Tag Archives: Family

  It has been quite a journey with our children.   Our oldest, son Chase, began his journey in Boston, at Berkeley School of Music (and then the world).   Our daughter, on no less an illustrious path, first with a bachelors in Business from Tulane University, and then a post-bac in Science from Loyola […]

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  • William Kendall - That counts as a chaotic move.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh God. It really was. Just the physical labor involved, the driving, the dealing with inept people, and all the while trying to support her as she starts Vet school. I’m exhausted.ReplyCancel

  • Cary Vaughn - Kmart pillows?!?! You poor thing. It warms my heart to know what you sacrifice for your children. Much love to you.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Can you imagine? KMart! Polyfoam. Cotton/poly-ply pillow cases. A blanket on the floor! A single dangling lightbulb above!!… at least there was wine- but PAPER CUPS! The list of sacrifices go on and on…ReplyCancel

  • Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry - Cheryl, what an adventure. So bittersweet right? Our oldest really never let me move him. I am hoping our middle son our daughter will let me have that experience. Welcome back homeReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks! It good to be back! Happy to see you Lynda! Always a pleasure my dear!ReplyCancel

  • Kb Cash - Proper tipping is a lost art. Well done.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - You are fabulous! xoReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - Definitely a perk to paying for college…cool cities to go visit! Chicago is one of the few places I haven’t been. I wanna go though. Shop that miracle mile!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - The Mile is a miracle- at evacuating your wallet!ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Congratulations to your daughter! And, I loved how you dealt with the minions…err…I mean, hotel staff!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you and experience does pay off sometimes! HA!ReplyCancel

  • When Crazy Meets Exhaustion - You are SO proper 🙂 And hey–did I miss the HGTV post? Help a dummy out!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - SO.(hehehehe) and No. I haven’t posted it yet bc the idiots haven’t scheduled our episode yet and I’d like it to coincide w THE e-p-i-s-o-d-e, which I’m starting to think might never air. Jesus, you’d think HGTV would have their shit together. NOT. I’ll let you know. Thanks for asking my dear.ReplyCancel

  • Sue Pekarek - Love that Bryn is going to become a vet. Our pup almost died a few weeks ago and the doctors saved her life.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Ben’s counting on her to put HIM down when the day comes. So happy your pup was saved- which is much more important then what I just said.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - I do hope you find another hotel as accommodating. It’s really getting to be a bear while traveling if one smokes as (obviously) we both do. Congratulations to your high achieving children. ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Any post that mentions Philip Roth gets my attention! And of course, you do rock, Cheryl!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you dear Carol. I think we both have the ‘rockin’ thing down. HahaaaaaaReplyCancel

  • Tammy - Does your kidlet know how damn lucky she is to have you for her mother? If not, what’s her phone number? I’ve never been to Chicago but I see it on the new a lot. I’m thinking there is a lot more to it than that. One day!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Chicago is the best America has to offer- big city living with a small town feel. International vibe with midwestern kindness. Clean. Green. and not mean. Seriously- I could live there. Maybe we should visit- together?ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - You mean you actually got to smoke! It is becoming so hard to find a good hotel where we can still light up!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh yes. I find I can ‘smoke’ in a lot of hotels. You just have to ‘inquire’. -wink-ReplyCancel

This is a post that I thought I might never write. I still haven’t committed to writing it well- or in entirety. We’ll see… I know that eventually I will have to ‘deal’ with my father- even speak about him. I have, thus far, mostly reserved this for moments between me and my sister. She […]

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  • Patty Rumaker - Thanks for sharing. Isn’t it amazing how quiet we keep our past and yet our past is what created our present (good and bad). Not too long ago I read the book, “The Sociopath Next Door,” because I thought I had one next door, which I did, and it really did help me to understand this affliction. Thanks, PattyReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - I also have read that book. Wonderful don’t ya think? She put into words so many excellent examples of these very flawed people. What happened next door?ReplyCancel

  • Considerer - There’s a lot more to this than is apparent on the surface. Well done for writing it. And well done for owning it. I wrote about my own dad just yesterday but am desperately hoping to have it published elsewhere, because I know he reads what I write.


    Good for you for doing this.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - You are so right. I’ve been rolling this around for a long time, but he died last year, so here it is. Thank God my mom doesn’t read my blog. Thank you for the hug. Back at ya!ReplyCancel

  • afterthekidsleave.com - Cheryl, that’s heartbreaking. I know what it’s like to grow up with deeply flawed parents–they really do teach us how not to live, don’t they?

    I think your story is important, because most sociopaths fly “under the radar.” They manage to fake being human with reasonable success, even though their behaviour can cause immeasurable pain to those around them. Your dad sounds more flagrant than most, which in some ways is a blessing: at least you don’t think you’re the crazy one.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Oh No… I never thought I WAS THE CRAZY ONE. Even as a young child I KNEW there was something ‘OFF’. But the ‘heartbreak’ just strengthened mine- however, others were not so lucky. There’s so much more to this story that I just don’t know where to begin, but I appreciate your thoughtful comments. It’s comforting to know you’re not the ONLY one. xxxoooReplyCancel

      • sadie - Our stories are identical. Fortunately my mother divorced when I was two. He stole my little brother and raised him. By the time they surfaced it was too late and my brother chose to stay with him. Mom was weak. My brother was rxposed to unforgivable things she did not know. . He used my identity and I went after him with the IRS. He placed his best friend as head of the company who suffered the one year jail term because of my persut. I should write a book. My story includes a murder plot I uncovered decades later. I earn my children all the time.ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - Identical. My story includes a very dramatic and puzzling ending to his life. Maybe not quite what it seemed but no one in authority really cared to investigate and i suppose it doesn’t really matter- so there it lays. I deeply feel what you said, “I earn my children every day”. I think that about sums it up. Certainly they didn’t deserve us. That I know for sure.ReplyCancel

  • The Desert Rocks - Sounds like your mom fell for a ‘bad boy’ who hustled his way right out of your lives. Horrible. I can totally imagine James Cain playing the role in his movie. Hugs to you for learning those lessons the hard way and being able to write about it.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Great article, I’m curious, how did he die?ReplyCancel

  • carol cassara - Well….I didn’t have the father I’d hoped for, either, but your father does take the cake. I’m sorry for what you (we) missed out on and kudos for writing about it.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Oh he ‘took the cake’- and anything else he could get his hands on. Thanks for stopping by Carol and sharing.XXXOOOReplyCancel

  • William Kendall - That is heartbreaking, Cheryl. Sad to say, the man was a monster. At least you could see him for that.

    To protect ourselves, sometimes we have to cut people completely out of our lives.

    His dying alone, however that came to be, seems what he deserved.ReplyCancel

  • melindaw - I admire your courage for tackling this topic! May you go on to inspire others in similar situations:-)ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Thank you Melinda. I’m not one for ‘opening-up’ about really tough subjects, but I guess if you don’t you never overcome them- and maybe help someone else from feeling alone.ReplyCancel

  • conniemcleod - I’m so sorry and how brave of you to write about your father. It has made you into the remarkable woman you are today, so you did take the bad lessons and turn them into something good. I am sending you a cyber hug for the pain you have gone thru.ReplyCancel

  • kblakecash - Excellent. Being able to see these experiences as a gift is your badge of evolution.

    “Crazy” is a word that gets tossed around quite a bit, witnessing it can be humbling.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Jesus KB- another amazing comment. Thank you for saying ‘excellent’ it was and is. I’m proud of myself. I love the notion of a ‘badge of evolution’. I’ll wear it happily, and ‘crazy’ up front and personal is very interesting. I still find the mentally ill fascinating though I NEVER wanted to dip my toe in that field professionally. Had seen enough in one lifetime.ReplyCancel

  • Alyson H. - Wow. I understand some of this. My father has never told us he loved us, my mother well she is another thing all together. I have made a conscience effort to not be like my parents. It is a constant in my mind, a constant struggle – I see little things and wonder uh oh, am I sliding into them? I hope you realize that you are who you are despite of him. It took me a while to realize this, but it is always there. Hugs to you on sharing. It means a lot.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - I used to worry about the ‘temper’ part of him- in me. But it turns out, not to be a problem. Though don’t mess with my kids or you will regret it! HahhaaaaaReplyCancel

  • Dana Hemelt - You write this with such openness and honesty, Cheryl. I admire you for making the choice to see your father for who he was and learn by doing the opposite of his example.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Thank you Dana. It’s been quite a ride, and after having so many wonderful comments left here, I’m thinking maybe I should tell more of his story. We’ll see….ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - Ah, Cheryl. I hope that was cathartic for you to write on some level. We don’t choose our parents; it’s really the luck of the draw. I am sorry you so obviously came up short, because a woman like you deserves only the best things in life. But you made your life better, and happier, perhaps because of him. It propelled you to be happy and wonderful and warm in your life. Perhaps that is the gift that has come out of the darkness he provided you with. That, my friend, is the silver lining in this story.

    Better and better, heart to heart, your life will continue to have meaning and purpose and love.


    • A Pleasant House - I’m really good- my life, that is. I never let this define me. But I did let it teach me something. Hugs & Kisses Cath!ReplyCancel

  • michelle - You are really brave to put yourself out there in such a candid manner… thanks for sharing!
    Writer In TransitReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Thank you. I’m Okay with the ‘sharing’ part- it’s the blow-back from my sister I’m worried about. Thank God my family doesn’t read my blog. HahaaaaReplyCancel

  • Rachael - Well said. Thanks for always being such a positive role model for me and for being a great example of just letting it all make you stronger. Xoxo -RachaelReplyCancel

  • Julie Phelps - Wow, what a read! It grabbed me with unexpected intensity – took me back to memories of the sociopath I was married to for almost 25 years. He sucked the life out of me for most of that time, but when I rescued myself and began living my own life again, I discovered lots of internal strength and awareness that I had previously been missing out on. Observing and living despite the behavior of a sociopath who is significant in your life is one tough way to learn your lessons, but you DID learn them! You’ve turned all that negative stuff into positives, it seems to me.

    Now that I’ve read how his condition affected you, as a child, I feel extra lucky that his son – my youngest – rose above and beyond, as you did. He inherited some of the genius talent but is tempered by the not-to-be-underrated “Mom” traits. Whew! Having him turn out to be a successful and loving human being seems even more miraculous to me after reading your words from a child’s perspective.

    Thanks for posting.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - This is amazing- your comment, taking the time to comment, living it, and your reflection. I’m so happy for you and your son. Sociopath’s leave severe damage in their wake- and a wake it is, like an undertow. Just when you think you’re able to release yourself from the surf and make it back to shore, that damn undertow wants to pull you back in. You know how people say that the way to survive an undertow is to let it take you out and then it will naturally deposit you down stream if you just relax- like that! I bet you have a hellluva story yourself. Maybe you’ll share it one day. I know I’d read it. You Go Girl!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Froman - Cheryl, I am so glad I found your blog. I really do look forward to meeting you sometime in the near future. You have lived a fascinating life, haven’t you? As for your sociopath dad…well, there’s no doubt that what he was. I’ve read about sociopaths and have always felt a bit sorry for them. Can you imagine what it’s like to not have empathy? To not be able to feel or to love? My dad was/is a narcissit, and has been pretty absent for much of my life. But he’s still my dad. And you are right, you learn from their mistakes and weaknesses, to be better. Look forward to reading more of our work. And to meeting you at some point. My very best to you!ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Thanks Lisa. My sister and I used to ponder the reality of Dad coming to terms with himself, and we decided if he did/could he’d probably kill himself. Of course as a Sociopath that would never happen because they are first and foremost self preservationists. Your a Gem. We WILL get together. I LOVE BATON ROUGE!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - What a brave and poignant post. I admire the courage it took to post this, Cheryl. I don’t even have the courage to write about some of the painful experiences I had growing up in my private journal, even though I know that writing about it will help me find some peace with the past. I hope that this indeed brought you some relief.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Here’s the thing. I’ve been settled with this for decades. I just got to thinking maybe, maybe, I should write about it so that someone else could write about it and not feel alone, because PEACE is a GOOD THING. Thanks for taking the time to read it, and comment. Now it’s your turn.ReplyCancel

  • bookworm - I am looking forward to your memoir. Most memoirs? Dull, boring and omnipresent, compared to what you could write. I’ve already put in a pre-order with Amazon. Would your sister ever forgive you if you wrote a memoir?ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - A Memoir? I’ve actually complied a cookbook that follows my parents life story with family recipes. Ya think?ReplyCancel

  • Sue - I am in pain reading this because… I would say my Dad was narcissistic, tended towards illusions of grandeur, and did not know how to enjoy his family except for on rare occasions. He loved the lime light at the expense of his family. Was a ongoing womanizer to the point of making me want to puke. He was really more social with others than family. And me, I got stuck taking care of him in his old age for years alone without help, so like Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman, I went to therapy to be able to say that…..I am angry. Then there is my older brother who makes up big stories about things that are unbelievable and expects you do not know he is full of it, and I think he believes his own lies. He too left my other 2 brothers holding the bag on big money owed to the IRS (from the business they were in together) after skipping town. That’s my Reality Show excerpt. It could have been worse, I know. Like you, I know what not to be.ReplyCancel

  • Bnicholl - I would like to hear more about your father, actually. Love, your daughter.

    (See I do read your blog from time to time!)ReplyCancel

  • Petra - I was so surprised reading this, Cheryl. Because I so far knew the candid, light, yet witty side (and posts), so this one left me silently reading to the end. I find it amazing you came out this strong, honest and open person. A caring person, too, ready to jump in when help is needed. Iam glad we know each other. I grew up without a father and also know what not to be, but wouldn’t trade that absence for the person you grew up with (when present). Thank you for sharing this – I now understand better the hesitation before posting.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Well if anyone knows the labor it takes to write about their ‘family’ you do. I suspect you have more to tell, as well. Love ya Petra.ReplyCancel

  • Ida Chiavaro - I have struggled to come up with a comment for this post, so many of the others say it perfectly. What comes to mind now is the quote ”we die as we lived.” This is truly a powerful piece of writing and despite the obvious torture you endured, the fact that you decided to take the ‘high road’ stands out most of all.ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - Thank you Ida. I’m glad you crafted a reply, even if it did take a moment to pen your thoughts. I’m always very happy to see you here. Another quote I often think of is, “we reap what we sow.” Never more true in this case.XXXOOOReplyCancel

  • Roshni - This is so sad, Cheryl! I feel so bad because you were denied a dad, and I feel bad for him too (please don’t hate me for this) because he clearly has some major psychological issues that were not resolved. You’re such an amazing person that you were able to rise above this!ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - It is sad, but sometimes when life throws you lemons you make lemonade (maybe too lighthearted a metaphor for this but I can’t think of anything else). Thanks for stopping by Roshni!ReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - It’s so awfully painful having a parent who doesn’t love you, who can’t love you. I am sorry for it for you and for me. I don’t know if my father is alive or dead. I also have had to have the “run if you see a man who says he’s your grandfather” talk with my children. That’s a horrible conversation to have to have. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy much less a nice person like yourself.

    We don’t get to choose our parents. That’s really unfortunate, isn’t it?ReplyCancel

    • A Pleasant House - It really is unfortunate, however, once in a while the universe hits one out of the park- like with my mother. God Bless my mother. Thanks for stopping by Chloe. Sorry for both of us.ReplyCancel

  • Beverly Diehl - Sorry I missed this, BITD – I think I had family visiting during this week. Nice, decent family I whose company actually, enjoy, unlike my Narcissist Daddy, whose death I don’t regret even a little, except that it took too long. The world’s a better place without him in it.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - You’ve really captured the essence of sociopathy here–the trying on of multiple identities, the rage, the inability to experience genuine emotion, the utter incapacity for empathy. I’m so sorry you had to live with that, but as you say, you learned a lot from him. I think those of us with deeply flawed parents are all in the same club, and the best we can say is that we now know what not to do.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - So right Karen- about knowing what NOT to do. How often do we have that kind of gift- the example of ‘bad’?ReplyCancel

  • Sandra Sallin - Cheryl this was powerful, meaningful and touching. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - True lies always are, am I right Sandra? And THANK YOU for coming by my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda - One of the most touching posts I have read. I admire your honesty and the courage to write from your perspective.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Rhonda. If I can say this out loud- then maybe someone else can join the chorus, and be mended. Thank you again.ReplyCancel

  • mindy trotta - How brave of you to write this, Cheryl. Your dad was a very good-looking man, with, obviously, lots of demons. How very sad that he didn’t think enough of his family to have an honest, loving relationship with them. I find it very ironic that he had so many good qualities, like intelligence and charm. Unfortunate that he could not put them to good use.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It was always the most confusing thing about him- that he just couldn’t put his strengths to good work, but then I had an epiphany and realized he was incapable. He just didn’t have the mechanisms. It’s called Mental Illness.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Interesting and sad, both. What a gift to be able to see him as a gift, too.
    http://carolcassara.com/shamanic/ ReplyCancel

  • Pam Lutrell - I understand. My dad fabricated a lot in his life. I did not know until after his death that he never passed the Bar Exam. He told us because he went to law school, he was a lawyer. But, I am willing to concede there are things I learned from him. I know the courage it takes to write a post like this. ReplyCancel

  • Penelope Lemov - How difficult–and brave of you–to write about this. And to find at least a small nugget of positive, even if it’s learning from the negative. ReplyCancel

  • Lana - Wow…amazing post. I have been unable to write about my dad so far, because he’s such an ass, and I didn’t think I could come up with any redeeming qualities. Maybe I’ll give it more thought…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I truly believe that there are lessons to be learned- maybe not redeeming qualities- but strengths that can be had in spite of the difficulties. I hope you find yours. Thank you for speaking up here.ReplyCancel

  • Gary Sidley - Powerful stuff, Cheryl. A dad who showed you what to never do – I’ll retain that line in my memory for a long, long time. I suspect this post was a hard one to write?ReplyCancel

  • Valerie Newman - You are brave to write about this. It is so emotionally charged. I have my own difficult story about my biological father who died when I was 10, but I haven’t yet had the courage to write it. Maybe next year. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Cary Vaughn - Wow. What an extremely sad slice of life. I was rather moved by this. I felt pain for you and for him. Sorry.ReplyCancel

  • Sue Pekarek - I like the what not to do lessons, I can relate to that with my Dad and then there was his Dad who noone but one of my siblings and finally my mother after tons of years finally met him. He was the lawyer who was not a lawyer, he stole his son’s identity. ReplyCancel

  • Kim - My dad, for many years, was an abusive jerk to me. More emotionally than anything else but abusive nonetheless. He would belittle me and treat me like I was worthless. The final straw was when we, my husband and I, let him move in with us to get back on his feet after splitting up with my now ex stepmom. His attitude was that I was the woman of the house and therefore had no say. He stormed out of here nearly 2 years ago and we haven’t spoken since.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s hard to accept when we have parents who have no love or respect for anyone but themselves, if even that.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - My husband’s one demand was that ‘he’ not ever move in with us. And he didn’t- though we came close a couple of times. It would have served no one. Thanks for sharing your story Kim. Every little bit helps those that feel they are alone in this.ReplyCancel

  • Princess Rosebud - You have endured so much and have risen above – with a smile on your face and a trendy hat on your head. I admire you!ReplyCancel

  • William Kendall - It does sound like he was a monster… and utterly lacking in empathy. At least what you got from that in your life was an example of what not to be like.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - William- this is a re-post from last year at the same time. You responded then- and again, now. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn Karp Schwartz - I understand. My mother lived a lie. She abused me horribly for years. My dad passed away from sickness when it was 10 and my mother reinvented herself for her second husband, She denies everything that she can get away with to show the world a different person than the mother she was to me. She was a terrible mother. ReplyCancel

  • Cristy Stern Zdenek - You are incredibly strong and I’m so glad you have made decisions in your life to allow peace, happiness & love into your heart. ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - It’s difficult to read histories like yours. My father wouldn’t even punish us for fear he would hit us too hard. He told us bedtime stories (the classics & some he made up). He would play checkers, dominoes, or work a jigsaw puzzle with us. Of course, we only had one. That was all they could afford. He and Mama did teach us to play pinochle when we were old enough, and of course, the one concession he made to drive us anywhere was to catechism classes. He even helped us with the memorization. Imagining or trying to put myself into your world is difficult. I could write about it as the person being a stranger. It also sounds like your father was amoral. So sad for you and your family. ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - You’re brilliant and brave for doing this.

    Sounds kinda like my ex-husband. I read “The Sociopath Next Door” and man, oh, man…did some questions for me get answered after that divorce.

    My dad has always told me there is a lesson in everything. And sometimes that lesson is what not to be or what not to do.

    I think you have life nailed down pat.

    Thanks for sharing. Truly a great read.

    However, I’m very sorry you had to endure that kind of person for a father.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Carrie, but he really made me stronger and more wise so I celebrate him for that. Thanks Dad.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney Conover - DAMN. You hit this completely out of the park. This was brilliant. It is being bookmarked — and sent to my mother.


    You see, I had one of these fathers, too. No, he didn’t stick me for a ton of money; he’s has had the same six-figure job for over 35 years; and he’s awesome at saving money so he’s never broke. This is important for my father because is worth is LITERALLY tied to his wealth.

    But I can relate to this: “Even as a young child, I learned to understand him from an ‘audiences’ point of view, one where I could sit back, eat popcorn, and observe. The show was always interesting.”

    And this: “Dad never sought help because he thought it was the world that was wrong.”

    And the above was his downfall: I became estranged from him in 2007…and my mother filed for divorce a few weeks after that.

    We haven’t spoken since, he’s never seen my children. It sucks, and it’s a bitch, but I don’t need that drama — or anger — in my life anymore.

    Damn. I am just shaking my head here because I have NEVER read a post that hits home like this about my father.

    Hi, I’m Courtney at The Brown Girl with Long Hair, by the way, stopping by from the Mamapedia FB group.

    Have a great weekend.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Well, it’s a pleasure to met you Courtney! So we are kindred spirits- you and I. Everything about being with, or around my farther was sooooo unnecessarily difficult. It could never be ‘I’d like salted peanuts’. It had to be a certain size peanut with just the right amount of salt served in his favorite bowl. It could never be ‘We have dinner reservations at eight’. It was ‘and they better have my favorite table or I’m going to knock out the owner.’ It was never ‘let’s go to lunch’. It was, ‘ANd pretend your my girlfriend’ . I’ll let that one sink in. The world never worked the way he wanted it to- and it was always the World’s fault. May he rest in Peace. I’m stopping by your place asap!ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - I’ve known a few men like this, one of them is my brother. It always amazed me that 4 of us came out relatively normal yet he is so utterly different but I can’t imagine having him as a father!ReplyCancel

  • Penelope Shelfer - Wondering….I’m thinking your father must’ve had one hell of a fkd up childhood to be so lost. Not have one clue who he was, what path was the right one, too scared to be human….he seemed to me fearful of living. Empty. Kind of like my dad. I love this articleReplyCancel

  • Fulano - In my case, it was my mother who is a sociopath. My father was just codependent.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Either way is hard. Stay strong. Get out of the way.ReplyCancel

  • Donna Beckman Tagliaferri - I understand…funny I wrote about isolation this morning, never think you are alone on this. You are not…love to you, celebrate your husband tomorrow.ReplyCancel

  • Donna Beckman Tagliaferri - http://bleachervision.blogspot.com/2014/06/isolation-is-new-black.html maybe you will find yourself here.ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Mason - Hard to read; I can just imagine how hard it was to refeel everything to write it down. I understand how it feels, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to express it to those outside the family. You did a good job. ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - I know this sounds incredibly naive, Cheryl, but I honestly thought, as I was growing up, that everyone’s dad was like mine. I remember the shock when my best friend lifted her shirt and showed me the black stripes all up and down her back from her father’s belt. Black. It was at that moment I realized all Dads were not created the same. And yet, we somehow survive. Your post is amazingly honest. And your strength is showing . . .ReplyCancel

  • Michael M. Fury - Cheryl, As we have discussed, Dad was similar to yours. Comparisons could go on, but what’s the use of reliving it, but to learn from it. Something you said about your dad not telling you he loved you struck me. Ours did, but many times his actions betrayed his words- just as baffling. Another thing i read in comments was he had a privileged ubringing. Watch the Kings Speech- obviously privileged upbringing but a nanny that tourtured him to the point of starving him, parents didnt notice for 3 years. A testament to the man’s character he was sane. Children “get” bonding in the first three years or not- we are “formed” then. You either get connecting or not. Being from a privledged family does not guarantee your parents have an intimate relationship with you. These are the components of an intimate relationship that i believe need to be shared in order to be learned. 1)Initiative 2)Presence 3)Completion 4)Vulnerability 5) Nurturing 6)Honesty -these components are the elements of functioning relationships- think of their opposite for dysfunctional relationships. Several years ago, before Mom passed, I shared these with her- knowing we (my family) needed clarity on this subject she charged me with sharing it. My gift to you.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Michael. All lessons well learned. I appreciate you sharing your story here.ReplyCancel

  • Rosalind Warren - The Pope’s Point Man? What utter bullshit. So glad you managed to grow up together enough to recognize him for what he was and call him on his bullshit. Sorry your dad is such great material. You ought to write a book. “The Psychopath’s Daughter.” ReplyCancel

  • Dr. Margaret Rutherford - You have received an incredible number of comments on this post. Not surprising. It’s an incredible post. Sociopaths cross my path as a therapist every once in a while. They are awful. They make the whole process kinda slimy. They never play by the rules. There are no rules for them. I regret for you that this was your childhood. I rejoice for you that you have learned so much and become the woman and writer you are.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you. This may be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. I HAVE received a large number of comments. I guess I’ve hit a nerve- or stated something that is hard to put into words, and somehow, I’ve done it. I can imagine that a true sociopath is a conundrum for a therapist. In fact, I’m surprised you see any. After all, THEY wouldn’t seek help on their own because they don’t believe anything is wrong with them, and, IF persuaded to see a therapist certainly would not allow themselves to be treated for the same reasons. As I understand it (and from my own experiences) I don’t believe they can be treated, neither through talk therapy, behavior mod, or drugs. They have the proverbial ‘missing kink’. I hope this helps some of your patients.ReplyCancel

  • Natalie D - I can’t even imagine growing up with someone like that at the helm of your life. I mean, you got out and you’re not only normal but pretty amazing, which is a testament to your strength and ability to learn, even from the worst of circumstances.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Sorry it took me so long to reply- I’ve been soaking up the sand and surf! Anywho, thank GOd for my mother! SHE was at the helm.ReplyCancel

  • Michele - I was raised by two sociopaths (mom and step-dad) and then there was the mystery of an absentee father. Last weekend I finally, after 48 years, came to the point of acceptance and the initial stages of forgiveness. My family was like a John Cassavetes movie. Hostility, violence, cruelty, drama, lies and deceptions. But also, oddly enough, there was some moments of absurd hilarity and even love. Writing about it, I hope, will bring you healing. I never thought I’d reach this point, but I can’t tell you how great it is to finally feel that weight lifting from my heart and soul. I wish the same for you! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - My heart and soul is LIFTED! It has been for decades. As for a movie- did you ever see The Royal Tenenbaums? OMG. People said if only it was true- it WAS! HahaaaReplyCancel

  • Larry Larry - Wow. I’m sorry you had to write that, but as you say, even bad examples can be a gift and blessing. Good for you sister.ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - I was sad when I read your post. Sad for you and sad for me. I was married to a sociopath for 33 years. I’m releaved to finally be FREE. The hard part is that it has left my children dazzed and confused. It is still too hard for them to see the real truth so they just don’t talk about it. I know they will have to deal with it someday. I’m glad you have your sister.

    • Cheryl - I’m sure it did- leave your kids dazzed and confused. That’s the result. They leave damage in their wake. BUT- there can be mending- even advantages to having experienced someone like this. For us- it was talking (of course), and remembering, and making the conscious decision to eject him from our lives. And ya know what? His reaction to our lack of contact didn’t bother him at all- which only went to prove the point. He was a sociopath with no conscience- which made us stronger- and it all just sorta helped build our resolve. And yes, I do have my sister, and your kids have each other, and you, and you have me if you want to talk Suzanne. I ‘get it’.ReplyCancel

  • Patti Delvillan - I’m in awe of your honesty with this one Cheryl. The strength of your spirit shines!ReplyCancel

  • MJM - Parent/Child relationships can be crazy, just as you’ve shown above, it’s sad and unfortunate to say the least, but sometimes that’s just the hand we were dealt. Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself with us, it was very interesting and something that would seem to come from a Hollywood script.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Ha! HE would have LOVED his life to be a Hollywood blockbuster film! He thought his life WAS a Hollywood blockbuster! If I get one thing out of life it’s that my relationship with my own children is not remembered by them as crazy bad- crazy GOOD is okay. *wink*ReplyCancel

  • Joselyn Nicole Borden - Oh man, this hit me so much. The way you describe your dad feels so familiar. I always tell my husband that I think my dad really has something missing inside him. He never cared about anyone and he never really will. He was a great charmer to anyone on the outside, but really he was just a good actor. Like your dad, mine never said ‘I love you’ and he never really felt. He just mimed feelings, except anger. One time, after a terrible night of abuse, I was crying in my room and he said , “Are you okay” ….Silence… “I mean, are you physically Okay, I don’t care about your feelings.” Because he knew I had school and didn’t want me to look like I was hurt the next day.ReplyCancel

  • Joselyn Nicole Borden - Oh man, this hit me so much. The way you describe your dad feels so familiar. I always tell my husband that I think my dad really has something missing inside him. He never cared about anyone and he never really will. He was a great charmer to anyone on the outside, but really he was just a good actor. Like your dad, mine never said ‘I love you’ and he never really felt. He just mimed feelings, except anger. One time, after a terrible night of abuse, I was crying in my room and he said , “Are you okay” ….Silence… “I mean, are you physically Okay, I don’t care about your feelings.” Because he knew I had school and didn’t want me to look like I was hurt the next day.ReplyCancel

The first time I can remember playing was in a playpen with the little girl next door.   Her name was Barby. Her mom had named her in the debutante age of the iconic doll, but in a show of defiance, had changed the spelling to make a point- a ‘point’ I think that could […]

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  • Jessica - Wow, you could have just described my son right there. There are no simple answers to his questions (Google has become my best friend). And of course we love the Legos! 🙂 Looks like an awesome display.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It was/is- mind blowing. The things that can be made out of lego’s are awesome. PS: our son grew-up to be amazing- so will yours I bet. [[hug]]ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - I play more as an adult than I ever did as a child!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes- I believe you do! Which is so wonderful Carol. You only live once! Might as well have fun!ReplyCancel

  • Meghan - Sometimes I think it would be a relief to let myself be self-involved occasionally… because you are completely right, it’s not something you really get to do once you’re a mom. But really I need the chance to lighten up, to spend time on frivolous things. With my kids or without them, either way. It’s hard sometimes because my guys are still little, but we’re working on it- trying to make sure that at least some of my time is geared toward laughing and silliness and not ALWAYS trying to make every minute “count.”

    Stopping by from Bloppy Bloggers.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Have any truer words ever been spoken? I don’t think so! Yes- trying to make every minute count is impossible. Somehow I had a revelation as a younger mom that all I could do was my best- and that included just relaxing, and playing, and letting things goooooo sometimes. I have tried to perfect my imperfections- aka: RELAX. Hahaaa. Great to see you here!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - Yes! We get so caught up in the stresses and responsibilities of adult life, that we forget to have fun and play. We only get one ride on the merry go round of life. We should enjoy it while we’re on the ride! Great piece. Thanks for the reminder!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - My pleasure! And in full disclosure- I STILL have to remind my self from time to time!ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - I find that wonderful and extraordinary that he is so focused and doesn’t let success stop him from striving to achieve more!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - He really is AMAZING. It’s not that he’s NOT satisfied, it’s just that he wants to do and learn more all of the time. He’s my hero- as are your Big and little A’s!ReplyCancel

  • Lana - Love this post! My younger son was a lego fan as well, and could sit for HOURS working on a creation. He would love to see this installation – thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I think LEGO sponsors these installations all over the country (smart, btw). Check your area or swing by Cleveland, Ohio. There are a lot of great things to do!ReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - My son is so much like me. And I fought it for years because I didn’t want him to have the problems in life that I’ve had. I wanted him to be like me, but the better version that was perfect. In other words, nothing like me. And then I realized that he’s himself. And if I want into his world I’d better stop superimposing myself on it and insisting he be entirely different. And it’s been a blessing every since.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Such discoveries are better late than never.ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - I think if more parents were like you the world would be a beautiful place.ReplyCancel

  • Carollynn Hammersmith - Amazing child and most likely an amazing adult these days. His world has no boundaries, which means the possibilities are endless. I am in awe of folks like that.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - Lego. Best toy ever! (Unless you step on it!) I think your son and my sons would have gotten along famously!ReplyCancel

  • Sue Pekarek - Not to be a ditto but I agree with Rena that more parents should be like you. ReplyCancel

  • Tana Bevan - Sweet memories of your darlin’. Thanks for sharing. Does he still enjoy Legos?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - We just talked about this and he said he misses playing with them. I think I’ll surprise him with a kit soon! He’s 29!!ReplyCancel

  Okay, let me be clear: not the mean, war-mongering kind.   Not the idiots with shit for brains, and a deeply imbedded mommy complex. No. Not that kind.   Just every other kind.   Men! Men! Men!   I’ve always loved men. Even the ones who haven’t enjoyed my company, and there have been a few […]

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  • Jessica - Oh so true. 🙂 I love sports and hate drama, so I like hanging out with men.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m not big on the female Drama either- unless it’s mine, HA!ReplyCancel

  • Cary - This has made me wonder if I’m a woman with a penis.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hahaaaaa. You’re the best of both worlds!ReplyCancel

  • Lana - Love this – men are such simpler creatures. Wish women could be a little less sensitive and more forgiving!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - They really are simple and I LOVE that about them. Women could take a lesson or two. Thanks for stopping by Lana and taking the time to comment- AWESOME!!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Senecal - Can’t live with ’em, can’t shoot ’em. I have always been better friends with and more comfotable around men. Some of them, ok most of them I wouldn’t have dated even on a bet but they are still some of my closest friends. You gotta love them. They are like puppy dogs. Scratch them behind the ears every once in a while and they’ll (mostly) be loyal.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - SO TRUE! All of it Melissa! Though I have shot a few.ReplyCancel

  • Donna L. Ward - I’ve always had fun with guys – from tomboy to visiting with a group now – love your fun post – big hugs and smiles, 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - I love men, too. Some of my best friends. 😉

  • Sue Pekarek - Best job I ever had was when I worked with all men; just me and my harem.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Johnson - They are pretty delicious even the messy ones 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Susan Lee Maccarelli - Men are definitely….simpler, that’s for sure.ReplyCancel

  • Aussa Lorens - Hahahaha THIS made me laugh out loud: “Men don’t give a crap about how they look. Take a look to the right ladies. Over the laptop. Boom.” BUT! Seriously, what is with them falling asleep so quickly? That’s just not right. ReplyCancel

  • Patti Delvillan - Annoying goof balls, that’s what they really are!ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - I grew up with 4 brothers have husband and a son and do know what I love? No drama!!!! I have one daughter and she is a dramaqueen.ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Cheryl, this is your best post yet! And your record didn’t need beating! I, too love men. Some time ago, I was in a situation when the people around me knew I was going to start crying. Two boxes of Kleenex appeared on either side of me. At the same time. Both wielded by men. They are so fine!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - See….. they are so fragile really. Just Teddy Bears if uncomfortable, which is pretty much everywhere they’re not in a pissing contest with another male (ps: your’e comments keep me going. Thank you). XXOOReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Men are far more interesting than many women. I’ve never wanted to talk about cleaning house, crafts, etc. The ones that just talk about cars, however, bore me to the point of running out of the room or disappearing in a hurry.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - YOU ARE SO RIGHT ON!

    I have always been able to get along better with men for some reason.

    And your list there…you nailed it.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Am I right Carrie? Yes I am. Think of Big. Was he an ass? Yes. Was he a keeper. Yes. Can’t live with them. Can’t shoot them, so I guess we better get along. Thanks for stopping by Ms. Bradshaw HA!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - Man, oh man, is this funny – and true! I like hanging out with men too. Always have.
    And that’s a good thing, since I spent so many years in bands with them.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I love their hang- period. Oops. What did I just say?ReplyCancel

  • bola - Deeply true, especially the grudges thing. They don’t take anything to heart, except u bang their wife. LolReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes. That does seem to bother them.A strange tribe they are….ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes. That does seem to bother them. HahaaaaaaReplyCancel

  My husband and I have been married for over 32 years…To each other. 99% of ‘it’ has been good. 75% of ‘it’ has been great. I see another 32 years together. He see’s what ever I tell him to (And THAT folks is part of the magic). But, seriously, who the hell has the […]

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  • Carrie - BRAVO!

    You nailed it with Nice Gestures.

    When I get in my car and find a full tank of gas. When I left it below the red line the night before…that is one of the most erotic things in my world. I have cried tears of joy before seeing an unexpected full tank of gas.

    Not kidding.

    And when he makes the bed. Dear God when I come out of the bathroom at zero dark thirty a.m. heading to the office and the bed is already made?!?

    Pure ecstasy.

    This was hysterical and right on target! And congrats on 32 years. That is simply the best. I’ve got 31 years to go to catch up! =)ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - EXACTLY. The Bed Making! Oh yesssss. And when they pull out a vacuum! Or get your car washed! It’s P-A-R-T-A time~! I’ve got a feeling your going to make 31+ more!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - HA!! LOVE this! Amen to the prioritizing one. It’s just like the putting the oxygen mask on you first, then the kid. Numero Uno, baby! That way everybody’s happy in the long run. It’s an exact science. 😉ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It is an EXACT science! Good one Roy! I love your airline metaphor- excellent! Thanks for stopping by!ReplyCancel

  • Cristina - I am the wizard! Thank you for that very gentle reminder.

    I used to feel guilty when I missed “little Johnny’s” soccer games. So we (the husband and I) made a very good compromise.

    “Little Johnny” plays piano at home – the teacher comes to us.

    Win win!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Brilliant! Yes- on your terms. A happy wife is a happy life. I know it’s corny but kinda true! Thanks for stopping by!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kathyy @ SMART Living 365.com - This is all true. As a person who is approaching her 38th!!!!! wedding anniversary this year I agree with with all your statements. I am more in love with my husband now that I ever was before and every day it grows deeper. I particularly like the one where you point out important honest and good communication is to the relationship…oh and the one where you recommend forgiving and then getting SMART for obvious reasons! Thanks for reminding me of my great relationship and congratulations on yours!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Kathyy! It really can get better can’t it!ReplyCancel

  • Sue Pekarek - I think you have it right. It takes time, patience and great sense of humor. Love the secret’s with each other tip that is so true.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh yes. You must have secrets with your partner- things that only the two of you THINK YOU KNOW. Of course, it’s not true- but ‘Pretending’ is another successful strategy.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Froman - This was great….and smart, too. And I realized something….I do use maybe sometimes. I guess it is the Libra wispy washy person in me that seeks to be accommodating(even if I am not in the mood) or wants more time to make up my mind. But yes, the truth is, maybe usually means no. I am gonna work on this.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Well, you are unique ’cause I find this to be mostly a MAN’s middle name, like John Maybe Smith, or Andrew Maybe Iwillsmackyouupsidethehead Jones. Like that. Seriously Lisa- thanks for stopping by. Always glad to see you here.ReplyCancel

  • Larry Larry - Wow. I was wondering why I got so hot and bothered this morning when my husband put his plate in the dishwasher. This shit is going to last.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh yes. Very sexy. And when they do LAUNDRY! I simply swoon! The absolute kick-starter for me is the hanging up of the clothes. OMG!ReplyCancel

  • Ida Chiavaro - You deserve your title Her Majesty. Though I do question putting the kids before the spouse… the kids grow up and do their own thing one day but the spouse will be there longer… I’ll never forget the day I heard a son thanking his dad for loving his mother so much… He turned out to be an excellent lover too 🙂
    Reflex ReactionsReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hahaaaa! Those might be interchangeable, but for me, the kids came first only because they sucked the life out of me and I was trying to survive! Little monsters….ReplyCancel

  • Carollynn Hammersmith - Love it. As a newly ‘married’ person, this is great advice to hear, AGAIN. Thanks for reminding us about life and the way it SHOULD be. Your 32 years is amazing and gives me hope that I too have that stick-to-it-ness that is necessary for a long lasting and happy marriage.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It really has been happy- he does what I say! HA!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Good advice. I didn’t complain when he did his thing (hunting) and he didn’t complain when I did my thing (church work). We could look at something and find the humor in it. We always made time for each other. When we were young, we both had the ability to explode. We would walk away and save the disagreement for later. Our children rarely heard us argue as I can count on one hand the number of arguments we had. The best advice you gave was do not run each other down with words to other people unless you want to prove how stupid you were for marrying that person. Oh, yes, we were married for 45 years. I miss that man every day. No, for others that read this, it wasn’t a divorce. It was as we promised in our vows: Until death do us part.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh Marie, how beautifully written. I bet you two were a wonderful pair, and I agree with not exploding in front of the children, though I never sugar-coated an important disagreement- but no fights, ever. Yes loud debate, but no name calling or belittlement. Vows do have importance.ReplyCancel

  • William Kendall - His shoes on your feet have something of a clown shoes look to them!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Exactly. And they’re BIG shoes to fill. I like to remind myself of that every now and again, and fill-up with appreciation instead of anger.ReplyCancel

  • Dave Sumner - Very inspiring. I appreciate that in a post. Society can really use this type of advice, all we ever hear about is why things do not work out. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Living well and being HONEST is the HARD part of life!ReplyCancel

  • Elena Dillon - Hilarious and true!! Thanks. ReplyCancel

  • 2andahalf-Acres.net - Nicole - love this post! I share it on Facebook 😀 thanks Cheryl! I need that right now 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Nicole! Glad I could help! And a special thank you for the SHARE. You’re awesome. xxooReplyCancel

  • The Minimalist Guide To A Good Marriage - What The Flicka? - […] post was originally featured on Cheryl’s blog, A Pleasant House. Photo […]ReplyCancel

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