By: Revanche

In sooth, I totally suck

January 28, 2009

Hm, let’s see … ordered three prescription refills, sent off four more applications, had a wildly hormonal friend yell at me for not depending on her, this week. Uh, said friend is a self-admitted flake, by the way, so it sort of makes sense not to depend on her for y’know, dependability. I love her to death, would take a bullet for her, but dude. I’m not an idiot.

Except I am. When it comes to my family, I’m a complete moron.

We had what was possibly the world’s worst Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner on Sunday. Within 15 minutes, my brother had left the table under harassing verbal abuse fired by my mom, my dad was more than peeved that my mom wouldn’t stop, and I finished my dinner standing by the sink because I was a millisecond away from losing it completely.

It’s NYE! You’re supposed to at least pretend to be nice! Yes, she’s sick, and mentally unbalanced a lot of the time, but … I just expected it to be no more than normal gripery. I hoped. Instead, it was ratcheted up about four notches, and I ended up sobbing, on my knees, in my room 20 minutes after sitting down to dinner, mourning my broken family.

Tonight, I figured out that I’m no better at this than they.

Apparently my rat of a brother told my mom that I think she doesn’t love me. Oh, for heaven’s sake. It’s way more complicated than that. Of course she loves me, it’s just that she’s so infrequently herself anymore that it’s like I don’t have a mom anymore. That, and we’ve had incidents where she made nasty comments about how she can do whatever she wants because I don’t have feelings. I know she’s not in her right mind when she does and says things like that. Or I know after the fact, but it still hurts to see my mom’s face, hear my mom’s voice, and believe that those are her thoughts. Instead, I try to understand that this isn’t my mom anymore, there’s got to be some way to hold on to my rationality. Sometimes she is, but so rarely that it hurts less to think of her as someone else during those episodes.

Hearing that I thought she didn’t love me, she approached me and tried to tell me she did love me. And what did I do? I freaked out and said I couldn’t talk about it.

It’s complicated. I don’t know why I couldn’t just say, “I know,” hug her, and let it be. It might be because she started in on all the reasons things should be fine now and I shouldn’t think “like that.” She tried to tell me that she’s fine, that she knows they couldn’t have survived this long without me, that she tried for as long as she could to work – even sick – to help me support the family.

Firstly, we’re not “fine,” and having her so sick she can’t hold a job anymore does not equal “getting what I wanted!” I wanted her to stop working, get well, start working. Not work to near-death! Not to mention the screwy dynamics in which either parent will bend the truth as necessary so force me to be happy. Never mind the fact that forthrightness and good health are all I’m asking for. And a little cooperation.

But the kicker was that last comment, that got me right in the gut. That is exactly why I’ve been so upset with her for so long. I’d begged, pleaded, and argued with her to take care of her health for years; I knew that the pittance she could earn meant nothing to me if her health failed. Her marriage was changing, too, she was angry with my dad for all his mistakes and all his bad decisions, and insisted on expounding on all the negative things she felt he did to her, literally every chance she got. It was the Worst.

Again, I begged, pleaded, that she concentrate on her health, exercising, eating better, resting. And she refused. She refused my help with her diet, she refused my concern about her diabetes, she refused to listen. She insisted that she was right, dammit, and that she needed to worry, fuss and tizzy. And refused to take care of herself, determined to sacrifice herself to the last for the family. Except it never works that way, does it? She didn’t go down in a final, noble flame, she didn’t come back on her shield, she simply … broke. She went from a strong, smart, clever role model, to a hand-wringing, anxious, physically sick, out-of-her-mind dependent, seething with anger and resentment.

Somewhere between her eventual breakdown and now, my dad finally stepped up and started to take care of her and her medical needs. But before that happened, I lost my mother to his multitude of mistakes, and her self-inflicted maelstrom of negativity. To survive day to day, I had to divorce myself emotionally from them, and from her. And of course, that hurt her even more.

And I keep hurting her, the more distance I put between us, but I can’t close the gap yet. I should. I need to. But I …. can’t.

6 Responses to “In sooth, I totally suck”

  1. Sense says:

    Blech, I hear you in so many ways. I’m so sorry that what should have been a ‘nice’ day was ruined. somehow it hurts even worse than when something like this happens on a ‘normal’ day.

    it is very hard to let those that you love hurt themselves, even harder to stop yourself from ‘fixing’ them. horrible to see the ones you love the most change for the worse, and stand helplessly aside for disease to take over and mold them into whatever it wants. hard not to try to find blame somewhere…

    you did what had to be done, what *needed* to be done. you’ve had to be strong for all of them for so long, and erect barriers and rules in order to maintain that strength. that strength has costs, though, and it stands to reason that you can’t be everything–strong AND vulnerable enough to relate your mom the same way as you once did.

    It makes total sense to me that you reacted to her the way that you did! I hope things can be repaired. it’s probably going to take ALOT of work from you to get rid of the anger you feel towards her for not taking care of herself better–it doesn’t sound like she is in a place to meet you halfway with this, as she doesn’t seem to understand the damage she caused by trying to ‘help.’

    I wish i could help with words more eloquent than these!

  2. My mom isn’t as far gone as yours, but you’re describing the path my mom is on right now.

    Major paranoia all over the place… it’s like she can’t stand to be alive.

    I’m sorry. 🙁

    Fabulously Broke in the City

    Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver.

  3. E.C. says:

    I’m so sorry. Dysfunction sucks.

  4. Karen says:

    You can’t help your feelings.

  5. I wish there was something helpful I could say. I’m sorry for all this stress on you and your family, it is a difficult situation. :/

  6. Revanche says:

    Sense: I know it shouldn’t really make a difference when it happens, but it kind of does. We grew up viewing NYE as sort of a sacrosanct “Thou shalt not be negative (much less being mean or yelling at people)” day.

    It’s one of the very few traditions we still observe.

    it doesn’t sound like she is in a place to meet you halfway with this, as she doesn’t seem to understand the damage she caused by trying to ‘help.’

    That’s exactly the problem, and I’m trying to fix it on my own. 🙁

    FB: Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody!

    EC: You got that right.

    karen: This is prob’ly why I don’t like *feelings.* ;P

    stackingpennies: Thanks, it just has to pass. Eventually, one way or another.

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