Monday, October 6, 2008

It's Nothing Like I Thought It Was Going To Be

I am so not into my work today. My brother is here today. And really, it is not bothering me. It IS strange to see him. His body is that of an adult, but I still see my kid brother. His voice is deep, but to me it sounds like he’s trying to make it that way, because I remember him with a pre-pubescent squeaky voice.

I figured out what is really bothering me through all of this, which is that my parents do not understand me. The Man went to lunch with my dad about three weeks ago and the conversation turned to me and The Man mentioned how difficult this transition was for me. My dad flipped out and said I ASKED HER IF THIS WAS OKAY WITH HER. HOW CAN I TRUST ANYTHING SHE SAYS TO ME?

The Man said wait a minute, calm down. It IS okay with her, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for her. He said that my parents don’t provide a safe environment for me to express myself with them which is why I didn’t elaborate on my feelings, but that it is something I want dearly and if only he and my mom would take the time to sit down and talk to me. I don’t think my dad heard a word The Man said.

Three weeks later, and no attempt has been made to discuss anything with me. That makes me think they just flat out don’t care about having a truly open and honest relationship with me.

My dad calls me into his office last week and says, “We’re having a family meeting next Saturday. You need to get a baby-sitter for The Boy. I’m going to say my piece and anyone else who wants to talk can do so. But as head of this family, I’m going to go first. You and your brother, although you are our children, you are not kids anymore, and you need to start treating each other as adults. We will discuss the ground rules.”

What any of this means, I have no clue. I think he thinks I have a problem with my brother because him being here is hard for me. I think he may want us to like “work it out” or something on Saturday. Really, though, by not understanding that any transition with a family member would be complicated, my dad has now changed the focus. Whereas I used to be thinking, Hey, my brother is coming back, there’s a lot of baggage there, etc. everything else that goes with it, now it’s like HEY RED FLAG, YOU’RE PARENTS HAVE NOT THE SLIGHTEST CLUE WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH. And that’s really the hard part of this for me.

So I went to the therapist today (thanks to my person). I went with the intention of finding out how to communicate with my parents about who I really am. He always gives me great communication tools and I figured, once I was armed with whatever that was, I could fix this relationship problem with my parents and move on. I was looking forward to actually having a close relationship with my parents after he gave me the tools to do this. Here is what he said:

“You’re parents are not going to understand you.”

Wow. I was shocked. That was the farthest answer from my head. It never even occurred to me that this could be a possibility.

I was like, Um, what? And he said, “If you’re parents are not willing to be part of this, you can’t do anything to show them who you really are. They have an idea in their ‘box’ of who you are. You don’t fit into that shape, and that’s not going to change unless they decide to change their way of thinking, which they appear to have no desire to do at this point in time.”

My parents have no desire to change and get to know who their daughter actually is, which is way better than the idea they have of who I am. And I have to accept this.

Now I have something completely new to get over. Forget about re-accepting my brother into my life, and now his wife, who is a complete stranger, and oh, by the way, she’s having a baby. And my parents paid for them to move out here, and they are living with my parents, and my dad’s business is going to pay for their health insurance because we can’t have her going to county doctors, mom is going to take her to doctor appointments (she never came with me), all of this when they theoretically couldn’t “afford” to buy The Boy pants, The Boy now has to share his grandparents, etc. But I can easily move past all of that.

But accepting the fact that my parents are not a safe place to express myself. That’s painful to my very core.


Kelvin Kao said...

What a great guy The Man is! ...Although your dad might not have actually heard what he said.

moo said...

That's a great therapist, right there.

Know what else? Your parents don't HAVE to understand you to love you. They should accept you for you and all that goes with it. I wonder if they can do that?

Fabulously Broke said...

Honey I am so sorry.

It's a heartfelt sorry too, because I feel guilty for having loving parents now, and I appreciate them even more.

I'm really really sorry.

Manic Organic said...

I wonder if parents have ever been a safe place to express oneself? Not for me anyway and not for a lot of people I know. As long as you have surrounded yourself with your CHOICE of people who get you, get it....then you are ahead of the game. I sat down with my parents after some therapy about 15 years ago and told them everything they had done to me and how it hurt me. They said, "We don't remember that." They claimed not to remember any of it so it was a big waste of breath. My brothers kept telling me to just get over it and move on. Why does everyone want you to get over it. I could get over it if they would finally get me! So it's a viscious circle. At least you have a person and not everybody has that. Love ya!

Annie said...

Glad you have a great support system. I *heart* therapists who tell it like it is. I really do.