An Old Writing I Found
I was digging around in my computer last night and found the following writing. It was written at least eight months before The Incident. I had realized that the FOO was dysfunctional but I was still trying to operate within the confines of the relationship. I remember becoming increasingly frustrated with the dynamics but not knowing what to do with that frustration besides pulling back.
My Mom used to be one of my best friends. I pretty much shared everything with her. We’d talk a few times a day. After Skype came along, we’d sit and chat every single day and it was like sitting at her kitchen table with her.
A lot has happened over the past couple of years that had me really pulling back from my relationship with her and my Dad.
*Their last visit to our house was Spring 2009. Bubba and I were fighting so he pretty much ignored them while they were here. My Mom repeatedly, over and over, ad nauseum told me how uncomfortable they were while they were here. They haven’t been back since. She still tells my sisters how uncomfortable she felt here. I just want to scream “IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!!!” We were fighting so he stayed away from me. Since they are my parents and I was with them all the time they were visiting, he therefore, stayed away from them too. Period. Get over it already.
*I opened my mouth about something I felt strongly about 2 summers ago while I was home and became flavor of the month for the gossiping in my family. Since I live far away, I’ve stayed “the bad guy” in my family and when I was home last summer, I could feel the coldness from all of my family, even though the incident only involved my one cousin. She “told on me” to every single person in the family because that is what they do. My parents, sided with my cousin, and although they didn’t say anything to me (because we just don’t do that in my family) I can hear a tone in my Mom’s voice every time my cousin’s name comes up.
*When we moved here last Spring, I had to do all the packing by myself and I had two weeks to do it. I was talking to my Dad one afternoon and he said “Just don’t expect us to come help you pack.” He knew Bubba was working 4 hours away and wasn’t being particularly helpful with the packing and we still weren’t getting along. Well, if Bubba wasn’t going to be there to help (Hello! He’s working 4 hours away and he generally works 70-ish hours a week), he wasn’t about to help me. He’ll go out of his way to help anyone except his daughter because he doesn’t like Bubba.
It has taken me a long time but I finally see the dysfunction in my family (it is my Mom’s side of the family). I really want nothing to do with them. I want nothing to do with the gossiping about whoever isn’t in the room at the time. I can’t handle the pettiness. I can’t handle watching them have their worlds revolve around each other then turn on someone because of a disagreement that should be between only two people.
I realized the other day that I no longer talk to my Mom about anything that is going on in my life. I never told her that Bubba and I went to counseling and have really been working on our relationship and are fighting for our marriage. I never told her that I almost left him (which prompted the counseling). I didn’t tell her about Shane’s horrendous first day of school and how I got called in to the principal’s office that day. When she asked how he did, I just said “We survived.” and bean-dipped her. I don’t tell her about Serenity’s teenagery attitude. Bubba wrecked his car yesterday and I’m not going to tell her about that. I’m so afraid of her telling my family anything that I no longer feel safe sharing with her.
I decided a few weeks ago to only go home for a week this summer. I usually go home for about 3 weeks but I just can’t do it this year. I planned on leaving Serenity and Liam there for a couple more weeks because I planned to do it when there wouldn’t be any family gatherings. I don’t want my kids around my aunts and uncles. (When I was flavor of the month, I found out about it because they were all talking about me with my 13 year old niece in the room and she told Serenity. Yes, Serenity told me that my entire family was talking about me not-so-nicely.) But my younger sister just told me she is pregnant and she wants me at the birth and my cousin is graduating from high school. My aunt wasn’t going to have a party for him because she really can’t afford it, so my parents are going to do it. My Mom has already told me that it would be soooo nice if I could be there for that.
I would love to be able to talk to my Mom about this, but I know, realistically, that I can’t. I’ve moved on, am learning how to have healthy relationships, and talk to people when you have problems. She hasn’t. When Dad said not to expect his help packing, I sent them and my two sisters an email saying that I had a ton to do and was going off the computer for awhile so that I would actually get something done. I said I’d let them all know when we were settled in our new town. I called my younger sister every couple of days on Skype just to keep my sanity. Well, she mentioned it to Mom and Mom and Dad were all upset that I was ignoring them. I called them when we got here (I called them from the hotel, so I pretty much called them as soon as I hit town.) Then they pretty much ignored me for two months because they were steamed that I ignored them.
Two months ago, I called them about a desk they were giving me. I’ve been trying to bring it home for two summers and just never have enough room in my van with 3 kids and all the stuff we bring home. I asked if they were thinking of going on a road trip any time soon and if they were I’d love if they stopped to visit and bring that desk. Dad came up with a ton of things that he was doing. They are busy volunteering, my cousin has football games, yadda, yadda, yadda. I know it sounds childish and selfish and stupid, but I feel like everyone else is more important than me. I’m sick of hearing about all the things they are doing for everyone around them and how they are too busy to visit me. I just emailed him after that conversation and said “Don’t worry about the desk. I found one and no longer want it, so you can get rid of it if you want.” This is the desk Mom had when she was a child and I really did want it but I just don’t care anymore.
I was talking to my older sister a while ago and she asked me if I ever felt like everyone else is more important to them than I am. She is feeling the exact same way!!! Her theory is that we are so self-sufficient that they feel like we don’t need them. We both moved away from home over a decade ago and have had to learn to take care of ourselves and not go running to them anytime we need something. So we take a back seat to everyone because we really don’t need them for everything.
My little sister wants me there for the birth of her baby but I dread spending too much time with the rest of my family. I really dread the family party for my cousin’s graduation. And if I have to hear “He needs a spanking!” in regards to Shane one more time, I may have to hurt one of them!!! My uncle once said that I just needed to “beat his ass” and I haven’t spoken to my uncle since. First you don’t tell me to hurt my child and second, you definitely don’t use that type of language in front of my 3 year old!!!
Yesterday, I got a Skype call from my older sister. Only when I answered, it was my Dad. Serenity asked when they were going to come visit us. I shushed her because I know it isn’t going to happen, I’m done inviting my parents to visit because I know what the answer is going to be. But here they are, 2 ½ hours away from home, visiting my sister and Serenity’s feelings were really hurt. After I was done talking to them, she asked me about it. I had to explain something. I told her that the last time they visited, Daddy and I were fighting and they felt uncomfortable around us. They don’t want to risk that again so they’ve declined to visit again. According to Serenity, Grandma and Grandpa are wonderful and can do no wrong. I just didn’t know what to say. I told her that they know they are welcome to visit but that I am choosing to not ask again since they’ve made it clear that they don’t want to visit.
I’m resentful. I feel childish and stupid about it but I just can’t stand listening to Dad go on about everything he is doing for everyone else. I’m sick of hearing about their volunteering, my cousin, my other cousin and her new husband, about my aunt, and everyone else Dad goes out of his way to help, knowing that when I didn’t even ask for help, he made it clear that he wouldn’t be there for me. I know I can’t say anything to them about it because they aren’t healthy enough to recognize my feelings without getting defensive or in Dad’s case, seriously sarcastic. I know had I pushed the desk thing, he would’ve been here the next day with it with a sarcastic comment so sharp it would bite. Then the whole family would know about it.
I could see the unhealth. I could see the dysfunction. I could see the misery. I also couldn’t see a way out of it. I was trapped. I was still trying to please them by going back for the summer to be there for Nancy’s baby and my cousin’s graduation party. I let myself get sucked in over and over because to have Celia unhappy with me was intolerable. I’d been taught well. And now, I’m so glad to be out and done with them. I’m healthy, I’m happy.
Life is pretty good.