I had therapy yesterday this week instead of tomorrow as usual. It was an unusually productive session. I will talk about it more in a minute, but first, I am going to bitch a second about how unfair it is that I can’t get drunk without feeling immediate physical side-effects–and I’m not talking pleasant ones. I decided that I wanted to get drunk tonight to try to stifle the demon voices in my head. So, I poured myself a healthy amount of bourbon, took two swigs, and had to stop.
I am allergic to alcohol. It’s an Asian thing. It’s the worst with wine and beer, but it’s also prevalent with hard liquor. Over the years, I have realized that I can drink one mixed drink over the course of an hour and not be too badly affected by it. The few times I have exceeded that limit, I have paid for it dearly. I turn bright red all over when I drink too rapidly. I start feeling flushed; my head hurts like hell; I have a hard time breathing.
Normally, I am fine with this. In fact, I welcome it because it makes it very difficult for me to drink too much. I am a cheap date, and I don’t like alcohol enough to mourn the fact that I drink so little of it. Tonight, though, I wanted the oblivion that only drinking can bring. Now, I am mad because I cannot attain that. No wonder I do other self-harming behaviors instead! The most socially-acceptable one (drinking) is extremely unpleasant for me.
My mom called tonight. We didn’t have any arguments because we mostly steered clear of any incendiary topics. She was able to book her flight with a little help from my bro. However, and I know this is common with older people, she spent a great deal of time detailing her various ailments as well as those of my father and all their friends/relatives. It seems like since I visited Taiwan, she has really become focused on dying. She said she prays for a painless death (such as dying in her sleep. Though, for me, it probably would be filled with nightmares that would literally kill me in my sleep. I have died in my dreams before. I do not recommend it) and then told me about a father of a friend of hers who died that way. Apparently, he kept saying he saw Jesus Christ (a figure in a long white robe) even though he (the old guy) was not a Christian.
I have a hunch that my mother will redouble her efforts to save my soul before she dies. Good luck with that. My soul is pretty much past redemption. She talked about how my father was sick over the New Year holiday and how worried she was about him. She would pause as if she wanted me to voice my concerns, but I said–nothing. Quite honestly, I simply don’t care. I am not wishing him ill. I don’t wish he would DIAF already. I just…don’t care. I feel guilty about it, but there isn’t much I can do.
I realized that the flashbacks in and of themselves are distractions. I am not denying that they happened (though I am still not a hundred percent convinced), however, since I don’t have any illusions about my relationship with my father and what it might be, I don’t want to be bogged down by the flashbacks. I have been avoiding meditation in taiji because I didn’t want to deal with the flashbacks, but they came anyway. What I need to do is find a way to allow them to surface, feel them, and then let them go. By avoiding them or dwelling on them, I am giving them–and my father by extension–too much power. I have realized in the past few years that physically, I have nothing to fear from my father. He is older and not in the best of health.
Which, as an aside, is kind of funny. Despite being grotesquely fat, I am the only one in my family who doesn’t have high blood pressure. OK, maybe I’m the only one who finds that funny, but this is my blog, after all.
Anyway, back to my therapy session. I have been grieving this week. The illusions I had about my relationship with my mother and what it could be were stripped away. I had no illusions about my relationship with my father, and I have no inclination to try to forge any kind of meaningful relationship with him. It’s simply not worth my energy, and more to the point, I have no desire for a real relationship with him. More on desire in a bit.
So, I’ve been heavily grieving this past week. What my therapist helped me realize, though, is that in addition to being mournful about the state of my relationship with my mother, I was…disappointed in her. It’s hard to admit, even to myself, so it’s doubly-hard typing it. All my life, I have been keenly aware of what a huge disappointment I’ve been to my mother. Well, to both my parents, but again, I don’t care about my father. It was my mother’s disappointment that fell heavily on my shoulders. Not married. No kids. Not a Christian. Bisexual. Sexual at all. No PhD or white collar job. I felt so damn guilty that my life seemed like a repudiation of hers. Even though I now know that nothing would be enough for me to live up to her expectations of a Good Daughter, I still yearn to find a way to please her.
This is when my therapist pointed out that as much as I have disappointed my mother by not being the daughter she wanted me to be, my mother has disappointed me by not being the mother I wanted her to be, either. She did not protect me when I was a child from my father; she provided me with a piss-poor role model in the relationship department; she didn’t know how to nurture the freakiness that is me instead of try to mold me to fit her idea (and society’s) of who I should be.
She didn’t protect me. She didn’t believe me when I spoke my truth. She chose my father over me (and continues to do so). SHE disappointed ME.
Why is it so difficult for me to admit that? Because all my life, I was implicitly told that my wants, needs, and, yes, desires didn’t matter. I wasn’t supposed to have any because it would be ungrateful for me to express that I wanted, needed, desired something other than what I had. I believed that I had no right to ask for anything other than what was given to me. So, for me to admit that my mother disappointed me means that I actually dare to think I have the right to expect or want certain things from her.
Desire. It’s a word my therapist brought up in my session, and it made me exceeding uncomfortable. She said that I did desire certain things–a house of my own, a relationship of my own making, etc. I desire a life that means something to me. It will bear little resemblance to the life my mother wants me to lead (and, indeed, that is one of the issues at hand. She wants me to be self-sufficient according to her), but it will be the one I desire.
Shit. Just typing the word makes me nervous. I am completely comfortable with desiring sex, but not with desiring anything else. I still have it thrumming in my head that I don’t deserve it. Deserve what? Anything, really. A house. A relationship. A life. Putting voice to those desires means that a little part of me is saying, “Fuck that shit. You do deserve to live a life of your own.” It’s the same thing that is triggering my demons so badly right now.
Back to my mom. Just as I cannot be the daughter she wants me to be, she cannot be the mother I want her to be. I want some kind of relationship with her, so I have to let go of the illusions of what I think she should be and accept her as she is. She is not going to be the one I go to for emotional support. She will choose my father over me time and time again. She will base everything she does on her relationship with Jesus/God, and she will try to convert me back until the day she dies or the day I do, whichever comes first. She will try to wear me down into doing whatever it is she wants me to do.
For us to reach a detente, one of us has got to stop playing the game–and it’s not going to be her.
As for my demons, I have to learn not to be distracted by them, either. They may have some truths on their side, but I have to decide to not let them twist the truths to suit their purposes. In other words, I can acknowledge the truth of what they say (i.e., I don’t have a real job) without buying into their conclusion (i.e., I am a worthless piece of shit because of the aforementioned). Well, when I’m not wracked with self-doubt, that is. It’s not easy for me to shut out their voices as they are inside my head. They know me better than anyone in the world, so they know how to turn me against myself.
As I talked with my mom tonight (or, more accurately, listened to her as I didn’t tell her anything of substance), I felt so much sadness, impatience, anger, and grief. I have a lifetime of shit to unravel, and I am not a happy camper about it. Not that I am ever a happy camper. I hate camping.
I really really really wish I could get drunk without the really nasty consequences. I crave oblivion right now.