Despite all of my kookiness and neurosis, I’m not crazy. I spent many years, many dollars and many tears in therapy to be able to say that. After a childhood like mine, it would have been easy to just sink into the comfort of denial like my sister, or outright delusion like my mother. To succumb to the mind eraser of addiction like my father. I needed instead to find a way to deal with my demons, lest they swallow me whole and burp me up broken. I found my first therapist when I was 16 years old, and the work that I started there with her continues still today.
These days, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not crazy.
For years I kept my family at arm’s length. I wanted my daughters to grow up in as healthy a household as I could give them. We saw my family on special occasions, and spent a lot of time after those talking about what they saw. As my girls got older, they formed their own relationships with my family, and I’m proud of their balanced way of dealing with them. They have managed to see my mom and my sister with their own eyes, and accept who they are today.
I find that balance far more difficult.
I cannot separate who they are today from who they were 30 years ago anymore than I can separate my own 10 year old self from 40 year old me. Our history is too tangled to tease apart.
Because I insisted on being honest about my family’s problems and refused to stay in a home that offered me no shelter, my family thinks I’m the crazy one. When there was physical and emotional distance between us, it didn’t matter to me what they thought. It was easy for me to do the work of healing and accepting. It was easy to remember that I’m the sane one.
But now we’re living under the same roof again for the first time since I left at 15, and it’s more difficult to maintain that emotional distance that I need. In fact, it’s impossible.
The boundaries that I learned to put in place over the years have been breached. The hardships over the past year have made it challenging to set new ones. Dealing with one crisis after another doesn’t exactly set the tone for mental health work. Our situation here is ever evolving, and I’ve not found solid enough footing to make a stand for myself and my sanity.
I fear that if I don’t, all of the work that I’ve done over the years will come unraveled and I’ll be laid bare in front of a family who has no history of treating my emotions with any kind of compassion. But it’s hard to take a stand from your knees.
I intended this blog post to be funny. To talk about my crazy mother leaving the shampoo in her hair so she wouldn’t have to wash it again. To laugh about arguing with my sister about whether or not she’d already had a pain pill and winning when I pinched her and she didn’t feel it. I had every intention of using the humor shield that I’ve wrapped around myself all of my life.
But in the absence of expensive therapy visits, one finds a way to do the work. I guess I needed to write this, to post this, to get this out.
Boundaries- I’m all for them. I need to find a way to set them again.
I am the sane one, even if I’m the only one who believes it.
Real life woman. Virtual World avatar. Likes top shelf vodka, dominant men, blues, sunsets and playing darts. Dislikes insecurity, rap, small children and clowns. I'm either behind the bar or under it.