Archive for July, 2015

Deitsch problems.

Posted in About me on July 9, 2015 by Tyrienne
My backyard. Photo credit to Ed Anderson

My backyard. Photo credit to Ed Anderson

To people outside of Pennsylvania, shunning conjures up imagery of the shunned person being treated like some sort of ghost by those around them- entirely and completely ignored by their biological family to the point of non-existence. From my experiences, there are many different types of shunning- and most are not so dramatic, but are painful.  I know because I have both been on the receiving end as well as helping to levy a “hard” shunning on a member of a kindred to which I was Gythia when it was discovered a brother of ours had decided to neglect his newborn in favor of his new crack addiction. (Literally).   The child, last I heard, was given to another family member to raise- and multiple efforts were made to reach out before hand that were rebuffed prior to the child being born.  Afterwards, although Heathenry does not have a concept of “sin” like the more populated faiths of this world-  I am pretty certain that deliberate child neglect is one of the most damaging, selfish, and devastating things to “deal with”, especially when the person performing the neglect was a friend for many years.   In that case, the priority was working with authorities to get the child into a safer environment, and doing a ceremony of severing, guilty party not present- while some hope he may return “back to himself” enough to rejoin the community someday.

I have my doubts, but even I have to admit over a decade of friendship is difficult to let go and I sympathize with those who feel loss as if from death.   We have been fortunate to only lose one brother to death, and despite the years (and the fact it was the Helsman prior to my spouse)- I don’t think anyone is quite “over” the loss of either individual.   The shunned individual, we acknowledge is not the friend we used to know- in a way it’s worse than death knowing there is a human who has the memories of your friend but had completely fried their brain….and then what is even more difficult as clergy is supporting the person in the kindred who is reeling from both losses simultaneously the most strongly and trying to prevent them from being loss #3.

However, the traditional type I am going to talk about is a modern, twisted version of the Pennsylvania Deitsch type that I am currently experiencing.   Even ancestor-worship based Heathens can shun, apparently… it’s in the very fabric of my paternal lineage.  Our Hildebrandt ancestors took being shunned into a badge of honor- “Our family wasn’t even allowed to ENTER Lebanon or Lancaster even until half of the last century.” says my father.  The Hildebrandts are actually a pretty cool section of my lineage; they were openly Hexerei, openly matrilineal (from what I can tell), and they broke social convention entirely by owning a boarding house/brothel and “openly practicing magic”.

Hey, that’s so much more of a story than my other line of ” …In World War II, most of my family in Latvia was killed by Stalin for being diplomats leaving only my grandma (who was 8 at the time) and her immediate family who escaped into a refugee camp prior to coming to the US in the 1940’s and a single cousin who hid at the time who is now dead of old age.  Grandpa was a spy, his sisters and parents are dead of old age now.”

In my particular case, I am under what would be classified as “minor shunning”- or “modern”… it’s where I seem not to be acknowledged as family and treated with about as much courtesy as a stranger by my grandparents.  One marvel of the Pennsylvania Deitsch is their absolute non-friendliness to strangers, the other is the ability to have great-great grandparents alive through early childhood since everyone prior to myself had their first child as a teenager, or at latest, early 20’s.
So, I bought a house- It needs quite a bit of work and I have been working on it for the most part alone.  My husband works full time as do my friends- however, entirely unrelated to the house, I have also been experiencing severely painful medical issues which have put me into the ER twice in a month as well as procedures that required full anesthesia.  I am supposed to be on bed rest, and I require surgery to both remove scar tissue from a prior surgery and actually “sew up” some torn muscles which I am postponing until AFTER I move, with the acknowledgement the more I do now- the longer I will need to recover.  In typical Heathen fashion, I am putting off the surgery until after the move- and to keep working, I am now on a morphine path with strong narcotics to take “as needed” for breakthrough pain.

“What does this have to do with ‘shunning’?”  You may ask.  The answer is my paternal grandparents.   Although I am clergy of a kindred, I volunteer as much time as I am able, and I am a prolific, if anonymous writer-  my grandparents’ embrace of “modern morality” has made me what seems to be an anathema to them.   When I call, I am treated like a stranger.  When I ask for help in the form of knowledge or supervision, it is insinuated that I am lazy- and when I accomplish anything- it is also insinuated that my medical conditions are “imaginary”.   My grandmother seems to have dementia- my last phone conversation she did not recall most of my late teens or my twenties nor did she recall we were once close.   First, they decided they didn’t “approve” of my course of study in college when I returned at age 28 (I graduated with honors, actually), then, it was that I sought help for my mental health issues and “brought shame upon our family” by having the audacity to check-in to the mental health clinic for inpatient care when I was overwhelmed and suicidal.  I was told “it would have been better for the family if I killed myself instead.”  Instead of the shame of “committing myself”.   These people never spoke to a single doctor of mine- they just reject the entirety of my life-experience in favor of their personal prejudice it seems.

Ultimately, the true fault lies in the fact that I should have been aborted since my mother technically raped my father- and my father fought to keep me, but in this modern time of the 1980’s, it pains me to realize that the moment of my birth was actually the worst day in many of the lives of those to whom I am related- this isn’t “Die alten Zeiten…”  There is no family farm, and teenage pregnancy (although acceptable in the 1960’s) in the 1980’s was considered a terrible shame… especially since my mother is truly a psychopath that makes a poor addition to anyone’s family on account of her inherently strong abusive nature and lack of all maternal instinct, empathy, or love.

It was an easy choice in my early twenties to sever ties with my mother-  the only consequences I suffer are not being able to attend events hosted by my maternal uncle.  That was a shun I performed myself for my own safety and peace of mind.

However, I did not choose to be shunned by my paternal grandparents.  I thought we were close- but apparently, I am only as “close” as much as I can bring them bragging rights to their other rich friends.  I live simply, I am not wasteful, I do not spend money, I do not have a “status job”.  I am simply a lousy unpaid chaplain….that is, if they even give me credit for doing that much.

My grandfather took nominal interest in us purchasing our new home- but when I ask for him to visit for his expert advice, I am rebuffed.  My Nana is ill, but no one will discuss it with me.  Not to mention, my public association with Heathenry and my sharing of the entirety of my family knowledge still isn’t looked on with approval- despite the fact there is literally no one else who has the interest to preserve the knowledge of those now gone- knowing that my brother and I are infertile, my first cousins show no interest in our ancestral culture and only a single second cousin of my generation living in Texas even knows what “Pow-wow” is outside of the Native American events.

So, basically- to my grandparents I mean nothing….when once upon a time, it at least “felt” like they cared.   They give me the courtesy of a stranger- but yet, my step-sisters who both seem to have deplorable ethics seem to have taken my place- the youngest being a unabashed narcissist with no desire to form meaningful human attachments unless they provide her with some sort of material benefit, and the oldest being a drug addict.   What they have that I don’t?  Conventional employment.   Which is ironic, considering the Deitsch way indisputably has always been to keep the self “free” from modern trivialities, to live frugally and to be judged by what one provides as a legacy to the community and family.

My grandparents have earned and enjoyed much modern, material successes in their lives; my grandfather still holds current patents as far as I am aware and worked his entire life to “stay off the farm”, my Nana still had her nostalgic moments, but overall- it seems that the worth of one’s life can only be determined by dollar signs.

Like Christians who cherry-pick verses of the Bible to suit them, so too, is my family.   My grandparents have willfully pushed away most of the family so forcefully that my father and I are also estranged from a few great aunts/uncles as well as our cousins.

Family is important- a resource that should not be taken for granted.  There are good people I am related to who are afraid to contact me on account of the vitriol of my grandparents.   I am not spoken well of, it seems.  No one seems interested in what I do- so it is easier to make up stories and resent me for still managing to “get by” on disability….but meeting the rest of my family again recently at funerals  as well as in the hospital as my uncle slowly dies has shown me that my grandparents are actually the “odd ones”- and I am actually more similar to my extended family who “stayed behind” in Berks County.

My in-laws are also Deitsch, but they accept me.  My Latvian grandma is amazing.   But I wonder at what, how, and why I am a pariah still despite never being a drug addict, a criminal, nor anyone who has intentionally caused anyone in the family harm- which is more than I can say for my step sisters.
I am dwelling on the fact that my father spent father’s day with a girl who has a father of her own, and not only that, threatened to kill him repeatedly and also had her boyfriend punch him so hard his ribs were broken.   I wonder, “Why is she now replacing me as Daughter?”  I never hurt him, but yet, the wants of my father’s new family are priority over the needs of my brother and I.  We don’t need money; my brother and I need to learn, still, things that we have no other teacher for- basic things like repairing a sink, replacing a counter top, or a toilet.

My father tries his best, but he is constantly at the whim of his “new family”- even scheduling far in advance for his help, his wife will always counter with some “dinner party” or other event that is “much more necessary” than allowing for my father to spend time with me… He has to live with her, and so, like it was with my abusive mother, he lives the same pattern of having to “appease” a spouse who treats him somewhere between a small child or a small dog on a short leash as far as I can tell.

How am I considered worthless by my grandparents when they don’t even ASK me what I do?  Why is it assumed I’m lazy because I’m on SSDI (disability)?  I make $13k a year (generous estimate), and I am fortunate my husband has a good job- however, we bought a house within our means so even should he lose his job, my disability payments are enough to cover the basic mortgage and bills.  Of my paternal side- I have the least debt of anyone- and I was actually insulted last night when I called my grandfather for advice on various home repairs, being told to use “youtube” repeatedly, hearing that how my father and remaining uncle fix things is “not ideal”- but yet unwilling to teach me how to do these repairs correctly despite me footing the bill for all parts and tools.

If my Dad is considered “incompetent” by my grandfather- how does he expect a youtube video to be better?  I feel like I am set-up for failure in their eyes:  All things I accomplish successfully and well are void because “I’m a leach on SSDI”, and all things that I cannot do or fail at the first time are due to my own incompetence.

I have been accused of “using my father to fix everything in my house”- when in all actuality, my father has only helped at my house a single day so far, he’s been in Puerto Rico for ten days- the burden of the repairs has fallen onto my own shoulders.

My broken garbage disposal, my broken bathroom sink, my broken toilet- are all things that I seem to be expected to “figure out myself”- and waiting for my father is seen as being “needy” or “weak” and I am being given mixed messages.

I understand that the step-children do not appreciate my father and all he does for them- and for them he is constantly doing something.  But me?  I don’t ask for much and I am happy for what help I do get- but somehow, I am lumped in with the other two psychos who are not of my bloodline who have him basically hijacked to fix their cars and attend meaningless cheerleading competitions when he never attended a single track meet of my own- going so far as when I retrieved my box of awards he tried to downplay my athleticsm of my past by saying I “only won because I was the only competitor”- semi-true for pole vaulting, most certainly untrue for the Penn Relays 4×400 races I participated in three years.

I will agree with being “weak”… being on a morphine patch isn’t exactly what I would call feeling “strong” at this time- but I also believe asking for help from those with experience is wiser than trying to replace large, complicated objects while under the influence of narcotics.

I do not know how to make my father know how much I appreciate him- nor do I know how to get my paternal grandparents to remember a time when they actually cared for me- it was easy to cut off the woman who gave birth to me- she realized I should have been aborted AFTER I was born and made several attempts to that effect. (I do not accept people back into my life who ever physically harmed me).  But how does one rationalize that one’s grandparent’s love is entirely conditional on “modern accomplishments”…and not even standard milestones, but something to “brag about”.

I have learned most types of Heathens encourage boasting- but to get the self-conscious Deitsch to “boast” isn’t particularly normal and to be material to “boast about” in their eyes means doing things that do no abide by my own ethic.

I have made it clear several times I do not wish to be included in anyone’s will, but no one believes me.   If I am, I have already made the decision than rather than fight with my family over money I do not want- if anything is ever left to me that is not of sentimental value- I will contact a charity and say my share belongs to them…. then the assholes in my family can fight the Philadelphia Zoo or The Tesla Museum rather than fighting me- and even upon the deaths of those I am closely related to- I can be left in peace.

Regardless, I worry- what will happen when my maternal grandmother passes on?  If I am lucky I will still have my brother to count on.  But overall, today, I am feeling bereft and more than a little lost- I am successfully married, I have college degrees, I am an active member of my religious community, I donate my time, I fix what is broken to the best of my ability, and I bought a house with my spouse.  These are all things that are conventional and should bring honor to my family.

My family would prefer if I didn’t have a disability.  As for my father?   I have no idea what he prefers- he seems to enjoy helping me, but it seems no one else approves so I cannot rely on that help “being there”- for all I know, when he returns from his trip he may be as mercurial as his parents regarding his feelings for me.

My last UPG was actually in the ER- of Loki standing in the doorway of my ER room shaking his head and saying “I’m so sorry you are enduring this.”-  “This” apparently is more than just physical discomfort but the realization that I am likely on my own entirely to fix things in the material world, material things, that I do not know how to fix or replace correctly.