd run to our father and I wasn't looking for more trouble. To make things more strange, my sister had a pathological need for our father to love her; but he was incapable of loving anyone. She was mad/depressed that she wasn't getting her pay-off.

After our father passed, my sister seemed to wake up and started to understand our trauma.
Posted by no_hypocrisy | Tue Feb 8, 2022, 08:12 PM (4 replies)

We're both Jewish

I am the daughter of Jewish parents who were children of Jewish parents who were children of Jewish parents. I went to Sunday School, flirted with a Bas Mitzvah but didn't get one. I toured Germany and Austria, visiting a vandalized synagogue in Augsburg and Dachau. And I "lost God". I literally left the religion during the Yom Kippur service in 1984. And now I am an atheist. But I'm still Jewish.

Compare my situation to that of a dear childhood friend.

He discovered after his parents' deaths that he was adopted. His (adoptive) parents raised him as a Conservative Jew. As an adult, he took the Ancestry DNA test and not one drop of Jewish blood. That raised flags. He found his biological parents, both non-Jews. My friend is modern Orthodox. He immigrated to Israel and lives in a West Bank settlement. He went to the Israeli rabbis to see if he still qualified as a "Jew" notwithstanding the bris and the bar mitzvah, Jewish wedding, raising a Jewish family. They deemed he was Jewish according to Israeli law (and Jewish law).

So here we both are: I'm born Jewish and have no faith and my friend was born non-Jewish and more Jewish in his life than I could ever expect to be. His faith is sincere and unfaltering.

We're both Jewish.
Posted by no_hypocrisy | Thu Feb 3, 2022, 08:18 AM (3 replies)

I've seen this before -- in my own family

My father was a malignant narcissist and an authoritarian.

His rages were epic.

I was a regular target as I stood up to him even when I knew it was a futile effort. I wouldn't agree with him when he was wrong, and unfortunately, he often was as well as having poor judgment. And as a result, I was branded as a "trouble-maker" in our family.

Our mother also argued, but sporadically as she too knew it was a futile effort.

My sister became an enabler of our father and began to harass me, partly to protect herself and not as much, to protect me.

My brother just kept out of the way.

Our family was classically dysfunctional.

I can see how the Republican Party has become afraid of making Trump "mad".

My friend is highly educated, an attorney. And yes, a Blue State.

I respect her intelligence and problem-solving skills.

But she refuses to get vaccinated, period. One of her reasons is that she also doesn't get a yearly flu shot.

She claims that she doesn't know what's in the vaccine, whether it works, whether it will trigger her asthma, etc. (And inexplicably, she watches Fox "News" and finds it credible. She believes it gives her information/facts that MM refuses to share.) Yeah, she wears a mask and believes that's all she needs for protection. She's even defending in court individuals who face getting fired because they also refuse to be vaccinated but they care for vulnerable individuals (e.g., caregivers in a convent). And she loathes Anthony Fauci, and thinks he's a charlatan who has/had financial interests in the lab in Wuhan, China.

Her teenage niece has been just the opposite regarding Covid. She refused to go to a classroom until she could get vaccinated. Took 2-3 showers a day in an effort to convince herself that she was "healthy".

With the new variant that is supposed to be highly more contagious than the original and Delta variants, my friend is still ready to accept the risk of infection. I know on some level she understands that once she contracts Covid, she has to finish the journey so to speak.

Today I taught at a school that became a Hot Zone as the day progressed.

Nine students (half my class) were mysteriously told to pack up to go home at 10:30, 2-1/2 hours after school began. Two more were taken away after Lunch. And almost every 10 minutes, the Office PA requested individual students to pack up and report to the Nurse.

I don't believe I'm extrapolating incorrectly. That many kids in such a short period of time spells COVID.

I'm not worried as I got my booster shot four days ago and all of us were wearing masks.

I'm just concerned about that many kids had to leave school for public health reasons.

The pediatric vaccine for Covid can't come soon enough for me.

My goddaughter overdosed and died today.

27 years old, a single mother of a 5 year old.

She struggled for many years with pain and self-medicated. She tried therapy. She tried Jesus. She tried finding a man who would take care of her. But dammit, she tried!

My BFF is her grandfather. He adopted her before she was born b/c his son and girlfriend were planning on abortion. And my friend and his wife (not the grandmother) raised her. Made me part of their family.

She made me smile in many ways. They lived in Lynchburg , VA. She was in HS when the school PA announced that Jerry Falwell died in May of 2007. She jumped up and yelled "Yaaaaaaay!" That was effin' brave considering that Falwell was the de facto King of Lynchburg.

She asked me for advice from time to time. I supported her all the way all the time.

My BFF is going to raise her daughter, his great granddaughter.

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