Ugh… the family bullshit. When does it stop? Apparently, it doesn’t.
So, I’m writing this after receiving a text from my Father on Father’s Day that said: “Thanks for letting me know that I am not your father.” The next day my mind was still reeling about it (so I started to write this to sort through my thoughts.). The nerve! Who do you think you are? This was my response, “Sorry I have not texted you today. I’ve been busy making sure my husband has a decent 1st Father’s Day. If you want to be passive aggressive though, I should mention that you didn’t wish me love on my 1st Mother’s Day. I hear from you a couple times a year. You’re absent and I never make you feel bad about it. Please check yourself, next time, before you try to make me feel guilty. This situation right now is uncalled for and inappropriate.” I haven’t had a relationship with him in I don’t know how many years. Why would he think that it would be appropriate to send me a text like that? He’s clearly hurting but that is such an unhealthy way to communicate. This is how I was raised. Yelling, name calling, and passive aggressive statements being normal. I haven’t heard back from him yet, and will be surprised if I do. UPDATE: I saw almost a week later that he responded a couple days later stating how “a simple happy Father’s day would have been nice.” What a narcissist. Not a single mention of anything I wrote to him or acknowledgment of his actions.
The main thing that pisses me off about the whole thing is that it gets me stirring up all the emotions about my whole family and the trauma I feel on the daily. My husband told me the morning after the text exchange to try and not think about it because they don’t deserve my thoughts, and he’s right. It has me feeling angry, anxious, and sad for myself. The big picture is that I feel like I walk through life wounded by the things that have transgressed over the years. At the same time, I feel like I’ve dealt with everything interpersonally as much as I can, but how can you really move on if you don’t work anything out with the people who’ve created the trauma, and moreover, when they keep doing it? It lives with me every day and affects all the relationships I have. I try to be a level headed, understanding person but wonder if I often feel like the victim when things go wrong. I often think, “there’s something wrong with me, I can’t make it work.” I have a psychology degree for a reason but I often can’t get my head in that healthy place, even when I know better! It affects my marriage the most, and that’s the biggest tragedy of it all, perhaps. My fear is that it will soon affect my parenting.
I have great memories of my Father from when I was little. My parents had an ugly divorce and after that my memories get fuzzy and everything got more weird than it already kind of always had been. He was never a reliable person. He would always promise things and never deliver. He’s an alcoholic which, as most of us have an alcoholic in our lives so you know, prevents us from having any type of healthy relationship from the jump. Then at some point he kind of became a person that existed but that I no longer had any type of interaction or connection with at all.
I’ve been trying to ignore the complication that comes along with a reignited, if that’s what you want to call it, relationship with my Mom. We, also, haven’t been close for years. After I had Lincoln, before going back to work, I thought I’d reach out and see if she could come stay and watch him so Nick and I can continue working. We were prepared to do daycare but only because we had no options. She turned us down due to health issues, which was fine because, again, we don’t have much of a relationship anymore anyway. Since then though, and a little prior to me reaching out, we’ve been texting. Every time I text her I feel dirty, almost. Most recently, I had nightmares the night after texting. She wants photos and is trying to make some kind of connection by sharing stories of my childhood and has even sent money a couple of times. The reality for me though, is it is all pointless without speaking to each other about how our relationship got to where it is and addressing the problems we have. I need money but don’t want it if that’s the strength behind the relationship.
The history with my Mom and I is long and complicated. It’s been clear for many years that our issues will not be addressed and sorted out. I’m a hopeful person. I’ve found a way to live life without a Mom but its one that feels wrong. I’m constantly thinking, “well this is a situation where it would be nice to have a Mom.” Then I feel sorry for myself which I hate doing because I have a part in most things that have happened in my life. I don’t really want to go into all the details of our complicated relationship. I have been there and done that interpersonally, as I stated before. However, I can explain myself with some examples:
Since I began writing this piece I’ve ran into some hurtful memories. How I forget these awful things, I don’t know. It doesn’t benefit me because that’s how things keep happening to me. I forget all the shit over time and open myself back up because my hopeful nature shines through. Maybe it’s some kind of protection my mind does to forget about them. In this same thought, I can think of many hurtful things that have happened over the years that I will never forget about. I think this issue is related to my family, specifically.
Anyway, I had saved this Facebook post after my Grandma passed away where an Aunt of mine tagged myself, my Brother, and my Mom, sending condolences on her passing. My mom took the time to say this, “…thank you for your heart for (my brother,) he was Grandma’s special heart as you can image. [I’m sure she meant imagine] She recognized him to the end.” Then, at my Grandma’s funeral, I met my sister there who hadn’t seen the family in quite some time. She, as well, does not have a relationship with my mom but had been talking to one another here and there in recent years. My mom comes up to my sister who is standing right next to me to give her some items of my grandma’s that she felt important for her to have.
Not a word or look at me. How fucked up, right?! Intentionally tries to hurt me and goes out of her way to do so.
So I guess I still need to figure out how I’m going to handle things with my Mom going forward. It’s clear I’m not, or should I say she’s not, ready to have a pure relationship, and that’s my boundary with all my relationships. It needs to be meaningful and serve a purpose. It doesn’t benefit me to be hopeful in this situation. I don’t want to be the kind of person who cuts someone out of life completely, however. That would be taking the lead of my family. I need to find a happy medium.
Happiness vs. Suffering. It’s a Buddhist theory and a far cry from my Catholic upbringing. It’s where you make a decision based on the question, “Does this choice maximize happiness and minimize suffering?” Keeping my family on the line will involve a certain amount of suffering. For now, keeping my son away from it will be the best answer. I need to protect him, he’ll have plenty of suffering of his own to endure in his life. I want to be a good example and I can’t be that by letting my family, of all people, treat me poorly. I want him to grow up only knowing love. I hope to raise him so he understands what a healthy relationship looks like because of my marriage and the people we surround ourselves with.
Can I break the cycle? Do people ever succeed in creating a life opposite of their upbringing? It must take constant self awareness and probably a lot of therapy! .
I am having the hardest time finishing my thoughts for this post. It’s been about a month since I started writing it. I guess it’s because there is so much out of my control. Knowing the best decision to make when it comes to my family dynamics is something that I’ll never have the answer to. It’s something where the answer will remain fluid depending on circumstances going on in my life. It’s something I can only keep reassessing as time goes on. In the case of my dad, that door may be closed. I don’t know. It hasn’t really been an open door for years so it’s annoying that any issue resurfaced at all. In the case of my mom, I find myself continuously trying to no avail. That door is closing, for sure. How I’m going to handle the rest of it, we’ll see! I’m sure there is still many years of bullshit ahead. Let’s hope for less of that and that I can find more love, at least for my son if no one else!