Anxiety is not my friend. I doubt it’s anyone’s friend, actually. I have moments and sometimes even an entire day where anxiety will swell up inside of me until I feel as though I will actually burst. While today isn’t one of those days, I am having a moment of severe anxiety that I am doing my best to work through on my own. Ugh! Okay, so that’s part of the anxiety is being on my own.
I will be house sitting for the next two weeks. No big deal, really. But it’s 15 miles from my home and friends and I will be all alone in a great big house. Ack! This sounds fabulous on some levels, and I do see that, but at the moment it’s freaking me out. And it’s’ my boss’ house! I work here! I mean, I’ll be saving some serious cash on gas for a bit, but it’s just odd.
Also, my birth mother commented on a comment I left on my sister’s FB wall in regards to Ms. Piggy (saying she reminded her of Mae West). I have not seen or heard from her since I was 16 years old. It was startling for me to see her picture next to mine and my sister’s. My sister looks a lot like her, but I have her figure. I couldn’t stop myself from clicking on her FB profile…she is a self-identified BBW Lesbian. This would appear to be someone within my very own community…except not.
My sister and I have very different views on our family. She is far more sympathetic and her memories more rose-colored than mine will ever be. She and I are 9 years apart in age, I’m sure this has something to do with that. My sister is the only one in my family that I have told about my abuser. We only two years ago started to get to know each other as adults. Unfortunately my father’s current wife chose to lie and manipulate our family so that none would talk to me for three years and thus also got me excluded from family events like my sister’s wedding.
My birth mother left my father and thus our family when I was just about to start high school and my sister kindergarten. We have a brother in the middle who has Asperger’s, who currently lives with our dad and his wife. He is the most well-adjusted among us in my opinion. I am far closer to him than I am to the rest of my family, but I’ve told none of them about my impending divorce, nor that I moved out on my own this last February. I really only talk to my sister on Facebook or in the winter when she needed rides to work. I talk to my brother about once a month by phone, when he can sneak in the call because my dad’s wife has forbidden him from speaking to me. He has assured me that he will always call, when he can, no matter what.
I am a little over a month away from my 35th birthday and I realize that all of this shit still hurts so much. I was never traditionally close to my mother. I’m sure she loved us in her own way, but she was never really a mother figure in my life. She was negligent at best. I believe that she was/is mentally ill. I know that she sought therapy/treatment at some point many years after leaving us because her therapist contacted me once when I was 19. I had no nice words to share and wanted no contact by that time. I have heard nothing since.
Soon after she left us her family disowned mine. I no longer got to see my aunts, uncles, cousins and worst of all, my grandparents. I was pretty close to her mom. It hurts too much to think about her right now, so I’ll get back to the rest. I wasn’t so upset that my mom left us when she did or how she did, I was more upset because of how my brother and sister were affected. And, selfishly, I cannot help but wonder how my life would have been different with a mother in the house at the time I met my abuser. Ugh!
When she got visitation rights, my sister would be beside herself for days afterwards. Just saying goodbye was torture, the evening after her visit my sister would be either hysterical or catatonic. My brother hated the roller coaster of emotions, but would never let on. If you know an “Aspie” then you might know what I mean. Anyway, my mother met my abuser once, and they smoked pot together. Part of me had hoped that somehow in her own way that she’d see what he was and magically make him leave me alone. She didn’t and he didn’t.
Now I feel like an orphan. When friends talk of their family drama I almost wish I had something like that. Where there is drama there might be some love, at least on some level. I don’t have that. I know my father loves me and all, but he’s changed so much the past several years. When I told him about his wife’s attempt to rip me off of $5k, he said he didn’t believe me. I understood at that time that this was the life he chose and the reality he chooses to live in everyday is his own willing creation and none of my business. He continues to believe pretty much every word out of his wife’s mouth, unfortunately 99% of what she has ever said about me is completely false. When my sister begged me to send him and his wife resources/info/links/etc because they are getting the lap band (because Kaiser is urging them to), I received this response: “Thank you for your opinion.” (I gave no opinion.)
I choose to not seek contact from people who are toxic to my mental health. Choosing not to speak to my blood relatives is hard but necessary for me. I have incredible friends that have a variety of familial relationships, good and bad and in between. I love and respect them as individuals. Love and respect are vital for me. Yet it is the very people who “brought me into this world” that I know in my heart do not respect me and I can only believe that they love me, I cannot know for sure.
My family used to be so close it’s kind of strange to think about now. I remember Sunday mornings goofing around on my parents bed, the three of us kids and them. I remember my brother and later my sister learning how to sit up and crawl and speak on that bed. I remember rubbing and laughing at the greatness of my new baby brother’s Buddha belly. Both my siblings were born on that bed, in that room (I was born in a hospital). I saw my sister enter this world, so did my brother.
My family was affectionate and loving, once upon a time. After my mom left, my dad had to work extra hard to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table while also helping out with caring for his father who had Alzheimer’s when my grandma was at work. Previously my mother helped care for my grandpa, mostly I am guessing because she didn’t work. She worked all of one year the entire time I knew her. I’m sure she had reasons, but I wasn’t aware of them. My mother spent most of my childhood in her bedroom reading fiction-paperbacks while yelling at me to “go outside and play!”
Before my siblings were born I spent a lot of time with my mom. I remember bus rides downtown to go thrift store shopping and always stopping by See’s Candy for a lollipop or other little treat. I remember feeling special and important, but I’m sure most only-children do. When my brother arrived I was pleased as punch, but ended up caring for him far more than I could have anticipated as a 5 year old. I enjoyed it for the most part, I thought he was cuter than anything. As time went on though I spent less and less time with her or at home. By the time I started having teen problems (boys, bullies, body stuff), I barely saw her at all.
The year or so before she left, we butted heads constantly. She would ground me for nothing and my dad would come home and un-ground me. They fought over stupid shit and in the end I stopped caring/paying attention. She could be so cruel, but no doubt I was, too. Some might say I never fully mourned or processed her leaving, but I didn’t notice her missing much either as she and I were so rarely in the same room/house by that time anyway.
I see now that she stayed in an unhappy marriage and her withdrawing was probably because she was coming to terms with being a lesbian. Once, in 8th grade, I had two friends over (a rarity, but that’s a whole other post!), my mother burst into the room to announce, “I’m a lesbian!” and stormed off. Or maybe I told her to fuck off?! I don’t remember so clearly. I remember the looks of horror on my friends’ faces and the embarrassment I felt. It wasn’t even about what she said, it was how she did it. I see now that my father neglected her on many levels and perhaps that is why she neglected me. I can’t know for certain.
I know that I am not yet ready to have contact with her. I am just now sorting my own life shit out and I don’t really even want to think about this stuff. Okay, obviously I am thinking about it, but it’s not really helping me at the moment. It’s making me stressed out and remember shit I have no interest in. I do believe that if something isn’t growing you, teaching you or healing you that it’s best to let it go. This is what I’m working on now. I wrote this post to try to work through the anxiety I was feeling (this was written yesterday) and it helped a bit. I still felt as though I couldn’t breathe for awhile, but I made it through. I cannot stress the importance of having an on-call anxiety buddy if at all possible. As for me? I’ll keep working through this shit until I can’t. Such is life, eh? <3