"Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair." - Gunnery Sergeant Hartman
I looked back in my posts to see if I had written the story of how my father gave me away as an infant. But I couldn't find the story. Suffice to say when I was a baby my father, who was kind enough to pass on his legacy of lunacy sprinkled evenly among his fine children, gave me away to my grandmother. Story goes, my father threatened to steal me away to Mexico but my mom wouldn't have it. And then the details are a little blurry. My mother stayed with my father and agreed to give me up to live with my grandmother. Something about a suicide threat from my father bla, bla, bla. My grandmother's youngest child at the time was just about to graduate high school. So she was young enough to take on a baby in the house. With the help of my aunt and uncles I was raised in my grandmother's house.
In my about I talk about my gramps suffering from Michael J. Fox disease with a little extra dose of Alzheimer's. My aunt ended up having to quit her job to help care for me and my grandfather whose health deteriorated at a rapid rate. When my aunt stopped working she pretty much became my, "Sir! Yes, sir!" or as I affectionately called her, "Mommy-tia." She was hard on me because I needed to learn. She was hard on me because I was difficult. She was hard on me because I had to grow up and function as a normal member of society. Though now I thank her stern, rigid way of disciplining me. I also know that some of my hang-ups and hiccups in personality probably stem from abandonment issues and authoritarian parenting by my guardian. Pile some of that on top of some of the traits my dad left behind, which if diagnosed would land him in a category close to my own. If not the same category I was diagnosed as when I was still too young and angry to make use of my therapy.
My aunt specifically told me several times when I was a child that I could hate her, she didn't care if I did. That she was not there to be friends with me. She was there to teach and discipline. She expected perfection and nothing less. I still remember I got my first spelling word wrong in first grade, the word brown. I misspelled it broun, as my punishment I was made to write the word 100 times correctly. And any subsequent misspelling was to yield the same punishment. Later I went on to compete in spelling bees, but that is not the point. The point is that one moment in time is something that has stayed with me. I recall complaining to my mother about the unfair situation I was in. Being forced to live at my grandmother's instead of with her and my siblings for the early years of my life. I cried about how unfair things were and my mother, coolly, would reply, "Nothing is fair in this life."
So fast forward to now and I find myself expecting perfection from Andy. I find myself being cool and detached instead of being like the articles I keep reading in Psychology Today. I see the damage that has already been done by Andy's mother, yet I am causing my own lasting wounds. My lecture from CWS embarrassed me, I just wasn't seeing the forest for the trees I guess. But now that it has been pointed out I am ashamed that I am being a shit. I am taking the example of parenting I had and applying it to parenting Andy. I never said I would be good at this parenting crap. As a matter of fact I avoided it because I knew I would make a shit parent. You can't make right with wrong, at least not as far as I can see it. As hard as I try to bite my tongue sometimes I put my foot in my mouth. I say shitty things sometimes often times to keep myself away from others in my own little safety bubble. In my own private comfort zone that I don't like people to tamper with or get near.
I feel like I am going crazy because I don't know what the right or wrong thing to do is. Last night I felt like I was about to boil over with rage so I removed myself. I grabbed my jacket and car keys and headed out to my car in my house slippers and pj's. I said I was going out for a drive and Andy asked if he could come along. I didn't shout no, but I don't think it came out to friendly sounding either. I just needed to go feed my pain with sugar and fat snacks. I sat quietly in my car in the Vons parking lot trying to find my center when I realized I wasn't looking for my center and reflecting. I was trying to detach, I was spacing out trying to squash my feelings instead of deal with them. By that point I had to go home because my husband had a softball game and it was time to get Andy to have his shower and into bed.
Am I causing abandonment issues by leaving the house for a solo drive to have Starbucks and McFries? I know I caused my stomach to ache for the better part of the night. Is swallowing and squashing my feelings the best thing to do so I don't exhibit signs of emotional distress? What feelings are normal to even display to a kid? What more am I supposed to provide? I know the answer, Maslow/Skinner/Harlow, Psych 101. I just can't seem to get myself to consistently provide more than just the basic needs. I guess I am kind of trying to provide enriching activities but am removing myself from the equation the more I look at it.
Sure he has food, water, clothing, shelter. And we send him to school like we are supposed to. We keep him safe from hazards and danger, we instill proper hygiene and such. We have him signed up for extra curriculars so he can make friends and get out of the house so he doesn't feel lonely. We have a reward system set up for him so he can earn tv time by finishing chores and extra credit school work. We have him in an art class because it's something he is into and it makes him happy. This is all I feel I can provide right now. All of these changes are too sudden for my own comfort. And yeah that's selfish and I have a kid to worry about in my house now but damn it, I am fucking trying. I don't want to, I want to just see the doctor to give me a heavy dose of Valium and just zombie my way through his pre-teens/teens. His behavior and upbringing is not making it any easier either. My head planted firmly in the sand is not going to fix anything and neither is taking my head out of the sand. Damned if I do damned if I don't. I thought I had to do right by society and parents, in reality I really gotta do right by Andy. Providing is not enough I suppose I should be filling a void that has not been filled. It's just too much, too fast and this sudden change came along with so much baggage.
I can't wait for the counseling sessions to start for Andy. I can't wait for him to be assessed and for us to start working on how to help him. I hope family sessions will go well because at the rate we are going one of us parents is gonna break down which will be to Andy's detriment. Already fighting a battle at a disadvantage as his mother has a history of mental illness and the subsequent upbringing is what we have to deal with. Any how the next post will be a bit more positive. I can share all of the positive things we have been trying to enrich Andy's life with.