Struggling with having my Mom living with me…I’d really love a swimming pool full of vodka right now. With a little floatie thing full of Valium next to my raft…not an option, but it sure does sound good sometimes. I wonder if Slayer plays pool parties?
Wanting to drink is only one of my many fucked up atavistic impulses. It’s amazing how I immediately flash back to 1983 whenever my Mom starts in on me (or I want to go to the nearest bar, stat.). I just want to starve, hide in my room and compulsively work out, run outside in the heat for hours and drink Diet Pepsi. Hey, Jane Fonda even has a new line of workout videos so I could really reenact 1983 if I wanted to.I think I wore the Jane Fonda workout record out when I was a teenager. Scary stuff.
There’s something on the surface that seems more acceptable about that behavior than drinking myself into a coma. It seems less hysterical and more gracious, almost practical. Just suck it up and disappear. Also, it’s much sneakier behavior than getting loaded and coming home and fighting with my Mom before passing out face first in a pile of dirty towels.
Having her living with me today has given me an entirely new perspective on what went on when I was living at home and starving myself in junior high and high school. Come to think of it, the last time my Mom lived with me in Florida when I was in my early 30’s all I did was alternate between starving/compulsive exercise and drinking (you guessed it) vodka.
I just had to choke down my nice, healthy vegan lunch and go get honest and write it down. My Mom is going to be having surgery on the 20th and then it’s 3 weeks of rehab before she can go back home to Florida. I feel very guilty about the fact that she is driving me totally fucking crazy, but my feelings are just that…my feelings. I can’t trick myself into liking living with my Mom. I am also unwilling to not help her out right now—she needs help, and I am not a victim here. It is my choice to have her in my home, which almost makes it worse, honestly! But after that surgery is done, she has to go back home before I completely lose my shit. Having a severely mentally ill parent who also has multiple health challenges is difficult on its own, but my Mom is a black belt co-dependent, hallucinatory, manipulative, severely negative and very critical fundamentalist Christian hostage taker. Every compliment is backhanded, every conversation is a complaint, and her currency is guilt and resentment. When other people are happy or enjoying themselves, she responds with even more vitriol and jealousy. I try to enjoy her good moments when they happen, and when she gets ugly, I either leave the house and go to a meeting or I hide in my room and listen to music while reading. Lately I’ve taken to walking on the treadmill at the gym just so I can zone out on trashy TV in peace. Jersey Shore, take me away!
Lately I’ve been worrying that her cancer will come back and that I will be immediately plunged into another round of never-ending parental caregiving. My Dad got sick in 1996 so it has been pretty much Caregiving A-Go-Go since then. In a frantic and very down moment this afternoon, I opened up one of my inspirational books today, Workin’ It! by RuPaul (yes, I am deadly serious. RuPaul is awesome!) and found the following quote:
“Reminds me of a bunch of king crabs in a pot of boiling water–as one climbs to freedom, the others pull it down. So I worked out a plan for this kind of reaction. I developed an exit strategy and put it into play when the time came. I know it may sound cold, but I am talking self-preservation, baby…I will support and encourage you with all the love in my heart, but if it’s not reciprocal, I gotta go. When the envy and negativity of others start to undermine your confidence, you have to find comfort in other places…You cannot thrive in toxic relationships. This is an unfortunate fact of life, and the sooner you recognize the tactics of the threatened ego, the faster you’ll be able to sidestep its emotional land mines.”
Aside from the king crab reference (not very vegan of me, ha ha), this is something I take to heart. I can’t fix what’s broken in other people and sometimes the best thing to do is to get the fuck out and seek your happiness elsewhere.