Monday, July 15, 2013

Estrangement from my mother *Part 1*

So, I went up to OC to visit with family, Mike went too - that's where we left off.  First of all, nothing BAD happened.  Like, there was no big blow-out, no fighting.

The straw that broke the camel's back was just another little straw, right?  One more, same as the rest, not unusual, just another straw. 
The Last Straw.

(I don't really want to tell the story in chronological order - it really is a series of vignettes that can be told in bullet format.  It’s a long and winding road of a post, so don’t feel bad if you don’t want to read it all.  TL:DR – I decided to estrange myself from any family members who make me dizzy when I talk to them.  I’m very happy about this decision.)

-->Before we begin, I would like to tell you THIS:  I got home from the weekend and composed a very nice email to all sisters, telling them about mom's progress on the house and what Mike and I accomplished and blah blah, hit send.  Then I wrote an email to ONE sister, saying 'the family is all fucking nuts, I'll call you later'.  Hit send.  YEAH, I sent that one to all sisters tooI DROPPED THE CAKE AGAIN.  Be careful of your 'too' line, is all I'm sayin'.  At least it said the entire family was fucking nuts, not just one sister, so, I was saved from COMPLETE assholery.  I'm only an incomplete asshole.<--

My mother's narcissistic behavior finally killed our relationship.

Scene 1:  We're all waking around at the beach, cruising the shops and talking.  Georgia (the next oldest from me, re-writing history, remember?) starts in on Mike about college - how it's SO important, it's the only way to get a career, SUPER IMPORTANT (Mike is going to college on the GI bill, but is not certain that is the route he wants to take.  I am not a big proponent of college, I am not against college - there are many roads to success, and success is not defined by a corner office, cars, clothes, or debt - but to each their own etc.)  Anyway, Mike was getting pissed and rightly so, I had to step in, I think Georgia was worried about her kid who is 13 and didn't want her to hear any 'not college is great!' stuff, but seriously.  I don't care what the subject is, you are beating a dead horse.  This is not the first sister who PREACHES COLLEGE and we are well and truly sick of it - all the nieces and nephews get the 'are you going to go to school?' judgmental question every conversation with any aunt (except ME because I am perfect, don'tchaknow).

2:  Georgia was talking at lunch about how the day before, she was at mom's house and some Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on the door.  Georgia and mom INVITED THEM IN THE HOUSE and talked with them for a couple hours.
  • Just because someone SAYS they are from a religious group, doesn't mean that they are.  My mom lives alone and is 80 years old.  These people could have been scoping the place out (laughable if you knew what mom has, who would want it, but still) Murder, Mayhem, Etc - really? 
  • 2 HOURS when mom has done essentially NOTHING to pack and move, she has a month to sort through 45 years of accumulated dusty crap and you take 2 hours to talk with strangers? 
  • In the little piles of crap that pass for ‘sorted’ in that house are some religious books, like the bible but more with holy scriptures and passages and feel-good sentiments.  In the TOSS pile was a number of vintage books with tags from my real mother Kaye, or which had the signature of mom’s first husband (and therefore the real father of Leslie and Georgia) – things that might be valuable to someone.  She threw that stuff away and kept these random religious books that were not even hers from childhood I think? 
3.  Georgia pointed to a banana seat Schwinn bike in a vintage store and said 'remember our bikes?!' - first of all - the one she pointed to was a boys bike, the one with the cool shifter on the horizontal bar, and hand brakes.  I was the only one who had one of those banana seat bikes, obv mine was a girls bike, etc.  I dunno, maybe she thought she had lived with Greg Brady at some point.  I get it, the bike was evocative of the era in which we lived, but by the time I got MY bike, all the older sisters were DONE with bike riding.  I got my bike in 1969, Xmas - (oh ho ho!  I have the photo albums!)
The rest of any bikes that may have been purchased in previous years would have been early 60’s models, not the coolness that was MY bike.  She is rewriting history and Whoops.  I have found a picture of Georgia on the same type of bike, hers is red.  So, it was the two of us that had the same bike - I probably wanted one just like hers, actually.  But she does want to change our childhood into something it wasn't and that makes me tilt my head to the side like that dog in the RCA ads.
wha da fuq you sayin?
4.  One of my nieces who was there visiting had no clue that I was full blood sister to her mother - she thought my mom, who is our step-mother (except for Georgia and Leslie) was my blood mother.  Not that I am all AHHH!  TAINTED BLOOD!!  which, you know, kinda - but it tells me that things are not being told correctly, the truth is shrouded - it's all so weird.  (This nieces mother is one of my blood sisters.  It's like the Brady Bunch, 4 sisters are dad's, vs. 2 sisters are step-monster's).  Also this makes me feel more like I am on the outside, which I have been since the day I was born. 

~So that is the first day.  All of those were just little straws, and it took me until later that night to process all of this.  I was in the hotel room with Mike and I had this AH HA moment:

My mom is like a fish in a big aquarium to me.  I go to , and I have kept trying to talk to the fish - there is no way to get my voice heard through the glass, she doesn't understand me, they just keep swimming.  ALL OF MY LIFE I have been trying to communicate with a different species.  It isn't my fault that I can't get them to understand me, and that I can't understand them.  THEY ARE A DIFFERENT SPECIES THAN I AM.  It is impossible for us to understand each other or to communicate.  It isn't ME.  No matter how hard I try to be understanding, or gentle, or listen - I am never going to make any headway.  I have always thought it was because I was so weird, so crazy – there must be some logical reason I am on the outside, right?  So I gave up that night, I gave myself permission to give up!  And I knew it was the right decision because I felt so LIGHT and my hair was tingling and I was joyous.  I GAVE UP.  No more trying to talk to people who do not in any way speak my language.  Or any language close to it.  They are fish, I am human, there is no understanding a tuna.  Or a smelt.  And IT ISN’T ME. 

So that was my first apostrophe epiphany.
 (TW – this part of my apostrophe is for you): They all contributed to my being forced to the outside, at first it was modeled for them by the parents, and then later years up TO NOW EVEN they just continue to do it, to see what they want to see.  It is easier for them to keep me in that box even when faced with fact and irrefutable evidence.  To that I say whatever!  I AM FREE it feels so good to just wash my hands of them!
*there is more, this will need to be a 2-parter because the dogs have to pee*


  1. Great analogy! Yep, a different species. They keep putting you in the box because if you weren't playing the role of scapegoat then one of them would have to take it on, and they don't any role switching. Seems like the role of scapegoat is very important in dysfunctional families because they don't to acknowledge their own feelings, guilt, whatever. So as soon as you stop being their door stop then there will be a scramble to pick the successor to that role. Yucky stuff.

    Q's Sis

  2. Hm, I like the different species idea! Beam me up Scottie!

  3. They have no clue who you are at all: They've rigidly defined you in their minds and you're still, what? Six? Despite being confronted with the reality of the Adult you, they don't "see" a competent, autonomous "human bean." As you realize there's not a snowball's chance that's ever gonna happen. I'm so pleased you realize it's not you and it's never been you. In their minds, you're the same kid they stuffed in a darker than dark campground outhouse. Acceptance takes what it takes but when you felt that lightness that comes when you realize the futility of your efforts and just walk away? There it is. It's exhausting to try to get other's to see what they refuse to see. Your ability to accept without blaming and shaming yourself? IMO, that's huge.
    I bet Mike was pissed: Georgia is damn lucky he didn't go off on her.