A New World and Me Too

Image result for quotes a change is coming

 

It’s been a while since I updated here, but the recent trend in outing men with a past that includes sexual assault, sexually inappropriate behavior, sexual abuse and misconduct is relevant given my having exposed Ed here …

Society is changing, redefining acceptable and unacceptable at a furious pace; gone forever is the naive notion that what happened in a man’s past has no bearing on today.  A man’s past has always mattered; people do not change – finally recognizing this as a collective can have only positive impact on society.

The solution, at least for now – in the early days of this revolution, remains exposure …

When I was about twenty years old, Ed won a cruise for selling a specific number of insurance policies, and he took me with him on this vacation.  The entire ship was filled with insurance agents who had sold the requisite number of policies, as well as their guests.

There was a woman – this is better than thirty five years ago, so I do not recall her name, but she was the guest of a colleague of Ed’s.  During the cruise, she became deeply offended by Ed’s unwanted touching – he would put his arm around her in group photos, try to hug and kiss her when she came to dinner, or when he saw her on excursions.

I told him to stop, that he was making her extremely uncomfortable, but he wouldn’t listen to me, and he didn’t stop.  She finally spoke up, after suffering through several encounters with Ed, and he thought she was, “extremely rude.” She did nothing but set him straight.

My wife’s own “Me Too” moment was given to her by Ed; just like the woman on the cruise, Ed was always touching and trying to kiss her …

and when I told him to stop, that his unwanted affection was making her uncomfortable, he acted as though she had the problem; he was, after all, only being friendly and polite.

Men like this do not alter their behavior, because they do not believe they are the problem.

Decent people have the right to know when they are exposed to those with a history of sexual misconduct. It’s that simple …

so tell your story, and hold them accountable.

A man’s past is an accurate prediction of that same man’s future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggested Friends

Image result for quotes when parents hurt their child

Facebook suggested Pat as a possible friend today; for all the sophistication of that platform, it does not comprehend Complicated or Estranged.

Per the meme above, I have often felt like a refugee from childhood; my childhood was definitely something I had to endure, then overcome.  But until I saw Pat’s picture this morning as Facebook suggested I might Friend her, I hadn’t much considered how she may feel about her own childhood.

I was never close to Pat, so we didn’t discuss her relationship with her parents, and I actually know very little about it.  I know a few facts, for example; her parents wouldn’t speak to her for months after she became pregnant and “had to” marry Ed, whom they despised.  But even as she told me this story, she never indicated how it made it her feel – in retelling she was cold and detached, as though it had happened to someone else.

Looking at it through my now fifty four year old eyes – with the heart and mind of a man who has gently raised three children, not speaking to your daughter because she got pregnant is a cruel, brutal and cold thing to do.  At a time when she needed them more than she ever had before, they turned away.

She HAS to feel something about this – retrospectively, as well as in the moment, but she didn’t express feeling of any kind to me – not anger, betrayal, pain or outrage … nothing. No. Emotion. At. All.

Was she an abused child?  I know Ed was, but was Pat?  My mother’s parents were always good to me, but that doesn’t mean they were always good to their children.  Case in point, I’m told my mother is a good grandmother to my niece – and my aunt tells me her mother was a good grandmother to her children, but Pat was a terrible mother, and my aunt says her mother wasn’t always the best most nurturing mother either.

My mother’s grasp on reality has always been tenuous, my aunt’s has always been razor sharp …

From what I recall, Pat was the dutiful daughter, and she thought highly – at least she behaved as though she thought highly, of her mother.  My supposition is that the relationship – my mother for her mother, may have been based in a form of Stockholm Syndrome …  very much like my sister and Pat.

Something had to be amiss in Pat’s life for her to be able to do to her own children all the cruel and terrible things she did.

  • Abuse is [almost always] generational
  • Abusers aren’t born, they are made

Why Pat is as she is doesn’t matter to me now – it can’t, because I’m in touch with my own why and you can’t ever go back to what made you sick.

But maybe her answers don’t lie only in what she did to me, but in what someone else did to her …

she won’t look, and she’ll never question; she just isn’t built to think critically or in complex ways, so her answers will always elude her;

It’s so much easier to blame than it is to understand.

No Facebook, Pat Shaw and I can never be Friends.

Thoughts At The End

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me to know that Ed got away with child abuse, rape and God alone knows what else, but it is less important than it once was.  In some small way, knowing the people he has fooled into believing he is a good and decent human being – the people who are, in reality, nothing more to him than props necessary to support his own self-delusion, know the truth.  They. Know. The. Truth …

what they do about that is their concern.

I’ve been silent for a few months, taking stock and reflecting.  That I saved all of Ed’s email, and thus his admissions that every word of this blog is, indeed, truth gives me an almost unimaginable upper-hand.

And yet, I don’t feel any sort of closure or relief.  At the end of the day, he proved me right; People Don’t Change – that is not solace.  He knows what he did, but he doesn’t know, or care, what it caused … how deep and dark the abyss he left his children in really is.

And when the chips were down, when he could have found redemption, he turned his back on all responsibility for who he is, and what he’s done, in favor of a life that is nothing more than a cover-up, and lie.  No father – no decent man does this.

So when you read this, and I know you will, remind yourself that while he appeared to be protecting you – the only person he was protecting was himself.

No More

It is important now to recognize what I took from the experience.

The last year of my life, which briefly included my father, has reinforced and given invaluable meaning to what I already knew: No One Is Alone.

Everything we do affects someone else – and if you are a parent that effect, for better or worse, is profound; a  lifetime blessing or curse.

This insight and wisdom hit me like a ton of bricks as I watched a recent performance of Into The Woods; I sat in the darkened theater with tears in my eyes as the Baker and Mysterious Man, who are father and son, came to the end of their journey – their place of understanding.

Personal Enlightenment – the only force that can heal, requires bravery and dedication to find and accept; it can be excruciatingly painful see ourselves as we truly are – to face all we’ve done, or left undone …

and I have found, sadly, that the more someone needs the lesson – whatever it may be, the easier it is for them to miss it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observations, Beliefs & Musings

1. Doing the right thing simply because it is right – with no fear of consequence if you don’t, or hope for reward if you do, is the highest form of integrity.

2.  You can judge a man’s character by the way he treats his child and his dog.

3.  Everyone you interact with deserves respect, compassion and kindness from you.  If you can’t give those things to someone, it is best not to interact with them at all.

4.  It is OK to be an atheist, or a believer.  It is not OK to expect everyone else to agree with you.

5.  Sex and cooking are best approached with reckless abandon.  This bit of wisdom came from the Dalai Lama, who I think borrowed it from the Kama Sutra — I just happen to agree.

6.  We are profoundly affected by what happened to us as children, even the stuff we can’t remember.

7.  Kids are not as resilient as everyone says they are, we have to be careful with them.

8.  There is no alternate sexuality – there is only sexuality; what goes on between two consenting adults is healthy, normal and OK.

9.  I am a progressive liberal politically – I believe in social programs, a woman’s right to choose, marriage equality, national health care and the right to an affordable, quality education.  I think corporations and government institutions should be made to play by the rules. I have never voted for a republican in my life, and if things continue as they are I probably never will, but I don’t see it as Us and Them – it isn’t black and white – I just know what I believe and tend to vote along the lines of social agenda;  the current political divide in America is patently absurd.  Repeat, there is no Us and Them.

10.  I think living a conventional life would bore the hell out of me, so I don’t even try.

11.  I have a mental illness – it does not, however, have me.

12.  I am owed profound and sincere apologies from people who will never give them.   Taking responsibility for what you’ve done, even if it doesn’t/can’t change anything, is always the right thing to do.  See #1.

13.  I am open to anything except excuses.

14.  An adult must assume all responsibility for what occurs between him or herself and a child.

15.  A man is courageous, but not always unafraid.

16.  Even when you’re sick, there is a standard for behavior you must uphold.

17.  I’ve learned that loss is something not everyone is capable of feeling.

18.  My daughter extended a hand that Pat did not take.  At fifteen my little girl understood far more about love, family, life and forgiveness than my mother ever will.

19.  A man should not be defined by his mistakes, but by what he does to make them right.

20.  Wine tastes better in Italy.

21.  My wife and children have loved me at my best, and at my worst.

22.  I am a lucky man.

23.  I can let my children go now, whenever they are ready.

24.  I fell in love at fourteen, and still love the same woman.

25.  Family is Everything.

26.  I will find the courage to blog about hyper-sexuality, an often over-looked symptom of Bipolar Disorder.

27.  I believe love and marriage can last forever, but it doesn’t just happen.

28.  I care deeply about my sister, but know I’m better off without her in my life.

29.  It is true, things people aren’t always what they seem.

30.  I wouldn’t know what to do with Uncomplicated or Ordinary, but there are times when a few minutes of dull would be nice.

31.  Beer tastes better in Germany.