You can’t pick your relatives. I wish there were some way I could gracefully bow out of the lives of some people while retaining a relationship with others, but I can’t. They’re a package deal. I have to figure out how to handle this and hoping one will die before the other one isn’t really the way to do it.
I wish my kids would recognize that it is unrealistic to expect a sibling to be like them, and quit with the anger and frustration when they are not. People are different, guys, the sooner you learn this and accept that just because someone is radically DIFFERENT doesn’t mean that they are WRONG. Sometimes they are wrong…like NAMBLA is every kind of wrong and those guys are different…but you know what I mean. Just because someone’s ambitions lie in a different direction is not a reason to get so angry and frustrated with them. You are also not required to be best friends, or even associate with them on a social level. So stop it.
You know, I read a lot of blogs, and many of them come across as really happy places, especially the cooking and crafting ones. It’s like “My life is so sunny and wonderful because I have lovely dishes and vintage silverware and see how pretty my monkey bread looks!” when my reality is nothing like that. My floors are ruined from several catastrophic water events and an incontinent dog…which also results in a certain veterinary funk. My family tends to put things down right where they’re at instead of putting it away where it belongs, and frequently I get fed up with doing it so I stop, and that results in piles and disorder. My husband has a job that sucks the life-giving marrow out of his soul.
I think currently one of the most frustrating things for me is that I listen and don’t talk. People like that. They like having someone listen to them and make sympathetic noises about their problems and that sort of thing, and that is something I do well. I was brought up that no one wants to know about my problems and it’s best to just be quiet and let the other person do the talking. Consequently, when I am having a problem, the only person I can talk to is the one I actually PAY to listen to me. My local friends don’t even know I am bipolar, because no one has stopped talking about themselves long enough to ask if everything is ok. I wish someone would ask *me* questions once in a while, would listen to *my* problems and make sympathetic noises or even just say “gosh,I didn’t know it was that bad, can I take you to lunch?” like I am always doing for them.
And the hell of it is,as I am reading over that last paragraph, is that is EXACTLY the sort of thing my parents were talking about when they would tell me to be quiet, no one is interested. “I, me, my…that’s all I ever hear out of you, say something interesting instead.” That’s what would be said to me as a child. I can’t express how awkward it felt to type that last paragraph, because “I, me, my” was bouncing around in my head.
But then that’s also the good thing about writing it down and putting it out there. There is no obligation for anyone to respond. I tell my kids to write things down when it’s bothering them, because it makes it into a concrete thing that they have power over. Instead of being this fluid concept sloshing around in their brain, it becomes words written down, and can be manipulated into something manageable. Yes, I wish I had someone to talk to, who would (when I did my usual trick of turning the conversation away from focusing on me) keep asking “how are you, what about this situation, how are you handling it, what about the kids,how do you feel about that…” which is totally what a paid therapist does, but they don’t go to lunch with you and you’re limited to 55 minutes.
Sometimes I just want to talk about what’s bothering me, and my upbringing won’t let me. I hate that. I suppose by recognizing it I ought to be able to get over it and feel more free to talk about what’s really bothering me. When I try to talk to Terry, he wants to fix it. He’s a man, they like to fix things. I understand that. He also carries a tremendous burden with work, and another concept that was drilled into my head is that the home is a refuge, and should not be a place of contention, strife, and stress. Which translates into “Keep it to yourself, Rootie, all things considered, your problems are trivial.” Which I recognize is probably silly, but there it is. Right up there with making sure my hair is combed and teeth brushed before leaving the bedroom in the morning.
so I am going to get dressed and put on a lovely Mom smile, and be that pillar of cheer, strength and wisdom everyone expects.