I Don’t Pay Her Enough

I have been seeing my therapist for eleven-billionty years.  For the first few years, I talked about mostly-superficial things.  Let me back up.  I started seeing my current therapist the last time I decided to lose weight as I was well-aware of how fucked-up I am about my body, food, and weight loss in general.  I had been to a series of therapists over the past…twenty-four years, and they all sucked.  Well, except one.  But I had to stop seeing her in order to go back to college.  The rest of them were not as intelligent as I was, and they too often took what I said at face-value.   I began to see how I could manipulate them–which is not the way to do therapy, let me tell you.  My first therapist was a Christian man at a local uber-Christian college (I was fourteen, and it was my mother’s choice).  He was a nice man, but he didn’t do me any good.  Plus, a male therapist, at that time, was not what I needed.

I also found out I had hyperthyroidism at the time.  I had a shitty male doctor for that as well, which did not improve my outlook at all.  Fucker never told me not to take the pills with food.  I found that out from my current doctor–more than a decade after I started taking the thyroid meds daily.

Anyway, I had my appointment this morning.  I started out with a general comment on the Mass. election.  To my surprise, my therapist said, “Oh, Minna, I can’t talk about that yet.”  She was half-kidding, but I like it when she adds a personal comment from time to time.  I assured her I wasn’t going to talk about the election itself, but I needed to make a parallel to my life.

The Democrats have a majority in all branches of government right now.  Obama was elected by a healthy margin, which, except according to our ‘liberal’ media (nobody calls it that any more.  Funny, that) meant that he had a mandate to pass the core issues of the Democratic Party.  We had 60 Dems in the Senate.  60!  That was filibuster-proof.  Or, would have been if the Blue Dogs (conservative Dems) hadn’t decided they were going to oppose every goddamn core issue of the Democratic Party and side with the Republicans.

Now, there are many reasons for this, including how deeply into the pockets of Big Pharma/Big Business/Big Ag they are (to be fair, so are many other of our representatives), but the bottom line is, that Supermajority meme was a myth from the get-go.

However, the Democrats were clearly handed the reins and told to clean up the mess that W. and his posse had left behind.  W. had ruled as if he were King George with a lesser majority, so the Dems could get shit done, right?  Right and wrong, but I’m focusing on the wrong part here.

The Democrats have spent the past year bending over backwards to work with the Republicans.  President Obama had talked about bipartisanship way back in his campaign, and he apparently meant it.  He reached out to the Republicans, only to have them slap his hand away.   On HCR, the Dems stripped the bill of many things we considered important and even added the odious Stupak-other guy abortion amendment to the House version, which barely passed.   Other yucky stuff (technical term, that) was added to the Senate version–which also passed by the skin of its teeth.  During the whole process, the Republicans had not one suggestion of substance to offer.  No, they resorted to cries of socialism a la countries in Europe (because who would want universal healthcare that is ranked better than ours is and that costs less?), death panels, and other scary-sounding words that struck terror in the hearts of real Americans in the heart of red America.

And yet, the Democrats still ran around bleating about the need to appease because we’re a centrist country or something, despite having elected Obama by a healthy margin on his somewhat-progressive platform.  Go figure.

Although this may seem like a political rant, it isn’t.  It’s personal.  How so?  Like this.  I am the Democrat in the scenario, and my family are the Republicans.  I have bent over backwards trying to be the person they want.  The trip to Taiwan was such a mind-fuck to me in part because I desperately hid all the parts of me my parents would deem unseemly (except my fat body.  Couldn’t quite do that).   I bit my tongue and smiled when someone insulted me to my face.  I was cautious in talking politics.  Besides my epic blow-up the first night I was in Taiwan, I was as even-tempered as I could be through gritted teeth.

None of that mattered.  My parents didn’t see me, anyway, and they had no desire to know the real me or listen to her.  The few times I said, “No, I don’t want that”, they simply chose to ignore what I’d said.  Well, it’s not that easy.  They didn’t chose to ignore my words, exactly, as I don’t think they did it knowingly.  They simply could not hear them.

They know nothing about the real me, except, perhaps, that I like the color black, the computer, and I write.  I keep the real me completely separate from them because I know they’re not interested and because I know she’s not acceptable.

Well, that’s about to change.  No, I am not going to go full-out crazy and just let it all hang out around them, but I need to stop trying so hard to deny myself around them (and my brother’s family as well).  Every time I acquiesce, I am sending the signal that what I want, need, think, believe doesn’t matter.   Worse yet, I am telling myself the same thing.  I am reinforcing my negative self-belief every time I smile and nod in the face of an insult.  And, quite frankly, I can’t afford to do that any longer.

I made another realization in therapy today.  I am a pack rat.  No, that wasn’t the realization.  I’ve known that for quite some time.  I keep things in the belief that one day, I might find a use for them.  Plus, I have thousands of books that I just know I will want to read again one day.  Yeah.  Right.

Anyway, I was talking to my therapist about how my mom and I have one argument over and over again each time she comes to visit.  In my more fertile years, it was about me having kids.  One summer, it was about me moving to Taiwan to live (ha!).  The last time, it was about marriage.  Many times, it’s about God with a capital G.   Same fucking argument over and over until I could scream.  Why did I allow her to suck me back into it even after vowing I would stay calm and disengage?

Here’s the revelation:  I don’t argue about these things with my father because I don’t give a shit what he thinks about marriage and kids and religion.  I don’t believe any of it, anyway, so I can let what he says roll off my back like the proverbial water off a gray duck.  Therefore, somewhere in my subconscious, I equate disengaging with not giving a shit.  So, if I were to disengage from my mother, that would mean I didn’t give a shit about her.  Which isn’t true.  I do care about her; I just have to stop thinking it’s my job to caretake her emotions.  I can lovingly disengage from her, and that’s what I need to do in order to preserve my sanity, as it were.

So, in other words, I have to throw out the outmoded behaviors that haven’t worked that well in the past and will not work in my present.  I need my own space so that I can be my own person in order for me to live my own life.  I need a house of my own, damn it.  It’s time to separate, with as much love as possible.

6 Responses to I Don’t Pay Her Enough

  1. So, in other words, I have to throw out the outmoded behaviors that haven’t worked that well in the past and will not work in my present.

    With any luck, you’ll chuck your demons along with them. I wish you all the best in your efforts, you know.

  2. Gregory, let’s not get TOO optimistic yet! Kidding. If I can manage to throw out the demons, I am going to throw the biggest, baddest, ‘I got them the fuck out of my head’ party you’ve ever seen.

    Thank you for your well-wishes and for always being in my corner.

  3. I really liked this post. I think you’re absolutely right. My situation is different, but the tug-of-war inside me over whether to fight with my dad about various subjects mirrors this one exactly. “If I disengage, it means I don’t love him.” It’s been very hard for me to break that thought pattern.

    I haven’t been commenting recently because my own life has been really up in the air and I’ve been traveling as well, but I continue to value your writing and send light your way.

  4. Betsy! I’ve been wondering how you were doing. Glad to see you. Yes, it’s very difficult for me to disengage with love from my mother. We were having one of our enmeshed discussions, and I just had to keep saying in my head, “Not my problem. Not my problem. Not my problem.” I felt horrible about it, but it was true. It really wasn’t my problem.

    I hope things settle down a bit for you (in a good way). Drop a note whenever you feel like it.

  5. 🙂 Thanks, Minna. I really appreciate it. (And, BTW, I loved your comments on my pics of my cat last month! Thank you!)

  6. No prob on the comments on Chompers, Betsy. She’s such a cutie and a sweetie. I could look at her all day long!