Dottie Riley


Dottie Riley
Brandon, FL
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Life & Events > Facing Reality

Facing Reality

I spent my life in denial despite all of my efforts to be ever honest with myself. Denial is what I resort to when the people I love disappoint me so much that I cannot bear it. I can only admit to their worst faults when they do something so insensitive that I am forced to see their many past bad acts for what they truly are: cruel and selfish. What Michael did this past week was so painful that I am forced to admit that he is a cruel, self-centered bastard.

Michael resented Tod from the day he was born. He tormented Tod for years, beat on him, hurt him and did countless of cruel things to him, and worse, enjoyed doing it. He laughed about it and bragged about it to his friends. I remember how Michael deliberately kicked over Tod in his infant carrier when he was only a month old. I wrote that off to normal jealousy and believed that it would fade in time. It only got worse.

He played pranks on Tod that could seriously have resulted in real harm to his younger brother. Once, Michael made Tod (about five-six years old at the time) drop a ball of tin foil into a live lamp socket. The surge of power threw Tod against the wall at the opposite side of the room. All Tod ever wanted was for his brother to love and accept him. All Michael ever wanted was for his brother to disappear.

Michael resented me more than he did his younger brother. The accusations and blaming were non-stop. He interpreted my demand that his father pay child support as me “using Michael as a pawn to get back at his father.” He later argued that I had no right doing anything with that child support money except give it to him to spend. After all, he argued, I had to pay rent, utilities, etc., whether he lived there or not.

When his father and Sylvia, his then-wife, went to Virginia one weekend, Walter and Sylvia went out, got drunk and had a fight. Walter got out of the car in the middle of the night on an Interstate highway and was hit by a car. Michael blamed me for that accident. He said it was my fault because “his father was in Virginia because he needed to get away from me.” Michael said it was my fault that his father nearly died. He said it was my fault that his father abused drugs and alcohol because, I, allegedly, am the person who first introduced his father to drugs. He interprets any attempt I make to refute these lies as me trying to turn him against his father.

Michael always blamed me for the domestic violence. He claims that he does not remember his father beating me up and accuses me of being a drama queen and exaggerating the violence. He accused me of being the person who incited any “alleged” violence by baiting his father, and said I could have put a stop to it at any time by “fighting back”.

When his father tied his last wife, Cheryl, to the bed for four days and kept her drugged to keep her quiet, Michael, who lived in the house with them, defended it. He said it was Cheryl’s fault. He said she was a drug addict; that she was dangerous, and she was a drama queen. That time, the courts convicted his father of domestic violence, but according to Michael, that was only because “they did not know the whole story.” Anyone who defends domestic violence is as abusive as the person who raises his hand against another.

I can finally face the facts. My son is an abusive as---le. He will rationalize, ignore and deny all facts that challenge his self-serving, distorted version of reality. I can also finally accept that there is nothing I can ever say or do to change our relationship.

posted on July 3, 2014 3:10 PM ()


Michael always blames the victim doesn't he? If he doesn't abuse his wife,
he will before it is all over. His jealousy of Todd is clearly pathological.
I hope you didn't give him your child support money because according to
my ex who was a lawyer, it is calculated on 1/3 of utilities and groceries
and rent or house payment if three people are living in the house, plus
clothing and school fees. Dottie, this is so hurtful but do not let him
use your grandchildren to torture you. Try to sever the emotional ties you
have to this sick family.
comment by elderjane on July 4, 2014 6:09 AM ()
No, I did not. I ignored his tantrums and his and his father's accusations that i was spending money intended for Michael on myself. This business with the grandsons and not being able to see them is so painful that I was forced to reexamine all of his past acts without making excuses. He is toxic- for me, anyway. I want to see- talk to my grandsons, but not at the expense of my mental and physical well being.
reply by dragonflyby on July 4, 2014 10:39 AM ()
You have to work to heal. You are accepting reality but it is still painful. How sad that you cannot enjoy your family.
comment by tealstar on July 3, 2014 9:57 PM ()
After Tod died I tried especially hard to get along with Michael. What an exercise in futility!
reply by dragonflyby on July 4, 2014 10:40 AM ()
I'm sorry, but I had to laugh at the one about the car-pedestrian accident in Virginia and how that worked out to be your fault.
comment by troutbend on July 3, 2014 9:08 PM ()
You would be amazed at all of the things that are somehow "my fault" - without ration or reason! I lived with this blame for forty years by excusing Michael (saying it is not his fault- he was brainwashed by his father). I am out of excuses- out of understanding and forgiveness.
reply by dragonflyby on July 4, 2014 10:43 AM ()

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