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"Done with the Crying" Author Sheri McGregor Estrangements Article

October 27, 2017 article: "Estrangement Doesn't Just Happen to "Bad" Moms — It Happened to Me Too" on Goodhousekeeping.com by Sheri McGregor, author of Done with the Crying.

Sheri has a website on the subject of family estrangement: RejectedParents.net and a Facebook Page on estrangement.

The description of her Facebook Page, "Help and Healing for Parents of Estranged Adult Children":

"Support and information resource. Parents of estranged adult children may feel isolated and embarrassed, yet there are many of us. Let's help each other."


On Mother’s Day(s) & Estrangement

Not having addressed the emotions surrounding Mother’s day and estrangement for years here on this blog, I found myself thinking about the subject and about what to say. Or whether to write a post at all or just let the day go by post-free as I’d been doing.

I am sitting myself down here to think while I type to see what occurs to me on this day, one of the more painful days to have to get through for mothers who have been estranged. A day which also can be painful for many who are estranged from a mother with whom they had had a loving affectionate relationship prior to estrangement. What to say?

My estrangement is now 23 years long. I don’t expect it to end. While I did suffer deep grief in the first 6 to 10 years as well as other strong feelings about the loss of a relationship with a person whom I had adored, eventually I developed a thicker skin and detachment set in. Consequently, I am sure that I am in a different place emotionally than most of the visitors to my website and blog. Most who come here are likely in that place of pain and devastation over losing someone they love to estrangement and would like to find some solution that would take their relationship back to the loving relationship they once had. Or thought that they had.

I wish I could offer that solution. I wish that I had found it myself. What I’ve found is that there are many reasons for estrangement. Sometimes the reasons have more to do with the person who has decided to estrange themselves and very little to do with the person who they estranged. I concluded that it can be futile for the person who has been estranged to resolve the estrangement. That the only person who can resolve it is the person who decided to do the estranging. The person who has been estranged has a few options: One is to keep banging their head on the door of estrangement by making attempts to end it. Another is not to do that but to bury their feelings and risk becoming clinically depressed. Another is to accept the estranger’s decision and to go on with their life, living it as well as they possibly can.

Recently a friend mentioned a book that she had read and loved. I haven’t read the book but the title caught my attention: “The Knife of Never Letting Go”. The title says so much. If you never let go of an issue or a person or a thing and the situation is unresolvable, then you are at risk of being damaged by the determination to hold on.

Neverlettinggo

The friend who mentioned this book has experienced a loss that was one of the most drastic that can be imagined. She has had a very hard time emotionally in the years since that loss occurred. I don’t think she will ever “get over it”. But she seems to be doing a bit better as time goes on. She obsesses about it less. She is capable of feeling happy and of going on with her life. The knife of never letting go seems to be cutting her less.

From what I can see online about the book with that title, I don’t think that the title has anything to do with family estrangements but I don’t really know. It is a fiction book that is written for the age range of teens. I didn’t mention the book so that anyone would go out and buy it. It sounds quite good. I love the title. It would be a good title for a book on estrangement or other losses but the title has been taken!

Getting back to the subject of today, Mother’s Day, and what might I offer as a suggestion for getting through the day and other days of similar significance (birthdays, other family oriented holidays). Speaking for myself and acknowledging that I am at a different place in terms of emotions than most visitors to my site, on days like this I choose doing something that I REALLY want to do. See a movie I’ve been meaning to see. Eat some food that I like a lot that I haven’t had for a while. Wear comfortable clothing. Or wear something that just makes me happy regardless of comfort. Take a nap if needed. Read a book I’ve been meaning to read. In a choice between whether to do work or not, choose not to work at least some of the day if not all. (I tend to choose work too often.) Be good to myself. Be good to others as well as yourself. Meaning be polite, kind, civil, honest and genuine. If possible, let go of that knife for the day. If not possible, grip it less tightly and not by the blade’s edge.

Wishing you a most peaceful and Happy Day!


Recently Published Books on Family Estrangement

 Estranged Stories, ebook version. by Elizabeth Vagnoni, Mary Cay Reed. Available for Amazon Kindle Fire®, Apple iPad®, Android devices, and Mac or PC computers. Currently (as of Dec. 17, 2017) priced at $15.99.

Estranged Stories Understanding. Support. Peace. Hope” by Elizabeth Vagnoni, Mary Cay Reed. Blurb 2017. ISBN-10: 0615937683, ISBN-13: 978-0615937687. This is the print version which currently is priced at $44.74 on Amazon.

From the online listings of the book on Amazon and on Blurb:
"In Estranged Stories, Elizabeth Boykin Vagnoni and Mary Cay Reed have woven together a compassionate description of the succession of emotions many parents experience when they become estranged from their adult children. Using a variety of stories from EstrangedStories.com, parents talk about the common thoughts and feelings they experience when faced with estrangement. They talk about suggestions for confronting feelings, how to respond to others, finding hope, and coping with the inability to have a relationship with Grandchildren. While these stories come from a few, they represent the feelings of more than 5,000 who have joined estrangedstories and responses from over 3,000 who have completed our survey. Sometimes just understanding that you are not alone and many others share the same "stories", is helpful when trying to understand this emotionally crippling situation."

Family Estrangement: A Matter of Perspective by Kylie Agllias. ISBN-13: 978-1472458612 ISBN-10: 1472458613

We Don't Talk Anymore: Healing after Parents and Their Adult Children Become Estranged by Kathy McCoy. October 2017. ISBN-10: 1492651133 ISBN-13: 978-1492651130.

Estrangement of Parents by Their Adult Children by Sharon Waters. April 2017. ISBN-10: 0692882154 ISBN-13: 978-0692882153.


Links to Facebook Pages on Family Estrangement

The following are links to Facebook pages where family estrangement is a topic of discussion, advice or information. The pages that were found are specifically about estrangements of parents from their children. These are all of the Facebook Pages that I found on the subject.

 


University of Cambridge Study on Family Estrangement in Adulthood

Hidden Voices, University of Cambridge Study on Family Estrangement in Adulthood

by Lucy Blake in collaboration with Becca Bland, Chief Executive of Stand Alone and Professor Susan Golombok, Director of the Center for Family Research at the University of Cambridge.


May 9, 2015 Keyword search: “Mother’s Day” & “Estrangement”

The following four links are the result of an internet search using keywords: "Mother's Day" and "Estrangement". The links are to articles recently posted and to articles that didn't have those annoying popups that appear all too often these days.


Note: To get a different perspective on Katie Naum's “Cards”, try the following changes and then read them again while imagining that they were written by a mother. I have numbered Naum’s “Cards” from 1 to 11.
In #1 change the wording to:
“Thank You For Living In My Womb and Being Born. (inside) That Part Went Pretty Well From My Perspective.”
Read #s 2 through 9 unchanged but as if written by a mother.
In #10 substitute the word “Mother” in the place of “Daughter”.
In #11 substitute the word “Daughter” in the place of “Mother”.

My request to look at the “Cards” as though written by a mother instead of a daughter is to bring a different perspective to what was written. I am not making a judgement. I am asking the question: If a mother had written those “Cards”, what would that say about the Mother? If the answer is different from what it says to you about the daughter who wrote them, why would that be so?

 


Is your Estranged one a professional diagnostician in their own mind?

A common experience that is talked about in a lot of groups where family estrangement is discussed is the one of being labeled with a pathological condition by the person from whom you are estranged. With their only qualifications being that they are related to you and that they knew you once upon a time, they diagnose you as being something that is generally thought to be pretty horrible. While there are people who do deserve those labels, there are a whole lot of people who do not.

I am not going to argue with anyone about the fact that there are people who are not objective about their relatives and who don't know what they are talking about when they malign them. It happens far too often. When the person maligned does not deserve what is being said about them, this behavior is abusive.

I found a very good discussion on this experience that I am linking to here:

How to deal with exaggerated claims by EC (thread begun on March 20, 2015)

 


Online memoir by a daughter of a mother "erased" by PAS

It is rare to see an account of the experience of Parental Alienation Syndrome given from the perspective of the child. This link is to an online memoir by the child, now grown up, and writing about her experience. Her descriptions of events as she remembers them are riveting.

Mother Erased: a memoir written by an alienated daughter.

 


A blog written by a grandmother denied access to her grandchildren

A mother and grandmother who posts on her own blog about family estrangement and the loss of relationships with her son and grandchildren wrote to me this week. She sent me a link to her blog for inclusion here.

I took a look and like her writing so much that I am happy to provide a link to her blog here: Family Estrangements: When grandparents are denied access to their grandchildren and have added it to the Links Page on my Estrangements.com site too.

 


New Link: Rejectedparents.net - a website for parents suffering estrangement

I found a website, rejectedparents.net, that was created in 2013 to offer support and information to parents who have been rejected by their adult children. It includes a discussion group for estranged parents.

Here's the link:

Parents of Estranged Adult Children: Help and Healing
When Adult Children are Estranged: Support and Information

 


Slate staff writer Katy Waldman's article on Narcissism: Link

Are you a Narcissist? by Slate staff writer Katy Waldman, August 2014

If you’re new to being estranged and to online discussions of the condition, you might not have experienced the word Narcissistic (with a capital N in the context of Narcissistic Personality Disorder) occurring frequently in discussions of family estrangement. If you are a longtime survivor of family estrangements, it would be hard to imagine that you have not encountered those two conditions, Narcissism and Estrangement, being mentioned as related to each other. Parents are labeled as having (or being) NPD. Kids are labeled as having (or being) NPD. It seems some days that just about anyone who gets up in the morning and thinks or says anything positive or negative about themselves must have NPD according to someone who has estranged them or is estranged by them.

Parents and adult kids in online discussion groups report being accused of pathological narcissism. Parents and adult kids regularly diagnose their respective adult kids and parents as having NPD. There are groups set up just to discuss the narcissism of parents. Oddly, since it seems that the condition of pathological narcissism would not be restricted only to those who see themselves as offspring but could be suffered by anyone, parent or adult child, there are no groups set up by and for parents specifically to discuss their experience of having offspring who are pathologically narcissistic. The reasons for that are open to speculation.

Anyway, what brings me to my blog this morning is an article that I read online about NPD by Slate staff writer Katy Waldman that I thought was worth adding a link here. She mentions a number of points that have occurred to me over the years of reading about the personality disorder of NPD and she includes links to other references on the subject too. Considering this subject is one that comes up so very frequently in relation to the condition of family estrangement, I thought it was a very appropriate and worthwhile link to share here.

Are you a Narcissist? by Slate staff writer Katy Waldman, August 2014


Baggage, baggage, and more baggage

I've been thinking a lot lately about the baggage that people carry and how people interpret who and what other people are. The series of posts I wrote about Being Wrong were motivated by my desire to get through to those who believe they are right no matter what, no matter if there is evidence that they may not be as right as they think they are. I've addressed this issue of baggage in years past and have made a permanent page link, to one post (written in May 2007) titled "On Baggage" in the left side bar.

I think that we all carry baggage but I think that when we are aware of our own baggage and our own limitations and history, we might become less likely to be so sure that we are right all of the time. If we are wrong less of the time, I can't help but think that would be a good thing. However, I am aware of my own limitations in getting this point across to strangers. So I have to accept that -- my limitations.

I have seen that there are some who have not figured out what I was trying to communicate with my posts on Being Wrong. I was trying to write on the topic without being more specific as to who or what inspired me to write as what I wanted to communicate was meant for many, not for a specific person or persons, even if the topic was motivated by the actions of a small number of people. I did not want them to feel singled out. And they are not the only ones who do the kinds of things they have done. I accept that I may not get through to anyone who believes that they are always right and that they always do the right thing even while they are being abusive.

As a result of what I have been seeing and thinking about lately, I offer the following links to the wisdom of others. I am posting the links and my reasons for offering each link.

1. I offer this link to the Shrinking Woman video because the poet addresses the issues of how women so often feel as though they must be smaller and smaller and smaller, both physically and in terms of behavior, rather than be large and make waves or complain or argue or do anything that men do. When men talk about what concerns them and make waves and stand up for themselves and share their experiences, they are seen as strong and brave. Women who do the same things are typically criticized, insulted, demeaned and called names. They are treated this way not only by men but also by women, especially by women.

2. I offer this link to a post on a blog that belongs to Danielle LaPorte because I have been told that it would be better for me to delete my blog. That I would be a happier healthier person if I deleted my blog. The reason why I have this blog is because I thought it would be appreciated by others who were experiencing estrangement to know that they were not alone in this experience. I shared my experience, not because I enjoy talking about being estranged and need to put myself out there, but because I believe that there are others like me and that they may feel alone in having this experience. When I started the website and blog there weren't the number of places online where there was information about family estrangement and there were no blogs where anyone was talking about the experience.


Yes, I could take the blog down. I have been tempted to do that but I have not given in to the temptation. I still think that the information here including my sharing of my own experience could be of help to someone. It costs me little to let it stay up. I do let my living my life take priority these days and rarely have anything to add.

3. I offer this link, Karma - Insults, which is from the blog, Quotes About Living from Doe Zantamata's "Happiness in your life" book series. I offer this link because of the baggage that causes others to do things like offer their amateur diagnoses of the people from whom they are estranged. Not everyone does this. Some people do have the opinions of mental health professionals as to what is wrong with their relative. For example, my mother really was mentally ill. She saw psychiatrists for almost sixty years and was in and out of psych wards.

4. I offer this link, Karma - Allowing change, from the same series because I believe that Zantamata offers a great truth in that quote.

5. I offer this link, Karma - Expectations, also from the Zantamata Quotes About Living, because it gives an explanation why some people find it so hard to trust that someone else doesn't have some evil agenda for why they do anything nice. Not all estranged parents and not all estranged children are people with personality disorders.

Many estranged parents and many estranged adult children are pretty much nice normal people who would be kicked out of any therapist's office in short order because they don't have anything sufficiently wrong with them for the therapist to help to resolve. And many of those who wouldn't be kicked out of a therapist's office don't have a whole lot seriously wrong with them either.

If someone can't believe that someone is a nice person no matter how nice they are, then it says more about the person who wants to believe bad things than it does about the person who is being maligned. It might not say bad things about the person who is believing untrue things but it does say something about them.

Someone can be a good person and still believe untruths. This is what inspired me to write about Being Wrong. Because I believe that many good people believe bad things about other good people who don't deserve being so maligned. After all, it is said that you have to demonize someone before you can hate them. It's a lot harder to dislike and hate someone who really is a nice enough person. So, to estrange them successfully, it helps to demonize, demonize, demonize!!

I recognize that I likely have not made much headway in making that point about baggage. I hope that somewhere out there my point is clear to someone. Or if not now, some day perhaps.

Ginny


Family estrangement in photographs

Mother_scratched_out
I am reading estrangement into the action taken on old photographs.

They say a photograph is worth 1,000 words.

The photo above is a carte de visite (cdv) from the early 1870's. The mother's face was scratched out in the negative prior to the image being printed. It would have been scratched out by the photographer himself. Perhaps she was his wife whose face he never wanted to see again. The photo becomes an iconic image of estrangement.

I imagine that she was once loved and that the person who had loved her must have been the same person who scratched her face out of the negative before printing what may have been the only image of their child. (Why else would someone print an image that they had damaged in tis way?)

Here's another one, a tintype from the 1860's to 1870's. Like the cdv, the mother's face was scratched out by the person who made the tintype.
Mother_scratched_out_2
I doubt that they were able to forget the person with as much success as they removed their faces from the photographs.

Ginny


How do you know if you're getting better?

When does recovery occur? When do you get over a serious loss?

Some things you never "get over" but you can heal. It is possible for life to go on. You know you're getting better when you make better choices. As described in the poem below.

The poem is from There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery by Portia Nelson.

Hole_in_street2

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters

by Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.


Guest Post: Life As We Know It Now

My husband and I are the parents of two estranged adult children. I consider us both survivors and warriors of a war that had lasted a very long time. We had put up with this serial estrangement - this on-again, off-again bullshit for almost 38 years - so long, in fact we didn't know which end was up anymore.  

These are the biological children of my husband and my stepchildren. Our ED and ES are both in their 50’s. Our youngest daughter had passed away 5 years ago at the age of 44. Our granddaughter – the self-absorbed daughter of our ED is 23. She is very bright but, having been schooled at the knee of her mother, she is as indifferent to us as our daughter is. Needless to say, she has learned well. Our grandson is about 11 now, and since our son stopped talking to us 6 years ago without any explanation, we haven't seen him in 6 years (except for at the funeral) And so we can say most assuredly that we don’t know him at all.

I guess my husband and I have come from a place where there has been much trouble and pain and so few rewards. Over the past years, we tried and tried to make it work with our EC, however our efforts were usually met with disdain and indifference under the gloss of their duplicitous superficiality. Fueled by the parental alienation of their quasi-psychotic biological mother, these children maintained almost an obsessive attachment to her while they treated their father like the next door neighbor – all the while denying that they favored “MOMMY”.

What has always perplexed me is if these children really didn't want a relationship with us - all they had to do was say so. But our EC generated all this fake we love you, we're a family stuff, while under the surface, there was such terrible unhappiness. And while it never really ever surfaced, it did morph into some very dysfunctional behavior that went on and on for almost 40 years! It was such a complicated dicotomy that left us confused and unbalanced most of the time.

It was difficult (impossible really), for us not to place blame. We had been betrayed, lied to, fooled into thinking that these people loved us and yet treated us so cruelly. We simply could not forgive or forget this kind of treatment - we simply are not wired that way.

Our ED always talked about wanting us to forget the past - sure - why wouldn't she? She basically created all the chaos and problems - and then, when things calmed down and we tried to forget, she'd create even more. To have continued to forget about what happened would only benefit her. The cousin to this particular narcissistic behavior is avoiding talk about "blame". Of course! With no accountability, this dysfunction and misbehavior could continue indefinitely. We felt that our EC’s past behavior was our window into their future behavior – unfortunately, it turned out that we were too right.

Several years ago, we were tired of being endlessly jerked around by our ED, and so I wrote her a letter which outlined the nearly 4 decades of mistreatment and hurt that she and her brother had visited upon us. In it, I also told her we no longer could deal with the way things were and that things really needed to change. She replied – how our inability to forget the “past” would render us utterly alone and asked us not to contact her again. This was just fine with us - as we were not looking continue the duplicitous and highly superficial nature of our relationship with her. Dumping all of them - and all the drama that went with them, was actually a total relief. Life just seems so much better without all that anxiety and pain.

Whenever we would have yet another altracation with our children - a thought was always in the back of my mind - who would be there to help my husband if something happened to me? How could we depend on them to help us out when they blinsided and manipulated us at every turn.. Here was the potential for the ultimate victimization or the ultimate abandonment. It was a nagging premonition of the future - a future I just could not picture with them in it.

My husband is 76 and I am 61 this year - we are both in excellent health and, hopefully, we will both die simultaneously in our sleep! But sometimes - at night - before I go to sleep - the thought would occasionally cross my mind - What If......Who would my husband turn to? If his own children don't respect him now, what would happen if he became sick - if he was frail and helpless. Who would protect him from them?

Our nephews turned out to be our new heroes - my brother’s children - are 38, 36 and 34 years and they are fine young men - each and every one of them. We are quite proud of them and we named the 2 living closer to us our DPAs for finance and health. (The oldest lives in Las Vegas and I didn't think it would be convenient for him).

These are men who get along with one another and with their parents and who cannot really grasp the concept that our children would disrespect us – especially their biological dad. You can just tell that they love and respect their family and they are happy and well-adjusted. They weren't evasive and snide or sarcastic. They are open and honest and straightforward. They are real men.

The comparison is so glaringly obvious - it made me sort of sad (and angry) to think that our own children - at least 14 - 16 years older then my nephews, have been such disappointments and so unreliable. It was really disheartening to realize that if my husband or myself were left all alone and too sick to do for ourselves, we had to resort to bothering our nephews to help us out. But when I asked them, they both just said - "anything you need Auntie." It felt great and by terminating our relationship with our EC, we were able to rest assured that there was no longer the threat of predators – they will never know if there was a problem or if we were dead.

I do believe that, over the years we have learned a lot about our children. We learned that they lied, manipulated, cheated and betrayed us many many times – without any conscience at all. We learned that their duplicity was unending. And we learned that they visited these traits on their own children to create a new generation of ill-mannered, indifferent, obnoxious know-it-alls who have little interest in anything but themselves.

Yes, we learned our lesson well but now, we simply chose to NOT learn anymore. I know that honest and loving relationships should never have to end. What my husband and I had wasn’t a family – it was a delusion. We believe that a family is FOREVER - it simply has to be - because of the very nature of its make up and because of it's reason for being. In a family, one generation follows the next. Each generation honors the past one while looking forward to creating the future. That is the purest meaning of the word forever.

They say insanity is repeating the same action over and over expecting a different outcome. So we figure that we had saved ourselves a LOT of time, money and heartache when we stopped the insanity and just walked away. In fact, our only regret was that we didn’t do this 35 years earlier.

We finally started asking the question – What do we want our lives to be? And we finally determined that how things were not acceptable – definitely not what they should be.

As we started to unravel the answers to these questions – We finally started giving some thought to how we needed to save our selves and our sanity. Life as we know it now has its focus on those who love and respect us. We are people who want our lives to be rich in love and kindness. Our lives should be filled with happiness and self-respect. And this is not only what we had wanted or even what it should have been…It is quite simply, what we deserved. 

Topiarystepmom


Being Wrong: Part Six

I woke up this morning and realized that I was not finished yet in talking about Being Wrong. There is another important question that we can ask ourselves as we examine our ability to be wrong and how our errors impact ourselves and others. Going back to the description of what occurred between Carol and Tim in Part Five of this series, what if we are Tim? What if we are wrong about someone? What if we are seeing someone through some very dark filter?

I don't know why Tim saw Carol the way that he saw her. I doubt that Tim could give me a good reason if I asked him. I suspect that Tim doesn't know the answer. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if Tim always sees Carol that way and never changes his mind. But I do know that sometimes the Tims of the world go through a transformation and lose that dark filter through which they had been seeing someone that they had spent years disliking, fearing, and even hating. Claiborne Paul Ellis did it. I've done it myself when I've gone from having a deep dislike of someone to becoming very good friends with them.

Continue reading "Being Wrong: Part Six" »


Being Wrong: Part 5

That sure was a long seven days since I last posted an entry on this topic of being wrong! That delay occurred despite my best intentions to do what I said that I was going to do. It has been difficult for me to finish this piece. My goal is to make a point but I want to make the point in a particular way. I want to make a point about us all as humans and about our human nature. I am not saying that I am somehow free from being wrong as I am not. That is part of the point too.

I was inspired to write on the subject of being wrong by several things. They are as follows: the book: Being Wrong, Adventures in the Margin of Error, my reading of numerous blogs and discussion groups on the experience of family estrangement, my personal experience with being wrong, and my observations of events in the lives and relationships of friends and acquaintances and in my own life.

Continue reading "Being Wrong: Part 5" »


Being Wrong, Part 4: How is it that sometimes we choose the wrong answer?

Funny how things change. In that first post on Being Wrong that I wrote in May 2011, I talked about a couple that I knew, "Bob" and "Janice" and how I had gone from initially disliking them a lot to becoming good friends with them. I was using that transformation as an example of how I felt I had been wrong about them and that I thought I had been unfair. Since I wrote that post, Bob and Janice both did things that felt so unfair that I made some important decisions later in 2011 due to their actions. I make a brief reference to what the wife did in my New Year's Resolutions post of January 5, 2012.

 


Being Wrong, Post #3: When you're just plain wrong.

Over a year ago I wrote two posts on the subject of "Being Wrong" inspired by a book titled "Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error" by Kathryn Schulz. I said that I would write more on the subject of being wrong but till now, I hadn't written another word. However, I continue to think about the subject a lot.

I hadn't written more since then for several reasons. One was that I felt that the topic was so important that I felt overwhelmed by it, afraid that I wouldn't be able to express my thoughts well enough to give it justice. I have been so busy with the usual sorts of things that go into living a life that I haven't felt as though I had the time to sit down, look through the book again, gather the threads of my thoughts on the subject, and put it all together in a coherent post. I've been so busy that when I had down time, I didn't want to spend it on putting together my thoughts on why that book had impressed me so much. Impressed is not the right word but it is the best one that I can come up with at this moment. I have thought about the subject of "being wrong" again and again. Things that happen in my life remind me of what I read in this book. The things that I see myself and other people doing remind me of this book.

Late last year for example I began hearing about the movie Hugo. I heard about the plot line and I thought that it was odd that nowhere was it mentioned that there had been an animated movie that was based on the very same plot line. That seemed unfair. Every time I heard about the movie Hugo, I had these images in my head from the animated movie. I could see the scenes, remember what the characters looked like. I could remember what they did and said. I thought it was outrageous that no one was mentioning that fantastic animated movie. I spoke about it with my husband and he said that he remembered the movie too. Although he might have recalled seeing the movie after I had kept talking about it for a while. He did not remember the movie's name or where we had seen it.

I thought that Scorsese had ripped off the plot lines, character and story of the animated movie that I remembered and I was so puzzled that no one else was mentioning this obvious ripoff. I did online searches for the animation version and could not find it. It was such a cool movie that I couldn't imagine that it wouldn't be in the online databases of movies.

Then I had an epiphany! It was not a movie that I had seen. Even though I remembered the scenes of the animation vividly in my mind, it was not a movie that I was remembering! It was the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret that I had read and was remembering as though it was an animated movie! There had never been an animated movie that existed before the movie Hugo! My memory was entirely incorrect! I had seen the book on which the movie was based before the movie was made. That person who had the book had recommended it to me and had lent it to me. I had read it and returned the book to them. All the pictures in the book and the story line had combined together in my memory so that I was remembering it as a movie!

I was stunned to realize how deceived I had been by my memory. Not only stunned by that but also stunned to realize that my own account of having seen a movie that didn't exist had influenced my husband to believe that he had seen the movie too! He hadn't even read the book!

It was a perfect example of feeling "right" but being wrong about something. Absolutely unarguably wrong. Both of us were wrong. When I recognized the untruthfulness of my memory, I thought back on Schulz's book, Being Wrong, and how this experience of remembering something that had never happened fit so perfectly with what is talked about in the book. People do this all the time. They believe that they are right even when they are absolutely wrong. It happens all the time. We don't like to think that we are capable of being 100% wrong but sometimes we are, no matter how much we'd like think that it doesn't happen.

I've been collecting examples of that experience in my own life. There are a lot more than one. It teaches me humility among other things. It teaches me how others can do the same things as I do. That book talks about these kinds of experiences.

Generally we don't go around thinking about the times that we are wrong, whether we are wrong now, whether we've been wrong in the past, why we are sometimes so wrong, and what might we do so that we can be less wrong.

Why is it important to know if we are right or wrong? Why give the subject any space in our minds? I know I am stating the obvious when I say that being right or wrong can have serious consequences in our personal lives and in our culture. If the worst thing that I've ever been wrong about was whether I'd seen a movie or not, I'd be fortunate. More serious consequences involve decisions that we make in our lives regarding relationships, politics, guilt or innocence, issues of fairness, whether our decisions and acts are perpetrating good or evil. It is entirely possible to be on the wrong side of a line while believing that we are entirely in the right. It is possible to commit abuse and believe that we are doing the right thing. That is what struck me about the writings in that book. How abuse is committed in the name of doing the right thing.

I will write more on this subject and I promise that I won't procrastinate for over a year before writing that next post. I have too many thoughts on the subject of Being Wrong to express them in two or three posts. I intend to write another post on the subject within the next week. Stating a timeline might help me to get this next post written.

Wishing you all less of being wrong and more of being right and if you've made errors, please know that we all make them!

Ginny


Mother's Day 2012: Eleven Selected Links

  1. March 9, 2012 Estranged from my mum on Mother's Day
  2. May 11, 2012 Kelly Pickler, article, song & video: "Mother's Day" Is Gift of Closure
  3. My Mother
  4. Mother's Day: To Estranged Mother Greeting Card
  5. Father's Day Cards to Estranged Father Greeting Card
    Interestingly, there are several choices of cards for estranged fathers but only one for estranged mothers.
  6. May 11, 2012 by Theresa Froehlich, Transition Coach Mothers Who Can't Celebrate Mother's Day
  7. Nov. 20, 2010 Estranged Adult Children
  8. May 8, 2011 Mother's Day's Dirty Little Secret: Estrangement
  9. May 12, 2012 Mother's Day Guest Columnist Deborah Kennedy: What I never got to tell my mother
  10. April 28, 2012 Broken Bonds Healing Hearts: Advice on Surviving Mother's Day
  11. May 10, 2012 The Last Mother's Day by Timothy Egan

Happy Mother's Day!

(Or as one dear friend calls it: Stupid F'ing Mother's Day! -- SFMD! for short)

Ginny


On New Year's resolutions & happiness: posts on the E-stranged blog

As the new year begins, some of us make resolutions. I visited Fiona McColl's E-stranged blog this week and found two superb posts that she wrote that resonate with me and that I am linking below along with the thoughts that those posts inspire. The first linked post is on her New Year's resolution. The second is on the pursuit of happiness.

Care Less, a post written by Fiona McColl on her blog E-stranged. January 3, 2012

Emotions being what they are (in other words difficult creatures to control) the goal of caring less may seem daunting. It might make it easier if you can give yourself permission to care less. Many of us feel as though caring less would be a terrible thing to do but when you are in the habit of caring more than is good for you, caring less can be freeing. It is okay to care less. Unless you are the sort of person who never cared at all and then, if you are, the concept of caring less is not something you are going to be making any New Year's resolutions about and you are probably wondering why someone would even write such a post!

The Pursuit of Happiness, a post written by Fiona McColl on E-stranged, January 5, 2012

This post resonated with me as I found myself in a situation as a volunteer where I had misplaced my priorities and was putting an organization's needs as a higher priority than my own personal, family and business needs. I knew this but was having a hard time figuring out what to do about it. And then someone who is inextricably involved in that organization treated me badly. She chose a day that was particularly awful to do that to me as it was a day that I and others had worked really hard to make successful.

The last thing that I or anyone involved needed on that day was to be treated badly. After that, I had the choice of continuing to keep that organization at the top of my priority list or let them find someone else to take over my volunteer work. If I stayed, I would be forced to interact with the person who had treated me horribly. If I stayed, I would be continuing to put the organization's needs higher than my own. If I stayed, I would be in a situation that was getting worse despite the input and warnings from myself and others. Or I could let it go, choose to be happier doing more of the things I needed to do for myself and my husband, and let them find another volunteer. I am choosing happiness. I resigned. That was a bit of a shock to them but my friends are still my friends and it may all work out for the best in the long run anyway. It wasn't reasonable to expect someone to do as much work as I was doing as a volunteer. Organizations will take whatever you offer, even if it is more than you can afford to give.

I am giving them some opportunity to find someone else before I am completely out of there. So I am still doing work for them but not giving it my all any more. I am looking forward to being out.

I am a little bit worried that I won't have the strength to get myself completely out. It will be one more learning experience for me to extricate myself. I guess the worst that can happen as far as I am concerned is that I might continue to do some things for them that I particularly enjoy doing. And do those things at a pace and time frame that doesn't conflict with other things that are more important.

Going back to Fiona's "Care Less" post, I wish that I could care a lot less when I put myself in this kind of situation. For the future, I know myself better now and I intend to be far more cautious when offering my services as a volunteer. It is not happiness when I have no time for my own things but only time for others. Volunteering is a good thing which I like to do but, like so many things, it can take up 100% of my time if I let it.

I feel sure that my life experiences had a lot to do with how I ended up doing too much of a good thing for a good cause to the point that it was not good for me. I am aware of that. I know it is up to me to make decisions that are healthier so that I don't find myself in that same kind of situation again. Now I see "red flags" in certain situations that I might have jumped into too quickly. I see other people putting themselves into tough situations. I don't try to talk them out of what they are doing because it isn't any of my business and they would not appreciate my butting in but seeing them do the same kinds of things that I have done makes me realize that it isn't just me who does these things. A lot of us do them and then eventually we figure out where we've gotten out of balance with what we're doing and how to get back on track. And then allow ourselves to make decisions that let us live happier lives.

Happy New Year everyone!

Ginny