I have no answers, I have ideas. I have few boundaries, but I am learning. I am scared to learn how far my limits are before I break. I feel, so close, too close to breaking.
Lately the memory that keeps coming to mind, is when I learned how crazy my mom could be.
She had barely escaped marrying the pedophile she caught with me at age three, not knowing how far he had gotten on earlier occasions. Now she was married to my “Super Dad”. He taught me of football, basketball, and baseball. We lined up tin cans behind the big baby blue Cadillac and he reversed over them and then drove back up the drive to park and we did again until the garage was emptied and we could go to the recycle center for money from the cans to buy me cracker jacks. We watched football together, he was Steelers, and I dreamed of being a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader since they were so beautiful. I drummed on his beer belly when our team got a touchdown. His parents always gave me silver dollars when I lost a tooth and his brothers gave me rides on the motorcycles when they came to visit with their gang. We went houseboating, painted walls together, and took care of yard work…it was a great two years.
Some where in that time we had my step-brother move in. I don’t know how old he was but he was the captain of the football team, (in my memories, at least). Tall, lean, funny curly hair that made him look cool where most guys would look like dorks. He was nice to me and fun when he was around and not out being popular.
Like most parents do, one night he was asked to babysit me. He put me to bed early and I didn’t wake up until I heard a car and noises out my bedroom window. I kind of remember mom sitting on the front step under the porch light waiting for him. I vaguely see an old pick-up (red?) pulling into the drive, full of teenagers laughing and having fun…he jumps out and starts saying he is sorry for leaving me but hey I slept the whole time so no worries…except as he is half-way across the yard, mom stands up and starts rebutting his excuses while slashing a large carving knife through the air as she runs to him.. the truckfull of kids is gone now so he just sprints down the culdesac until she is to tired to chase him or something…I close my curtain and lay back in bed unsure if seeing my mother protect me in this way is comforting or scary.
I didn’t share this story with my therapist today. I was angry and frustrated after a hard morning of feeling pulled for my emotions by husband kids and boyfriend, either wanting loving or not showing love in a mereiad of ways. I felt like no one would be happy until I was bled dry, while everyone was saying I am a self centered narcissistic grump. I walked into that therapy office with all the answers, blame, cause and effect, done with therapy and done with caring for myself hoping to be used to death.
Ms. Therapist, had not seen me like this before and put down the note taking and actually started delving into the junk of my current life, all the directions I was being pulled and the overwhelming possible options, actions/choices and consequences they would have and the life thus being created around me that I am too afraid to decide upon. Her summary was that I have been “institutionalized”. A wild animal born in captivity unable to fend for itself; a prisoner who is released after a long sentence then finds culture/society too much to deal with so repeat offends to be locked up and taken care of again.
I have been taken care of my whole life. I have lived with the wise advise being dished that I should learn how to take care of all my husband’s responsibilities so that if he passes away I am prepared to take care of myself; but no one really has the patience or desire to teach me or let me do it. It is always just a good idea, and hell, I am okay with that. Who, ever, asks for more responsibility??
Yeah, normal young adults.Eager to learn to drive, get a job, take care of themselves…sorry, that was never me.
Maybe, now that I am in this “midlife crisis” maybe now, I am wondering what it would be like to be a grown-up…but maybe I am too scared.
It seems fear and security have always gone hand in hand with me. How can I possibly be safe if I am not afraid? Or obviously being protected by someone? Is this where my mother came from to end up a crazy cat lady, approaching 70 with only fear and suspicion of the people around her? Cutting off friends and family to give herself a feeling of safety relying only on herself. I don’t want to end up like that…
So why am I forced to make this choice between self-actualization or institutionalization? Because of choices I made when I was younger? We give such mixed messages: be moral, be good, be kind, be responsible; follow your dreams, listen to your heart/gut feelings, be brave and courageous and never give up on finding your purpose driven life….What if those things contradict? What about when being honest, hurts people? Is that still being good and kind? What about when being a mother is just too much stress so you fear for your children? Is leaving them in the care of another, at least until you are well, abandoning them? If you try to correct a bad decision, is that failing, or giving up? How is anyone supposed to navigate all these conflicting social standards??
So I quit again today…quit caring about feelings, emotions, what hurts myself and other people. Just follow the rules. Shut up and do as your told. Be a robot. Be the punching bag. Die to yourself. Give nothing to your ego or self worth, evrything you do for anyone is EXPECTED, and you can never give enough. Anything you want for yourself, is being greedy, potty breaks must be kept to a minimum, and not wasting time, and don’t expect to be alone. Self care is only important so that others can stand being around you–dont stink, or be a slob, or relax in your natural condition because it can be such an eyesore and uncomfortable for those who need you. Blah blah blah…se how much shit is in my damaged brain…