Mania. For how long? At least over a month, by my count. I am adrift on the sea of uncertainty, swishing around with the currents and tides. The paddle for this rowboat for one was swallowed up with one big gulp awhile ago. Or perhaps, I cast it into the water during a blind fit of rage. Events are just as hazy as the fog that rolls in an out daily, hourly. Time is mostly meaningless, and cannot be measured by any instruments known to this world. Or probably any other, for that matter.
Reflections are rippled, even on a still day like today, the first still day in recent memory. Still does not mean peaceful. Stillness is the absence of motion, the absence of Emotion. In is almost as if the sea, complete with the rowboat, has been contained in a stagnant bubble, frozen in time. The world continues, the linear path of time unbroken, and one can squint toward the vanishing point on the horizon. I am not a part of that anymore. I am separated from it all, with the absence of the ebb and flow of life.
The clock has stopped. The pendulum is still. It happened in the blink of an eye. In a moment, something great opened up with a mighty snap, expelled itself from me, and left me as a husk. Was it the emotional poison from my veins? Have the personas finally vacated my mind? Nothing exists save this deafening silence and this void. It is not a hollow, though some may accidentally interpret it as such. It is a vacuum, the absence of time, space, and matter.
Surreal. For as many times as I have wished, no, desperately desired to vacate my own existence, I had never considered how the lack of it would be experienced. Perhaps, somehow I had felt that I would simply disappear from the timeline entirely. Then, in some ethereal state, like in the shows and films, I could witness events rearrange themselves as if I had never lived. However, it has portrayed itself to be unlike any expectation I could conceive.
No, I am simply a token, a placeholder in my own life. I do not march in unison with others across the line, down the path, through all manners of terrain. When I speak, only wispy, stock phrases slip from my lips. I stare, my eyes unfocused watching all of the distortions in the fabric of reality ripple in and out. Little snags, where if one were to focus just hard enough, they could see into eternity. That is the trick. The human eye cannot look directly at it, or it will vanish. That is the nature of such distortions. Humans are not meant to see such things, as their minds are unable to comprehend the exact nature.
I am human, undoubtedly. At least, in this body I am, tethered to human limitations and bound by the laws of this world. As for my mind, well, I cannot say. It just seems so unlikely that a typical brain can observe the true reality, while remaining perfectly still. Since before my own memory began, a vague feeling occurred that if I were to cease to exist in the capacity that I do, meaning I had become a passive bystander to people and events, then the timeline would remain unchanged. As I am noticing, it has.
I do not refer to abandoning my duties, or having my physical form or presence removed or altered in any way. It is the indication of the concept that if I were to cease to exist in my present mind, then the world would continue, completely unchanged. It has, as long as I maintain daily routines. Mindless, involuntary actions, no critical thinking – cleaning, cooking, carrying on stock conversations.
Let it be said that no conversation here is without a presence of mind. In part, I remain here, even when the rest is largely, how should I put this? AWOL? No, because that insinuates that I am simply misplaced or even just displaced. It is most along the lines of voided.
It is not a matter of disinterest. My mother called me last night. I asked what she wanted, and she informed me that it had been several days since we talked. How many? I could not be sure how much time had passed. There is no measure within the nonexistence. At least three, possibly four. My memory failed me, and I had to check the day with her. Monday? Tuesday? I was intent on it being Tuesday. Monday, she asserted. Oh. And she enthusiastically invited my son and I to spend the afternoon with her and my father.
I was on the sofa. It was afternoon by then. There was a knock at the door, and my heart skipped a beat. People rarely visit my home before calling to ensure I was there and open to company. I peered through a slat in the blinds. All I could see was a mop of greyish, blondish hair below me. It took me a moment to recognize her. I opened the door and politely greeted her. I inquired as to what she wanted. Apparently, she had been trying to reach me on my phone, and she was getting nervous. I had forgotten about our engagement.
She excitedly took my sons hand, and I assured her I would join her in a moment. Leaving the house, even to go a couple hundred yards, takes enough preparation. I was unaware that an inappropriate amount of time had elapsed. My mother looked at me with a great deal of concern.
Nothing but a faint feeling of confusion. Where was the concern?
There is nothing wrong with me, because there is nothing about me.
Day 10 : Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
This is a rather difficult post, because most of the people that I could’ve written about in this topic were let go years ago throughout certain circumstances. A lot of things change when a person gets married, and even more so when a person has a child. Many people fall away, as a result of the social structure changing. Even so, many people were disassociated voluntarily, most through unfavorable circumstances. That being a marriage to a highly desired man. Or, a certain amount of jealousy toward my family and the woman no one expected me to become. And lastly, over interpersonal struggles that had been present for many years.
Plainly said, I don’t allow a person to exist in my life who does me harm.
With one exception.
Family. An antiquated notion anymore, and yet we all still are drawn to the traditional definition of such.
What is family? It has different meanings to different people. For some, especially many that were raised by people that are not related by blood, family are the people closest to you, care for you, and treat you as if you belong. They are the people who love you unconditionally, and would do anything to oversee your health, safety, well-being and general welfare.
For others, family are the people that are kin by blood, or by marriage through blood. These are the same people that share genetic matter with one another. It is the blood that bonds, and should generate those protective and loving emotions. The family contains a mother, father, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins (however distant), and grandmothers and grandfathers (however prefixed with great or otherwise). It is the hierarchy that provides the structure and governs the family system.
In this setup, certain rules of conduct exist. Family members are expected to treat others with a kind regard and respect at all times. Family members are not permitted to have all-out fights, as it insinuates contempt for another, and spells a potential of a deviation from the family. Although, if there is a deviation from the family system, that person is excluded, because they abandoned their duties to the family, meaning that they have not the love required. Family members are obligated to each other, even when there is a dislike between two members. Dislike can exist, but can never be expressed openly. And family members are private, to be kept within the family system. No outsiders.
The second is my family system. The family system that attempts to replicate those of 1950’s television families, and falls incredibly short. The reality of a family and the fantasy of the television family cannot intersect, because there is no commonality, except the tradition of family.
Now, I come from a heavy Scottish heritage. Scots are notorious for their clans and said allegiances. The thing about clans is that they are often family. And the thing about rival clans is that they are often family, too. They are several branches of family that had irreconcilable differences, due mostly to conflicting views and stubbornness against compromise. Scots are a proud people and intensely loyal. And that’s how a Scottish family system operated. Family looked out for each other, because if they didn’t, who would? And chances are, if you weren’t affiliated with a clan or didn’t follow a clan’s way, then you would be abandoned and left for dead.
What does this all have to do with someone I need to let go of? I need to let go of the antiquated version of family I grew up with. I need to expel the notions of the Cleaver family, and realize that it is nonexistent. Well, in my family anyway.
Everyone in this world has at least one secret desire that they know is absolutely impossible for them. That is exactly why it is a secret. One of my secret desires is to have family that unconditionally loves me, and treats me like I belong. I have always desperately wanted parents who treated me like they appreciated my individuality, and could come to terms with the fact that I am not the child they envisioned. I’ve always wanted them to be proud and express positive emotions toward me. I wanted loving parents, who weren’t afraid to say they love me, and show physical affection.
I wanted an extended family that I could really know. Scots are notorious for their huge families. I mean, that’s how you grow the clan, right? I have a huge extended family. I’ve stated this before, but my “sister” is not biologically my sister, from the same parents. We are related by blood as third cousins. Yes, my family is close enough that I know my third cousins. My son and her son will likely grow up as family, cousins, although according to the state of Pennsylvania, they are not related. (5th cousins. Who can say they know their 5th cousin?) But, as my extended family goes, my sister is the only one I continue to have a good relationship with.
I knew my Pappap. We had a fantastic relationship before he passed. I miss him. I really do. The anniversary of his death is coming up – 16 years ago. And he was the head of our clan. Hell, he was the head of two branches of our clan. (That’s how I know my sister’s family at all). And when he passed, the glue of our family started coming apart. He was the only thing that held it together.
But, just because my Pappap held the family together does not mean we were apart of each others lives. In fact, quite the contrary. My aunt, also serving in the capacity of my godmother, made the attempt. The fact was, she just didn’t like children. Another aunt of mine lived in distant California. Another aunt of mine was just too jealous of the fact that my mother had a daughter and she had two unruly boys. Another aunt of mine was a part of my life, and really was my friend. Until she met her now husband and moved away. Then, there was my young uncle, a bachelor and professional. He hardly made an appearance at any of these events. We were quite estranged for many reasons. Many that I couldn’t understand at the time.
As a teen, the question always lingered in my mind; Why don’t I belong in my own family? If I didn’t belong anywhere else in the world, why couldn’t I seem to fit into my family. In theory, there should have been a guaranteed spot where I would be accepted, understood, and loved unconditionally. But, as I grew more symptomatic, the more I was pushed away. The gap was noticeable at that point, and I came to the realization that I didn’t fit some kind of mould that was created for me. I wasn’t a lovely blonde girl with big blue eyes who spoke softly, smiled sweetly, and was brilliant in a humble way. I was something entirely different, almost monstrous.
It was at that time that I discarded any sentiments that I could fit in, because I knew it was just not possible for me. And I stopped trying. It actually inspired me to attempt to embody everything that was the opposite of what was expected of me. I didn’t want to conform, because I did not want to “belong” to anyone. Love should not have contingencies, and I should not be expected to be anyone but myself. That should be more than good enough to people who call themselves “family” to me.
That does not mean I discarded my longing for family. Family are the people who love you, no matter what. Feats or failures. Achievements or disappointments. They are the people who help you, not out of obligation, but because they really want to see you in a better place. They don’t judge you. They don’t hold grudges or debts. Family should be the people that are guaranteed confidants, supports, fail safes, and friends.
I longed for parents who would provide me with support, affection, and guidance. I longed for grandparents who would fawn over me, and lend me wisdom. I longed for cousins that could be friends. I so desperately desired aunts and uncles that could teach me about life, give insight on my parents and adulthood in general, and be confidants. Instead, I got parents that berated me for being me, and gave up on parenting altogether when I turned seventeen, because in truth, they didn’t really want to be parents at all. I lost my grandfather young, and ended up with a grandmother who was indifferent to her grandchildren. (According to my mother, she was indifferent to most of her children too. I don’t take that personally). I had cousins who held a grudge because I was “the baby” and the only girl on this coast. My eldest cousin resented me for having the responsibility for looking after me during family events and vacations. I had an aunt who despised my existence, and another who attempted to use me as a surrogate child, and later decided she wasn’t cut out for kids.
And between all of these people, throughout the years, silent grudges and resentment started opening up. I had realized that I was caught by accidental crossfire, but it hurt just the same. All of the trauma still follows me, and I’ve felt like the only resolution would be to have that ideal family.
I need to let the notion of family go. The only way to resolve that trauma is to understand that definition of family is not the only definition of family. I didn’t have a mother for guidance. I stumbled around adolescence and had to find my way to womanhood alone. I didn’t have a father in the traditional “daddy’s little girl” sense. I had a dictator, who wasn’t much of a male role model for later men in my life. I had to fumble my way around dating and men myself. And in the end, I still ended up with a man much like my father, without the hands-on approach to family.
I need to give up on the idea that my parents will suddenly become parents, even though their sudden appearance as grandparents gave me false hope. They are who they are, and they’ll always regard me as the person I am, no matter how much I grow and change. My mother said to me, with a sigh, “I see a lot of myself in you. A lot of the things that you tell me about your . . . mind, it rings a bell.” It gave me false hope. It gave me this idea that she would become my mother and help me in hard times of my marriage and parenting. But, I know she won’t. My father will never be a father to me. He hardly ever was. He is at least a friend now, anyway. But, he’ll never brag to his friends about his beautiful, intelligent, talented daughter. He’ll never express pride or admiration toward me. Neither of them will.
That’s the way it is. I need to let go of my family and let it be what it is, instead of hoping that it will suddenly turn into something it never was, and never will be.
How do you describe bipolar disorder to others who do not have it?
Most of the population experiencing bipolar disorder have heralded it as something “people can’t fully understand unless they have been through it.” Being a member of that group, I can wholeheartedly agree. In my personal attempts to convey the complexity of bipolar disorder to a non-Dx person, I have found myself at a loss for words that would do it justice. Describing emotions is putting the intangible into context.
Even when I am successful at touching upon the idea, I am largely incapable of even scratching the surface. The intensity, duration, debilitation, and so many other aspects seem to get lost in translation. Non-Dx people are mystified. “I feel those things, too.” Every human being has emotions akin to those that are experienced within the spectrum of bipolar disorder. Non-Dx people cannot wrap their heads around the magnitude of what creates the dysfunction. “I can control them. Why can’t you?”
Frustration ensues. Such miscommunication is an extreme aggravation. Tempers may flare. “It’s not the same thing!” It’s the same animal of a different color. In essence, similarities can be drawn, but a fault line exists between the two.
I am empathetic to the plight of a person who suffers with bipolar disorder. I have experienced the rage that boils when I feel as if I a being dismissed or preemptively judged against an unjust standard. The words above send me into elevations, like a volcano spitting lava high into the sky. At this precise moment, communications break down entirely. All hope is lost. If the villagers don’t evacuate now, total destruction is eminent.
On the other hand, using descriptive language devoid of passion fails to drive the point home. To a non-Dx person, it is any regular conversation. Words are words. It does not have the demonstrative power of action. However, action is often misinterpreted more so than words. Too many questions arise. Why? Now, we’re right back where we started.
And extreme action is likely to be met with animosity or apathy. It is ironic that when a person has a severe bipolar episode, others often fall short of providing the appropriate responses. I’ve often encountered loved ones who laid certain claims; “I am not going to tolerate this behavior.” – “Get a grip.” – “I refuse to talk to you when you’re like this.” – “Get over it.” – “Are we going to go through this, again?” Resentment. That is what perpetuates throughout repeated episodes.
The schism between people with bipolar disorder an non-Dx people grows in breadth and depth. Communication is endangered, if not completely extinct. Isolation begins, and episodes worsen. Without a support system, a non-Dx person is likely to crumble. A support system that is non-existent in the life of a person with bipolar disorder is the quickest route to utter annihilation of oneself.
I have been there. Then, I managed to navigate my way back again.
Back to the original question. How do you describe bipolar disorder to a person that doesn’t have it?
In my experience, I have worked it out. Non-Dx people do have strong emotions. These are in response to serious situations. To them, they are overwhelming; to me, it would knock me flat.
I allow the non-Dx person to draw the comparison between emotions. It is a good jumping point, although it is likely meant as a retort coming from their end. “This is not an argument. This is a discussion,” I remind myself repeatedly when tempers start to flare. I continue with the following points:
My brain chemistry is unique in the way that I become particularly reactive. That is one of many facets of bipolar disorder. Extreme sensitivity to situations that provoke strong emotion.
This may be met with a usual, “Grow a thicker skin.” or “Let it slide.”
Recall a situation where you felt strongly about something. Like, when someone very close to you died. Or, you lost your job. Or, you found out that the love of your life cheated on you.
Weren’t you very distraught? Even extremely sad?
Imagine having those feelings arise without cause. Then, consider what it would be like to live months like that.
That is how I relate depression. Extreme feelings of worthlessness, sadness, and despair for long periods of time.
For hypomania, I continue like this:
Now, remember a time where you felt the best you ever did. You got a promotion or bought your first car or house. Maybe the day your spouse said yes to your proposal or the day you got married.
Yeah, those were some great times.
Now, think of what it would be like to feel that way for a long time.
That sounds awesome!
Sure, but think of a time where you were the most angry you could ever be. Someone you love lied to you or stole from you. A co-worker betrayed you and threw you under the bus. Your boss unjustly blamed you. Think of a time where you just wanted to scream and break things.
That’s the other side of the feeling good. It is being really irritable or angry constantly for a long time.
Oh, that’s not good.
No. But that’s not all. What would it be like to never really know for sure how you’re going to feel? Pretty scary, maybe? And worse, you may never know how long you’re going to feel that way.
That’s part of living life with bipolar disorder. Did you ever have a time that you did or said something you regret because you lost control for a minute?
That’s what an episode is like. Struggling for control, every single day, because you can’t help the way you feel.
It puts the person in your shoes for a second. It helps them cultivate an understanding of the intensity and duration of human emotion that creates the dysfunction. This dysfunction has a name. It’s called bipolar disorder.
Now, I want to know. How have you gone about relating your disorder to others? It doesn’t have to limited to bipolar disorder. Non-Dx people and people of different Dx’s all have trouble relating to disorders. How do you explain what you experience?
Day 4 : Something you have to forgive someone for.
In years past, my relationship with my parents was far beyond dysfunctional. Although we are building a mutually respectful relationship as adults, I do not feel as if I am considered a daughter. I am a family friend, the mother of their grandson. That extraordinarily detrimental relationship created a schism too great to have a distinct parent-child relationship. I have resigned myself to the notion that I will never be my parents daughter, and they will never be my mother and father.
I have touched upon the subject in prior posts, One Day, I’m Going to Grow Wings, Spitting Fire, and The Real Demons. Mostly, I fear I will remain unable to absolve them of the responsibility for the suffering they caused me, directly and indirectly.
I have to question every aspect of my childhood. The problem arises, because I don’t remember the greater majority of my childhood prior to age twelve. I could never figure out the reason for such an impenetrable block. It was only very recently that I discovered the numerous reasons for such incredible repression.
My brother has moderate autism. My mother was a raging alcoholic. And my father is a war veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. As if that wasn’t dysfunctional enough, it accumulated into an overall bad home life. I have fragmented memories, drudged up by raising my own son.
My father was largely absent prior to age twelve. Most of his time was spent in the psychiatric ward in the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital. And when he released back home, he isolated himself from the family. I was far too young to understand what was happening. All I knew was that my daddy was sick, and he was never going to get any better. To me, it felt like my daddy didn’t love me. He didn’t love any of us.
required special accommodations. I was lonely, and felt as if I were nonexistent to them. Completely transparent in their world. I did everything I could for recognition. My grades were perfect, and my standardized scores were well into the 98th percentile. I had taught myself my instrument in one summer and My parents were busy handling my brother. He had special needs that ]gained first chair. My attendance in Sunday School was spotless, and I was a devout Episcopalian. What more could a parent ask for in their own daughter?
All of these achievements bred resentment among my classmates, and they alienated me from their social groups. My mother made it crystal clear when I was just a little girl that she had no desire to play with me. My brother was nowhere near my level of functioning to participate in games. I spent many nights in solitude, alone in my room with only my dolls and stuffed animals.
When I began middle school, I finally began to make friends. It was the best thing that ever happened to me! Finally, I wouldn’t be so alone. I was incredibly enthusiastic about the prospect of friendship and all of the wonderful kinship it entailed.
It was short lived. Only a year later, I began to suffer my first symptoms of bipolar disorder.
And that is the precise time my father emerged from his decade long hibernation. The man was disgusted with everything about me. He was certainly a far cry from shy about vocalizing his opinions. The criticisms ranged from my appearance, to my friends, to my music, and my hobbies. I was hurt. It was more evidence to strengthen my theory of his lack of love for me, as I was, instead of his idea of me.
I was also enraged. Who was he to come bursting into my life after so many years of absence?
He was merciless in his punishments. The greater majority of my teen years were spent incarcerated in the very same room I was isolated in as a girl. These were typically for minor infractions – “talking back” (which I considered to be expressing an opinion), disrespect, messy room, “feigning illness”, lying, etc. All because I wanted some independence and to assert myself as an individual.
In heated arguments, he would rough me up. He was careful not to do this when my mother was around, or leave any evidence. One time, I called him an asshole. Insistently, he got in my face and demanded I take a free swing at him. I refused. It would only provide him with an opportunity to lay his hands on me.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter. He grabbed my throat in one hand and pinned me against the wall, and lifted me high into the air. I tried to scream, but there was not enough air in my lungs. He screamed in my face, leaving me soaked in spit. He let me go, and I crumpled to the ground, nearly in tears.
I won’t cry. I won’t give him the satisfaction.
My mother found an even better excuse to take figurative and literal swings at me. She’d get belligerently drunk and deliberately provoke me. I would attempt escape, but there was nowhere to go. I wasn’t even allowed the privacy of a door on my room.
There was an instance where she followed me around the house, insulting me as I went. I begged her to leave me alone. I attempted escape to somewhere, anywhere I could possibly manage in the house. I ended up heading to my room, of course. She taunted me, saying, “You’re just a lot of fucking talk, you little bitch. I’ll teach you a lesson about that mouth of yours.”
She swung at me, and caught me across my right jaw. Instinctively, I pulled my right hand back, and swung down toward her face, backhanding her as hard as I could. Disoriented by the blow, she stumbled backward, nearly falling down a flight of stairs. (It wasn’t the first time, and wouldn’t be the last). I grabbed her arm and pulled her forward to standing.
A look of shock and malice spread across her face as she spewed, “Just wait until I tell your father.”
So many things were said. Hurtful, awful things.
This is not a democracy. This is a dictatorship, and I’m the dictator!
I wish you were never born!
How dare you defy me, you little bitch!
Go on! Run up to your room and play that gloomy noise you call music. I dare you to cut yourself! Cut to your hearts content, I don’t give a shit!
You are the little bitch that ruined my life!
Go on out there and be the little slut that you are.
I am ashamed to even take you out in public.
If it weren’t for you, your father and I would never fight. You’re going to tear our family apart. I hope you’re happy.
These haunting words still have a faint echo in certain corridors of my mind.
I cried out for help. I was dismissed as spoiled, going through a phase, and attention-seeking. I did need attention. By the time I was in high school, I had attempted suicide twice and was cutting at least weekly. And still, they turned a blind eye to it. I had to force their hand to get the help I needed. I can’t help but feel if they were more involved, they would have noticed my behavior was amiss. They failed to get me diagnosed correctly.
For a great duration, I held them accountable for my screwed up mind. In my eyes, all of the neglect and abuse made me crazy. I went on to have dysfunctional and abusive relationships. I was devoid of self-esteem and vulnerable. My baggage would have been too much to check at the airport.
As I have grown, I have come the realization that certain things were beyond their capacity for parenting. They could not have been better parents, given the circumstances. It’s not as if there weren’t moments where they tried. By that point, the damage had been done.
I have tried desperately to forgive them for those awful behaviors. But, each time I find myself getting close, another hurtful experience comes to pass, reviving old memories that I relive in my mind over and over again. Some scars will never fade. I can never forget. But perhaps, one day, I will have the capacity to forgive all of their wrongdoings.
Warning: The following footage may be disturbing in nature. Viewer discretion is advised.
This was so disturbing to me that I started shaking and crying. The abuse, both physical, verbal, and emotional, was so graphic that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I know what it feels like to have a parent hit me and tell me that I’m bad. But, I’ve never been brutilized to that extreme in that fashion.
I could only imagine it. The horror, the pain. Both parents were ganging up on her, hitting her with full force in the front and back of her legs, thighs, and buttocks with this belt. I know there were excrutiating welts. He probably hit her so much and so hard that she bled. There was nowhere to run to, and nowhere to hide. And seemingly, no one to confide in, since this video was taken in 2004 and has only recently emerged at the end of 2011.
In the video, the father is standing over his daughter screaming about how she used to be a nice little girl and now she’s disobedient, lying, and stealing. He screamed about how she would be grounded for six months. And even worse, they wouldn’t even let her sleep in her own bed. The bedroom is a child’s sanctuary. He violated her in more ways than one. All of that struck a nerve with me.
I grew up feeling unloved because of abusive situations. I have had problems as an adult with self-worth, self-esteem, and self-love. It helped create a hole inside of me and gave me a faulty foundation to build my life on. It took a lot of years to undo that damage. I’m not claiming my parents were vicious and intent on harming me. I don’t think they even really knew the damage that they were doing until it was too late.
This is not about me. This is about justice. Worse, an article on Seattlepi.com announces that the these were regular attacks and the mother claims to have been brainwashed by her husband, William Adams, who she claims had a secret addition.
Bull@#$*! The most horrifying part of the video was the fact that the mother was in on it. I’m calling you out, Hallie Adams! Brainwashed is the lamest excuse I have ever heard for abusing your child. Shame on you!
I am a mother. I would put myself between that child and that belt any day of the week. And likely, I’d find the heaviest thing in that room to crack him over the head with. If you are any kind of decent mother in the entire world, you would lay your life down for you child. I have bipolar disorder, and even on my most vicious day, I never hit my child.
Nor would I ever allow anyone to harm my child. That wasn’t just a spanking. That was violent, malicious, merciless beating. In the article, it states that the police are investigating whether there was a crime or not. EXCUSE ME?! This is video evidence of severe child abuse! She was 16-years-old! They will lock mothers up whose children are above or below a certain percentile in weight calling it “neglect”, but they won’t punish parents who are videotaped brutilizing their child?!
Judge William Adams should be stripped of his authority and at least do a little time. Then maybe, he’ll know what it felt like when he made his own daughter sleep on a hard sofa in a public room. And as for Hallie Adams, for shame. I don’t know whether she should even face punishment. I think being publically humiliated as the second worst mother in the country, next to Casey Anthony, might be appropriate enough. At least we don’t actually know if Casey Anthony did it or not. Hallie Adams is immortalized on Youtube. (For now, anyway).
There is a special place in Hell for parents who intentionally harm their own children.
I started this off in One Day, I’m Going To Grow Wings. I’ll provide a brief synopsis. When referring to my mother, there should probably be another word accompanying it. Really, if you want the entire story, please review the referenced post.
So, to continue this saga, we’ll open up Lulu’s family history. My father is a disabled Vietnam Veteran with PTSD. My brother has disabling Autism. So, that makes my mother a dependent homemaker.
“I (bleeping) hate that woman. If my dad dies before her, I’m going to let her rot on this Earth until she dies. And then she can burn in hell,” I wrote in a text message to C.S. this morning after my first conversation with her. I mean it.
Rewind. My mother is second born of my grandmother’s six children. Of those six children, three remain in Allegheny County. One continued to live with her and my Pappap. Pappap was ten years older than my grandmother, and he passed away 15 years ago after a ten year battle with prostate cancer. That makes my grandmother 85.
My mother was my Pappap’s favorite and my grandmother’s least favorite as a result. And since Pappap was always away on the railroad, and my mother’s older sister was always in the hospital on the cusp of death, that made my mother mostly head of the household. Yes, responsible for all of the cooking and cleaning for all of the kids my grandmother kept popping out. This was during the fifties and sixties. So, of course, my grandmother’s last little girl was her favorite and has resided with her ever since.
Are you still with me?
The people in that family are the most mentally unhealthy people on the planet. No exaggeration. These people can seriously not even see the big, pink, suede elephant in the middle of the room, because they are that good at denying it’s existence. They have enough guilt to start their own religion. And in the same line of thinking, you know what my family needs? A big wooden cross! Everyone resents each other but keeps them under each other’s thumbs in the name of family. A little box of lies wouldn’t cut it; they need a whole bleeping warehouse! The air is so heavy with secrets that the walls actually can talk. Except they’re too afraid to.
I’d like to point out that I’m really not exaggerating this at all.
That brings us to the last week in July during my extended absence just before Alternate Realities. Summer semester had just come to a close, I was In lay-off status, so I was at home all day with T.D. I was at my parent’s house with T.D. when they got the call. Apparently, my grandmother had called my aunt (Abby) at work hysterically begging her to come home. In turn, AB calls the Rents and asks them to stay with GiGi for the remainder of her work day because she couldn’t stay. So, naturally, they rushed off.
That’s when Abby finally revealed to the rest of the family that GiGi has been mentally deteriorating badly. We had suspected as much when another aunt (Accy) flew in from California at the beginning of the year for a visit but didn’t leave for two months. But all potentially embarrassing information is provided on a need-to-know basis. You know, because the potential of senility is really mortifying. Especially when it is presenting with hallucinations and delusions. But, in my family it is more important to save face than to admit it, and go to the doctor.
This afternoon visit turned into daily eldersitting, which turned into my mother accompanying GiGi to doctor’s appointments. Eventually, they ended up at a geriatric doctor who handed down the diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. In short, GiGi had been suffering from a combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’s for over six months. At least, those are the six months that we know about.
Last week, I got called back to start work today. I asked my mother if she was watching Trent. I pressed the issue and all I got was a pathetic, “I don’t know, I don’t know!”. When I pressed some more, she gave a lofty sigh and said, “I guess I’ll have to work it out.”
Today came. It got around 11AM and I figured that I would call since I hadn’t heard anything.
I asked, “So what’s the plan?”.
She replied, “What plan?”
I said, “To watch T.D.”
She answered indignantly, “I don’t know what you me to do.”
I tried to keep the peace. I calmly said, “I have to go to work. I have professional training that I cannot miss.”
She let out another sigh. I heard her ask my father in the background, “Would you be OK with watching T.D. today?”. He easily agreed. She continued, “He’ll look after him through Friday but I don’t know what do after that. We could get Accy to fly out but it won’t be until the end of the month at the earliest.””
“Mom,” I said, “you and Abby need to start facing facts. GiGi isn’t going to get better. Something has to happen here.”
She snarled, “That’s my mother and your grandmother you’re talking about.”.
“Fine, I’ll have him ready for Dad at 2:15. Bye.”
I was ready to explode. How dare she put me in that position?! I asked her for a whole week if she could do it. And she was backing out at the last minute, claiming that I couldn’t care less for GiGi, because I was selfishly shoving my kid on her so that I could have a job. The same woman who complained for the last month that she was the only child that had to bear this burden after GiGi had treated her like garbage throughout her entire life.
It wasn’t about that. I could have worked something out last week! I absolutely cannot miss these seminars and trainings. My job hangs in the balance. And I can’t afford to quick my job; we depend on that income.
I took the reins. I called friends and made arrangements. I was still enraged, so I took it upon myself to have another conversation with her.
I growled, “After Friday, you won’t have to worry about T.D. anymore. I have that covered. So don’t you worry about it being your problem.”
She responded, in her most innocent voice, “I told you that I couldn’t.”
“No! You went on and on for a month saying, (in a whiny voice)’I don’t know, I don’t know.’! And then you screw me at the last possible minute! I could have worked this out last week! I have to work! You seem to think that with two working adults in this house that we’re rolling in the cash! Guess what?! We’re broke! We can’t afford for me not to work! And guess what?!
Eventually, you are going to be stuck spoon feeding GiGi and changing her spoiled diapers. Enjoy turning a blind eye to the future, and patronizing everyone, because she isn’t going to get better! I hope you’re happy!
I’ll call Dad later. Bye.”
She deserved it. It was a long time coming. She stood by and watched as my father physically and emotionally absued me. She knew I was cutting for two years and turned a blind eye until the school got involved. She would get belligerently drunk and instigate fights with me. She got drunk the night of my homecoming dance. She didn’t bother to stop my dad from kicking me out because I got a tongue piercing. She got drunk the day of my 18th birthday party that she made my Dad drag me to and then told the whole family what a horrible daughter I was. She made a circus out of my wedding. She hid the fact that I got pregnant three months before my wedding. She outright refused to throw me a baby shower.
I thought I could forgive her for all of that. It was a long time ago. But every new knock brings up those terrible memories.
Do you know the last time she hugged me or told me that she loved me? Right after my blood pressure tanked when I was having T.D., almost three years ago.
Today, she acted like she bought T.D. a toy and Wendy’s. What bull. She didn’t get back until six. I knew it was Dad who took him out today. She told C.S. this when he picked him up. Because, I refuse to be within 50 yards of her. I want nothing to do with her. And after Friday, I won’t have to.
Let down again
Let down again
Let down again
You know, you know where you are with
You know where you are with
Floating, bouncing back
And one day….
I am going to grow wings
A chemical reaction
Hysterical and useless
Let Down – Radiohead
Normally, I am not a fan of disclaimers. When looking at them from a psychological perspective, they are an affirmation of what is actually being said, instead of the deceit a person is trying to convey. For instance, phrases like, “I don’t want to be rude, but”, and “I’m not a (insert adjective), but”. The truth is in the disclaimer.
However, I must use one for these purposes, because these words and ideas may be misinterpreted. I do not blame my parents for all of my problems. I am well aware that I have the ability to be cognizant of and control my thoughts and subsequent behaviors. I pride myself on the self-control that I exhibit. These people are supposed to exist as part of my support system, and they parade around as such. It’s the martyr’s game. When push comes to shove, they always pull the net when I’m falling.
Here are the three most recent examples. November 2010, my husband and I were both offered employment at the same time. This had never occurred before. I went to my mother, overjoyed that I was offered this dream job. (My mother is a homemaker). I asked her if she would be willing to watch T.D. for the five hours that I’d be out of the house. She came up with a million flimsy excuses until I offered to pay her. And then, over the course of the school year, she paraded my son around the neighborhood under the guise that she was this amazing, selfless grandmother.
The possibility of being employed in the summer program came up. I was ecstatic. I mentioned this to my mother expecting the usual stoic response. Basically, she was rooting against me because she didn’t me to ruin her summer plans.
When it was first determined that I was not going to be employed for the summer program, she was overjoyed. Then, three days before camp started, I got a message inviting me to teach. And she once again, begrudgingly, took on the selfless task of caring for her grandchild. With the monetary bonus, of course.
Now, we are coming upon the school year once again. I had worked it out that T.D. would have services in the morning, get dropped off at preschool in the afternoon, and be picked up and taken into the care of my parents for the remaining time. Apparently, that was not on the agenda, although it was discussed at the beginning of the summer.
They never fail to let me down.
Our lives are so intertwined in terms of T.D. having strong affections for them, and us living on family property. I want to distance myself from these people as much as I possibly can. They are absolutely toxic.
My mother is a ridiculous and belligerent alcoholic. My father and I do not have a father / daughter relationship; I might as well be the mother of his grandson and nothing else. My parents offer no love or support without a price tag. And I can’t stand to be surrounded with such dysfunction.
I can’t believe I thought I could trust them. I can’t believe I thought I could trust anyone. (There’s some things going on in my social group involving disloyalty).
I’m ready to wall it up again. It’s easier this way.
I’m open to stories and suggestions.