It's tough to know where to begin. My family of origin issues are so bizarre that I have yet to meet someone else with a similar problem. I had a fairly typical stay-at-home mom, and a dad who worked. When I was 6, we moved to a fairly large house and my baby brother was born. Perhaps my mom suffered from post-partum depression. Suffice it to say, she lost it. I remember being terrified of her. Her anger was intense, violent, and all directed at my dad. They attended like 2 therapy sessions, but mom was adamant. Dad had to go. I remember thinking that it was a good decision. I hoped life would be calmer. Both my parents became clinically depressed. Neither was seeking therapy. No one paid much attention at all to the three of us kids (2 younger brothers.) Mom and Dad both began dating. Dad, at least, found some pretty nice girlfriends. Mom was a different story. This was the early 70's and no one in our world had divorced yet. We were shunned by the church. My mother's parents were livid. They blamed my mother for the divorce and were supportive of only my dad. I think if they had taken a more neutral stance, life wouldn't have taken such a twisted turn. Enter the troll. That is the name that I gave my step-"father" many years ago. It's at this juncture where you are going to think: this can't possibly be true. I wish. I wish my mother had chosen someone with an ounce of sense. I wish she had not fallen off the deep end, but she did. Troll moved in with us. In one small way it was helpful. Troll actually cooked us dinner. That is where his care for us ceased. Troll is one messed-up individual. Along with him came the drunks. Our suburban home turned into party central. Not every night, but most nights. All kinds of people. Some were young parents who only drank. Others were wild young men. There were a lot of bikers. There were some KKK members. There was one guy who was supposedly a corrupt cop. It was absurd. I still remember the day I realized that I couldn't believe anything troll said. He was telling all his drinking buddies a story about something that happened when I was present. I noticed that about 25% of the story was true. The rest were embelishments. Lies. The whole purpose in him telling the story was entertain the drunks. My middle brother and I were sucked into the culture surrounding these people. Most of them were harmless, if misguided and addicts. A few were dangerous. I guess that I'm lucky that my brothers witnessed what happened. I think if I had been the only person effected, I would probably think I imagined everything. When I was 25, I married a man who fit into that world. It took me years to realize that I didn't want to live that way. That I really didn't fit the addict lifestyle. That I wanted something more stable for my own children. I made a run for it. That is yet another long and difficult story. But I got away. I left and didn't look back. My mom, however, is still married to the troll. She still sees all those people from my past. My ex-husband is best friends with troll's son. I realized recently, that if troll dies, I cannot go be supportive of my own mother. It is still dangerous for me to be around them. I am accepting of the awkward relationship that I have with my mother. I struggle with the chasm between me and my brothers. My middle brother got sober years ago and built a comfortable life for himself. He lives close to our mom and helps her often. I've tried to reach out to him, but he has made it clear that he does not have time for me or my children. I don't think there is really any animosity, perhaps it's just a matter of him having a busy life. My youngest brother moved up North years ago. I see him once or twice a year for brief periods. I know they care about us, but the contact is infrequent. They're both good men. I'd like for us to have a closer relationship but I'm at a loss as to how to make that happen. I particularly need them to spend time with Ferb. That happens maybe once a year. I wonder if I am just a piece of the past that both need to leave behind them. As if long ago a bomb hit our family of origin, and we will never be able to reconnect. The past is too painful and insurmountable.