Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Epiphone from Inside the Abyss

     For most of the day I allowed it to consume me.  Not because I wanted to, but it was like an unseen blackness swallowing me inch by inch.  I think I finally understand - at least maybe - what it is my mother feels like inside.  The madness.  The craziness.  The irrational spin that is placed on every moment and everyone that falls into her path.  It's been horrible!  I want to curl into a ball and cry.  In fact, though, I am finding it very difficult to stop playing the tape of today........so I will share.

    The overwhelming guilt and shame that I have been feeling finally seeped into my soul today.  I woke feeling tired, out of sorts, and irritated.......not by anything or anyone, but by everyday normal things.  The fact that my cat was laying on my leck - usually a comfort to me, was an annoyance.  The coffee took too long to drip.  Eevn my son's usual morning hug, left me feeling half hearted. 
    I had a headache.  They have been more frequent lately, and the intensity is that of a migraine by the end of most days -- complete with the nausea and sensitivity to sound and lights.  I took my Treximet (migraine med), had a cup of coffee, rushed my son off to school, and felt relieved that I was able to squeeze out a loving "have a nice day" to my son before he exited the car.  By the time I had driven the 9 blocks home, I was agitated, and unsure why.  I thought I would rest - take the day and escape in sleep.  I was ready to chalk it all up to the headache and my feelings of inadequacy.  
   My phone began ringing within an hour, and my friend was relentless.  I must interject here that this particular friend has manipulative behavoirs, and a crush on me.  He uses them both to his advantage at times, and when he does, I find myself pushing him away.  Manipulation isn't something I am fond of -- from either side of the fence.  However, if I was going to get any rest, I would have to field it NOW.
"What Window's version is on your computer?", he asked.
"Windows XP, why?", although I asked why, I was already sure the motive would not be revealed, yet, we would have to play the game to get it out of him.  Not what I needed, wanted, nor thought I could tolerate today.
"Ok, thanks."  With that, he hung up.  SHIT!!  I wanted to let it go............but, within 20 mins I recieved a text from him. 
"Can you please call me?  I think I may have done something to overstep my boundaries, and I want to explain."  SHIT!!  I was angry, annoyed, frustrated, and didn't want to play the game......but, as I stated earlier, I was living what I assume to be a day in the life of my mother.  So, I gave myself a few deep breaths, and called him.
"I got (my son's name here) an MP3 player today.  I am not trying to buy his or your love, I just really like your son, and wanted to do this for him."  Now, if you have ever been manipulated, or been a manipulator, you know that there is an inflection - a tone - that almost forms the statement into a question.
"I wish you would have talked to me before you did this.  Is there someone else you can give it to?  You know I can't buy your daughter anything and I will feel guilty."  Great!!  More guilt!!  Not only because I can't reciprocate, but also because someone else is able to do for my son what I would like to be able to do.  AND.....here is where my mother's madness becomes my own........I was instantly struck by the indignant fact that my son's phone is an MP3 player, and if someone had wanted to get my son a gift --- so badly enough to manipulate me into having to let them -- that my son should at least get a gift he wanted.  Oh how (seriously) terrible I am to have thought this -- but I did.
"(my name) I know that you can't give (his daughter's name here) anything.  It's ok.  I just know that (my son's name here) is so into music, and I thought he would really like to have it.  I guess I should have asked first?  I just never thought it would make you feel bad.  I am so sorry."  He continued to explain to me how much he cares for me and my son, and how he just didn't think that it would hurt me this way.....blah, blah, blah.  Then, the kicker came, "....but please don't deprive (my son's name here) of something he may want because of my stupidity."  OMG!!!  In my madness the thoughts were swirling like a tornado!  If you really wanted him to have something special that he would like, then ask me what he wants, and if it's ok to get it for him...........don't manipulate me!  After the call, I laid back down -- feeling worse about my inability to do for my son for Christmas, feeling physically horrible, and now adding to the madness, I have slipped into thoughts only my crazy mother could have planted and mastered.  There were only 2 things seperating me from her at that moment (and truely for the rest of the day) --- I wasn't ranting out loud (it was all from inside and stayed there), and I knew that what I was feeling and thinking were CRAZY!  Wow!  I am not sure it is comforting -- but it is the only sane and comforting reason that I didn't crawl into a snow bank and hide.

   About 3pm - just 10 mins. before I am to pickup my son from school, the phone rang again.  It was my dear girlfriend with 5 boys.  I figured she was running late and needed me to play taxi, or that she needed my help in some way.  No, I don't always jump to this conclusion when she calls - we truely are good friends.  However, when it is that close to schools end, I was sure it was something. 
"Hi!  How are you?', her pleasent voice was actually soothing to me.
"I am ok.....nasty headache today.  Just gettin ready to go get (my son's name here).  Do you need me to round up your chickens and fly them home?",  I tried to put up a brave front.
"Well, I was actually wondering if you could get (her oldest son - also in the same grade as mine) and let him hang out with you until Basketball practice?  Then, after that could you pick him up, take him home, and watch all of the boys while (her husband's name here) and I go Christmas shopping?"  I twinged thinking of the many times I have watched her boys (for free) when they were home sick - so she could work - or because she was running late, since I wasn't working, and how the money she saved by me watching them
was going to benefit her children ---- meanwhile, my son would be getting one gift if lucky, and she wasn't even attempting to hide the fact that it had never crossed her mind to pay me - even a little bit.  How awful to feel like such an asshole, when this is my friend!!  But, it was like someone was stabbing me......truely, it was awful the way my mind was hatching all this negativity and chaos.
"Sure.  Do you have any idea when you will be back?  Or should I plan to stay until the boys are in bed?"  I was hoping it wouldn't be a long night for many reasons.  1) I was feeling crazy and not sure how long I could hold it together --- especially with 6 boys running loose!  2) My son and I had to get up earlier then usual for school tomorrow, as he has an early band lesson.            3) My son (and hers) have a basketball game after school tomorrow, and that will make a long day, too.       4) Physically, I felt like crap.
On the other hand, I know that there are 5 kids to shop for, and that the nearest shopping mall (or any sort of shopping store) is 1 1/2 hours away.  I knew it would be late, I hoped I would be wrong.
"Well, we are just getting out of town now.  I would guess about 9pm or 9:30pm."  I felt like a heal asking for a time - but it was a school night.  AND, I am a single mom of 1 child --- having 6 different homework needs, 6 different levels of entertainment needs, and 6 boys to feed off of each other is a dead give away that I might feel overwhelmed if it were for too many hours at a time.
"I will be over after practice, and I will get (her oldest son's name here) and (my son's name here) from school and back for practice, then head straight to your house to watch the little ones."  I was heading out the door as we were talking, and hung up to get the kids.
    When I arrived at her home, the dishes were stacked high, and the 4 younger boys (age 4 - 10) were relaxing in front of the tvs.  I started cleaning, and then moved on to make supper.  It was about 5pm when I asked the boys to get their homework and meet me at the table.  I only got resistance from one, but it was enough resistance to make me cringe.  I asked him 7 times before he actually made it to the table.  We got the homework done, and I was setting the table when the older boys called to say practice was over.  I ran out the door, to go the 5 blocks (it was -14 degrees or they could have walked) and returned in a matter of minutes.  I asked the boys to finishing setting the table and get washed up.  Again, I got resistance from the same boy.............4 times of asking to get him to the table, and even then, he wasn't about to eat what was there -- so I gave him cereal.  UHHHHGGG!
    We ate with no incident - just the jovial ramblings of boys enjoying their bonding time.  It was settling in a weird way.  I thought I was finally seeing the light that I had searched for inside of me all day.  That is until bath time.  The same boy - not only did he resist after asking him 5 times, but he actually thought he was going to trick me into thinking he had a shower, but slipped up by not bringing a DAMP towel out of the bathroom with him.  UHHHG!!  I let it go.
   I cleaned the kitchen with help from my son and her 10 yr old, then sat to read with the younger ones.  It was about 8:30 when I realized that I wasn't sure who went to bed when........Ooops!  I called my friend and she indicated that the boys are asked to get ready and go rest at 9pm, but the oldest could stay up since my son was there.  I was also told they were at their last store for the night.  I was relieved, but hoped it didn't show in my voice.
  At 9pm I rounded up the boys and hustled them in to brush teeth, hug, and send to bed.  By now my headache was nagging on the left temple - enough to make my eye twitch.  I was exhausted - and mentally drained -- but proud of myself that I hadn't ranted and yelled, and acted outwardly how I had been feeling inside.  I went back downstairs to where her oldest, and my son were............and the same boy who had resisted everything tonight!!  I told him, firmly that it was bedtime, and he was to get there.  He ignored me and continued into the kitchen.  I walked in there and - even more firmly - raised my voice and stated, "(his name) you have not listened to me all evening.  It is time for bed, and I will not allow you to disrespect me this way.  Goodnight."  As I spoke at him, I was following him up the stairs to his room. That was the end of his resistance.
  At 10pm, my son was showing signs of wanting to go home.  Desperately!  He would look at his watch, then at me, and raise his eyebrows in a quizzacle manner.  I felt his pain -- worse then he knew.  I asked the older boy to turn in, as I was sure his parents wouldn't want him up that late, and my son needed to rest too.
He back talked me, and it even caught my son's attention.  That moment, that look from my son, that acknowledgement of "I would never talk to you (my mom) that way" was the glimmer of hope - the light in the rain - the reality that I was NOT my mother.  I may being feeling like a lunatic, and I may imagine that this is what it is like for her, but I was coping with it - through it.  I wasn't projecting it with wild, craziness.  God bless my son for knowing (even when he doesn't know) just what I needed!
  I finally convinced the oldest boy to go to bed by turning on the news, and my son rolling away (into the couch back) as this was not how her son wanted to spend the rest of his night. 
  My son and I - both tired and ready to put today behind us - stumbled in at 10:43pm tonight.  My son washed his face, applied his acne repellent, and melted into a deep sleep.  He has only stirred once.  I, however, have laid down and gotten up too many times to count.  And thus, I am here - me and my mother's madness - some of which I almost understood, and definately got sucked into today.  I am far from proud of the crazy, mean thoughts that I have allowed myself to think and feel today.  And I am not at all excited to see another day of this abyss overcome me anytime soon.........but there is an epiphone to be had, and I am glad to have reached it...........in some ludicrous way, I am comforted to know that I can carry my mother's madness, inherit it, live it, and not project it, not like it, not accept it as my truth, and not use it to hurt those I love.  I have begun a new phase in breaking the cycle..........it may be a long phase to get through - a very uncomfortable phase - but I didn't quit, and I didn't give into it.

  Tomorrow is a long day.  I should be sleeping - God knows I am physically and emotionally drained.  Yet, I had to get it out.........before it swallowed me, and then projected itself from me to others.

  Thank you for listening.  Now I may get some sleep.



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