I don’t get it. I don’t get how or why people are supposed to love extended family members. These aunts, uncles, and cousins you may see once every five to ten years. Even grandparents. I saw my grandparents twice a year, a few days at a time. Grandpa terrorized me with his two day unshaved face, swooping me up in his arms to rub my tender three year old cheek against his rough old one. I hated it. I squirmed and screamed. His beard hurt. I felt it was punishment, and I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. Yet he did it, every time he saw me. And I was supposed to “love” him. It wasn’t until two years AFTER my grandfather’s death that I saw a vision of him in my dreams and finally received the love I felt I never got. Only THEN did I cry for him. Only THEN did I mourn. Only THEN did I understand that yes, underneath all that sadistic cheek rubbing was someone who genuinely cared for me.
My uncle is yanking my chain again. Asks my opinion on something and then blows me off with a single dismissive sentence. I spent six hours yesterday hot under the collar, trying VERY hard to settle down. I paced. I smoked. I listened to soothing music (even wrote a new piece). The culmination of my effort was my ability to turn on my computer and delete the conversation without comment. Then I had another few hours, telling myself I did the right thing. More pacing, more clenched gut.
It is days and times like these that I used to get a lot of ‘don’t let it bother you’. Still do. I don’t bother pointing out that giving me a negative statement (using ‘don’t’) isn’t the best way to go about letting it go. Nor do I point out the fact that I had I been able to let things go throughout my life I’d probably be in a very different situation. Nor that the people who tell me to let it go and calm down generally have problems letting go and calming down themselves.
Like my brother. We disagree on some very basic ideals and when we argue, that’s it. We can find no common ground. Worst of all is his tendency to cut me off mid sentence because he THINKS he knows what I’m going to say. He puts his words in my mouth. Doesn’t listen to me at. all.
None of my family angst is helped right now by my recent viewing of Absolutely Fabulous The Movie. *sigh* Two things are now terribly clear to me. One, Jennifer Saunders has been riding the same jokes for 25 goddamn years with her characters. Two, as Saunders ages she looks more and more like my mother (the hair is wrong, but the face and the wrinkles she’s sporting give a pretty good imitation). That’s the real kicker. I was a big fan of Ab Fab series 1. Loved the second and third series, too. But then…then Jennifer began to age noticeably on screen. Then she began to do this thing with her mouth that set off such a hard reaction/memory in me I really kind of freaked. Now, all I see is my mother and old jokes I’ve seen since series one. It’s really a turn off. I’d like to like the series again but I’m finding it impossible. And I couldn’t really like the movie. It was bigger, it had more money put into it. But better? Not really. Just a rehash of every episode you’ve already seen. There was Saunders, doing the same gags she’s done since the pilot. The same jokes. Even Patsy’s ‘Gabon? Gabon?’ line was resurrected and reused. Characters and guest stars we’ve seen on the show for ages made cameos, doing and saying things very similar to what they did and said in the original episodes they starred in. And Saunders orchestrated it all, in my mother’s face. The wrinkles around her mouth and eyes. Her thinning upper lip. Her sneer.
It was an unsettling 90 minutes.
How am I supposed to feel something warm and fuzzy for people who don’t care enough about me to listen to what I say? I’m not asking for AGREEMENT, just hear me through. Give me a nod and say ‘we don’t agree, but I’ll respect your opinion’.
I’ve never heard that. Ever. Not from ANY family member.
And do NOT give me some holier than thou advice. Do NOT say I’m the one that needs to rise above it. That if I want respect, I must give respect. I was raised in this manner – verbally beaten down so bloody often I have a hard time making ANY choice as an adult. I feel guilty for just about everything in the world because at some time, somewhere, I’m to blame.
I am TIRED of trying to be the better person. Sick to fucking death of it. It’s so goddamned bad that it throws me right into suicide ideation; might as well bloody kill myself since no fucking person in my family is even decent enough to give me the most basic of respect due any person alive. Fuck them. Fuck them for fucking with my head so fucking much. These are the people who are supposed to be my support system. Instead, they’ve always been the most damaging to my self confidence. They’ve always made me feel wrong and bad. They’ve always made me angry. I just feel like if my FAMILY treats me this way, no one else is gonna treat me any better so I might as well just check out.
But I hang on. I LIVE for the time when they’re all dead, when I no longer have any echo of the childhood shit that’s been pressure sprayed under my skin. And here, the only place I have to speak my mind and NOT be interrupted or made to feel bad, here I will say what I haven’t said to those family members that treat me this way.
Just DIE already!