Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Relationships

Unconditional love vs. reasonable boundaries

While I was doing my Taiji routine this morning, I had music on as I was doing the forms as was my wont these days. It’s funny how the playlists that YouTube makes for me just includes all the songs I like with no context. So Rihanna is followed by Vienna Teng, who is then followed by a showtune. I’m fine with that because it shakes things up, but still keeps it in my comfort zone.

The song, Locked Away by R. City, ft. Adam Levine, came on. I want to stress that I like the song and think it’s a banger. However, I reject the entire premise of the song as being ridiculous, and it irritates me every time I hear the song. The song starts out:

If I got locked away
And we lost it all today
Tell me honestly
Would you still love me the same?

To which I always say, “No! No I would not!” In the context of the song, it’s easy to realize that the singer is basically asking for unconditional love and framing it as if his partner was unreasonable. In the video, she’s streessing about bills and he’s like, “You gotta trust me.” It’s clear that we’re supposed to think she unreasonable for nagging him about those pesky bills and should just assume they will get taken care of by magic.

Or by him robbing someone–which is how he ends up in jail. Look. It’s a song/video. It’s allowed to take whatever creative licenses it wants. But the bottom line is that she was reasonable to question him because bills need to be paid, and some vague dream isn’t going to do it. There are other examples in the video, but this is the one tha really irritated me.

It’s because I was raised by narcissistic parents who believed that unconditional love came with strings heavily attached. Or rather, their kids should have unconditional love for them, but not vice-versa. They added culture to it as in, “In Taiwanese culture, you’re supposed to respect your elders.” Which I don’t have a problem with, but there should be at least a baseline of respect for your children as welll, I would think. And if that’s too American, well, I am an American. I was born and raised in this country and do believe that every human being is worthy of a baseline level of respect just for benig a human being.

My last therapist worked with me on setting boundaries within my family. My mom didn’t like that therapist because as my mother said, “She doesn’t understand that in Taiwanese culture, family is everything.” My mother also said, “You and I used to be so close, but now that has changed” with the implication that it was my therapist’s fault.

This is incorrect. We have never been close. She doesn’t know the first thing about me. What she means by close is that she can dump all her emotions on me, and I will jsut take it. That is her definition of unconditional love, even if she wouldn’t admit it. She may not even realize it herself, but it’s true.

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I aM hUmAn

I was talking yesterday about being able to fit in (which I can to  certain degree). And just about societal norms in general and how being the weirdo means that I’m expecing things to be suited to me. The upside to that is that I’m rarely taken by surprise when something terrible happens. I know that always being prepared for the worst-case scenario is probably not the most healthy thing in the world, but it does stop me from being as shattered as other people by things like the pandemic.

Here’s a little secret–the pandemic wasn’t terrible for me. It wasn’t great, mind, but it wasn’t terrible. I’m mostly a solitary person, anyway. The biggeset adjustment was attending Taiji classes online rather than in person. Oh, and since my medical crisis, I only attend one a week rather than three. I do want to start adding them back, but I haven’t been up for it yet.

I will say that I have been expanding my home practice quite a bit. Back when I first started taking classes, I had one a week. I could not make myself practice at home, not for love or money. That’s why I added a second class, to be honest. If I wasn’t going to practice at home, then I could at least make myself go to another class.

I can’t remember if I added the third class first or started practicing at home. I do remember that when I did start a home practice, it was only five minutes of stretches. It was sa weird that while I loved Taiji, I just could not force myself to practice at home.

It’s funny because I really had to make myself do anything related to Taiji in the beginning. It’s partly beacuse I had a horrific first experience with a teacher who was a sexual predator, a creep, and a fraud. That’s a long story that I no longer care to discuss, but it made me wary about my second go at it.

I was a brat, I’ll admit. In the beginning, I mean. I questioned everything my teacher told me, and I wasn’t always polite about it. I was raw and ready for a fight–and she was really patient with me. See, one of the issues I had with my first teacher was that he was full of shit. He had all these really lofty sentiments, but he did not live up to them. Also, he was creep. I can’t overstate this point. He creeped on his students and he was very inappropriate. He gave this big speech about how intuitive he was and how he would not touch people who did not want to be touched. Yeah, right. He touched me without permission, which as a Taiji teacher, I might have tolerated except he had JUST made a big deal about not doing that.

When someone does something that goes against what they explicitly said they were about, that’s a huge red flag. I stayed with him only because I had a good friend at the time who was so into the classes. I should have walked, but I felt protective of this friend. We had bonded over trauma, and I could not in good conscious leave him to the teacher I so clearly saw as a predator.

Until the day that the teacher as we were talking, reached over and flicked my hair behind my shoulder. My whole body recoiled in revulsion, though I kept my face perfectly still. I’m really good at that. Not reacting externally, I mean. The reason I reacted so violently (internally) is because it was so needless. At least with the  other times, it was barely excusable because it was with the intent of adjusting my posture during a movement/position. In this case, it was purely something you did to flirt with someone, and it felt so invas-ive.

I walked out of that class and never went back. I found out later that he was not paying taxes on the house he owned because he was claiming it was a church while he rented out rooms to his students. My friend was doing his accounting, and the others were doing various jobs for him.

In addition, he was dating a student. He was in his mid-to-late forties, and she was 27. Not that the ages mattered, but it was really gross. He was just a gross guy in general, and I remember that when he went bonkers for the movie The Matrix. He gushed on and on about how it embodied the soul of Taiji and how it’s important to step out of ‘the matrix’.

I was rolling my eyes as he was talking. Even though I had not seen the movie, I knew the basics of it–and it was hard to believe it was that deep. Also, it was easy for him to say that it was important to be outside society (above it, I think he said) and not get involved with politics and such.

I wanted to punch him in the face. “Politics” is often a code word for social issues that don’t affect me when people like him say it. He was acting like he was above it all, which, again, easy for him as a white straight man.

I found out later that he started dating someone from a Caribbean island and started smuggling drugs into the  States fraom said island. It did not surprise me in the least. Also, that ex-friend started teaching his own classes and dating a student in his class. That wasn’t why we stopped being friends, but it certainly did not help. He was following in the footsteps of his mentor/teacher, and I was not here for it.

In addtion, he wasn’t even a good teacher. The mentor, I mean. I was in a basic class, and in the year I studied with him, he did not teach us more than half the Solo Form. He claimed it was because there were new people always starting, but that didn’t make sense. I mean, yes, there were new people starting, but those of us who weren’t new were students, too.

By the way, I finally saw The Matrix many years later. It was a decent action film with hotties, Keanu, Carrie-Anne, and Laurence. At least the eye candy was filling, even if the content was very light. But then at the end of the movie, Keanu dies and Carrie-Anne kisses him to bring him back to life. I stood up in the theater I was in and loudly announced that was bullshit. My then-boyfriend pulled me back down in my seat and murmured at me to hush. Fortunately, there were only like four people in the theater, but I was so indignant.

The whole movie is about being outside the matrix and living an authentic life. It’s about resisting society and breaking all the rules. So what do they do to resolve a plot point? Dredge up the hoariest chestnut of all time and have a kiss be the answer to all the problems.

I was done with that movie, and it just underlined how much of a crock my first Taiji teacher was. No idea how I got here, but I’m done for now.

Life is like

I’m almost two years old. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Nearly two years ago, I died twice and came back twice. It’s my re-birthday and is more important to me than my actual birthday.

That’s not saying much, really, because I hated my birthday for most my life. I was a depressed kid–deeply depressed–who was also filled with anxiety. My mother had such rigid ideas of what a girl could and couldn’t be, and I broke every one of them. She constantly told me that I was failing, even if she did not use that specific word. She put me on a diet when I was seven and told me I would have a beautiful face if only I wasn’t so fat. Yes, she said that to me.

I was seven when I realized I was going to die. It both terrified me and drew me to it. I was miserable being alive, and I wanted to die. I was just too chicken to do it myself. For many years in my early twenties, I passively courted death. Quite simply, I didn’t see the point to life.

Was this my mother’s fault? Not entirely. She was a product of her time and culture, too. But, she didn’t have to pass it down, and she didn’t have to be so unrelenting in her gender rigidity. Or rather, she could have tried to recognize that she was–nah. That’s asking too much. My mother has no personal insight. Or rather, she knows some of her flaws, but not others.

She knows she’s anxious, for example. She knows that she’s somewhat compulsive. But she does not know or cannot see that she has such toxic ideas about gender and relationships. She’s a Christian, which is a minority religion in Taiwan. She’s a fundamentalist to boot, which makes it worse. More to the point, none of her beliefs have evolved in the fifty-plus years I’ve known her. She still believes that the worth of a woman is what she does for her man. The man is the be-all, end-all, and anything he wants is of utmost importance.

I’ve mentioned that when my brother got divorced, my mother asked me if I was going over to cook and clean for him because he was ‘so busy’. First of all, he’s not that busy. Second of all, he’s the one who did most of the cooking and cleaning for much of his marriage. Third of all, his sons who are at home are 16 and 18. They can cook and clean themselves.

That reminds me. My father asked if my brother’s ex-wife went over to his house to cook and clean for the kids. I said, “Why would she do that? They’re divorced!” in an admittedly snotty tone. He said they did that in Taiwan, and I barely refrained from saying that it was because Taiwan was a very sexist country.

I refrained first of all because I didn’t know if that was still true. Secondly, it’s not as if America was a shining star in that department, either. Third, I wasn’t even sure that was true given how skewed my father’s opinions were in general. He is a thoroughly sexist person who only views things threw that lens, so I have no idea if what he said was actually true. I just told him that the boys were old enough to take care of themselves and left it at that.

Back to my mom. When I asked why I would do that? She had no real answer. I said I didn’t even do it for myself, so why would I do it for him? My brother, I mean. She had nothing to say to that, either. When I said that our relationship was different than that, that’s what made her snap. She asked in an ugly tone what kind of relationship was that.

I fully admit I should have just said it was none of her business, but she caught me off-guard. I told her that I was his therapist (which, true, but none of her business), and I refused to talk about it any more.

There is no way she would have said that if he was my sister or I was a dude. It’s only because he was a guy and I was female-shaped. We could have been interchangeable with any other male and female-shaped siblings.

It’s dehumnaizing. Realizing over and over that my mother and father don’t view me as an indivual person. They know nothing about me. And the very little they do know, they don’t like. At all. Can I list three things my parents like about me? No. My father likes my cat, but that’s about it. Here are the things they don’t like or know about me: taiji especially weapons, video games, writing, weight, lack of femininity, etc. I don’t think they could even name five things about me that wasn’t generic, well, that person exists.

They have a firm idea of w hat a daughter should be. Period. I realized this embarassingly late in my life–like in my thirties. I thought for decades that there was somethnig wrong with me because I simply did not fit what they expected/wanted/thought I should be.

Now, in my second life, I don’t care. I also know they are not going to change. They haven’t in fifty years, so they are not going to do it now. Finally, I can set aside any desire to please them. Not that I had much of it by the time I hit my forties, but even then, there was a voice in the back of my head saying, “Why can’t my parents see me?”

It took dying twice and coming abkc twice to truly clarify that this is never, ever, ever going to happen. And I’m fine with that. I’m not happy about it. I’m not thinking it’s a good thing. But it isn’t going to change, and I accept that. My parents are going to die the way they have lived–rigid, unhappy, codependent, and alienated.

Silence and space are my love language

There’s a thing called love languages and it’s horse shit. The end. I’m just kidding. Not about it being horse shit, but I can’t really say that because I haven’t read the whole book. I know it’s heavily Christian and has rigid gender roles, which is pretty much all these books. Like The Rules back in the day. I actually read it and laughed out loud because it was so ridiclous. It was even funnier that by the time it got published (or the second edition or something) there was a note that one of the authors had gotten divorced. It was a bunch of really restrictive ‘rules’ that a woman (and, yes, it was targeted at women–of course) had to follow to get a man. Including not excepting a date for Saturday after Wednesday and not calling the guy back to make him chase you. It was really regressive and, as I said, funny as hell if you did not take it seriously. The last line was an ominous, “The rules don’t change once you get engaged” and there was a sequel to it for a married woman.

I got a lot of guffaws out of it, but there was no way on earth I would actually follow the dicta to get a date. Because, as I said at the time, the problem with using The Rules to get a guy is that you then have a The Rules guy as a boyfriend.

Back to the Love Languages. They are, to paraphrase, words, acts of service, touch, ah, gifts, and time. Which, fine. All of those are fine to a certain extent. But for me, my impulse is similar to why I didn’t want kids–space and silence. Shut the fuck up and get the fuck away from me. This mentality is a big reason I didn’t want children–because I knew I would shout that at them when I was fed up. Which would be every other day. I often joked that if I had kids, I would have to pay thousands in therapy for them so they could unpack why their parent didn’t love them.

There are very few people I can be around constantly and not want to run screaming from the room. Ian and K are two such people. Being in the same room and not talking is my idea of heaven. Parallel activity is important to me. When Ian and I visit each other, the bulk of our time is both of us being on our respective computers and doing our individual thing. One of us might bring something up, but then we’d go back to our own thing.

Here’s the problem, and I fully admit it’s on me. I have poured so much energy in showing empathy for other people that I’ve run dry. Let me be more specific. I have had to be the emotional repository for my mother since I was eleven. I was parentified before I even knew that word or concept existed. My mother had a daughter in order to mold her (me) into her (my mother’s) image. She has rigid ideas of what women and men should be, even if she doesn’t fit into that herself. Which is exactly like her mother–and she pushed back against her own mother’s rigidity (my grandmother).

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Compassion is hard

In yesterday’s post, I touched on how we humans make things harder on ourselves. This is true in general, and even more so with family dysfunction. What we grew up with was the norm, and if it was unrelenting, then it can be hard to break free. In my family, women were subjugated to men (rather, my mother prostrated herself in front of my father. But, weirdly, she also argued with him incessantly about him staying out until all hours of the night. She told me not to tell him certain things, but she also stood up to him when he wanted to spank my brother. She also pushed to get my brother an Apple computer at a time when it was prohibitively expensive because my brother was techno-minded).

My mother has always been an odd mixture of rampantly sexist in general and believing herself to be above those rules. I guess that’s not odd, actually. Many people have a ‘not for me’ exception to their rules. “Oh, this is how things should be–except for me.”

It’s partly because people have plenty of context for their own behavior/ideas/views, but they don’t for other people’s. So something that they could justify for themselves, they would not do so for other people. In other words, it’s ok for me but not for thee.

My mother has dedicated her life to propping up my father’s ego. It’s really sad when you think about it from afar. I also think it has emotionally crippled him rather than helping him. Never allowing him to tolerate a moment of discomfort did not help him grow. Was he able to grow? I don’t know. Doubtful. But we’ll never know because my mother wrapped him in gossamer silk and never let him out.

It’s not entirely her fault. He was (and is) a difficult man. A full-fledged narcissist who did not think about anything other than himself. He had affairs from the time I was very young, and he and my mother fought about it endlessly.

Here’s the bottom line with that. My mother knew. She knew he was stepping out on her, and she accepted it. Yes, she fought with him about it, but she did not leave him. She did not enact any consequences for his bad behavior, so he learned that if he just waited it out, he would win in the end.

I can’t help thinking that her life would have been so much better if she had left him before my brother and I were even born, but that was never going to happen. My mother’s chidhood made it so she would never leave my father. Not just the sexist Taiwanese culture, but the fact that her mother was so domineering and withoholding of love.

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Actions, not words–and destructive coping mechanisms

My mom called me last night and as usual, started the conversation by complaining. Wait. To be fair, she asked me how I was doing. She didn’t care, mind, but she did ask. Believe me. She does not care. I give her a bland answer, and we move on to why she really called–to complain about my father.

Let me hasten to say that most of her complaints are valid. As I ‘ve said many times and as most people know, dementia is brutal on people. Not just the people who have it, but also the people who are taking care of them. I would not wish it on anyone. Period. I have heard enough about caretaking on a daily basis to know that I would not do it.


Here’s the thing. There are ways to make it easier on yourself. Not EASY, mind, but easier. They include putting the person in a facility or bringing in long-term/intensive care. No one should do it alone is what I’m trying to say. I told my mother to do this because she has asked me what to do. But, and I heard this from my brother, she thinks putting him in a facility will hasten his death. I think it will actually stabilize him–given a few factors. One, that it’s a good nursing home. That sounds very obvious, but so many are not. Two, that he’s moved in before he completely loses control of his faculties. Three, and this is very important, it’s a place that can deal with violent outbursts. My father has had two that my mother has told me of, and I fear that it will increase as his dementia does.

Saying all that, my heart sinks every time my mother calls. She gives that little laugh she always does when she’s about to talk about something uncomfortable or that she knows I don’t want to hear. This time, she mentioned that she had something wrong with her leg that she was supposed to get surgery on, but she postponed it because she could not leave my father to do it. She tried to say that it wasn’t necessary and that she could handle it, which just filled me with sadness.

She has given all her life to taking care of this man, and for what? He’s not grateful at all. Not that he has ever been. Even before he was hit with dementia, he just took it for granted that she should do everything for him.

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Even in death

I heard a new song last night via the Rob Squad. It’s James Blunt’s Monsters. I don’t usually fuck with JB because I find him annoying, but they said it was the most emotional reaction they’ve had. The song had me sobbing like a baby in part because JB is so raw in it and then has his dad in it (it’s a goodbye song to his father, a Stage 4 kidney failure. His father got a last-minute kidney transplant and is doing well, but it’s still an emotional song).

I watched a bunch of reactors watching the video, and the moment when the camera pans to show the father, well, most people lost it. The story is that James refused to have any kind of autotune in the video–it’s just him singing to his father. The raw emotion on his face and in his voice (plus the tears in his eyes) are just brutal. But, so honest. It’s not pretty. It’s not sanitized. It’s just…this man is saying goodbye to his father.

He has a unique voice, and it works for this song. The last part with his father is devastating. They look alike, and they have the same mannerisms. There’s a part when JB sings about putting his hand on his father’s arm, and then he breaks down. His father puts his hand on JB’s arm, and it’s just…I cried every time I saw it. Then, near the end, the choir kicks in and I bawl like a baby.

In tandem, I read a Slate advice column about someone who’s grandmother had dementia. She kept saying she wanted to die and it would be better when she was dead. The letter writer didn’t know how to deal with it and felt especially bad for his uncle (her son) who was her primary caretaker. He didn’t know what to do. He tried to reassure her that he was loved and all that, but it didn’t matter.

I can relate to that. My father is telling my mother on the daily that he wishes he were dead. After one argument in which he pushed her down, he got a knife, placed it on the table and told her to use it on him. And it hurts me. Because even though my mother has not been a good mother, she’s still a human being who doesn’t deserve this. She’s eighty years old! She’s worked hard all her life. She deserves to have a few years of peace.

Dementia doesn’t care about that. The commenters rightly point out that the grandmother doesn’t know what she’s saying. Or rather, tthat she’s not in her right mind. The commenters mentioned how shocking it was when their _____ (usually father) said they wanted to die while in hospice care–that was the other thing suggested.

Dementia sucks. It really does. It’s nasty, brutal, and has no regards for humanity. And yet. My father was already a narcissist and a jerk before getting it. He was already thin-skinned, paranoid, and, quite frankly, an all-around asshole. He doesn’t know anything about me, nor does he care to. This was before the dementia, I mean.

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Going harder on my teenage years

I have more to say about my teenage years.

I really wish that I had known much earlier that my family was fucked up. That it wasn’t just cultural difference. Yes, my family is Taiwanese American (my parents are Taiwanese, full-stop), but it was also highyl dysfunctional. My parents never should have gotten married, and my mother had (and still has) very toxic ideas about family and what it means to be a woman.

I had untreated depression and anxiety. To be fair to my mother, she found me a therapist when I was fourteen or fifteen, but it was a man from the local uber-Christian college. He was pleasant enough, but he was not used to dealing with emo angst-ridden teenage girls. Who weren’t white. I was also bullied a lot in school for many reasons, including being Asian and fat. I would venture, though, the fact that I was just weird contributed to most of it. And I mostly got teased by girls, which can hurt way more. Boys are mean–girls are cruel.

The worst was a girl who picked on me every day in…I want to say chemistry. Not sure of the class. But she was just mean to me. For no reason. Except that I was a weirdo. I did not knwo how to fit in (my empathic skills did not help me out until I went to college), and I just stuck out like a sore thumb.

This girl (I still remember her name) would not let up. I tried to ignore her, but it did not work. One day, I had enough. When she teased me, I grabbed her hair (very short), yanked her head back, and calmly told her I would kill her if she did not leave me alone. Then I let go of her hair and stared down at my desk. She told me I was making a fool of myself, but there was fear in her voice for the first time. She left me alone after that. I felt horrible, and I never did that again. I took the wrong lesson from it; that violence was not the answer. I mean, it’s not, but that shouldn’t have been the sole lesson. What I should have noted was that sticking up for myself worked. Then I should have found ways to stick up for myself verbally. But, you know, I bet she learend a lesson as well–to not fuck with someone. And, yes, sometimes, might makes right.

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Friends of another gender flock together

In the weekend Ask A Manager, there was a question asked if a single woman and a married man could be friends.


Well! Glad that was an easy question to–oh, wait. What? Not everyone agrees with me? Oh dear. Do I really want to–


What year are we in again?

Checks calendar. 

2023. We’re in the year of our grumpiness 2023, and it’s still a question whether men and women can be friends*.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s tackle the thread and what was said. Remember, the site is overwhelmingly progressive women (in the commentariat). There were plenty of people saying why do you need different rules for differently-gendered friendships, and those are my people. But, there were sitll more than a small minority of people who had all these rules for a friendship of a single woman nda a married man. Funnily enough, most of them assumed you bcame friends after the man was married, not before.

In general, there was an undercurrent of ‘you can be friends, but not good friends’ for those on the ‘men are from mars and women are from venus’ crowd. There was even one who actually said something about that old saw about bisexuals…um, I may be old, but I’m not a saw! She tried to dance around it by saying that it was different culturalization, but not really. I gerw up in the same society she did–though I do have a Taiwanese background, which makes it doubly sexist. So you would think I would be more entrenched in sexist beliefs. But since my twenties, I have been questioning needless gender roles and tossing them aside.

That woman I just mentioned was a hot mess. She believed that every man wants to have sex with every woman, apparently, because she does not believe men and women can truly be friends. Which, fine for her (albeit very limiting), but she states it as if it were facts. Which it simply isn’t. It just is not. I have had many friends of different genders who have not wanted to bone me and/or vice-versa (including men!). Anectdote is not data, and my experience is just as valid as hers.

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If you wanna be my lover

In my last post, I continued telling you who I am. I’m going to go on even further. Let’s just jump right in.

10. My family is deeply dysfunctional. You will not meet my family. Well, rather, you will not meet my parents. You might get to meet my brother, but that’s it. I can only deal with my parents on a very superficial level and very sparingly. Which means once every three weeks or so, we talk for a stilted half hour. I try to keep as much to myself as possible and be civil to my parents. That’s it. Nothing more.

My parents have met very few of my past partners. There is a reason for that. My mother is able to be pleasant to strangers and make reasonable conversation. If it was just her on her own, I would be fine with it. But my father is a piece of work who cannot relate to anyone. He doesn’t care about other people, and he would not be happy with anyone I dated. The very narrow exception might be a Taiwanese man who was very traditional, but who did not challenge him in any way. Which,
I mean, no thank you.

There was a letter to Dear Prudence from a woman who claimed she came from a very loving family. Her fiance, Mark, whom she’d been with for four years was loving, kind, caring, etc. But, he was cut off from his family beacuse his father, a raging alcoholic, abused Mark and his mother. Mark’s younger sister escaped abuse because she was the favored child. The abuse was so bad, Mark’s father put him in the hospital twice. While the mother did nothing. The grandparents knew what was going on, but did not step in other than to let Mark stay with them once in a wihle.

The mother and sister had contacted Mark on social media and wanted him back in their lives. He showed his fiancee the messages, saying, “Can you believe they wrote this?” She thought the messages were heartfelt and wanted him to reconcile. Not with the father–she was magnaminous to grant him that much, but with the mother and sister. The mother was a victim, too! The sister was not involved at all! He didn’t even know if his grandparents were still alive!

She also added that her very loving parents tried to prod as to why he didn’t want hisfamily there and he said they were dead to him which horrified her parents. The letter writer was troubled and said it seemed brutal to her that he refused to even consider mending fences with his mother and sister. Even though he told her that his therapist said it was btetter for him not to have his family in his life.

The new-ish Prudie who is very ‘but faaaaaambly’ agreed it was troublesome but the LW had to stop interfering. What a trash response! Thankfully, the commentariat was up to the task and grilled the LW to a nice crisp. She asked if it was a red flag, and so many of the commenters said it was a red flag…for Mark. There were a few comments agreeing it spoke poorly of Mark that he ‘casually’ decided to cut off his family or try to justify why he should at least be in contact with his sister, but they got quickly shot down.

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