Posted by: Marie | November 26, 2010

(453) Protecting my dad

Post #453
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, June 10, 2010]

I finished a “fun read” book this week . . . “House of Sand and Fog” by Andre Dubus. It was about a battle over a small house in San Francisco between an American woman fighting a losing battle with all her addictions and a Persian family loyal to old traditions. It is very well written and one of the best novels I have read in awhile.

Truth be told, I haven’t done much fun reading in the last couple of years. So, it was nice that I had some time to read fun stuff. I’m enjoying that school is out. My schedule is much lighter now that I’m on an 11-week break from my school district job. I look forward to working on my many projects over the summer!


I set another boundary last week . . .

I have a piano lesson client who has been showing up for only 50% of their lessons. Our written agreement is 80% – and they must give me at least 24 hour’s notice when they miss the 20%. This client has given me advanced notice of their absences most of the time, but a couple of times they have just forgotten to show up. They seem to think nothing of canceling. And they have a hard time making sure their son practices. It just isn’t a priority for them.

I’m getting busy enough that I don’t want to dedicate a timeslot to them. I’d rather give that timeslot to someone who will show up 80% of the time and who will practice. So, I told them they could continue if they are willing to pay, up front, for the lessons (80% of the weeks in a given period). If they don’t show up for the lessons for which they have paid, I keep the money, they lose out.

Photo by Martin Chen

In response, they told me they had planned to take the summer off anyway, and they would think about returning this fall under these new conditions. Somehow, I don’t think they will be back. That’s fine with me.


I think we have a home for the kitty. My housemate’s employee would like to take him. Someone is staying with the employee for the next month and the houseguest has a cat. When the guest and the cat leave, she will adopt him.


I have been in an emotional uproar since my last therapy session. As I was falling asleep last night, I took a moment to pay attention to what I was feeling. I realized there was no anger in the mix of emotions even though it would make sense for me to feel anger towards how my parents disciplined me as a child.

What I do feel is a sense of being a helpless victim. Being angry takes power . . . which I don’t have as long as I stay in this position of a victim. As a victim, I am powerless to manage my tendency to binge and pick and masturbate to violent porn.

Usually I can get things processed and my emotions settled back down within 2-4 days after a session . . not this time. I guess we have stirred up a bees’ nest.


Early this morning, I had a dream. My family was having a big family reunion. We all were staying at rented houses or in hotel rooms.

My immediate family was staying in a rented house, but I was not welcome there and had to stay at the hotel. Some of my cousins were in the same situation with their families, so we outcast cousins had several rooms all next to each other at the hotel.

One of my male cousins swapped rooms with me for the second night. Right after we got our stuff swapped (but before I’d had a chance to sleep in the room), all of the hotel-based cousins went out for supper. When I got back to the room, there were about 10 bullet holes through the glass of the big picture window.

I found the spent casings on the bed and on the floor, so I picked them up and hide them in a drawer. I figured it was either an accidental long-distance shooing – we were about four floors up, so it’s not likely someone could stand on the sidewalk and shoot in – or it was a message meant for my cousin. I knew no one was actually trying to kill us/him because they could have easily seen we were not in the room since we left the lights on.

About then, one of my female cousins came into the room and told me my dad had gotten drunk (he never drank one drop of alcohol in his life in reality) and had set fire to one of the grandkid’s dolls and had put the on-fire doll in the washing machine at the rented house. It had destroyed the washing machine and had caused some fire/smoke damage to the utility closet.

While hearing this story, I got to wondering if my dad, while he was drunk, could have come over to the hotel and shot through the window . . . but, there was no way he could have done it from the sidewalk . . . then, I realized I had collected spent shells, not spent bullets . . . that means the shooting was done from inside the room. Whoever did it had to have come into my room.

So . . . was the message intended for me (did my dad do the shooting?) or was the message for my cousin (did someone other than my dad do the shooting)?

My female cousin asked me if I was going to report it . . . I mean, I pretty much had to report it because the hotel management would notice the damage. If I did report it, someone might figure out it was my dad. But, how could they? The hotel shooting and the doll on fire were two separate incidents, no one in the police department would tie it to my dad (if he did do it).

Then, I realized they would have a police report on my dad about the doll-on-fire incident . . . and, if they got a report from me about the bullet holes being created the same evening, they would surely notice the same last names and tie the reports together that way. My dad would be in trouble then.

I wondered if I could get my male cousin to turn in the report since the room was technically still rented under his name and he had a different last name . . . that might cover up the connection with my dad. Maybe I could just move out the next day and leave the casings all over the room to make it look like it happened after I moved out . . . but, surely someone reported the noise from the shooting . . . the police would know it happened while I was occupying the room.

I woke up from my dream as I was in the midst of all this debating with myself . . . trying to figure out how to get out of this pickle without getting my dad in trouble for something he may or may not have done.

I guess I was feeling a responsibility for protecting him from the consequences of his own actions.


  1. That’s quite a dream. One theme I saw was being uncertain whether your father had done it or not.

    Great to hear that your piano teaching is going well.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I noticed that also . . . which is strange since I am clear about what my dad did and didn’t do . . . I think the part I’m struggling with in real life is if he had the ability to make a difference choice, given his life experience.

      – Marie

  2. Great job on the boundary set up for clients – your time is valuable, too!

    As I read about your dad I realized that I’ve had similar dreams about my dad. Dad never hurt me, in fact, he was the only one who truly cared about me, so I think the dreams were a child’s way of protecting him back – I don’t know. If you ever figure this out, I hope you post it.

    • Hey, Ivory –

      It is interesting that you have had similar dreams . . .

      Unfortunately, I haven’t figured it out . . . have you?

      – Marie

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