Friday, July 17, 2015

When You Fear Your Own Parents

Friday, July 17, 2015

Something happened today that reminded me of the hardship and fear that characterized all too much of my earliest years of life. My former landlord (2013) visited an online profile I have on a website. This is not the first time he has done so.

The back story on this man is a sad example of someone with poor boundaries. Given his behavior it is easy for me to speculate that he might even have a learning disability or a personality disorder. I met him not long after I moved to Minneapolis in 2012. He was (and perhaps still is) a member of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus. I (unwisely) trusted him due in part to his membership in this organization. In April, 2013 I became his tenant. I was unwise in that I failed to do any substantial background research on the man before I moved into his home. By the end of 2013 I found myself regretting my decision to place so much trust in the man. He essentially evicted me as what would prove to be the coldest winter in three decades was about to start here in the Twin Cities. And then I subsequently learned more details regarding his negligent care of his dogs.

The passage of sufficient time in combination with the extensive therapy I underwent allows me to see this past period of my life history in a clear and dispassionate way. I didn't do enough research on the man to ensure he would be a good landlord. I trusted that his membership in an organization I was briefly active in was sufficient testament to his character. I was quite mistaken. Despite my repeatedly expressed wishes that he completely leave me alone he has repeatedly visited one of my online profiles. So this evening I decided to take the next step. I reported him to the administrator of the website and requested that he be banned from the site. I am not sure when I will receive a reply to my message.

My old feelings of anger, resentment, outrage and, yes, even fear rose up inside me a few hours ago when I saw he had visited my profile yet again. His invasive behavior is disrespectful. And it reminds me of other people whom I have feared. His stalking behavior reminded me of the unhealthy behaviors of my biological parents.

As a result of this unexpected incident I found myself able to put very clear words to my feelings I had when I was a kid. There were times when I felt genuinely stalked by my mother. It's a horrible thing for a child to witness one of his own parents suffer a mental health breakdown. And it's even more tragic when that parent engages in self-destructive behavior that includes violence directed at a spouse, destruction of property and the unwelcome pursuit of a child. I witnessed all of these when I was a kid. I didn't feel safe throughout much of my childhood. This is a very real tragedy. Getting involved with untrustworthy people decades later is still more tragic.

Sometimes we make mistakes as a form of learning. I certainly have had this journey in my own life. Through repeatedly making mistakes based in living with poor boundaries I have learned how crucial healthy boundaries are. Sometimes we learn 'the hard way'.

I occasionally wish I could go back into my life history and change some of the choices I have made. Perhaps I would not find myself living as I am now. Perhaps I would not have plunged into a two year long period that positively buffeted my heart and mind. But here I am exiting that time and looking forward to a much brighter future. I have worked with immense diligence to reach this point. It's now been a week that I have once again been 'an unmedicated American'.

What happened this evening got me to thinking about the correlation between being stalked and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I did an initial google search and found some excellent resources on the subject. I will write more about this issue this weekend.

As for now I plan to focus on breathing and relaxing. I was very upset earlier this evening. Defending myself against chaos, violence and disrespectful behavior can be so demanding and exhausting.

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