I am going to see my parents today. To take them shopping. My mom was pretty angry after I went to visit her a few days ago. We were having a pleasant enough conversation and then things took a turn for the worst. I called my dad the next day and it all went pear shaped- again. My mom was listening to the conversation, or at least my dad’s side of it, got angry and got on the phone and started in on me and then my dad. Yikes. I felt bad for him. I felt bad for her. I felt bad for me. There are certainly no winners in this family. None. Zero. Zip.
I took the next two days off from contacting them. It was kind of like a mini vacation. I feel guilt- but time lessens that. Yesterday, I took my daughter shopping and bought some fancy schmancy stuff at Sephora after getting a highlighting mini-makeover. I know it shouldn’t, but there are times when money can indeed buy happiness. Or at least nudge it along a little bit. My daughter was feeling happy. I was enjoying myself. And we had a great time. It was much a much needed mini spending spree for both of us. Followed up with a nice lunch at California Pizza Kitchen- which is right across the mall from the Cheesecake Factory- which I just don’t get. People are ALWAYS lined up and waiting to go in that place. I’ve been there twice- thinking there must be some reason for all these people wanting to go there- but the food is always meh. I just don’t understand.
I did make some major decisions yesterday. I decided that I need to take better care of my hands. I also decided that I need one of those long, down, black Northface jackets. And some new shoes. I want to get dressed and not have to think about what I’m wearing. And also- and probably more importantly not look like my inner dirtbag self. I am joining a health club next week. I can’t have shopping as a hobby and/or pastime. That’s embarrassing and dumb. But I need something. My daughter and I both need something. Exercise should help me be less portly. I am a stress eater. And I am fat right now. Fat. That should help us both with stress and anxiety. And it is a place to go. We’ll see how that pans out.
Back to today. I am bracing myself for being told that I am quite a terrible person. And the subtext will be that my parents think that I am stealing money from them and not following through on things that they have asked me to do and on things that I have said I have done. I will need to put on my invisible Kevlar body suit and balaclava to protect myself and to not get angry and counter all of their examples with data that directly points to the opposite. They do not care to be challenged. I think I just have to be the person that they need to be to make their lives more tolerable. Blaming me allows them to move forward because they already feel like they are losing control. That doesn’t mean that it makes it much easier on me. I have to try to remember these things when I’m being berated. When I want to lash out and walk away.
I do believe that in their eyes I am all of the following: a liar and generally untrustworthy, incompetent, a thief and an all around terrible person. I think that my continuing support and help is really confusing them. They cannot reconcile that this terrible person (me) is helping them. They must think that I have some master plan to take all their money away from them. That must be what they think. And or, perhaps what they fear. I can’t blame them. If I were either one of them I would probably feel the same way.
Since my Dad’s stroke last year, he hasn’t been able to process things as well. He’s in a wheelchair and has lost most use of the left side of his body. My mom has been in the hospital at least 3 times- for panic attacks and a bleeding ulcer. She’s been furious with me multiple times. She may be on the starting path of dementia of some sort. I’m not sure. She has always had a bit of a mean streak and is fairly stubborn and unforgiving. So they forget things. They conflate conversations. They lose paperwork. They get confused. And they blame me for stuff, because I’m easy and I keep coming back for more.
Both of my parents have no close friends or family. They have pushed away all their siblings and relations. Or maybe all of their siblings and relations have pushed them away, Not sure which it is. I do not want to be like them. I believe that both of them are fairly narcissistic. I’ve never felt particularly close to either of them. Not even when I was a kid. I think that’s why I was fairly independent- there wasn’t much of a connection there.
I generally watch a Korean drama to prepare myself. Watching other Koreans, young and old alike, get berated by elders- generally mothers and mothers-in-law, and take it with a slightly bowed head and promises to do better reminds me that I am not alone.