I have had a major change of heart during last years, especially during the last. I come from the dysfunctional family, in fact a long line of dysfunction of all sorts. My mother and basically everyone from her side are dead, but my dad is alive. My relationship to him has always been spotty. Their marriage was short lived and there were long times during my adolescence I didn't have much contact with him. We grew closer, when I became an adult, but he ditched me when he remarried around the time P C was born. After that it was almost a decade of no contact and after that, we had some very sporadic contact. He wanted more, to be part of my life and get to know my sons and last fall I made a decision of not let my fear determine my decisions, not to shy away from life and attachments. I consciously decided that I wasn't that weak any more, that I would need to stay guarded, detached and uninvolved. While that was something that had became easy for me, it wasn't what I wanted from life. I didn't want to stay far and watch when others lived the full life. You have to understand that most of my life that had been my goal. I wanted peace, safety, to be able to control life. Being very choosy on who to let close to me, being very hesitant to attach too much to anyone but the few, keeping life at the arm length. Again and again I always took a safe choice. Only very few time I let my guard down and because some of those times ended to spectacular failures and heartache, I became even more guarded. I indeed made a comfortable life for myself. Nice, safe and if boring at times, that wasn't so bad. But when the time flew I started to feel like I was suffocating myself. Watching difficult child, who never seem to make a safe choice, made me feel my lack of breathing space even more. It took some soul-searching to understand, that my situation wasn't anything that others had put onto me, but my own choice. And that it was something I could undo. Striving for picket fences, normalcy, detachment and safety was my choice and also mine to undo, when that detachment started to cost me too much of my humanity. Nothing stopped me from being a little brave, letting some of my guards down and live and let myself get reattached to full life in all it's glory and grue. So I decided to brave out and re-establish my relationship with my dad. Let my heart out and attach even though I full well know who and what he is. Though I did find out that he had mellowed a little due age like many with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) do. And he isn't substance abuser any more, but is a mostly moderate drinker though he still binge drinks at occasion, but so does everyone else around here. But even that doesn't end to month in gutter and soiled pants, like it used to. And he isn't using at least much other drugs. Certainly not amphetamine or things like that, that used to make a real number of him. Don't get me wrong, he still very much is who he is and I well know that he still runs hot and cold and I can turn to 'enemy' any time and then he will again ditch me. But I accept that and don't let my fear of hurt drive my decisions. Right now I get something out of this relationship, when I just let myself get attached and it is certainly worth the heartache later. During this newest period of contact with him, he has first time began to tell me about there he has come. Till now my knowledge of my background was mainly from my mother's side. Only thing I knew about my dad's side, was, that it apparently was not pretty and he was in no contact. Now that I have found out more 'not pretty' is a brutal underestimate if there ever was a one. I'm not stupid enough to take anything he says with face value, but everything I have been able to check out, has turned more or less true. And even that is enough. My family in his side is so full of tragedy, dysfunction and hurt, that if you would write it into a book, it would be seen as phony and manufactured, because not so much tragedy can fall to one family. If on my mom's side the dysfunction has always lived side by side with achievements, on my dad's side those highs have been few and far between. Dad doesn't have that many lining relatives either, but he has wanted to reconcile also with them lately and I too have met some. Can't say I would have a good rapport with them, for them I'm a stuck-up rich b***'*h who even happens to belong to minority they despise. While I do live in one of the most egalitarian countries of the world, there are some socio-economic differences also here and my parents come from opposite ends of the spectrum and my husbands family is comfortably in upper middle part, and there is some difference even now. Dad's talents enabled him to move upwards, but rest of his family didn't have luck like that. I can't say I would have that much in common with his relatives I have met, but the whole history of that family, in all it's dysfunction and heinousness is something I have learn to embrace and esteem. Tragedy of it all, but also the ability to keep going on, put other foot in front of other even through the darkest nights is something to admire. While I wouldn't wish that hard life to myself or anyone, I have to hail for the courage some of them have. To live fullest even through the horrors one doesn't even want to think about. One of the people I have met is my cousin. We are about the same age, she has been married three times, widowed once due suicide, her son is in prison for murder and other of his daughters died when her drunk boyfriend drove out of the road in high speed. She is hardened and certainly not a nicest person you will ever meet, but she still has courage to live. She isn't playing it safe or building safeguards around herself to prevent life hurting her. And I have to admire that courage and will to live. She may not think much from me, but she is an inspiration for me. I'm done with playing it safe and keeping my distance. I don't want to turn ice block on the top of the mountain so now I strive to let myself stay open, accept the possibility of hurt and allow myself to stay attach even when i do know I will burn.