Plumb Run Out

Right at one o’clock Thursday morning, right after I’d put down my work, took up my pipe, and plugged in a favorite movie, the phone rang. Our daughter’s number appeared on the Caller ID. When she calls at that hour she’s surely stupid drunk and looking to spit venom, so naturally I answered the phone. Sure enough, she was stupid drunk and wouldn’t be satisfied until… well, heck, I don’t know what. Ordinarily, she continues until she’s unable to continue any more, but this time I hung up on her after just an hour. I’ve never hung up on her before. Apparently she didn’t like my doing it any more than I liked doing it, because she spent the next hour and a half spewing her vile hatred via text messages.

The strange part is that she claimed to be angry at us, so angry that it conveyed upon her the right to scream hateful things at us, over things she claimed we’d done to her but that in fact she’d done to us. Things neither of us have ever done, to her or to anyone else. One of the accusations was so patently ludicrous that her response when I challenged it was “I don’t want to talk about that” and then to scream that her therapist had predicted our reactions and we were following those predictions like a script.

I mean, really, what are the odds that I’m one who will “only call to boast about family”? I am estranged from my entire family of origin and all of my children and stepchildren except her. And now, I suppose, maybe her too. Who comprises this family that I’m accused of boasting on? That seemed a reasonable question when I asked it, but she couldn’t answer it even after having had plenty of time to formulate an answer after her therapist predicted that I’d ask it.

That’s why I hung up on her. It wasn’t the vile hatred and false accusations; it was the deception. Deception destroys the basic trust that is the foundation of all healthy relationships, and the ones in which your crazy drunk bitch daughter has no time for you until she’s stupid drunk and calls to spew venom. That was important to me, that trust. My daughter’s exposed deception told me that my thoughts and feelings mattered to her only to the extent that she can use them to manipulate me — that wasn’t something I wanted to know.

I took plenty of time to think about it, and this afternoon I sent the child an email message that said that her drunken tirades are inexcusable and unwelcome, that her attempted deception was even more so, and that I hope she will get in touch when she is able to say and mean that she wants to have a healthy relationship. I received her response while writing the previous paragraph: She reiterated all of those things that she just kept repeating over and over once a minute for a solid hour on Thursday morning, then said that she is done with us.

Maybe a truly loving father would just meekly protest her drunken tirades but never set a boundary that might cost him the loss of his daughter — and maybe she’ll find that stupid son of a bitch, too, but I ain’t him and I don’t dislike anyone enough to wish it upon him.

Looks like we done run plumb out of kids, ain’t got a one of ’em left.


3 thoughts on “Plumb Run Out

  1. ordinarybutloud

    😦 I’m sorry. I was talking to a friend about toxic family members recently, and exactly what you’re saying here: what you’re willing to exchange to maintain a minimum of contact with people who are just trying to manipulate you. I’ve lost a sister. I’m plumb out of siblings now. It makes me very sad but in the end I can’t do one single thing about it, and the things I could try to do about it are not things I’m willing to do.

    1. happierheathen Post author

      Thanks. It’s a pity that it must sometimes come to that and I’m sorry that you had to experience it. It’s hard to establish boundaries knowing that enforcing them will severely strain or completely break one or more familial relationships, but on the other hand that’s when it’s most important to do so — not that knowing this makes it any easier, huh?

      Be well!

  2. Roadkill Spatula

    I’m curious as to what triggers the level of emotion needed to make an unpleasant call like that. It probably was the alcohol, from what you say.

    The weird thing about therapy is that a therapist rarely knows anything beyond what the client tells him or her; makes it hard to imagine therapy doing much good in a lot of cases. You get the rare one like Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura (not that I’m an admirer) who calls out immaturity and manipulation, but most seem to maintain a steadfastly supportive posture rather than digging in to see what’s what.


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