Sunday, May 31, 2009

Protecting My Soft Gooey Center

I've never been a good daughter.

I've never been a good daughter-in-law.

I've never been a good sister.

I've been been a good sister-in-law.

I've also never been a good dancer but that's a story for another day.

I'm one of those people that totally lack the warm, fuzzy cute as a kitten gene. I think I learned at a very young age that I am the only one that I can depend upon. Not getting too comfortable on the psychiatrists couch or anything, but from birth to last December, I have learned one thing very well. People fuck you over seven ways to Sunday and if you don't let them into your soft gooey center, they won't hurt you.

I think that is why I value my friends so much. I would go to the ends of the earth for my friends and as the last few months have shown, my friends feel the same way about me.

When it comes to family, I've been hurt enough. Throwing my hands up in the air and walking away is a defense mechanism that I've employed over the years to mixed success. I always thought I was refusing to allow people to use me. I thought I was refusing people the opportunity to hurt me. I'm not going to lend someone money when all they want is another drink or a hit. I'm also not going to stand around and wait to be asked a second time.

Likewise, I'm not going to stand around and put up with being treated like shit. (This statement, after 17 years of being treated like shit actually makes me laugh at my own 'full-of-shitedness').

All this leads to a phone call that I made on the day of the omnibus hearing. I've actually gotten back in touch with one of my brothers who lives in Michigan after falling out of touch with him for quite some time. (My fault. Refer to the third statement at the beginning of the post.) This is the brother that I've always been proud to call my "big brother". I've always felt a special kinship to him.

From him, I got my biological mother's telephone number.

Yeah, I'm sure you can see where this is going.

I haven't talked to her in years. The kids haven't been back to Michigan for about twelve years and as I talked to them about who we should see and where we should go, my daughter mentioned seeing her grandmother. "She's my last grandma alive.I want to try to see her."

I stopped trying to communicate with her years ago. She would email me and I would reply and then there would be silence. Then another unrelated email a few months later from her that I would reply to, complete with questions and an expectation of a reply and then there would be silence again. Any emails that I would initiate would go unanswered. I think I may have left a phone message, I can't recall.

But it was obviously a completely one sided conversation so I gave up.

I warned my daughter that it might not be a good idea but I would try. As brave as she has been through all of this, I couldn't NOT try.

But really, should I have tried to call on the Friday of the omnibus? Now that was just dumb.

Thankfully, I was alone at the time. When she answered the phone and I said "Hi mom", she demanded to know who I was in a very techy voice. I told her it was her daughter and she said that she didn't have a daughter by that name and hung up.

Well, it looks like having warm cookies and milk at grandma's is off the itinerary.

The thing that is so hard to get through to people that haven't been through a similar experience is that I feel no positive emotions toward my own biological mother. I have no feelings of love or care or protectiveness going either way. It's as if I tried to throw my arms around the door to door magazine sales woman from last week and tricked myself into feeling something.

I think my major malfunction comes from the fact that I see using the forced structure of a family as a "support' as flawed. Life is so incredibly short and telling myself that I'm supposed to make an effort to surround myself with people that will only try to hurt me and use me and expect me to help them continue on their self destructive ways MAKES ME FUCKING CRANKY.

This philosophy also spilled over into STBX's family. He would talk about being treated like shit but then he would go back for more because "they're my family".

Well, we can all see how well they raised you and how well you turned out so I guess that just proves how wrong I am.


Anonymous said...

If you only knew how alone in this you are NOT!

Look at the family thing this way - you are breaking a cycle that is multi-generational. You have tossed the poison apple into the woods, tossed the frog back into the swamp, and broken the spell.

People who continue with families who are everything but healthy are toxic. Formerly toxic people who see the light and make the leap for change seem to become especially sensitive to former toxins they were once content to immerse themselves in. Yeah, it is like time is short and your body and soul are screaming at you not to return to that foul "family" place in any way shape or form. But when the kids are a generation or two removed from your nightmares, it becomes a curiosity. They can be a bridge for you to keep the distance and still make peace (in your head) with the past that is never really too distant. It will not be an easy thing for the mud of the sick to swallow them whole. They may lose their shoes, but overall will be better for having made the exploration and made the comparison of myth to their present reality.

Forgiveness doesn't happen so the perpetrator's soul is cleansed, ready to be clean for the next crime. Forgiveness is a process of letting go and cleaning out your emotional junk heap of emotions and feelings that continue to keep you in a place you no longer fit. At least you tried to make the contact. Some people hold onto their pain as though it is all they have and it is now who they are forever. Maybe they hold it up to protect others after they understand what they have done to those who came before and want to refrain from contaminating the future. Anger as a roadblock. A novel thought.

So even if you have crawled out of the box, now that you are upright, it just ain't the same looking back.

Shelly said...

I'm so sorry that happened, but at least nobody can say you didn't try.

Life IS to short to hang out with people that treat you like shit, even when, or especially when, they are your "family". You have dear friends--THEY are your REAL family (as I'm sure you know).

I would like to think, as Anon said, that people are trying to refrain from contaminating the future--like they know that they are toxic, but...I don't believe that. I wish it were true--that they were being loving, or big-hearted in some way. The truth is that they are being very, very small, and that because of blinders that they have placed upon themselves, they picture themselves the victim, even when they are clearly the perpetrators. Narcissists. These are damaged people, and the only way they will ever be "fixed" is to recognize that THEY might be at fault for some of bad things that happened involving them. Most never, ever will. They carry their victimhood to the grave. In fact, they only get worsse as they get older, as they cause more bad things to happen. By the time they die, when they notice that they have alienated everyone in their lives, their chief complaint is that they are all alone, and they wonder why.