Thursday, April 23, 2015

Let's Try This Again...

After encouragement from fellow blogress Birdie and my therapist inviting me to purge my frustrations, I've decided to try venting again.

It's probably gonna be messy but I'm going to try and NOT edit so bear with me...



I've been in and out of therapy, off and on meds for 10 years now. It would seem that I've been on a decade-long mission to improve myself but I don't believe that's entirely accurate. Sure, part of my journey I've focused on myself but a lot of my time has been spent worrying about my family and hoping in some twisted way that by "fixing" myself I could fix my family's problems and bring us closer together.

I'm sure it's not uncommon, lots of children take on responsibility for family dysfunction and try to fix things for the rest of the family. I feel like I've been put into a "Mrs. Fix-it" role for many, many years. A role that I've recreated outside my family in school, personal and professional relationships, even struggled to control in the relationship with my husband (he doesn't let me do the "harmful self-sacrificing" thing though). It's cost me and the only dividends have been insight, worthwhile discoveries for sure, but I don't think all the time wasted stressing, the weight I've put on, lost, and put back on, the burden on my mental and physical health has gotten me anywhere as far as trying to fix my family.

I'm done. I'm so done. I'm fed up feeling like the only one who cares or dares to look beyond the status quo bullshit and try to improve things. I'm tired of being left out in the cold whenever I push for truth, for intimacy, for what I need and want. This drama with my sister and her unplanned pregnancy and the rest of the family just taking it in stride and jumping right into crisis management/put on a happy face mode combined with my son's birth and all that transformation to my life has brought all of this to a head.

It's a messy mush of feelings-relief, worry, anger, love, fear, resentment. I'm relieved to finally let go of my family's shit, to remove myself from the chaos, pain, responsibility, and dysfunction. But just as I feel this relief I feel worry and fear. I worry that I can't let go, that I can't really move on, make the changes that I so wish to make and embrace the more functional and happy life, independent life that I desire. I fear rejection from my first family-a catch-22 since I would like some distance and boundaries but would also like to be closer to them. I resent my family for the criticism and rejection over the years, invalidating me and my feelings, making me feel that I'm worthless, for maintaining a facade and making me feel flawed for not believing the hype. And amidst all that negativity and pain I still feel love for my family. I miss them, cherish memories, and ache for them, feeling their pain and wishing they would help themselves feel better, help us be a better family-but no. I'm left alone. The only one showing up to try and improve things, like a lone Good Samaritan showing up to renovate a condemned house only to find that no other volunteers honored their commitment.

I'm overwhelmed and disappointed, beat down after so many years of struggle. And for so many of those years I've followed my childhood training to not exhibit anger, to stuff my feelings and bite my tongue-but it seems like my resolve is wearing away. Either the therapy or an overstuffed backlog of feelings has chipped away at my inner walls. I feel like a volcano getting ready to blow, but it just like how I struggle to sneeze-I struggle to release the anger! What should be a completely natural event is blocked.

So blow. Let it go. Even if it's not all the anger from the years passed, even if it's just the anger I feel now, it's worth it, it's important, it's valid. It doesn't have to make sense, all the loose ends don't have to be paired up-just let it out. Vent. Go. Be. Do it.

*deep breath*

I'm so fucking disappointed in my sister and my family. I'm pissed that my low expectations were met after my son's birth-I didn't feel the support or closeness I desired.

I heard my mother say "We're here for you" and felt nothing but the hollow ting of a white lie. You aren't here for me. You show up to talk about your life without listening to me about mine, you don't even ask how I am doing, how can you be there for me when you can't even listen to me for 5 minutes? It's a one-way road with you. You call up and give me the "news" that I don't even ask for, that I'm not even interested in. I don't like to gossip and I don't need to hear about my sister's issues or how my father disappoints you. I don't ask for it, sometimes I don't even engage in the conversation yet you drone on.

And if I do speak up, offer my experience or my 2 cents of my own accord? you ignore it, change the subject, or God forbid it's spot on, you shy away and change the subject. I'm sick of years of one-sided conversations and being slighted by you. I'm sick of feeling like an invisible third parent, a child exempted from a child-parent relationship, some sort of unwilling friend figure...

You hurt me when you come up here and don't listen to me, don't validate me, and leave without ever truly engaging. It makes me feel invisible and unloved, unappreciated, unknown. And it pisses me off that you kept my sister's pregnancy from me for over a week because you thought I'd feel like she was stealing my thunder. What thunder? What fucking thunder do you think I ever had? Within a week of giving birth you expected me to be out on walks and getting back into a normal routine. Somehow I still valued your opinion and I responded to the pressure, going on walks despite the bright red blood in my pad telling me that I was pushing my body too far, too fast. I hurt myself for you. I hurt myself trying to earn your love and it's sick. I feel so stupid for valuing your opinion still, for not trusting my gut over your ignorant expectations.

And-oh boy-and this whole shitstorm about my sister's unplanned pregnancy. Can you engage honestly about it? Of course not. I ask you how you really feel, if you worry about things working out and you simply refuse to answer? No response. That stings. Not to mention I don't feel like I should be the one spearheading that conversation. The child shouldn't be asking the mother how she feels, she should ask how her child is feeling, but as we've discussed, you just don't do that for me. And even if you did, could you listen? I doubt it.

This shit didn't steal my thunder, it just made me realize how little thunder I was given.

And my sister. You are such a fucking liar. You lie constantly. You lie so much that I can't believe it, I can't fathom the amount of lies you've buried yourself in. I can't fathom living in such a web of falsehoods, denial, and inauthentic existence. It's repulsive. It makes me sick-not just feeling a complete lack of trust in you but thinking about how much pain you create for yourself.

We've had conversations where you gave me the impression you were aware, concerned, interested in improving your life, your health and then I hear that you don't follow up, don't take responsibility, just lie. You go to a therapist a couple of times and the second things start getting anywhere you quit. You claim to be Bipolar yet you refuse to get a diagnosis. Do you just like the drama? Are you that mindless that you live your life like some wannabe MTV star? I know that you're smarter than that. It pisses me off and breaks my heart that you can't seem to see that.

I was skeptical and concerned when I heard that you had a boyfriend and were talking about marrying him. You don't know how to take care of yourself, how can you take care of a marriage? You don't know how to be honest with people, how can you work with someone else in a serious relationship? I bit my tongue. Maybe that was a disservice to everyone. Maybe I should've told you that you were immature and ignorant? That I suspected you were trying to find happiness from without instead of within, that you needed to take care of your own issues before joining any type of partnership? But I didn't. And if I did, what would it have done? I probably would've been ostracized, rejected, pushed away. Whatever.

Then you show up and tell me your pregnant by this guy. This 19 year old community college kid still snuggled cozy under his parents' wings. And you, a 21 year old who still has her mom driving across the state to help her through emotional crises nearly once a month-or more. A 21-year old who has exhibited unstable mental health, been told she's prediabetic yet hasn't seen a doctor to confirm this or addressed the issue, who has been deemed "gluten intolerant" yet doesn't alter her diet and instead boasts about her ailing bowels and painful diarrhea after consuming too much gluten. Does that sound like a responsible mother to you? Does that sound like a stable, responsible individual? Does that sound like someone you'd want to be in a relationship with? It sounds like a clusterfuck to me.

And this poor child that knocked you up has no clue does he? Not to mention this poor baby who will be thrust into the midst of the burning, sinking ship of a life you've mixed up. It is so scary to me, so sad, so anger inducing when I think of how you know better and yet allowed this to happen. And yes, you did allow this to happen. You went off birth control and had unprotected sex. You're not a fucking idiot, you knew the risks and what could happen. And though you are responsible for your reproduction period being such a young, naive, inexperienced guy made you doubly responsible. And you know what? I do think you did it on purpose. Whether it was to compete with me, to seek attention, a cry for help, an attempt to make this 19 year old stay with you-whatever it was, I think you did it on purpose. Subconsciously, consciously, doesn't matter, you made the decision.

And both of you.... how you've taken this pregnancy and leaped into planning outfits and baby showers and acting like everything is just hunky-dorey when you've both talked so much shit about our cousins getting pregnant out of wedlock or going on public assistance or depending on their parents to support them/their children. The height of hypocrisy and a shameful example of the inauthentic, hollow-souled dysfunction I've outlined and been pained by for you years.

And while the majority of my angst is focused on the females in my family, the males aren't without responsibility. My dad and brother play into the dysfunction. I'm glad that my brother seems to be doing well for himself and hasn't fallen into the pattern of crisis-after-crisis like my sister but he definitely puts up walls and avoids engaging. It hurts. I'm sad that my dad avoids the situation so much, doesn't open up very much, even avoids being home by keeping so busy with tennis activities. I can't blame them for not wanting to engage, especially with how reactive my mom can be, but I feel so powerless and alone with my concerns.

So I guess that's what ticks me off, just feeling like I have no support. I hear from my siblings that they want to be closer, that they want better for my family, but they don't have any follow through. And for so many years my mom conducted propaganda campaigns about how great our family is and yet she and Dad didn't deliver the close, supportive family she says they have. Everyone seems to be all right with the dysfunctional, hollow status quo and I'm just not with them.

I get so angry when I think of how much energy I've dedicated to worrying and loving my family and how mindlessly they seem to trample through life hurting me and others. I think about the bad relationships I've had in my life and how I've left them behind and I realize the hypocrisy of maintaining this relationship as it is with my family. It's dysfunctional, damaging, and stupid.

I love my family. I appreciate certain traditions and sharing time with my family but I can't escape my disappointment. And it's okay to be disappointed-no one's family is perfect. I don't have to feel guilty about my feelings. I'm not betraying my family or throwing them away by being hones about my feelings-it's good to validate my feelings and myself, even if it feels dangerous expressing myself. ... All I can do is keep working on my own happiness and health, and that means working on my boundaries and disengaging with the negative aspects of my family, focusing on the positive and reframing my life a bit.

And really-the issues of my first family don't have to cast such a large shadow on my life anymore. I've got my own, new, little family to focus on and I'm really very happy with that part of my life. I'm grateful everyday for the loving, open, supportive relationship that I have with my husband. I am so grateful for my baby and cherish my time with him everyday.


It feels good to get this out and it feels like it helps me let go of it all a bit. It still feels unnatural and difficult but I'm glad I got something out even if it's disjointed and incomplete-so be it! I've vented now, and that's that.

Posting and moving on, back into the light. :)

2 comments:

  1. First of all, way to vent! I hope it feels a little better.

    I have no doubt your sister planned this pregnancy. This isn't 1954 where birth control is not available at every grocery store and pharmacy. Yes, condoms break but how seldom does that actually happen? And it is irresponsible of her to expect a 19 year old (my son's age) to be a father.

    As for the whole issue around your family I think it would be helpful if you didn't think of it is an all other nothing situation. You can still be a family but step back a little. Then step back a little further down the road. I think it is like being in recovery, we have to take it one day at a a time and renew our commitment a healthy relationship daily. Some days we will fail and other days you will succeed. And remember now that you have the family that you want right under your own roof.

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  2. I do feel a bit better :)

    Thank you!! *tosses hands in air to emphasize the obvious* I felt bad for not taking my sister at her word about it being an "oops" but it rings truer in my mind that this baby isn't a true "oops baby" it's a "making a poor decision baby." Thank you for helping clarify that.

    Whew. It does feel good, even though I feel like I'm betraying my family by speaking up about these things-but it feels worse to betray myself by not owning my feelings.

    One day at a time sounds good to me :)

    Thanks Birdie!

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Thank you for reading and commenting!

Be well, HBF