“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.” —Steve Maraboli
Who else holds the Golden Child in low regard?
Scores of other paternal non-favorites. There is one Generation Xer, more like my makeshift brother who holds The Golden Child in equal contempt because his mother was one of the most fervent enablers as was my father. I recently learned that a younger cousin – a millennial – is yet another relative who has not the best image of him either. Her mother too was a staunch enabler of the Golden Child’s worst inclinations. There are others, too many to justly outline their cases in this blog.
Am I celebrating such dysfunction? No. I am rejoicing in the fact that my relatives are finally speaking out about their feelings – articulating injustices big and small that were explained away or otherwise not addressed for two decades. Seeking revenge for the Golden Child’s antics and my father, aunts and uncles’ protection of him is not an interest of mine or the other non-favorites. We are dedicated to stamping out the Golden Child’s shenanigans with firm words and responses dripping in accountability. We are engaging him in a manner that is clearly and intentionally the direct opposite of enabling him. When he approaches us with some of his pee-brained ideas – they are extinguished with unequivocal disapprovals and no sugar-coating. No explanations are given either because they are not warranted.
How do I know other family members’ contempt for the Golden Child’s behavior equals mine? From sharing war stories with Deltron, Shanta, and other cousins’ – whose names I will not mention because I have not sought their permission to do so. I know for sure my sentiments are hardly unique.
Moving Targets, Goal Posts, Bait and Switch – They all Fit
There is a cousin who once decided to bail the Golden Child out by taking up the payment on an SUV the esteemed relative could either no longer afford or grew tired of a simple act in adulting – paying the bill. This gentlemen’s agreement rested on the Golden Child’s initially stated monthly payment, one the benevolent cousin would give to now Golden Middle Man to give to the bank. Not surprisingly, the initially stated monthly payment provided by the Golden Child changed, due to odd inflation, an increase in the bank’s loan servicing fee, or a person who seized an opportunity to shakedown someone who decided to help him out of an unnecessary bind. Tomato – To-ma-toe. Incensed, the generous backstop told the loan shark he was not giving me one additional penny over the initially quoted amount. I am assuming extortionist did not push back, given the kindhearted relative’s next response would have been I will not pay another cent – you can have this SUV. Now why would the Golden Child try to shakedown a relative who agreed to help him out of a financial bind at the very most or release him from a basic adult responsibility of paying bills at the very least? Because con artists gonna con-artist.
But He Has Always Been This Way – Why the Outrage Now?
Just recently, I listened to my father scream in anger and disgust over the phone about the aging Ferris Beuller joyriding in a sports car that belongs to my aunt. May she rest in peace – have passed away earlier this week – at the time she was clinging to life in her losing battle with cancer. While said aunt was at the local hospice, the Golden Child took her car with neither her permission nor that of her daughter’s. Now, the Golden Child has a car of his own yet jumped into our shared aunt’s car and drove it around as if it were his own because of crushing stupidity and immaturity. This is a man who has four children and a wife. He is over 40 years of age. Yet, he joyrides around East Alabama and West Georgia in a dying woman’s car as if he’s a teenage boy trying to impress a girl who does not know he exists. He carries on as if he is some sort of repressed teenage boy who is taking live by the horns while his parents are away for the weekend. What type of grown man worth respecting takes the car of an ailing woman and bends corners with it?
After learning of this absurdity, my dad apparently blew a gasket in the hospital while visiting his bedridden sister – my aunt and owner of the stolen Dodge Charger. To make matters worse, I think the Golden Child “asked” my aunt for permission to drive her car while she was in a semi-lucid state – just so he could say he technically got permission. Yes, I do think he is the type of person that would do such a heinous thing. My father thinks he did not ask her at all. So, I reminded my dad the Golden Child has always been this way. Selfish. Inconsiderate. Tone deaf. Untruthful. Manipulative. “Why are you so angry now,” I quizzed my dad.
Allowing room for the human element and the possibility that people eventually see the light, I think the deterioration of my aunt’s health was the straw that broke the camel’s back. All the previous rage-inducing mischiefs committed by the Golden Child were never properly contextualized for my father and his enabling siblings to finally see them for what they were – the acts of a person they enabled for years. My aunt’s poor health finally brought them into clear enough focus I presume. Understandably so – this is one of several ATM-aunts who bent over backwards to make the Golden Child happy.
According to my dad, there were instances of where my now deceased aunt took sides with the Golden Child over her own daughter – creating yet another rift between the Blessed One and one of the enablers’ biological children. I am familiar with that – yet my dad did it more subtly. And what did the supportive aunt get in return? In this instance – because there are others where the Golden Child did odious things – an extraordinarily absentminded dingbat driving her car without her permission while she languished in the hospital. But sure, he is slow in the head as my father now likes to say. The Golden Child has become the Rusted Child.
We Get It, the Golden Child is Terrible! Solutions Please!
Blogging about the unshakable dislike I have for the Golden Child is a solution. Learning other relatives shared my feelings about how his behaviors affected me was another solution. It extinguished the nagging notion I had of maybe I was being too harsh or overreacting to the Golden Child’s slights as well as those (un)intentionally done by my father. I was not being too harsh and I was not overreacting. I also learned what I experienced as disrespectful was milder compared to other non-favorite relatives. Holding him to account regarding matters that affect me directly is yet another solution. Calling my father out on his now disdain for how the Golden Child behaves is a solution as well. Why is this important to me? Why do I have to blog this out of my system as if I am doing a gut cleanse?
“Honor the tears that you carry, they’re just as important as the joys. Tears wash you, cleaning you of numbed feelings, freeing you.” – Jack Kornfield
Kornfield best articulates why I dedicated as much of Family Operating Procedures to the Golden Child as I have. It is not my surrendering power to him; my blogging about familial hard feelings is therapeutic. While there were literal tears at times stemming from feeling of inadequacy – thoughts of my father having replaced me with the Golden Child – tears in the figurative sense also reference the anger and resent I felt as a result. Allowing tears to wash over me is done so through blogging, freeing my mind from imprisonment by unresolved issues. They will not be acknowledged and apologized for neither at all nor in a way I find acceptable – something I am confident in saying other negatively affected relatives believe as well. I have intellectually understood this for quite some time – now I have accepted it as reality. It is time to move onward.
I am committed to a person who loves me for who I am. He and I have two dogs. Cascadia is home for us. I know for sure no one makes it alone; bootstrapping is a cliched dog whistle. I surround myself with truth tellers. I am healthy and grateful for what I have (on most days). I wholeheartedly believe reading gives us super powers. Vote. Exercise. Eat Healthily. Sleep Soundly.