Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Did I mention that I was sensitive...

In the words of a broken heart
It's just emotion taking me over
Caught up in sorrow
Lost in the song

My emotions runneth over since last Wednesday. I have been a regular waterfall. It all started last week when we were talking about the meaning of different emotions in my DBT class. The first emotion we discussed was LOVE. Well, it described the different facets of love and I just found this place inside of me well up and the tears began to flow and I couldn't stop crying. I could feel this old wound wake up and demand attention. I haven't processed the "LOVE" thing yet, but it doesn't want to wait for processing, it wants attention and it wants it NOW.

For the days following, I found I was sensitive to everything. I was tearful at tv programs, commercials, seeing homeless people, etc. But mostly I am tearful about my family right now.

I have been the Identified Problem in my family since 1991 when I admitted I was powerless over food and began to abstain. Losing 100's of pounds can unleash emotions that one might not be aware they have...hence, Identified Problem enters the scene. My family is not comfortable with my emotions or their emotions. This has always made me sad deep down in the caverns of my being. My heart cannot be broken open by anybody except my family. I have given them the keys to enter that chamber and mess up the furniture (if you know what I mean).

My emotional self has never been comfortable for them. My mother is a wonderful woman who is completely afraid of feeling vulnerable or sad. If anything occurs that is uncomfortable, she "ices" up. I describe it as a "cold front movin in". I am very attached emotionally to my mother even though she doesn't want me to be. I have been very close to her all my life because we essentially grew up together. She had me when she was 18, and the story goes from there. When she feels discomfort, I sense it, and basically feel the emotion. I cry and feel sorry for her and start to catastrophize the situation and want to rescue her. She doesn't want that. Remember: when emotions rear their head, my mom heads for Antartica!

My brothers are both emtionally crippled as well and only want to be around for the "good times" as my brother Larry stated to me when I went through a suicidal depression earlier this year. My mom told me my brothers felt "dumbfounded" when they would speak to me while I was sad, because they didn't know what to say. But, my brothers are people I worry about too. They don't deserve it and I know that, but I can't help it.

My family says things to me without thinking anything of it. I mentioned to one brother that when I got to a comfortable weight I would like to join them on some of the group "family" vacations they enjoy. He said, "Well, Auntie Chele seems to cause problems when she gets around the family." I haven't been physically around the family for over a year now and have watched them all fight with each other and basically implode without me being anywhere near them. My response to my brother was, "Well, I think you guys are having problems without me being around, so do you really think this family myth is correct?". He said, "You have a good point. Maybe you're right." I left it at that.

Today, my other brother called me. My mother and her husband went to visit them in Colorado. Now, in most families this would be a joyous occasion, but in my family, we do much better on the phone together than in person. I had a feeling it was going to be disastrous when I heard of their plans to go visit my brother and the kids, etc. And lo and behold, Auntie Chele no where in site, they had PROBLEMS. Yep, issues abounded and I was no where near the place. Yay for me!!! So my mom started feeling "ill" and they have cut their trip short. After speaking to my mom today, I found out her sickness was really an emotional sadness that manifested in physical discomfort. She didn't like seeing how my brother lived (i.e., the mass amount of chaos, the spending of money they don't have, the out of control wild sugar high children, etc.) Instead of facing the issues, my Mom has declared that she won't be a part of any of our lives anymore. She will only phone and write letters from now on. This is my mother! She makes declarations of coldness when she feels emotions.

Well, this just made me sad. I know it is not true. She will be a part of my life. The iceberg will melt. But what makes me sad is that she has to go to Antartica at all. I wish she could go into her feelings and feel them and embrace them. She grew up in a rough family and deserves so much love and affection and admiration. But, she won't let people give it to her. I'm powerless over this. And...it makes me cry.

My mother's husband is quite a specimen. He has no friends, he likes small children and dogs. Why, you ask? Because they offer no opinion and mind him. He's very difficult and negative and the exact opposit of my now-deceased father who was a philandering gambling addicted self centered dude. So, my mom married this dude and ever since, he's been a pain in my side as well as hers. ON the phone with my other brother today I mentioned that Mom seemed depressed and that perhaps she needs to move on from this husband. My brother says to me, "I told her not to do that because if she did you'd move in and spend all her retirement money." I was taken aback. What!??? I was so displaced my his comment and offended and angry. I told him that I didn't like that statement and it was far from the truth and the fact that he even thought something like that was disturbing. He said, "Well, you probably would. You'd probably move in with her and take everything she has." I said I needed to stop this conversation because it felt really sick to me and unhelpful.

Now, here comes my dysfunction: I have never thought about living with my mother or her retirement. In fact, I've never thought about retirement (mine or anybody else's). But I start to question myself after my brother made that kind of statement and think to myself: Am I a pathetic loser who is a mooch? Why am I perceived as one? If I'm perceived that way, doesn't that mean I am one?

OH my heart is heavy this early morning (4:44 am). I want to move through this and not fall into the pit of despair. My family is the one group of people who have the express elevator button pushed and ready for my journey to despair, hopelessness, and misery. I don't want to hate myself. Am I this person he assumes I am? Is he just a dysfunctional bastard? How do I have a relationship with these people without destroying myself? Who am I without them?

I can see now why 400 lbs of armor might have been necessary.



Cindy184 said...

Nothing like family to bring us to our knees. I can feel your pain. Maybe your brother secretly wishes to move in with Mom and spend her retirement money. Seriously, some siblings are posessive and vigilent over the parent's "retirement" money and future inheritances. I know for sure though, that its not because you are a "loser" or a "mooch". Quite the contrary, you seem to me like a courageous winner type person. I love my family, but I sometimes have to look to others for what I really want from my family (unconditional love, support without judgement, friendship, those kinds of things). But I cannot avoid the sadness I feel for them when I think of how sick they are and see the things they go through, and me not being able to fix it. Thanks for posting such honest and heartfelt stuff.

JessiferSeabs said...

For what it is worth, you sound like an emotional, compassionate, loving, feeling human being - and the rest of your family sounds cracked!

Your family sounds a lot like my boyfrind's (horrible) family. We've basically just tried to steer clear. It hurts, but not as much as the way we were being hurt by them.

SignGurl said...

I know I will offend with this comment but I'm gonna let it fly anyway.

Your family is screwed up! But even so, they are still the only family you have. You sound like you are doing an incredible job trying to keep them all together as dysfunctional as they seem.

As for the overwhelming feeling of sadness when thinking of love, I have the same thing going on. Sometimes I wonder how all those emotions have stayed in. Let them out and feel proud of them, good or bad.

Lori said...

Michele, I have to agree with Cindy above. My first thought I hear people say stupid things like your brother did about your mother's inheritance is HE wants it all.

It sounds like your brothers are guys who project a symptom/emotion/situation to someone and never ever challenge that. I'm glad you challenged your brother when you pointed out that you weren't there and they still had problems.

I think you are not a mooch at all and I think you have described a very sad family with your brothers and your mother. At least you are dealing with your problems -- and probably this frightens the hell out of them. If you get well, then you're not the problem, are you?

Anonymous said...

There seem to be some really amazing people responding to M's blogs. I like you all a lot. M and I are great friends in real time and share A LOT in common - including family members who just don't take the world in the same way we do. It's SOOOO painful and discouraging. Which only makes meeting people like yourselves that much sweeter. How wonderful to know others who truly understand and appreciate people for who they are. Thank you for being such great support!

Anonymous said...

When I started taking care of myself, setting boundaries, and not letting people speak to me in the ways they had in the past, my family didn't know what hit them and I got alot of backlash. But I stayed consistent and things seem to be settling down.
Take care of yourself first, don't look to them for support because you're not going to get it from them. Letting go of that need was really freeing and transformative for me. Now I can be around them and not be dissapointed and hurt. Now I have alot more compassion for them and the state they are stuck in when I don't look to them to take care of my needs.
Love your blog by the way! You sound like if we lived in the same town that we'd be friends.

Miss Michele said...

Well the brother called the next day to apologize. I guess after he told his wife what he said she got really upset and told him how wrong that was..I was appreciative of the apology, but I have a feeling it will take a lifetime to try and convince these people that I am not the actress for the role they set up for me.

Thank you for all your comments.