The Summer of My Discontent

You know all that shit I wrote earlier about making progress and whatnot?   Yeah, you can throw that shit right out the window.  I am constantly spiraling down my vortex of self-loathing, and I am pretty much going along for the ride.  Remember the sitting of the kids I did Friday night?  Yeah, well, I snapped on Saturday.

First, let me say that I only had one rule for my niece as she was growing up:  Do not break your head.  I figured anything else was fixable.  She got a kick out of that, but she was a really good kid.  High-energy and high-spirited, but not destructive or pushy.  As I’ve said, we sat for hours making up long, complicated stories about being fairies or wizards or other ethereal creatures.   Now that she is twelve (and looks twenty), she really has grown into a lovely young woman.

When the boys came along, I had to start making up rules on the fly.  Most of them included “No” or “Don’t” and some form of banishment from hitting me/throwing things at me.  As I’ve said before, for someone with PTSD, this is a recipe for disaster.  Until recently, I had to sit on the aisle seat in a theatre or the end seat at a restaurant in order to have easy access to the exit (I still prefer that seat, but it’s not imperative).    You can probably see where I am going with this.

Let me give you some background.  I was born in the Year of the Boar so I collect pigs.  Stuffed pigs, glass pigs, ceramic pigs, wooden pigs, piggy banks, jade pigs, etc.  I have had pig socks and pig slippers before, and I currently have a pair of boxers with grumpy pigs on them.   To that end, I have a giant stuffed pig (about three feet tall and two feet wide) that only has one eye because SOMEBODY who shall remain nameless (*cough, not Raven, cough*) likes to scratch his claws on it, and my nephews love this giant pig.  Of course they do!  It’s a giant pig.  Anyway, the time before last they were at my house, they decided it would be great fun to swing the pig around and throw it at me.  You can imagine that I, on the other hand, vehemently disagreed that this was a good idea.

So.  This last time.  On Saturday, the boys were mostly good.  Of course, I was asleep for the morning and had Taiji until around three-thirty, so that cut into a good deal of the time.  Still, when I got back home, the boys wanted to watch baseball, so that’s what we did.  My bro and SIL were coming at five for dinner.  My mom decided around four-thirty to get ready for dinner.  The minute she leaves, the boys started acting up.  Nephew the Younger grabbed the giant pig and started swinging it around while Nephew the Elder giggled madly.  I put on my best stern voice and told NTY to cut it out, but he just swung it at me and laughed.  When I ordered him to give it to me, he put it on the ground and sat on it–still laughing.  I grabbed the pig out from under him, causing him to tumble to the ground (still laughing), and I went to the kitchen to do something after putting the pig in my bedroom.  The boys followed me into the kitchen, and NTY had my giant pig slipper (about two feet long) in hand, and he started whacking me with it, laughing happily.  NTE was also giggling and threatening to go get the other pig.  They were backing me into the fridge, and I saw red.

This is where I snapped.  Pure rage overcame me.  I turned on NTY and said in my deadliest voice, “You. Do. Not. Do. That. To. Me!” and advanced towards him.  I was terrible in my rage, and he immediately reeled back to get away from me.  I was thisclose to beating the shit out of him, which I’m sure he sensed.  NTE continued to pester me and ran for my bedroom with me racing after him.  My mom popped out of her bedroom and using her best stern mom voice got NTE to stop in his tracks.  She sent him to the basement (where he spent time petting Raven, who actually let him.  In fact, earlier, NTE asked as he was petting Raven, “If we are quiet when we pet him, will he stay around us?”  I said yes), and I went back to the living room to try to control myself.  NTY apparently fell asleep on the couch with the pig slipper over him.

With that one moment, my ideas of myself in relation to kids shattered.  I know people with kids are rolling their eyes at me, but I never wanted to be the authoritative bully when it came to kids.  I know how it felt to be ordered around without having any say in the matter, and I didn’t like it.   I hate the fact that with my nephews, I seem to be saying no all the time and reacting to whatever it is they are doing.

I know, I know.  They need to know boundaries and to respect other people’s persons and properties.  By the way, we had a fine dinner after their parents came.  During dinner, I noted that NTY hit his mom, too.  It didn’t make me happy, but I will admit to a bit of relief that he didn’t just hit me.

You know, one of the reason I didn’t have kids is because I knew I had the capacity to hit a child.  Granted, it wasn’t the main reason or even in the top five, but it was still a reason.  However, that doesn’t mean that I like having that hypothesis confirmed.  No, I did not hit my nephew, but if he had pushed it one more time, who the fuck knows what I might have done?

Goddamn it.  I hate the fact that they can so effortlessly make a liar out of me.  I hate the fact that I keep mixing up my old family dysfunctions with the new ones, though they are the same, really.  Lack of boundaries, being laughed at, a feeling of threat to my personal safety.  The difference is, I’m the motherfucking adult this time around.  I need to act like it.  However, I am at a loss as to how to do that.

I will say that the few times I have been able to say to NTE, “I will not answer you if you shout at me like that,” he has responded positively.  However, I feel as if I immediately go to the ‘no, don’t touch that, it’s mine, no, don’t pull up my shirt, pull down my short, etc.’ mode right away.   And, I feel cornered.  I hate that feeling.  I do not want to manhandle them, but they simply refuse not to touch me when I don’t want to be touched.

Again, I wonder if the victim stamp is still visible on my forehead.  I try to think of a way to deal with them that will work, and I am stopped short.

Then, the day after, my bro called my mom because NTE was having a meltdown (which he does once or twice a day).  They were going to go to the pool, and NTE was ready to go.  However, NTY was dawdling, making them late, so NTE said he was going to go by himself.  Of course, his parents said no, and he had his meltdown.

I suspect that NTE might be autistic or have Asperger’s.    He freaks out if things don’t happen exactly as he NEEDS it to happen.

Anyway, my bro said if NTE wasn’t around, NTY would be fine.  This breaks my heart.  My brother has always shown a clear favoritism for NTY, most likely because NTE reminds him of himself.  I have tried to get him to realize that this is not helpful.  He can have a favorite, but he needs not to advertise it so blatantly.  Plus, he is wrong about NTE being the source of trouble.  My bro says because NTY idolizes NTE, NTY does whatever NTE does.  I told him that he can’t blame NTE for that.  Besides, NTY is the instigator about half the time.  He knows full well that NTE will be blamed, and he milks it for all it’s worth.  NTY has been told all his life how charming and cute he is, so he knows how to use both.  He reminds me of my father in that way.

Anyway, my mom said she would take NTE for one more night (it was originally supposed to be his sleepover as he pointed out until my mom offered to take NTY as well), which means that I have to sit the kid for one more day/night as well.  In all honesty, I can deal better with NTE when it’s just him.  The two of them egg each other on as well as compete with each other.  Still, I’m a bit disgruntled that my mother so blithely offered to sit without asking me how I felt about it.  Then again, what could I say?  So, my bro is bringing over NTE Thursday at noon, and we are keeping him until Friday morning.  At that time, I’m bringing my mom to the airport so she can visit her sisters in Philly, and then I’m dropping off NTE at my bro’s house, which is seven minutes from the airport.

Then, I’m having a wild sex orgy over the weekend before picking my mom up at the airport on Monday.

Just kidding.  I wish.

So.  Dealing with my nephews makes me feel like shit.  The dysfunction is similar to the dysfunction in my nuclear family, and I don’t know how to break it.  I feel guilty because I don’t like spending time with my nephews.  It just seems so wrong to say that.  I used to say that I would make a shitty mom, but I was a great aunt.  Now, I am not so sure I can say the latter any longer.

Second piece.  My mom is still here.  She’s leaving for good a week from Friday, which is not a moment too soon.  We have done hard and good work on repairing our relationship, but having her around is really deleterious to my mental health, especially in regards to my body image.

In other words, I think I am a grotesque slug right now.  This is important because of the performance I am doing.  As I wrote about earlier, I have realized that I need to perform.  The first rehearsal was really good.  The second was difficult because I was in a bad space.  Besides my self-castigation over my inability to find a way in which to deal positively with my nephews, I was hating my body big time.  So, getting nearly naked and undulating under a scrim with other nekkid people was difficult.

One of the women, Kendra, has what I consider the perfect body.  She’s athletic, in her mid-twenties (if that), slim, and gently rounded.  I aspire to have that body.  So, of course, seeing her nearly naked under the scrim made me self-conscious as to how corpulent I am and how pendulous my breasts are.  Plus, there are my scars.  I’m not ashamed of them, but they ain’t pretty.  Before, we had individual scrims.  This time, we decided just to be under the one big scrim.  It’s definitely the way to go, but as I’m undulating on all fours with my breasts dangling, I feel uncomfortable.

This is how bad I am in my ED thinking right now.  I thought to myself, “Hm.  The performance is in two weeks.  I can lose ten pounds in two weeks.  No, it wouldn’t be in a healthy way, but who cares about that?”  This is my default thinking, and I don’t know how to correct it, either.

Finally, it’s the last two weeks of my mother’s visit, and for some reason, it’s grating even more than the rest put together.  Oh, I know why intellectually (the finish line is in sight!), but it still bothers me that I’m regressing.   I am starting to really chafe at some of the things she does.  For instant, the minute I get up, she is yapping away at me about what needs to be done.  She thinks I should do this or that or blah blah blah.  I need at least half an hour of silence before I can handle someone talking to me when I first get up, but she needs to talk talk talk talk talk to me the minute I step out of my bedroom.

I just want to say, “SHUT THE FUCK UP I CAN’T HANDLE YOU TALKING TO ME RIGHT AWAY!”, but I don’t.  I just grit my teeth and give her terse answers and feel myself sliiiiiide back into the person I used to be.

I don’t want to go there.  I do not want to be that person.  And yet, I feel myself stalling on what I need to do in order to move forward.  I was going to title this entry Dissatisfaction Guaranteed because that’s pretty much how I feel about myself in general.

My thoughts:  Fuck.  What the fuck have I done with my life?  Nothing.  What am I going to do with my life?  Nothing.  I am going to end up old and alone, living in the Irish Dancer’s mountain inn with thirty-two cats to keep me company.  Who the fuck is gonna want me, my freakiness, and my fucked-up baggage?  I mean, I don’t even want me, so how can I expect someone else to want me?  I am a grotesque blob.  Yes, that might be good for primordial oozing, but it’s not good for my self-image.  I want to perform, but I’m doing shit-all about it.  I want to be published, but I’m doing shit-all about it.  In fact, I’m doing shit-all nothing right now.

As y’all know, I follow national politics, and I feel pretty much useless there.  I know I have to get more involved in the local scene where I could actually make a difference, but I’ve done fuck-all about that, either.

So, I start thinking, I am a piece of shit.  Does my life really matter at all?  Yes, I’m going down that slippery slope.  I have no idea how I got there–wait, that’s a lie.  I do know how I got there.  It started with my epic fail concerning my nephews and then it just spiraled from there.  It really takes so little for the demons to set up camp and have a field day.  Even knowing that they are the ones at work here, it’s difficult for me to pull away.  It doesn’t help that I have a horrid headache and my beloved Excedrin Migraine isn’t doing its job.  I took my usual three capsules (I finally read the directions.  I’m not supposed to take more than two capsules in a twenty-four hour period, so I will forgo my second dose of three capsules), and it usually helps within fifteen minutes.  This time, no.

I’m not quite back in the abyss yet, but I’m sliding down that road.  I don’t know how to stop the slide, either.  They never taught that lesson in school.

12 Responses to The Summer of My Discontent

  1. I would have yelled and wanted to strangle the kid too. I have yelled at L, probably will continue to at times. I know it’s wrong and feels shitty, but we are human…and it works. And, why are their poor boundaries and lack of respect your fault? And, and, and what performance? E-mail me on this–cool and love you!

  2. Ohhh, Sweetie, if you think that I never flipped my shit at the Kellions, you would be very wrong. Just ask them about Psycho Mom. They’ll tell you that I’ve lost it on numerous occasions. So again, the fact that you don’t -want- to be a parent notwithstanding, it doesn’t make you a shitty person that you lost your temper with a person who was acting shitty towards you.

    If you’re spiraling down, maybe consider increasing your therapy visits. You’ve made amazing progress, and I don’t want to see you backslide simply because your mom is still here and such. Not worth it.

    Your support network is still standing; and we’ll catch you if you stumble. But the fact that you can step back and recognize the fact that you’re stumbling is a huge step in itself, that you might not have seen before. You have the power to do anything, so long as you’re ready to do it. Sounds like you’re definitely getting to that point. Good!


  3. For what it’s worth, I regard surviving other people’s children as a tedious but inevitable ritual in becoming an adult. By and large, if you don’t actually throttle the little menaces, you’ve passed the test with flying colors. I say this as one who has, in the past, had to babysit evil incarnate in juvenile form – namely a child whose party trick was to bite when denied anything. I have physically raised said child, attached by its jaws to my forearm, into the air, and resisted the temptation to swing for the fences, while detaching myself as best I could. Given the provocation you endured, I’d say you were actually doing rather well. Bear in mind that you didn’t raise the children, and you can’t be held responsible for the failures of their parents.

  4. Yes, they are “other people’s” children, but they are also extended family and as we all know, that means family dynamics continue to play out.
    Kids are amazing and sweet, and they are also the meanest little shits around. Think back to the playground. Remember the bullies and mean girls? They sense anything and you’re in their target zone.
    The only thing I can say is you wouldn’t let Joe Blow treat you like this, just because they are family, does not entitle them to run roughshod all over you.
    Tell them, “If you are going to act disrespectful to my authority and in ways that make me feel you don’t like me, you won’t be welcome to my house any longer.” Let them know actions speak louder than words and you won’t put up with being bullied by children. PERIOD.
    Maybe then you’ll feel like being nicer to them.

  5. Hiya peeps. I had my therapy session today, which was difficult, but it helped. Yes, I will blog about it at some point.

    Kat, it helps to have the perspective of actual parents. Their behavior is not my fault; my reaction to their behavior is my…not fault but my responsibility. I emailed you about the performance. Love you, too.

    Kel, oh I know you’ve yelled at the Kellions. I mean, I can’t imagine there is a single parent who can say she’s never raised her voice at her kids. I just hate how easily I reach that point. Thanks for being part of my network. I do not know what I would do without you guys.

    morzer, holy shit. I think I would have went ballistic in your case. Is it wrong of me that I slightly snickered at the image of you holding up a kid who was attached to your arm by his/her teeth? At any rate, I know intent to hit isn’t the same as hitting itself, but I am uncomfortable at how close I came.

    whabs, you are right. It’s a vicious cycle. They want attention, and I am a pretty low-key energy kind of person. They act out to get said attention, which causes me to back away even further from them. I know I need to set firm boundaries. I just wish I didn’t keep getting tripped up in my old family shit while dealing with the boys.

    P.S. I don’t get your queen reference!

  6. I´ve graphed your projected recovery; it has a slope of one. That means one block over, one block up. Not following that path detracts from the graph. You don´t want a messy graph do you?! For the love of GOD, Minna, what kind of life-like realism are you trying to plot in your recovery? The Minnaverse must be perfect or there will be stress. YOU DON¨T WANT TO CREATE STRESS, DO YOU?!?


    Alternatively, you could “live life as it comes”. Trying to control what comes in life creates a stress of it´s own. Not to mention an unbroken series of fail. I have experience on the matter. There´s a whole lotta wisdom in those five words: Live life as it comes. On a good day, you should give it a try. You may find it to be the key to turning your OCD into an ass-kicking (positive) machine. And your art will blossom. So fuck linear; live.

  7. Rob, not only are you insightful, you’re funny as hell as well. I like that in my commentators. I am trying. The voices in my head were growing softer. Now, they are growing louder again. I am having trouble blocking them out, which means I am having trouble just living. On a good day, my OCD can be an asset, indeed. I just haven’t had a good day in a bit.

  8. People who didn’t have good role models growing up for how to express anger in a healthy way (and I count myself as one), often trouble expressing a little bit of anger.

    It doesn’t feel like there’s much difference between what you did and actually beating the shit out of a kid. You have the same out-of-control feelings.


    You weren’t out of control. You did pull back. You didn’t beat the shit out of a kid.

    You may have felt like it was just a step away from being totally out of control, but that’s because you never saw a good example of healthy expressions of anger.

    The bad news is that you’re stuck in the in-between again… and I know you hate that.

    The good news is that it gets easier when you let yourself be angry and are still able not to get totally out of control.

    Hang in there.

  9. Alex, you got it in one. It’s like my therapist telling me that I would have to rely on my friends and her to let me know if something I say is cruel since I think anything that might remotely hurt someone (especially a family member) is cruel. I have no idea how to express anger appropriately. I was never allowed to be angry when I was a kid. So, any time I express it, it feels like I’m out of control.

    You are also right that I loathe the in-between, damn it. Harrumph.

  10. Hey, get back here. When you´re not posting I worry that you´re not feeding your creative side. That´s what you should be nourishing/nurturing, not the angry/fearful/insecure side. So put pen to paper (wtf?) and get another post up here. Please. Self-isolating is a warning sign…and when you have a blog, we can all see it. (((HUGS)))

  11. Rob M., hey, you. I crashed after my mom left–emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. But, I have to say that I actually was retreating the last week she was here. Even though we made great strides, I really started protecting the real me right before she left. After she left, I just kinda spiraled downward.

    That’s my long-winded way of saying you are right about my lack of posting. Thanks for the gentle prod. I’ll try to get something up either tonight or tomorrow. Or next week. Or sometime….