Recently, I feel as though I've had a breakthrough.
My best friend's BIL & family have been mooching off my BF & his family for awhile now. On and off for about six months. Last night he drove 500 miles to kick his brother in law & family out of his house. Thomas, the BIL, car crapped out & they were staying with his youngest sister & her husband (my best friend) so I've been on the outside fringe of the situation and its caused me to re-evaluate things in my own life.
My parents N!Father and Co-Dependant!Mother are not perfect. They'll always have their problems, but we kids rarely lacked for basic necessities: medical care, place to live, money, clothing, food et cetera. There were times when money was tight or the car had problems that needed to be fixed, but we never went without because our parents weren't willing to work.
Thomas's house is in foreclosure, though his father GAVE him $20K to resolve his financial problems.
Thomas's car needed a new transmission, his mother took on another job (#3) for pay for this.
Thomas's wife is a cosmetologist. He takes her tip money because he's "The Man of the House" though all he does is sit on his ass, screwing around online, watching TV & smoking weed all day.
Mind you, Thomas, is perfectly capable of getting employment, but apparently seems to think other people should provide for him and his family.
My best friend relayed to me that Thomas got into a magnificent fight with his wife because she spend $1.97 on a 10/pk of toothbrushes for their children. (As an aside, I've spent more than $1.97 on ONE toothbrush before). So he asked why Thomas got so twisted about it. Thomas told him that his kids had "baby teeth and they were just going to fall out anyway."
I was poleaxed that anyone could have such a cavalier attitude about their own children's health. For all the N!Father's issues he's never expressed such an attitude of neglect. NEVER. It just clicked with me that things in my childhood could have been so much worse. After that, I called N!Father and told him I forgave him. And I have to admit that I feel better psychologically. I don't feel like I'm carrying around the "warm bag of poop" anymore.
I read recently in Bad Childhood, Good Life by Dr. Laura Schlessinger,:
"Surely your skills as a therapist include familiarity with that 'warm bag of poop' so many of us carry around with us. Imagining a real bag of offal makes it clear that a rational person would simply discard or bury the bag. But we humans often insist on keeping that bag with us. From time to time we dip our hand into the bag and stir it up. Yes, it stinks and yes it is offensive, but it's OUR bag of poop and we're familiar with how it smells, how it feels and we are comforted by that warm feeling of familiarity we often get from it. It we let it go, bury it or dispose of it, what do we have left that defines us?"
I don't want to be defined by that anymore.