Guilt trips always get me down

Rainy days and Mondays are, however, fine.

IT’S A PARKING LOT WITHOUT LINES

ist2_4356889-coal-for-youOh, the holidays. What loaded fun. What complicated, charged, bloated, booby-trapped, commercial, expensive, meaningful, non-meaningful, joy! Good thing the big one is only once a year. This is not to say that I am against holidays or don’t like them but rather an acknowledgment of the emotional brew bubbling beneath the surface. No matter how I might try, if I do what I want – what is comfortable and meaningful, and peaceful and happy for me – I get in trouble. I am starting to resent that. And I refuse to continue to always put myself second to others, which is be a huge shift from the last few decades of subservient merry-making and everyday life.

Since beginning my search I have spent a lot of time thinking. Thinking and thinking all day long. Some times in all capital letters, sometimes in italics, often cluttered with colons and semi colons, brackets, asterisks and pound signs. Especially asterisks. I am an Asterisk. Actually, I am a Spasterisk. To illustrate that I am making the quotation mark sign in spastically rapid motions as I say “Spasterisk” as if I am paraphrasing myself. I should have named this blog My Life as a Spasterisk. Shit, always the best ideas are a day late, a dollar short, and then freely offered up for the next person to use. If I see a blog named that I am going to scream. today is a very rare anger day for me. It’s been brewing.

ist2_6547957-country-highwayI had thought and thought about the impact my search might have on my birth mother and for years was unwilling to take that risk, to possibly disrupt her life in a painful or negative way. Since meeting her I have tried to use what my friends determine is my immense capacity for empathy to weigh her feelings and possible perspective into my decisions and quite often made decisions to do things that I’d not wanted to do; to spend more time together than I was as of yet comfortable with. I have always tried to meet in the middle give or take a few miles, but the middle can start to shift farther and farther away till I need binoculars to see from whence I came.

So, for Christmas I had made plans to go visit friends, childhood friends, a few hours away. I was firm on this. it was my wish. My bmom’s family was celebrating separately at the homes of her sons. I was invited to make the rounds to one of their homes (the other is a few arms lengths away still) but maintained that I had made plans. I really wanted to enjoy the holiday with my friends. This was important to me. And it is my wish to never get myself into a situation in which I am the ever-present and assumed guest at a certain place and on a certain date. I have always been very independent. I made my plans clear to my half-brother and to his wife. I was clear to everyone via phone 9repeatedly) email and etc.

ist2_7174522-helpThe day after Christmas I called her and got, “WHERE were YOU? We waited and waited and wondered…. finally we just ate without you.”

WTF?

I am not signing for this package; this guilt trip. Return to Sender, thankyouvery[not]much. Then she was suddenly tired and had to hang up. End of conversation. I allowed myself to feel the anger – something I so rarely do, for healthier or worse – and I fumed for a bit. To pin some sort of guilt trip on me for not being where I said I would not be is a violation of my word, and my feelings and my autonomy and serves to discredit that what I say is what I mean. Yes, perhaps she really wanted me to spend the holidays with her. Yes, perhaps this would have made her so happy. Why couldn’t I do this one little thing for her?

Because, I have put myself through life and because I have earned the right to do as I please. Because I do pretty much what she asks of me. Because I go to extreme lengths to never lay a guilt trip on her. Because I do contortions to make sure she doesn’t go to that place of guilt for having given me up, which is all too easy to access. Because I merely ask the same consideration in return. Fairness and reciprocity over all.

ist2_4489297-fire-flamesGuilt trips are battery acid on a relationship. Guilt is flammable.

It’s not like she has done whatever I have asked, whenever I have asked. I don’t really ask anyway. There have been times she had to change plans. And in those instances I have graciously worked to alleviate any lingering guilt or regrets she night have had. I do not expect her to put me first and I do not even expect to be treated in equal measure to the manner in which she treats her sons; the ones who were there for her their whole lives. For there is that; there will always be that.

ist2_4897643-isolated-swan-featherThere is that underlying not having been there all along thing and there is that having been raised by strangers thing. There is undeniably the whole undercurrent of wondering how I might have been different had she raised me. I feel that. And I don’t even mind. It seems logical actually, for birds will not touch, or care for, a birdling (or whatever they are called) if it has fallen from the nest and been touched by human hands. I have no issues with this. I accept it without any residual conflict or whathaveyou.We are complicated creatures and only one of us is the Dalai Lama. It ain’t me, and it ain’t she. This is a rant I guess, because somehow I have been branded errant. Ooh, I do love my alliteration.

ist2_4379845-on-hold-phone-receiver-hangingBut then I think, what will I say to her when next we speak, when she is over being mad at me and that abrupt ending by which she exited the last call? What I want to say is, “Remember when you had to cancel the surprise party for my birthday (the first one we would have had together, and which I suspected from things she said was just that; a surprise party for my birthday, and for which I had changed firm plans) and then you had a conflict, after it was all planned? You accidentally had tickets to see that ventriloquist at that restaurant and so you canceled my surprise party? You made a choice. You made a choice between conflicting plans and as a result my birthday was canceled.

Was I mad? Did I allow you for one minute to feel guilt over that? Did I express the slightest disappointment or any emotion at all besides understanding and reassurance? No. I understood. I don’t place too much emphasis on days, and rituals. I went to great lengths to ensure that you felt no pain over that. I felt no pain, beyond the secret minor embarrassment for all the guests who had to be called and told the bizarre reason why it was being canceled. And in this case, this holiday, I had other plans and I was extremely clear about it. I did not simply pull a no-show and it is wrong to turn this into that sort of bad behavior. I did not behave badly. I never behave badly. I did not cancel. I made a choice and effectively communicated that.

ist2_5268032-crown-of-thorns-grunge-backgroundYour sons were off the hook for not changing their plans to accommodate your wishes and be all together in one place. I want that same small consideration. I want the same consideration that I show you. I will not give up an ounce of my autonomy as admission to any tribe and I will never put myself last; not anymore, in this life. We can meet in the middle and that’s fair. But I have put myself through life and have earned this point that I have reached. And I will be there on some occasions and not others. I will not be there for all occasions without question. I will not be the dutiful expected guest at any and all functions. I do not ask of you anything remotely reminiscent of such obigatory behavior. It is simply not fair to demand that of me.I realize and appreciate your disappointment. I do not acknowledge or accept your indictment, which is only valid by manner of twisting the facts, distorting the truth.

ist2_1450967-barbed-wireAnd then in reading this I realize that it represents far more anger than I have ever allowed myself to feel. I realize how precious is my autonomy, my freedom. And how much I resent threats to that autonomy. I wonder if we are engaging in a battle of wills, as mothers and daughters do during the contentious teen years. And I really really do not ever want to go through that again, for ANYbody. Once was enough. And I realize I cannot say this to her because she is not the sort to ponder my feelings and wonder how things look from my perspective or have a very open dialogue about such conceptual things such as boundaries and the like. So instead I will just reinforce those boundaries so as not to lose myself in this process, because losing yourself is a cancer on a relationship anyway. And that ain’t worth shit.

I am beginning to better understand the stories on the blogs I read about relationships with birth mothers running a course and then falling apart and away. Given the choice, I would have to choose myself. Cherish or perish. I have but one life to live… and all that.

It is a metaphorical a parking lot without lines. Navigation by assumption will cause accident or fatality.

And I hate that I know they will all be discussing this, me. It sometimes feels like “Me” and “Them” because of course it is, and they are only human, like me. “Me”. Who am I anyway? In this case –  perhaps always the outsider, always the guest – on guest manners. Or perhaps not. That chapter is not yet written, but for the perchance precarious prelude. They can’t take my alliteration away. ;-)

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Explore posts in the same categories: Adoptee control Issues, conflicted feelings, Fitting in to your new family, Learning to be part of a new family, Maintaining a relationship with your birth mother, Meeting your Biological Family, Meeting your biological mother, Playing by birth family rules, WTF

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