Is there anything that can throw you off of your game as much as conflict within your own family? That is hard to say.
Still, I’ve realized that I missed the last 2 “Saturday Posts” – and the only reason I did was because of familial drama.
A few months ago I wrote a blog about a letter I sent to my father, hoping to find a path to a neutral resolution to the strain between me and my family. I sent it to my father because he is the person (aside from the fictional character Mr. Spock from Star Trek) who taught me the most about logic and fairness. He is also the oldest living member of my family, so if I could persuade him, it seemed to me that the rest of the family would accept his judgement.
In that letter, I told my dad that I had not supported the Church of Scientology since about a year before my wife and I moved to this area – now 16 years ago. We have no interest in converting anyone to what we believe – yes, my wife believes as I do, and with good reason.
All we wanted from my family was a simple acknowledgement of one thing – that our beliefs were just as valid as theirs. Please stop treating us as pariahs for following a different path. It was based on a comparison of the definitions of 2 words – faith, and opinion. The only realistic difference between the words is that one carries a definite religious overtone.
Well, after I sent the letter to my dad, I waited a month before calling him. He said “I’m still processing it,” about my inquiry of the letter. I told him I felt that it was fair to allow him more time. Three weeks ago I called him again for his response.
He actually begged me not to force a decision. I begged him to realize that, as the family patriarch, he was the only person who could make the decision. He refused to take a stand for neutrality, and by the end of our phone call, I’d been disinherited AND disowned.
I’m a man with no family other than my wife and our cats.
I’m still not sure what this means for my future, but I’m slowly starting to come to grips with my current situation. One thing I’m wondering is if – because of all of this – I need to do a legal name change. Part of me feels that if I’m not part of that family any more, it isn’t ethical to continue to use that family name.
I feel so emotionally screwed up. I can’t sleep the way I should. My stomach is acting like I have an ulcer – which I’ve never had before. I can’t fall asleep without getting drunk on whiskey first, and even when I do sleep, it isn’t restful.
My wife is my anchor, and as much as I lean on her, she’s not big enough to stabilize a passenger cruise ship during a hurricane. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.