Monday, April 24, 2017

Family Secrets

Every family has secrets. No matter who you are, what type of a lifestyle they have, we, or they, always have secrets.

I have been writing about how suicide effects each and every family from small quaint families, to large families, this is a topic that many wish to never discuss for fear, fear of what it can cause, fear of what it did to a family, and yes, even a pain so deep, so dark, from one person to many, the pain is a great divide.

Growing up in the early seventies as I did, and coming from a family like I did, appearance was everything to my mom. How we dressed to how we were presented to the world. Even our house had to have the best of the best.

For many which I understand, they fear letting the outside world know the wrong doings that goes on within a family. From alcoholism to domestic violence, and yes, even an attempt of suicide. Many families believe if the outside world knows just what happens within this seemingly perfect family, they will be judged on the ability of being a family. They will become the gossip to the neighborhood, some many even think they will be mocked or ridiculed.

I grew up with a brother that no matter what he touched, it just turned to gold. He didn't even have to try, yes, he was one of the "blessed" people that grace our earth. No matter what I did to gain the same attention my mother and father gave to him, I struggled in that department. It seemed as if I was a failure or caused many failures within this family.

My brother wanted to start his own backpacking company, he did, and well, he made a fortune off of it. He then went to a job interview for Sun Micro Computers as an office assistant and instead of that position, he landed a job traveling the global world fixing computers (with NO education within this field) for anyone associated with Sun Micro Computers making more than six figures, buying stock and watching it split and double giving him more money than one ever dreamed of.

He was trusted with the family money accounts, he was trusted with the family wills, he was trusted, and trusted and trusted. I often felt out casted and to make things worse, one Christmas my mom gave us two ornaments. He, my brother, a "white sheep" and myself, I received the "black sheep."

"Wow, is this symbolic of how my family views me mom?" She of course snubbed me and walked away. No wonder I tried every which way to gain the same love and attention my brother got.

Ordinary People

Everyone has their own perception of just what "Ordinary People" really are. The wealthy hang out with the wealthy and deem themselves as "ordinary" middle class families do the same and feel the same way, families of low-income well, I know how they feel because I am one of them.

As I sat and watched this movie last night I really understood a great deal of this movie. This movie depicts exactly what I am writing about. The husband (Donald Sutherland) a famous tax attorney, the wife (Mary Tyler-Moore), dedicated to her family, her two sons one of which she felt was her "Golden Child" and the other son, (Timothy Hutton) who always felt like an outcast. Moore's son was the perfect child. No matter what he did, he was the gifted son. His room filled with multiple trophies of every sport. His perfect grade point average which was taking him to the best of the best colleges, and then Hutton, who wanted to be acknowledged and accepted just like his brother.

Yet, Moore paid more attention to her golden child the oldest son. Hutton felt out casted by his mother who pain very little attention to him. No matter what he did, he could never get his mom to love him the same if not equal to his brother. A terrible boating accident claimed the life of her golden child ending his life. Both brothers were out in the ocean waters when they were met by a horrid storm. The boat capsized and both of them together did everything they could to hold on yet the oldest lost his grip on Hutton and drowned.

Moore drifted apart from Hutton, she felt nothing now that her golden child was gone. She never hugged him, she never told him she loved him, she disconnected from him punishing him for the death of her son which ultimately left her son to do just about anything and everything to gain the attention so richly craved yet never got.

Through all this pain and rift between the family, Hutton attempted suicide by slicing his wrist and why? To gain the attention from his mother yet to also take away his life that seemed empty, dark, and alone. Sutherland though saw what his son was trying to do, he witnessed his son begging for Moore's attention and she never gave it to him.

Sutherland made many attempts to talk about the death of Buck the golden child, yet Moore found every reason to not discuss her pain. She was embarrassed by what neighbors knew, she wanted to carry on as if nothing happened. The family became an out cast of their own neighborhood and that was Moore's biggest problem.

Appearance, the perfect family, the perfect marriage, the perfect sons, the perfect home, everything had to be perfect. Moore never opened her eyes to Hutton begging to be part of her life, she turned her back to him and never once looked back. No matter what he did, how he tried, how he begged, she deemed him unfit to be part of this family. Through therapy, Hutton was able to finally release the pain he had been searching for since his brother's death.

Sutherland finally kicked his wife to the curb and felt a sense of relief which is what I got. The problem was gone. It was never his son (Hutton) it was the wife (Moore) that disconnected from her son, the only living son of the family now, along with loving her husband, and from reality.

Too Many Kids in Today's World

Two many kids today are reaching out for acceptance from other family members. I know, I see at work, I see kids acting out when mothers pay more attention to another child then one acting out. I see the dads and moms almost angry at having a child or feeling trapped by having a kid.

If your child comes to you sharing his or her pain about being bullied do you listen or do you actually step in and do something about it? Remember, a bully doesn't have to be someone from school. It can be a family member. It can be a step-parent. It can be a brother/sister.

One of my ex-husbands was always trying to take me from my daughter. No matter how hard I tried to blend this family, he was there trying to disconnect me from my daughter telling me, "I just want us time, I want time with you to grow, get to know each other, she will always be there."

And because I wanted this marriage, I was beginning to fall for it. I was becoming weak to the person I took vows with, I promised to love, honor, and respect. I was riddled with guilt always leaving Sela behind. I wanted to be married yet, I wanted to be with my daughter also.

Finally, I kicked him to the curb and got divorced. There are countless single mother's in today's world that do the exact same thing as myself. Was I becoming a bully like my ex? Was I becoming his play toy listening to him and not seeing my daughter? YES!

No matter how many times she did what she did to fit in, to feel acknowledged, be part of my life the only life she ever knew and felt safe around, I turned my back to her and for what? How does one go about blending families when the one entering feels threatened by the existing families?

Listen to your kids when they are feeling rejected by their friends, by family, by loved ones. Do not just think it is a "phase" or "jealousy" so often a child that is so confused and do not have the words to express how they are feeling, help them through their pain. Guide them with a tender heart, please see them with your eyes, your heart, and your mind not because you think you "have too"  but because you want to, hear them, love them.

I know, trust me I know, kids can drag you down to such a dark emotional path, they lie, manipulate, steal, they are being what we were once referred as a "teenager" trust me when I saw...I KNOW! Savi attempted suicide four times. I was so wrapped up in my world, my job, my life, I never saw her pain, I never saw her reaching out to me and seeking me with such a desperation that her only way out to stop hurting was death.

I cared more of what she did and not why she did what she did. I just never saw the big picture. I can never take it back, I cannot back pedal all I can do from here on out and share my experiences and hope and pray that others read this and understand that your child may be trying to tell you something. When and if they are, stop, look, and listen. Evaluate what they are trying to tell you, always take their side, never resist, hold them, love them, hug them.

Tell them now beautiful they are. Be truthful with yourself and love your child unconditionally.