Sunday, September 25, 2011

Running away

I do a lot of abandoning social groups.  I was nearly raped on the last day of school my sophomore year.  I didn't go back to that school.  I couldn't deal with facing him.  He was one of the most popular boys in our social group because his parents were the richest.  I stopped hanging out with theater people when I broke up with Stephen.  That's his world.  I stopped hanging out at bdsm events when I broke up with Tom.  I stopped going to the public sex community after Nathan raped me.

Nathan raped me when I was 24.  I was teaching already.  I just stopped going out.  I won't go to an event unless I have someone going with me.  Apparently I'm not safe alone.

I return heavily to this idea that I'm not safe.  I'm not safe.  I'm not safe.  There are pieces of my brain that tell me this fear is irrational.  There are much bigger parts of my brain that laugh hysterically at the idea that it is irrational for me to feel unsafe.  I have been proven unsafe so many fucking times that it is no longer an irrational fear.  It is a justified, rational, reasonable fear.  I hate myself for having it.  I feel like I am a coward and a wimp.

I let these men chase me off.  I felt like I couldn't exist in the same space as them any more once I stopped fucking them.  I was no longer worthy.  Or something like that.  Don't shit where you eat.  Don't sleep with too many people in a social group.  It goes badly.  So I leave.

I assume that most awkward conversations are my fault because I am such an asshole.  If I was just nicer I would magically get along with people and I would stop having this constant stream of awkward moments.  I would stop feeling like I am harming people by existing near them.

There are parts of living with Sarah that I haven't written about much yet.  Sarah is disabled.  A fairly large percentage of why I pushed for this to happen right now is because it isn't safe for her to live alone any more, in my opinion.  And she loves me enough to move to a different state and deal with living with me because my opinion matters to her.  I'm not sure that she believes she is at the state where she can not/should not live alone, but I pretty much am.  She needs help. I need help.  This seems like a marriage made in heaven.

I have lived with people who were disabled before.  I have a very firm mental concept of "There are things you can ask them to do and there are things you simply can't ask."  We are dancing around that.  We are trying to figure what I can ask for how, how often, at what intensity...  It's hard.  Because I hit Sarah's limits.  And then I feel surges of anger, guilt, shame, overwhelm, and then I settle on being bitter because everyone except for me gets to have limits.

Of course this is hyperbole.  I have limits.  These days I'm even announcing when I approach them and I no longer have to grit my teeth till they crack.  It's fucking nice being allowed to have limits.  But Sarah's are in different places than mine.  So are Noah's.  I am the only one in this house who can just handle the kids all the time.  I can do it 24/7.  I'm not nice, but I can do it.  I'm not sure Noah could do it for long without hitting someone.  Sarah can't do it because she's on medications that make her too groggy to be the only responsible adult at times.

So I have to step in.  I don't know why that makes me angry.  I want to be the Mom.  I want to be the one who is the most important person ever.  I love that my kids are so attached to me.  (This is when I want to do a string of MDC smilies to indicate that truly, I do like my kids.  Those smileys are dangerous.)  I, however, don't like that I feel I have to justify liking my kids.  Why do I assume that people will think that I secretly hate my kids?  I get frustrated with them.  I need long breaks in order to be patient enough because Shanna is in a hitting phase.

I feel bad because sometimes I feel like I want to run away.  Yesterday Noah and I went out on a date.  Sometimes it feels like time away from the kids just makes me resent coming home to them more.  I'm not done having fun.  Why do I have to stop having fun so that I can come home and start doing laundry and dishes and picking up the floor.  Fuck all of you.

I'm starting to have trouble with the amount of cleaning.  I think that I will sign up for SitterCity today and send out messages to people.  There are folks looking for housekeeping jobs who are ok with doing some nannying at the same time.  If I'm going to be a rich person, I might as well use my resources.  I can't keep up with the five of us and be a nice person.  I resent everyone too much.  I spent hours yelling at Noah yesterday.  He has stuff.  He occasionally leaves it in piles in places that feel random and cluttery to me.  He doesn't have much stuff any more.  He doesn't leave that many piles.  But dear god did I flip out because one of them was in the wrong spot and I am sick of having to fucking move his shit around so that I don't feel bothered by the visual clutter.  Of course, Noah is less than 10% of the picking up I do.  He's fairly tidy.  He does a lot of dishes.

Who else can I yell at though?  I really am at maximum capacity on how much I yell at Shanna to clean. I should probably back off.  Calli, well, even I'm not that stupid.  Yelling at Sarah feels patently unfair because on the days she feels well she works  But she has a lot of days where she doesn't feel well and she doesn't get much done.  I really can't turn around and shame her because she has physical limitations due to a disability.  In my little constellation of sins harassing someone who is disabled because they don't do more is like walking over to your neighbors house and kicking the dog to death because you are sick of barking.  It's just not ok.  Not in any way.

But it doesn't stop me from getting angry that I have to do the work.  I'm sure this is complicated by old stuff.  We babied Tommy.  There were a lot of things he "could" do for himself that he out and out refused.  As his baby sister I was expected to just do it.  I had nothing better to do, I should therefore be on call to help him as needed.  Right?  That didn't go well.

For all that I kind of vaguely canonize Aunt Vonnie, it's not like she parented in a way that produced happy healthy people.  All three of her children are financially dependent on her due to health issues.  Her oldest has Lupus and just hasn't done much of anything for over a decade.  Her second child was in a motorcycle accident.  He's a paraplegic.  Her youngest has diabetes and stomach problems and mental problems and he lets his girlfriend (finally wife!) support him.  She has for 20 years.  I'm not sure how she manages given that she periodically has brain tumors and can't function for long periods because she's not doing so hot.

I'm used to people who cannot do work because they are "sick".  In my family there are a lot of disabled people.  They don't take care of themselves well.  They dump all of the work in their lives on people around them even in ways they could manage.  I have decades of pent up anger around being forced to serve people who can fucking well do it for themselves.  Nearly anything can touch this off.

It's not ok for me to be mad at Sarah all the time.  I'm not, but I don't want to start being.  I don't want to be angry at Sarah 40% of the time.  Not really even 20% of the time.  Sarah works as hard as she can all day long.  She is not a shirker.  She feels horrible guilt for the ways in which she is incapable of being more help.  I don't need to shame her.  I get the impression she does it to herself.  I don't need to be one more voice in her head being an asshole.

But it's hard to have to do all the work.  Our pediatrician asked if it was better or worse with a disabled adult in the house.  It's an astute question.  There is a balance.  I told her that it is immeasurably better, even with the extra work.  One of the biggest things Sarah does is she makes dinner 5/7 nights.  One night we eat out.  Noah and I balance the other night.  I no longer have to make it through every stressful day and start a big messy difficult for me to think about project right when the kids are melting down.  I cannot express what a difference this makes in every single day.

And even on Sarah's worst days she can handle giving me thirty minutes in the garage.  I get to rest now.  I get to have personal time fairly randomly.  I get to take off and "go get something" from the store without loading the kids every single time.  And Sarah does clean.  It would be an asshole move to not mention that loudly right now.  She does clean.  But not 1/3 of the household cleaning, you know?  I don't know what percentage she does, but I don't split the work evenly with Noah and Sarah.  I'll say that.  I was never truly intended to.  They have other issues on their plate.  It is appropriate that I do the lions share of household chores right now.  I am the person who is in the house the most who is most physically able to do it.

This is when I wish I was a socialist instead of a libertarian.  I wish I felt happier about the whole, "Everyone works according to their ability and takes according to their needs" thing.  I fucking resent it. I feel like I'm carrying the whole world.  I'm not.  And things will improve dramatically when Shanna gets over her current throwing phase.  But then Calli will move into it.  Sigh.

I was taught that running away is a good solution to most problems.  I no longer believe that.  I believe that the good solution is to find some kind of balance in my life so that no one in my family feels inappropriately burdened.  There is a lot of work to be done in life.  Shared work is light work.  I'm trying to change my attitude and I'm only moderately successful.  Bugger.

If I got to pick how I felt about housework it would be resignation.  I will have to do 1-2 hours of housework every day for the rest of my life.  It's not because I'm oppressed.  It's because there's a lot of work to be done in a family.  It's hard being the Mom.

When I get angry about housework it centers in my stomach.  All of a sudden I feel like I swallowed a bubble of acid and all of a sudden it breaks.  My whole stomach clenches and my torso burns.  It doesn't really even just feel like my stomach.  It feels like the anger, stress, and frustration I feel is consuming me from the inside.  I'm really tired of feeling this way.  I'm tired of the Anger Stage.  

I'm tired of my mental health costing us over a thousand dollars a month.  It feels so very wasteful.  How in the world can I be worth this constant oceanic current of money?  Wouldn't it just be cheaper to run away?

And we come full circle.

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading a fantastic book called The Dark Side of Love - The Positive Role of Our Negative Feelings - Anger, Jealousy and Hate by Jane G. Goldberg.

    Her theme of the whole book is that the negative emotions are NOT a problem whatsoever. Feeling Anger, Jealousy and Hate is not the problem. Acting out these feelings in behaviors are not healthy. But, the point is NOT to deny the feelings. Denying these feelings are what lead to illness.

    Here's some quotes:

    Hate is neither evil nor malignant, or even necessarily dangerous, as we are wont to believe. It is only when hate is translated into destructive action that it becomes evil. Hate, as a feeling, is part of our human condition. It is part of the very fabric of our emotional makeup. It is absolutely inescapable. Yet, few of us have any training or any experience in the constructive management of our feelings of hate. The ability to recognize hate-to feel it as well as detect it, is an essential ingredient in the building of what I call a strong psychological immune system."

    "As a culture, we have come to believe that hate and all of its manifestations aren't loveable and that we won't be lovable if we allow them expression. We have been taught to hate our hate."

    "Hating our hate has profound negative consequences. Hating our hate is a part of ourselves, a part that gives us valuable information about who we are, the world around us, and the intersection between the two."

    It IS okay to be mad, angry, hate the circumstances right now.

    The problem I always had was stuffing the anger and the frustration until it reached epic proportions...then I blew.

    I also thought it was a bad thing to hate my kids once in a while. It's not. Kids do the most obnoxious things. Love can absolutely coexist with hate.

    "In order to get early training in the acceptability of hate, we, as children, need to feel hated by our parents but without being treated hatefully by them. As shocking as this idea sounds, there is ample evidence that children who are not exposed to constructive hate- hate that is felt but not acted upon- will be damaged in their ability to handle their own hate and the hate of others towards them.

    There are many good reasons to hate children. Children are at time hateful children. They can be sadistic, manipulative, threatening, and destructive."

    Wow. Someone actually is giving me permission to hate people, and to hate my kids occasionally.

    I started talking to my kids a while ago that it was okay to be angry at me. That being angry at me doesn't mean that they've stopped loving me. Kids have this intrinsic belief that you should ALWAYS love your parents.

    Feelings that are allowed out don't fester. Feelings that have to be suppressed build up.

    It's okay to say that you are mad. Not okay to scream, throw a fit, etc. But totally okay to feel mad.

    I think we carry around this false belief that our feelings are the same thing as behavior. But they aren't. You can totally feel angry without having angry actions along with those words (ie slamming doors along with the angry feelings).

    To me, yelling is a sign that you've gone too long without expressing your frustration, fatigue and that you want help.