Family, family

I’ve been seeing less of my family these last few days. My mother is now home from the hospital, and visits don’t seem as urgent. Anyway, I’ve had enough. Which is awful to say really. Last Thursday I decided I couldn’t take another visit, so went straight home after work instead of going to the hospital. Yesterday I visited my mother at home, and today I stayed home.

I have been depressed, though not as bad as on other occasions. I’ve been trying to work out what it is about family visits that disturbs me so much. Since no one any longer does anything mean, everyone is well behaved, my mother is very brave and helping herself recover as much as possible. For instance, she is supposed to keep walking, so while she rests on the couch, every twenty minutes she hauls herself up and walks around the house, circling from living room to kitchen to hallway and back. In general, my family believes in action for distress. So my father remarks that he finally took his bike out to ride in the cemetery near their house, that he intends to go every day as he is not fit. No one mentions any pain, anxiety or distress of any kind from this life-threatening situation they’ve just survived.

In my family, you do not discuss feelings of any kind, if they are negative. Or negative events if they can possibly be ignored. That’s one thing that I suppose is upsetting to me. I kind of freeze and stop feeling anything, as feelings are not acceptable. Then I feel massively anxious and depressed.

Then there is the past. For many years, my father treated me as if I was invisible, for whatever twisted reasons of his own. The rest of the family went along with this. It was as if there was something deeply and humiliatingly wrong with me that everyone could plainly see but were too polite to mention. Now he no longer does this, obviously, or I would never visit ever. But I still feel that taint, and the rest of the family still vaguely seems to think there is some unmentionable thing wrong with me. Or I imagine that. Anyway, I haven’t gotten over being treated as if I were invisible. This happened when I was a young teenager, and I’d like to get over it, but I can’t.

Those are the two reasons I’ve come up with for finding family visits disturbing. They are why I avoid my family except for major holidays.  In many ways they do positive things, they look on the bright side, they accomplish things, they are stable and would help me if I needed physical or financial help. I just can’t get over the past.

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4 comments
  1. diver said:

    Hi Ellen. Glad to hear your Mum's home and improving and also that you're free of the obligation treadmill and those difficult sibling encounters.Hey, is it possible your Mum and/or Dad might've learnt of your abuse at some stage … but have never been able to deal with it? I mean, the way you described … "as if there was something deeply and humiliatingly wrong with me that everyone could plainly see but were too polite to mention" … it almost sounds symptomatic of them struggling with something ???In any case I hope things settle down for you now. Fingers crossed 🙂

  2. Ellen said:

    Thanks diver. I don't know about that. I think my dad did what he did for reasons of his own, and because he was always right, everyone else had to make up some reason why he would act like that, so they decided there was something wrong with me so it would all make sense. If that makes sense. The abuse seems to have started when I was four – how could they not deal with it if they knew about it? I just don't think so, but you never know. Thanks for the input. take care

  3. Ellen,I'm having family fun at the moment. We don't seem very good at talking to each other and I tend to find it difficult. At the moment I'm not seeing them as often as they'd like. I used to meet parents every week and now it's a lot less. They're not happy about it and its probably not ideal but for now or me less is better than more and since I get a vote as well I vote that way. Fundamentally I don't see it as my job to be exactly as my parents want if that's not who I feel I am. As an adult I get to decide who I am, to follow my gut and know when my limits are being hit.I know life isn't easy for you right now but you do seem o be getting through it somehow. I'm glad.

  4. Ellen said:

    Family fun is a good way to describe it Mike. It's good you can set limits with your family. I usually see mine a lot less than even once a month to tell the truth. You are surely entitled to be your own person. Thanks for the kind words.

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