Tag Archives: guilt trip

Confessions of a Sports Non-enthusiast

I’ve been re-inventing myself after the soul shattering and untimely demise of my grandson. As mentioned in my previous post I’m in the red lava angry phase of letting go. Fueled by this anger I’ve decided to be brutally honest about a subject that seems downright silly to get worked up about in the grand scheme of things. But so what? This is my one and only life. I’ve used up 59 years of it already and I’m not wasting any more of it doing things that I hate to do.

So here goes; I HATE “TEAM” SPORTS. To me it is a violent brutal activity witnessed by a crazed mob, similar to goings on in the old Roman coliseum. I’d rather crawl on my belly naked across a field of broken glass with a rusty spoon in my eye than watch it, talk about it, speculate on coming events, chose sports memorabilia, or give the tiniest bit of a rat’s ass about it.

Why don’t I just avoid it you may ask? Well here’s the deal. I married into a band of in-laws who are all sports fanatics and seem to think that there is something odd and unsavory about a person who is not interested in sports. They all seem to think that if they just explain how wonderful it is that I will eventually have some sort of epiphany, or personality transplant and see the light.

Also every year Mr. Husband and I are given tickets to various sporting events as Christmas presents so I’m supposed lie to myself and them and pretend to be all grateful and write thank you cards for something that I get the rolling heaves even thinking about. It seems like I’m participating in a big fat charade at my expense.

To me it’s a point of principle. I’ve been with Mr. Husband and his band of merry relatives for ELEVEN years now. One would thing that my ongoing statements that I’m not in to sporting events would have sunk in by now, but NOooOo. I know Hubman wants to us to have something that we like to do together. Violent seething screaming crowds of people foaming at the mouth about who stuffs a ball in some opening or across some line, or in a net, is just not my cup of tea. Now I’d be down for a punk rock slam dance fest complete with crowd surfing. But that’s too up close and real, can’t do that from your kingly EZ boy lounger, or sitting up in the bleachers. You gotta get down in there and do it all out.

To me there is a time and place for violence and “having fun” is not one of those times. The time and place for violence is reserved for a situation where actual violence is called for because it has actually erupted. Examples; suddenly finding yourself swept up in an angry mob that you have to fight your way out of, some idiot comes through your front door with an ax, a crazed car jacker tries to pull you out of your car by your hair, etc. (I actually experienced the attempt to drag me out of the car by my hair thing. It was not fun, but I got away – minus a hand full of hair)

So there ya have it. I hate team sports. So sue me. So sorry Mr. Husband, I know this is a big disappointment to you, but I’ve been trying to tell you this for 11 damned years. It’s not my fault that you don’t listen.

Book Review – Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You

Don't Let Your Kids Kill youMy bizarre dreams continue, and I know now that they are directly related to my darling daughter’s current flip out and total departure from reality. Her last text message yesterday of 15 text messages in the space of 5 minutes was. “I HATE MYSELF, I lost my soul, you don’t care, TTYL.” (TTYL = talk to you later) How’s that for a guilt trip? My kneejerk response spoken only in my head was “uh, take 2 valiums and call me in a year, mkay?”

Instead I took the 2 valiums myself and prayed the prayer I always pray. “OK, God, I’m giving her to you… again. I don’t know what to do, please take care of her and help her find her way.” I was crawling out of my skin and briefly considered scheduling an emergency visit with my own psychiatrist.

Then it hit me, it has reached the point in our twisted relationship that I am no longer afraid FOR her, I’m afraid OF her. I mentioned this to Mr. Husband and he said “yea, you’ve reached this point before many times.” It’s funny how I can go into such a major case of denial that I forget this. All it takes is a couple of “normal” phone calls and I think “ah, everything is OK now.” What is really happening is that she’s baiting the hook to reel me in with yet another request for money, help, bail her out, buy something she wants, fix her problem, rescue her from another jam, etc., etc.

So I went on the internet and searched for books to read to help me through this. I found one with the onerous title “Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You.”

Synopsis via Amazon.com: Book Description

Don’t Let You Kids Kill You – Publication Date: August 1, 2007

This is a self-help recovery guide for parents in the devastating situation of realizing that they are powerless to stop their children from self-destruction through drug and/or alcohol abuse. It is dedicated to letting parents know when it is time to start saving themselves from being dragged along to destruction as well, and to providing skills that prevent it. The book relies on spiritual but practical teachings and the message is for parents to attain a healthy balance in their lives through the letting go process. While showing parents how to safely distance themselves from the child’s destructive patterns, it also shows how to recognize and support healthy requests for real help, if and when they come. It includes anecdotes and quotes from parents who have had to cope with kids on drugs and/or alcohol.

This book also applies to parents with kids that have substance abuse problems in tandem with mental illness, which is the case with my daughter. I get so frustrated with her thinking, “If you are so ready and willing to take a pill, shoot, or snort anything that comes your way…why the hell can’t you just pop a few extra pills that will actually help you.

The sad truth here is that street drugs are much easier to get than psychiatric meds. Psych meds required going to a Doctor or clinic which is expensive and also require regularly scheduled follow up visits. In other words it requires responsibility, planning and follow through. Not easy and usually not part of the skill set for a person who has difficulty deciding on which shoe to put on first in the morning.

Another huge problem in the mental health care system is that many Psych doctors and psychologists don’t understand or don’t have the training to help people who have substance abuse and mental illness as co-morbid conditions. Their response is typically, “well, I can’t help you until you stop drinking, using…blah blah blah.” That is probably not going to happen. It’s like telling an injured person “I’m not going to give you anything for the pain until you stop screaming from the pain.”

So I read this book last night and it has helped tremendously, mostly from just knowing that I’m not alone in this never ending nightmare. There are so many parents out there suffering that there are a boat load of books written about it. The biggest take away from the book is that I have told myself, “This is not your fault!” As parents we blame ourselves, our family blames us, society and even the judicial system blames us. There is a law in Oregon state that if a child commits a felony offense, the parent is charged and convicted and pay the consequences for the crimes of the child. How’s that for giving a child a free pass to be as violent and dangerous as they want to be with absolutely no consequences?

My daughter is 42 years old now, so I don’t think I can be legally blamed for her mistakes or actual crimes, but the fear still keeps me up at night and gives me nightmares when I do manage to sleep. There is a broken record in my head that keeps playing the same questions over and over: “Where did I go wrong? What could I have done to prevent this? What did I do? What did I not do?”

One thing the book advises is to try to distance yourself, stand back and view your child as an adult person, not the darling child you gave birth to. If this person engaged in the offensive or violent behaviors and language, abused you physically or emotionally, stole from you, lied to you, and was just in general an all-around looser…Would you accept their behavior, make excuses for their actions, blame yourself, or even associate with them at all? If the person were not your child you wouldn’t even think twice, you’d back the hell off and stay away from them. You would not; give them money, tolerate hysterical phone calls at 3:00 am, believe their lies, bail them out of jail repeatedly, or allow them in your home. And you certainly wouldn’t visit their home, if they have it together enough to have one, without a bodyguard.

So instead of nursing this gaping wound for my child I have to start taking better care of myself. I have to start living my good dreams instead of my nightmares. The stress of not doing so could kill me. And it does kill parents of troubled children on a regular basis via high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, suicide, bleeding ulcers, and other stress related health conditions.

My daughter has threatened me with suicide many times if I did not do what she wanted me to do. Today I accept that as an adult this is her decision to make. But, also, now that she is adult she is responsible for her own life. I am no longer willing to die for her.

Snow White and the Seven Dorks

comicsidontunderstand.com

comicsidontunderstand.com

On my journey back to mental wellness I’ve started to notice a few things. I’m not the only one who channels Snow White’s seven housemates. You know them surely; sleepy, grumpy, sneezy, dopey, et al. I’m also noticing that I’m not the only one who does not appreciate having their every minor decision questioned.

I find that the best response a friend or family member who is channeling one of these dorks is, “Pfffftttt” or “I see” and a good shrug of the shoulders, followed by an immediate evacuation of the scene. Further pursuance of the question at hand will only result in a blowout. So it seems that I have to remember how much I hate getting dragged over the coals of sixty-four thousand questions when asking questions.

Well damn! Living in the real world can be a pain in the kazoo. I think verbal manipulations should be registered as an Olympic sport. Yes indeed folks. I’ve come across people who actually manage to take an innocent question you ask such as, “how are you?” and twist around to imply that you are a selfish mental microbe who doesn’t care about anyone or anything.

The following hypothetical dialogue (based on an actual conversation) illustrates my take on this scenario:

Me: Hey how are you?

Person X: Well I’m fine, but I’m just tired.

Me: (falling into the trap) Oh, why are you tired?

Person X: Well I was up all night worrying about the national debt. Unlike some people I know (read you) I care about what happens to our country. Also I kept smashing my big toe with a hammer.

Me: (taken aback) OOOkkkk, Uh, why were you smashing your toe with a hammer?

Person X: Well someone (not me obviously) has to take steps to protect our economy. If my toe hurts then I won’t go out shopping and buy wasteful things while other people are suffering.

Me: (feeling a vague unnamed guilt) Uh, I don’t understand how not sleeping and injuring yourself is helping anyone.

Person X: Well of course you don’t see it! And therefore YOU are part of the problem.

Me: See ya later pal, I think I left something on the stove.

I always end up with a mild headache and wondering how I managed to blunder into such a conversation. However, with some people this seems to be the norm.  I never did quite comprehend how worrying about something to the point of harming myself helps anything or anyone.

No Joy in Mudville

agony of defeat

Yesterday was a mopey kind of day for Mr. Husband and me. Our beloved Texas Rangers lost to the Cardinals in the last game of the World Series. I’m glad it’s over. At the end of it all I declared that I hate baseball. It’s 99% boredom and 1% terror. It’s too much emotional stress over a game.

So we hung around the house doing not much of anything. I didn’t even get out of my pajamas until after lunch. But I also had that vague feeling that something was hanging over my head. That waiting for the other shoe to drop kind of feeling.

Well the other shoe, a great big ole mud covered boot, fell on my head. The grandson who was staying with us until a month ago to get clean sent a string of text messages. He didn’t have the stones to call me on the phone. My suspicion was that he was afraid that I would hear in voice that he was drunk or worse.

“I need money or I’m going to be evicted tomorrow.” Always the drama queen or King in his case. I didn’t respond. Maybe being homeless will be the wake up call he needs, or even jail. I’ve been down that road many times with his mother. It’s a dead-end road with dragons and demons waiting. I’m not pouring any more money down that black hole.

A few minutes later, before I even had time to respond, “Well I take that as a no…”

Then, “Well I shouldn’t even ask you, I knew you what you would say.” He plays the pity and guilt card. Slick, but I’ve lost that round so many times that I know not to play the game. Mr. Husband’s response was “well sweetie, he learned at the feet of the master.” He was referring to my daughter. True, so true.

About an hour later, “Well keep an eye on the news, Gram.” Say what?

He also texted me a picture. A picture designed to curdle my blood and hoping to get a rise out of me, obviously. He was shirtless, displaying all his tough guy tattoos, sporting some weird-looking rapper beard, and a pimp chain around his neck, and expensive shades. He has the whole gangsta look down pat. I have to hand him that. A picture speaks a thousand words. This picture said “look at me, Gram. Give me money or I’m gonna be a dealer or an all around scum bag, take your pick.”

That picture was a kick in the gut. It made me mad. No, that’s an understatement. I got white-hot, bitch slapping, bunker busting, dish breaking, furniture kicking furious. I calmed down and Mr. Husband took me to a nice Japanese restaurant to cheer us both up.

Later that I had an epiphany, or one of many epiphanies. I am sick and tired of getting tortured and bullied. If I had a dollar for every time someone in my extended family and their significant others called me in the middle of the night claiming that if I didn’t “help them out” by giving them money, they would kill themselves, or worse, I would be rich.

Or richer maybe. Mr. Husband and I are not suffering financially. I’m fortunate in that cutting back, for me, means, buying 1 new pair of shoes instead of 3. But somewhere along the way it seems that people think that “hey, I have no money. I’m able-bodied and can provide for myself. BUT, you have more so instead… give me yours. If you are not willing to fork it over, I’m not above extortion and yanking on your heart-strings. I’m not going to be satisfied until you come down here to the bottom of the well and be miserable with me!”

What has happened here? A sense of entitlement seems a much to bland way to describe what is going on. I never in my 56 years asked a family member or anyone else for a loan. I used to think I had too much pride to do that. But, maybe pride is a good thing. I’ve always thought that if was my job, not anyone else’s, to take care of me. All of me, all my needs, all my wants, are my responsibility. I’m completely kaflemped and befuzzled. I just don’t get it.

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