Thursday, July 9, 2015

All the wrong places

The night before last, I had a horrible nightmare. 

First, a little history.  My mother was, by all accounts, very charming, extremely needy, capricious, delusional, selfish, and histrionic. 

I am very happy I really didn't have her in my life.  I may have felt my situation didn't "measure up" to having a "real" mother, but I didn't have to deal with that, either.  My adoptive mother was very consistent and NOT a drama queen. 

She's the one who taught me about my period, gave me advice about my depression - emphasizing it was a chemical disorder, nothing to be ashamed of, and well-managed with medication.  She told me I'd have to deal with side effects and only I could decide if the side effects outweighed the benefits. 

It's funny, the things that stick with me, 30 years later. 

Decisions were made when I left home - one of them being to remain inaccessible to my mother's side of the family.  By all accounts they had extreme mental problems and I would be better off without that in my life. 

At one point I located my birth mother, but chose not to contact her.  I would desire contact every few years, but talk myself out of it, or I couldn't find her. 

After Ron's accident, I decided to locate them (my sister and mother).  My brother is a survivalist, I respect him tremendously for that, and is usually unavailable.  He does pop up now and then on Facebook.  I didn't expect to find him, but I have, and I'm glad he's in my life. 

I managed to find my half-sister.  She told me our mother had died. 

I had a bad time for a few days.  Cried a lot.  Told the staff what had happened.  Ron was in the hospital at the time. 

Ron's family wanted to know when she had died, then dismissed my pain completely.  It's hard not to remember. 

I had intermittent contact with my sister.  She brought some of her kids out to the wedding, then went home. 

Several years ago, she told me she wanted to do a weekly phone call every Sunday.  I remember when I told her I was bipolar. 

Now, I told everyone.  I got varying reactions, generally "Oh, I thought so." - my aunt, typifying them.  She wanted to know who told me and how they arrived at that conclusion, interrogating me.  She wanted to know just how suicidal I had gotten, and for long... like I was faking it. 

I found that odd, baffling, and disturbing.  You can see I'm in crisis.  You know what bipolar looks like.  Our mother had it.  You never once thought I had it, too? 

Now I believe she didn't want to admit I had a disability.  I can tell most people don't credit FAS as a "real" disability.  I have to accept that.  If they see me maneuvering a hand cart, I will explain "This is why I don't drive", they laugh, and I can see the light bulb dawn.  "Oh, she has a problem."  Yeah, your average "normal" doesn't run the hand cart into the door frame 3 times trying to get it out the door. 

Bipolar disorder, is, however, a "real" disability to most minds.  It is "acceptable" and understandable, especially when I explain the mood stabilizers act as a "thermostat".  Everyone in Houston understands the concept of a thermostat!

She was very upset to hear of my diagnosis, and still upset when I became stable through medication.  She was, I guess, resentful in some way.   She kept waiting me to crash and burn, to fail, and I never did.  I got better and better. 

Ron had been on-again-off-again drinking.  She was actually on the phone with me the night Ron had his worst blackout, trying to walk on broken glass and physically attacking me when I stopped him.

After that, she immediately went to me moving in with her, or at least moving to her town.

I love Houston.  I pray I never do leave this town.   I made that pretty clear. 

No, she kept telling me, I had to move. 

I don't want to move.  I have a life, a business, and a marriage.  You may not like what you see in my marriage but I am committed to giving 100%.  What Ron does is up to him, but I want to stand before God and say I did everything I could. 

She would not accept that. 

I flew out twice (her much-reviled ex-husband cashed in miles to get me tickets, both times).  Both times, her hoarding had reached ever ascending levels of horror. 

People make assumptions about me.  1.  They have no idea what lurks in my head.  Ron knows me better than anyone and there's a lot I don't tell even him.  2.  I am nice.  I am not weak. 

I had a lot of red flags over the years. 

1.  I really want you to join my (cult) church.  (My Dad's always said he just wants me in A good Bible church, not HIS). 

2.  I am having a lot of health problems and need someone to take care of me.  I don't want to take advantage of my kids...I need someone to tell the doctor what I want...

3.  I have figured out all these details for when you come to live with me.  She would tell me about the employment agency, the transit company, stuff like that, all while I'm shaking my head at the other end of the phone saying "I am not moving" 

4.  I think, for me, the final insult: she was seeing a therapist, had been for a while.  She wanted me to come out for her daughter's wedding, but first, she wanted me to meet her therapist.  "Sis" has a lot of issues, mainly bitterness, grudge-holding, a complex knot of emotional needs, inability to give herself mental care, huge shopping addiction issues, massive hoarding (to the point her place is truly a fire hazard).    Two days before her oldest gets married, she takes me to the therapist - and wants to do an "intervention" because she is "worried about my soda intake".  I flatly told her my health numbers were far better than her own, to MYOB.  Therapist wants my perspective on my life, I give her the 10 minute version, and she tells me I married Ron because "He would never leave me".  HA!  If she only knew how many times we came ][ that close to splitting up! 

So, I cut off contact a couple years ago.  Don't regret it.  She's still stalking me periodically.  I ignore anything with her prefix. 

I had asked, very nicely, for no contact for 6 months, she went nuts blowing up my cell phone with calls and texts, even after Ron sent her a message asking her to please respect my wishes.  Kept bothering me.  Then calls my adoptive Mom and says she's "worried" about me.  Adoptive Mom tells her to MYOB "Leave her alone".  I was glad I had given her a head's up about the situation.  She kept bugging me for another month or two but I set up my cell phone to reject her calls. 

She started using other phones to contact me.  Like I said, I ignore anything I don't recognize. 

I haven't really thought about her much, but I had a nightmare the other night. 

In the dream, she was in a dependent situation, demanding I "feed" her emotionally, to be her emotional "everything" - like our mother, she looks to others to fill her up emotionally.   She was a voracious chasm of emotional neediness, waiting to eat me alive. 

1.  You need to go to God for that. 
2.  You need to take care of yourself emotionally, to have the ability to say "This will get better just like it always has in the past, I'm going to go take a hot bath and read a romance novel."  No one else will take care of you like that - you have to learn how to do it for yourself.  And men, or women, find a person who can do that a lot more appealing than someone who is constantly seeking validation, approval, and acceptance. 

I think it's very sad her 5 years of therapy have not taught her that. 

Anyway, there she was, with these tremendous needs... expecting me to fill them.  I was alarmed, angry, and frightened.  I remember thinking "Leave me alone!" and I woke up.   I still shudder. 

I think, at the end of it, neither of us had that good mother - the one who picked us up when we cried, took care of our needs, fed and changed us promptly, and gave us nurturing.  I learned to go to God for my needs, she went to a cult and is not satisfied. 

She is still looking to PEOPLE to fill that mom-shaped void, I think. 

"Looking for love, in all the wrong places." 

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