I’m starting to better understand why I am who I am. As my parents age- I think that their personalities are becoming more and more exaggerated. Some of the not-so-nice things that my mom did in small doses are becoming more and more frequent and longer-lived.
Today my Dad called to tell me that my mom was accusing him of all sorts of things and he was getting near the end of his rope. He didn’t say that end of his rope stuff, but I’ve been there and I knew what he was talking about. I got that familiar sick feeling in my guts and asked what I could do- could I come over? He said that would probably make things worse. So there we were. Helpless. He said he would try to call his social worker to see if they could do anything.
I went over around noon. And then my mom proceeded to once again, take a death march down memory lane (dad and I were the hostages) as she regaled us with stories about how we had wronged her. My dad had let his mother and aunts give my sister bourbon when she was a baby and that’s why she had gotten cancer and died at age 27. His family treated her like a slave. They made her wash dishes after dinner. He does the same to her now.
I had made her sleep on the floor by the front door once. (nope- this never happened) I told her I never wanted her to “set foot in my house again” on several occasions (I may have said that in a fit of anger- I admit that.) I picked a terrible nursing home for my dad- implying that it is mostly my fault that he hasn’t made a complete recovery from his stroke. I didn’t tell her I was moving them to Michigan. I didn’t let her pack enough clothing. I said that the apartment would have a cafeteria and that it would be big, and that there would be a doctor…
Imagine if you will, a small, rather dumb child- raised by two fairly narcissistic parents. The child grew up with a longing for attention and affection. Her family was not one to give hugs. The mother was jealous and dramatic and should have had martyr tattooed somewhere on her body, perhaps her forehead. The father, who fucking knows. He wasn’t home that much and when he was, he generally said little and ruled with a bit of an iron fist. The mother had no boundaries when it came to the children. She used them as pawns when she discovered her husband’s affairs. They two children were not close, because they spent a great deal of time trying to soak up the little attention that they could rally from one of the parents. The mother would often pit one against the other. In order to preserve her self, the dumb child became rather detached and independent.
As she grew, her parents saw her turn into a rather cold, selfish and calculating young woman. And she was those things- because she learned that she would get little from her parents. Luckily, life eventually taught her that she had value and was worthy. But it took a damn long time. Which is actually okay. A classic case of better late than never, if there ever was one.