My blog has been quiet for the past couple of weeks. My silence can be explained by the arrival of the rentals, rents or in plain english, the parents. They have been bobbing on the ocean for the past few months, the life of retirees who have planned their retirement every step of the way. You see I live at home, I’m not sure I’ve ever shared that little detail with you dear readers. My parents are gone for most of the year, sharing their time between the boat, the cottage and Whistler. Hard life hunh?
So every 4 to 6 months I experience turbulence when they come home. Our relationship is a challenging one, I’m the only member of my family who has done any work around my father’s alcoholism. The rest are in denial. It’s like everyone is blind but I’m the only one who chooses to see things a certain way. Trust me when I say that it makes for crazy holidays, tense visits and arguments. So I’ve chosen instead to detach, no holidays with family and the less time spent together the better. In fact, I prefer email and msn to phone conversations. Keeps it simple, neutral and devoid of emotion which is really for the best.
The turbulence usually occurs one week leading up to their arrival, during our time together and about a week after their departure to settle. I’ve noticed I can’t write when turbulence occurs, I can’t paint or create either. When they are around I wall up and go to ground, protecting. Sad isn’t it? After all this is my primary bond, you’d hope it would be fulfilling somehow. Instead with every visit I become more and more aware and come to some pretty important realizations. For example, I’ve come to realize that I don’t like my mother very much as a person. There I’ve said it, a horrible thing for a daughter to admit but it’s true. She’s a mean, unhappy and spiteful person and tries to make herself feel better by putting down others around her. Sad.
I try and avoid my mother as much as possible when she’s around, it just makes my life easier. The relationship with my father, despite the alcoholism is an easier one. We get along fairly well, despite there being a communication gap. Before and during the work I did around my family my mother and I would have legendary fights that would end in tears, screaming and anger. Now, things have changed, there is less emotion but still lots of pain in our ‘discussions’.
We got into one during her recent visit. It never ceases to amaze me how people are mirrors for us. My mother was annoying me by being ungrateful, petulant and childish. I realized after a friend prompted me that I learned those very same behaviours which I am less than proud of from her. Amazing. I had never realized this pattern until the moment when the light came on. I now tend to walk away from fights because what my mother says about me is always an attack on my character. She makes it highly personal and painful. Her words stay with me for days no matter how much I try and exorcize them.
A friend of mine who has done group work with me pointed out that I must be getting something out of staying in my parents’ house. After thinking about it, I’ve come to understand that maybe by staying I get to heal my relationship with them by having these awarenesses, realizations and learning to do things differently. Let’s hope so because the process is enough to make anyone question their sanity.