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<p>So things have been really difficult for my family since the death of my younger brother in Sept.  His suicide has torn us up in many ways.  But it has also brought us closer together.  </p>
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<p>My father is an emotional abuser.  He has no basis for processing trauma, he thinks that when my mother and I talk about the loss of my brother that we are "rubbing salt in the wound".  So we generally don't talk about my brother in front of him, although during my last visit my Mom and I were in one room talking of my brother and he walked in, listened for a few minutes and then told us that was enough. <img alt="eyesroll.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/eyesroll.gif">  My father is harsh and critical and, well, an emotional abuser.  But, I'm concerned that he's not handling the loss of his youngest child very well.  My Mom realizes that my father is emotionally abusive, but she deals with it best she can.  Apparently last week they were doing something with one of their TV's and my Mom made a suggestion to my father of how he could complete whatever task they were working on.... and my dad got really mad and threw the remote at my mother.  She said he had such a gleam of "joy" in his eyes when she cried out, mostly in surprise.  She realized that this was a pivotal moment and threw the remote back hitting him in the crotch.  He got mad and left.  Later he came back and apologized.  If my Mom has been honest with me, there was only one of instance of physical abuse and that was very early in their marriage before I was born and my Mom threatened to call the cops on him (this would have been in the 60's when abuse in marriages was still not something most police would bother with).  But anyway, she says he never tried anything like that again.</p>
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<p>In a few weeks my DD and I are going to go stay with my parents for the Christmas and New Years holidays.  We usually stay about 2 weeks so they can get some good time with DD.  I don't worry that I am going into a violent explosive situation or anything.  I know how my dad talks to my Mom and I stand up for her when he gets negative on her.  This has just brought up all sorts of feelings though.  I didn't have any advice to give my Mom when she told me that.  Just that she had done the right thing by not letting him get away with that type of behavior. </p>
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<p>Would you see this as a disturbing development or just a father dealing with his grief very poorly?  He's not the type to go to counseling or even a support group.  That would be rubbing salt in his wound.  So he stuffs it, bottles it up and now I'm worried that he might act out like that again.  </p>
 

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<p>I dont have much advice.  I just wanted to offer you a hug for the horrible situation you have found yourself in.  Im so sorry you are having to go through any of this. </p>
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<p>I would, however, worry that things may escalate as your father tries to find ways to cope with his grief.  I cannot immagine what it would be like to loose a child, no matter how old, and I cannot say what kind of demons would rear their ugly heads during times of frustration. </p>
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<p>Peace and well being to you and your family. </p>
 

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<p>Could it be your dad is angry and blaming your mom, possibly for your brother's suicide, and that's why it felt good to him to hurt your mom? </p>
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<p>Sorry to hear you lost your brother that way. Good luck getting through the holidays peacefully.</p>
 

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<p>i'm sorry.  i can see why you're concerned, and there's no real way at this point to know if his behavior is escalating or if it was a one-time tantrum. it may be wise to have a back-up plan in case it turns out not to be a good environment for you and dd to spend so much time over the holidays.  :hug</p>
 

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<p>Thank you ladies.  I suppose it could be many things.  I'm sure my father has some guilt about my brothers death.  It was very hard for my father to accept that my brother was gay, and while he has softened with age, he was still critical of my brother.  My Mom was the last person to speak to my brother, we believe just hours before he committed suicide.  So he may secretly hold something against my Mom because of that last conversation.  </p>
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<p>I do have a way out in case things go badly.  I drive out to see them so really DD and I could leave at any time.  Well, provided there isn't a raging snowstorm.  I just don't know what I would do if he did act out towards my Mom like that while we are there.  I don't think my Mom would want to come stay with DD and I.  Our climate is not good for her asthma.  My Mom said she would send Dad to live with my older brother.  My older brother is very much like my father emotionally.  But then that would mean my Mom would be living alone.  She is healthy and capable of living alone, but that just would add another concern.  They live in a retirement community, so she has good neighbors that would keep an eye on her.  Ugh... this is so not what I need right now.  I know that if my father acted out and I saw that look in his eyes I'd lose it.  I saw that look so many times from DD's father.  I know what it means.  </p>
 

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<p>would it help to have a series of "if ___ then ___ " sort of rules/guidelines in mind before you go?  that way you'll know ahead of time how you would like to respond to various behavior.  even if you initially react in one way, once things settle down and you can think about it for a moment, then you will remember how you want to handle it, and do that.  i may help to think of your parents as just two other adults, and not your parents.  that might clarify for you whether you should walk away, support your mom, report anything that happens that is illegal, etc. </p>
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<p>to me, it sounds like it's not very likely that your dad will be physically aggressive while you're visiting, since it hasn't happened frequently or in your presence in the past.  however, you might want to really consider how you'd respond to those in-between things like a menacing gesture or vaguely threatening statement.</p>
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<p>if you were to make a statement before you arrive or right at the beginning of your visit requesting that everyone try to keep things peaceful and loving, would your dad take that well, or would he be defensive or just brush it off?</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #7
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>doubledutch</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283999/disturbing-development#post_16100489"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>would it help to have a series of "if ___ then ___ " sort of rules/guidelines in mind before you go?  that way you'll know ahead of time how you would like to respond to various behavior.  even if you initially react in one way, once things settle down and you can think about it for a moment, then you will remember how you want to handle it, and do that.  i may help to think of your parents as just two other adults, and not your parents.  that might clarify for you whether you should walk away, support your mom, report anything that happens that is illegal, etc. </p>
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<p>to me, it sounds like it's not very likely that your dad will be physically aggressive while you're visiting, since it hasn't happened frequently or in your presence in the past.  however, you might want to really consider how you'd respond to those in-between things like a menacing gesture or vaguely threatening statement.</p>
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<p>if you were to make a statement before you arrive or right at the beginning of your visit requesting that everyone try to keep things peaceful and loving, would your dad take that well, or would he be defensive or just brush it off?</p>
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The "if/then" idea is good. I know that I don't think clearly when my PTSD is strongly triggered, and seeing that look would do that to me.  I would likely go into "fight" or "flight", and either would be devastating to my parents in it's own way.  So considering a healthy way to respond to a potential trigger is a good idea.</p>
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<p>I'll also have to think about how to respond to the in between things.  Usually it's just subtle emotional abuse, but now I'm not so sure what I can expect.</p>
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<p>And if I made such a statement about my visit, then my father would not take it well.  Firstly he would be likely angry that my Mom had "told on him", and he'd probably also be defensive towards me like "Who are you to tell me how to behave when you are a guest in my house?" type of thing.  </p>
 

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<p>what if your statement was (on the surface) not about your dad's behavior but about dd or something?  like, "dd has been really sensitive lately to any kind of discord - will you both help me try to keep things extra agreeable and take any kind of negativity into another room, please?"  and then if things start getting heated you can do that stage whisper, "hey, dad," and point at dd kind of thing?  know what i mean?  is that INSANE?!  lol . . . this is how i function around my family.  i guess i'm thinking about it a lot, because i'm about to spend a week with them and it does make me nervous, but i will have some privacy even if i have to make a stupid excuse about why we are not spending every moment with them.  good luck!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #9
<p>That is a good suggestion to use DD as the reason.  And it's not all the way off base.  She has been really sensitive to me, especially because she see's me cry occasionally.</p>
 

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<p>I have no advice, Theia, but I couldn't read and not respond. What a terrible situation all around. I'm sorry that you and your family have experienced such a terrible loss and that it is causing a worsening of an already stressful situation. <span><img alt="hug2.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug2.gif"></span></p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>lil_miss_understood</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283999/disturbing-development#post_16109868"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I have no advice, Theia, but I couldn't read and not respond. What a terrible situation all around. I'm sorry that you and your family have experienced such a terrible loss and that it is causing a worsening of an already stressful situation. <span><img alt="hug2.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug2.gif"></span></p>
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<p>Thank you.</p>
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<p>I spoke about this with my counselor on Thursday.  She kinda see's it as a good thing in a way.  She felt that it means in someway, my father is working through his emotions.  Not that it was a healthy thing to do in anyway.  But he is so emotionally shut down over the death of my brother, that she feels him expressing any emotion is better than none.  Of course this is dependent on him not escalating his violence in anyway.  </p>
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<p>The sad part is, he may be blaming my mother in part for my brothers death/suicide.  My Mom was the last person to talk to him.  He called her collect because his abuser had beat him and he had to leave without his phone and wallet.  He told my mother in that call, that he thought it was really time to end his relationship with his abuser.  My Mom responded that she felt he should have figured that out months ago.  I know my mom and my brother, it wasn't a statement of judgement, it was just stating a fact.  She was expressing frustration because we were reaching out to help him, and had been for several months, and several times he had broken things off only to go back.  The only help my brother would accept though was money to get by on, we had offered to move him away, money to come visit (roundtrip tickets), free counseling services in his area, etc.  He was so wrapped up in the abuse that he couldn't see clearly, he had lost his sense of self.  Anyway, when my mom responded to my brother with that, he said "I'm hurting and starving to death down here."  He hung up on her and we believe he committed suicide a few hours later.  </p>
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<p>I don't blame my Mom in anyway for how she handled the conversation.  Granted, in hind sight, she might have said things differently.  But that isn't what happened.  We all knew my brother was depressed, but he hid his suicidal ideation from everyone except his abuser who encouraged it.  I wonder if my father holds my Mom responsible even a little bit?  She said he was there when my brother called, but he has since said he wasn't there.  I tend to believe my Mom because my Dad has a very selective memory, especially about emotionally charged moments.  </p>
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<p>Anyway, my counselor feels that unless things change for the worse, that DD and I should definitely go to the parents place for the holidays.  She thinks it will be healing for us all.  And because I am driving, I can leave at anytime if things do get bad.  </p>
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<p>I just hope that somehow healing will come from this visit for all of us.  It won't be all fun and holiday celebrations.  I will probably read the journal that my brother used and was mailed to them.  We somehow missed it when clearing out his apartment.  I still haven't seen the coroners' report or the police file.  I need to see those things.  I'm not sure if I can explain why, but I do.  My brother was the person in my family I was closest to both in age and beliefs.  It may seem tormenting to some, but to me I think those things will be part of what I need to find my own closure.<br>
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