Family matters

car
My daughter gets a surprise new car that my mother and I bought her in the late 1980s.

“Men cause problems between nations. Women cause problems in families.”

THAT’S A QUOTE from long-time radio host, physiologist and family therapist Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I heard her say that on the radio in the late 1990s when I was living in Houston. It stuck with me because it is so true.

The only Gringo family I still have are two women, my daughter and my sister. I have not communicated with my sister in over eight years. That was my decision because she is explosive and stressful to interact with. And I haven’t heard anything out of my daughter in two or more years. That was not my decision.

My daughter is not explosive, but she is hyper-sensitive and hair-trigger to offend. I apparently offended her in some way years back, after my Mexico move, so she has never visited me here in spite of my invitations, invitations I have given up on extending.

She gets her hyper-sensitivity honestly, from her mother who is also hyper-sensitive. We copy our parents to a great degree, and as a child she was around her mother far more than she was around me. Her mother and I split when she was just 5 years old.

My daughter and I had a great relationship when she was 5. When she was 8, her mother and mom’s boyfriend hightailed it to Canada and never told me where or how to contact them. This was primarily because the police were after them. They (were) returned to New Orleans about three years later. My daughter was 11.

She and I reconnected at that point, but it was never the same. She told me later that she had believed I was dead. Wasn’t that a swell thing for her mother to impart?

She lives in Athens, Georgia, now with her second husband, a patent lawyer. She is 53. They’ve been married for about 25 years, and they have no children, so I’m not a grandfather, and never will be. I would like having grandkids. It would be fun.

This all saddens me quite a lot.

My sister lives in the small town of Arcata in Northern California. I learned this online. She moved there from Atlanta at some point in the past eight years. She followed her long-time “partner” there. My sister identifies as a lesbian!

She used to be straight, but then she switched teams about 40 years ago.

Out of curiosity this week, I did internet sleuthing and discovered that she lives in a double-wide trailer, or at least that’s what it looks like on Google Street View. I learned about a month ago that her partner died two years ago at age 77. Her partner was far more personable than my sister. I liked her. R.I.P.

My sister is 78. I sometimes wonder if age has calmed her. I doubt it.

My daughter and my sister won’t communicate either. I don’t know which one started that aspect of the miserable situation. Both are professional therapists, by the way, as is my daughter’s mother. The three of them. Isn’t that a hoot?

Enough about them. Let’s trot this notion of women causing problems in families over to my horde of Mexican relatives. What do I see? I see us men mostly minding our own business and the women lighting gas fires all over the place. The gossip and the ensuing problems are endless. This appears to be a universal phenomenon. Sad.

Why can’t women be more like men?

Good night, Dr. Laura, wherever you are.

16 thoughts on “Family matters

  1. Simple answers to complicated problems. We should be so lucky as to be able to make those reconciliations. I think therapists are people given too much credit for being able to tell others how to conduct a life and then, in galling fashion, charge money for it!

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      1. I was just thinking that. I had a rather disastrous dating experience in CDMX about 6 weeks ago with a guy who’s a practicing psychologist and college professor of psychology. And his cluelessness about psychology was nothing short of stunning.

        And yes, I was warned. When my good friend, “G,” heard he was a psychotherapist, said “run as fast as you can. They’re almost always nuts.” Well, I said this one wasn’t. Boy was I wrong! Haha…

        Cheers,

        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where it’s great to be finally back at home.

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  2. I agree with you, Felipe, 100%. Men (usually) just want things to go smoothly at home and enjoy their families. After a hard day of working we don’t want to gossip or meddle in others’ business.

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  3. That’s sad about your non-communication with some members of your family. I realized quite young that if I wanted to have a civil relationship with my parents I could not live in the same city. My sister died at 6, so we never had the chance to not get along. We didn’t have kids, so we don’t have to worry about grandkids either. (Yea!) Now that both my parents have passed, it’s just me and the missus … and my mom’s sister who is in her late 80s and having a knee replaced tomorrow. She’s OK but stuck in her ways and isn’t going to change.

    Then there’s “my new shiny family,” as I like to call them. I might have told you about my birth mother and two half-sisters I recently discovered. They’re great because we don’t have any bad history to fight over, plus they live on the other side of the country. Families can be challenging. Just watch a few Dr. Phil episodes!

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    1. Brent: If you’re referring to my Gringo family, and I think you are, the non-communication is not with “some” but with all, 100 percent.

      Yes, you have mentioned your recent discovery of relatives. That must be a very interesting phenomenon. A former coworker on the Houston Chronicle discovered just a few years ago, through a DNA test on one of those ancestry websites, that the woman he thought was his real mother was not. He hooked up with the new family, as you did. Turns out he’s Portuguese.

      Maybe I have a different family somewhere. Since I’m a carbon copy of my father in many ways, I suspect not. I would like to have a less-explosive sister. Maybe I can purchase one.

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  4. Yes, the wife and I took that “23 and me” spit test. I had hoped to find cousins to connect to. But the best I could manage were the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of my aunts and uncles. Most of them didn’t even know or remember my uncles and aunts. Polygamy can really mess things up.

    My wife’s results showed lots of relationships, but they all went back to the ranch their family had in Zacatecas. And it seems as if those relationships were not always consensual and cordial. Some people can hold grudges for a long time. Indians never forgive, and they never forget.

    Maybe it is best to just look forward and forget the past.

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  5. At our age, forgetting is easy. I could give my father the same “National Geographic” every morning, and it was all new to him. He and my aunt could talk for hours about their past, but they only remembered the good times. The bad times were gone. It was a blessing.

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