Sunday, January 18, 2009

The ties that bind

The weather finally turned sunny around here and as it happens I am stuck inside trying frantically to complete a very long paper for school. I think the transition I’ve been working on is there, at last, and so I took a break to shower and check the news. M is still in her jammies and watching one of her Dora the Explorer DVDs, but it is Sunday, so why not?

I’ve been feeling my deep well of sadness rise to the surface in the past week, and again, fighting tears in any moments that I find myself alone. My parents and I do not have an emotional or intellectual connection – something that I’ve struggled with all my life. It is difficult to accept, for some reason. I feel sure that they think that they love me, whatever that means to them, but I know that they don’t know me or understand or accept me at all, and that hurts. My friend S points out to me that I probably scare my mother, and I think he is right. She is a painfully traditional, weak, and insecure woman who is overwhelmed by the need to seek approval from some nebulous external “other.” I find her exhausting to be around. She is so needy, and yet treats me – has always treated me – as if I were 3. I think even at 3 I found this insulting. No matter what I have done throughout my life (and I’ve done a lot) my parents react to me as if I were a disabled idiot. That doesn’t stop them from asking for my help with their computer problems (constantly) but it prevents them from listening to my words. About anything. Interacting with my parents is a profoundly lonely experience.
Being here is a constant reminder that I don’t have what most people think of as a healthy family. The only family member that I ever had a connection with died a long time ago. Many of my family members are unbelievably toxic and abusive. Most of them are completely uninvolved and uninterested in the others. (I have an uncle that moved to Colorado some time after I did that never made contact on his own or ever saw my house. And I lived there for nearly 20 years.) It was just one more thing that made me different from “everybody else” growing up. As an adult, intellectually I know that my experience is not that unusual, but emotionally it still bothers me.

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