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Part 1: Menendez Two?


Alright, I've been putting my toe in the water with this journal thing and I suppose I've decided it's time to jump in with both feet. It's time to crack open the closet and shed some light on the skeletons.

I have a lot of sisters and one brother. Today I've decided I'm going to talk about my oldest sister. Initially I thought I could just give them numbers (like Sister#1 and so on) and explain the story, but I am realizing if I'm going to jump in, I have to give names and actual events. So here we go.

Caroline is the oldest, currently 51. She's a massive control freak, been married for 21 years to Rob and has two sons -- Ethan, 17 and Evan, 15. She worked as a mechanical engineer for General Motors for about 25 years and then took an early retirement. She's the "smart" one in our family.

As time goes on, you'll learn that my father, in his infinite childrearing wisdom, gave us labels. And Caroline is The Smart One. I think about that now as a parent and it seems so crazy to me. I can't imagine saying in front of all of my children "Hey, Caroline, you are the smartest one in the family! You have the highest IQ -- higher than your sisters and brother."

But, that's what he did. And Caroline has a big head because of it. She likes to think of herself as a cross between Lilith from "Cheers" and Spock from "Star Trek." This makes her the best of both worlds -- she's a chick who is very logical and who does not get bogged down with girly emotions.*

Man, there's so much explaining to do. Hopefully, I will be able to explain the "crazy family-isms" as I go along, and still write a coherent story.

*It's important to know that showing emotion in our family is not valued. That's the politically correct way of saying that everyone in my family (except me) is able to hide their real emotions behind anger. Crying is for the weak and it is met with furious anger and hostility. So this makes me the family freak who is too sensitive and unable to handle "bad news."

But let's get back to Caroline. She went to the University of Michigan during the early 70s and she did run into a lot of chauvinism. She was one of the few females back then to attend male-dominated engineering classes. That made its mark on her, in a negative way.

She's quite caustic and she's so condescending it's sickening. But in our family we all accepted that as "part of Caroline's personality" and we never challenged her.

Consequently, she can be a real bitch. Many times I have felt sorry for Ethan and Evan because of how she treats them. Ethan really hates her and I'll explain more about that in a minute.

Rob, her husband, is a workaholic who doesn't want to be involved in the household fray. His common answer is: We can hire someone to do that.

A little background on Rob. He's 55, also graduated from U of M with an accounting degree. He currently owns a manufacturing business where he is Chief Financial Officer. He's 5 foot 7 inches tall and has a Napoleon Complex, if you ask me. (And since I'm the one writing this, I'm gonna give my opinion as we go along.)

He is the second child of a good Catholic family of nine. His father was an abusive alcoholic and Rob's childhood was filled with beatings.

Our father never drank, but he was abusive nonetheless. My therapist refers to him as a "dry drunk." So Caroline and Rob have that kind of childhood in common. When they had Ethan, and later Evan, they both decided that their children were not going to grow up in a family like they did. So they swung wildly the other way.

There was almost no discipline for Ethan and Evan. In addition to being The Smart One, Caroline (along with Rob) has earned another family title: The Rich One. They are very well-to-do and Ethan and Evan never wanted for anything. Rob has every thing he has ever wanted and more. Caroline has every technological toy you could imagine. Money is almost no object.

This is why Rob always says "We can hire someone to do that." Because they can, indeed, afford to hire someone to fix their problems. Ethan had a therapist and a tutor. But it didn't really help.

As he grew up, he began to mirror Caroline's behavior and she didn't like what she saw. However, she doesn't take much responsibility for how he has turned out. She blames Rob for not disciplining Ethan. Even though she didn't start to discipline him until he was 11 or 12 years old.

When Ethan turned 12 he started to become taller and physically bigger than Caroline. That's when he started to really let her know how much he hated her.

For awhile they played mind games with each other. By the time he was 13 he started to physically push Caroline around. At 14 he was punching holes in the walls and threatening to kill Caroline. At 15 he was addicted to online games and had multiple accounts open with his parent's credit cards.

Last February Caroline and Rob hired some big men to "escort" Ethan (at 4:30 in the morning) to a brat camp type of lodge out in Oregon. He spent a month there and the therapists told his parents that they could not help him. He wouldn't admit to ANY responsibility for his actions.

My therapist says Ethan sounds like he's a sociopath, meaning he takes no responsibility for his actions and has no sense of consequences. She said there are two schools of thought on how a sociopath is produced: genetic vs. environment. Based on what I have told her, she believes Ethan's case is a combination of both factors.

Anyway, before the early morning escort, Caroline was sleeping in her clothes with her cell phone and car keys in her pockets. She did say before he left their house, Ethan chased her into her car one day and the only way she could get him to back off was to show him her cell phone through the window of the car and to tell him she was going to call the police on him. She literally felt like she was sleeping with one eye open.

In the past, my brother and I had an inside joke about Ethan and Evan. We used to call them "Menendez Two" in reference to the Menendez brothers who killed their parents, Jose and Kitty. But by the beginning of this year we were starting to worry that Ethan might actually try to kill Caroline.

Then the men came and whisked him away.

Caroline actually told me she was relieved to be sleeping in pajamas again.

There's so much more to this story, but I'm getting tired. So I'll just post this for now and continue the tale later.


2006-11-08 at 9:27 p.m.

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