Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The light went on

I've been feeling this nagging, crappy mood nipping at my heels for a couple of weeks now. And I haven't been able to figure out why I am battling the blues, since I am the happiest I've ever been in my entire life. I feared that PPD had finally caught up with me and it scared me.

And then this morning during a marathon "conversation" with my Dad, a light went on, and I realized what's been eating at me. It wasn't any fatherly wisdom, or anything enlightening, or intellectual said by my dad. Quite the opposite actually... It was 30 minutes plus of whining and bitching and crying about his life and how rotten it is right now. Because of the economy he's not working - which is hard for him because he's a workaholic. He's also an alcoholic. And a drug addict. And a food binger. Mind you he's a functioning alcoholic and drug addict, but still. So he whined to me about his job, his drinking problems, his money problems, the rain, that he has no friends (his fault), and about how stupid everyone else in the world is, and about my mom.

And there it was. Ding! Ding! Ding!

That is what's bugging me. My parents. Both of them. They're so fucking unhappy it is breaking me down to be around them or to talk to them. They don't have a single nice word to say about each other. And because I'm apparently the smartest, and most responsible adult in our entire family, they both feel like they can bitch to me about each other.

They both have some really good qualities and I love them dearly but it's making my life difficult, and unpleasant. They both tell me that they have nobody else to talk to besides me.

I know what my therapist would say. She'd tell me to make it stop. Refuse to talk to them about each other. Refuse to spend time with them if it's hurting me. Tell them that when they want to be grown ups and work out their problems that I'll be happy to spend time with them. And then she'd tell me to go to an Al-anon meeting so that I can be with other "adult children of alcoholic parents" so I can be around others who are dealing with this and gain some support from them.


And I suppose I do need to do something, now that I've realized what's going on. Because I cannot have them bring me down (again).

And there's Ruby to think of. She is my number one priority. Right now she has been unscathed by their actions and I will do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Whatever. It. Takes.
I am determined that she will have a better life, growing up, than I ever did. She will not be exposed to the things that I was. Hopefully she will have to spend less money on therapy than me.

I've had a few issues already with my parents in regards to Ruby. My dad somehow thinks that he knows what's best for her - better than I do and he doesn't respect my parenting (not sure when he learned all his parenting skills because he was certainly not a good father). My mom totally respects my parenting but she's a pushover with my dad and gives in to what he says all the time.

Like my rule that he not hold her when he's shit-faced and then he asked to hold her so he can give her a kiss goodbye when we left there on Sunday and my mom hands her to him with a sheepish look in her face.

Like when he had her in her stroller in the driveway and he pushed the stroller (with her in it) away up the driveway and then let it roll back to him and I got pissed off and said not to do that!!! (He was even sober at the time) then I found out that he kept doing it when my mom and him took her for a walk. Well why the fuck is she allowing him to push the stroller if he can't be a responsible grandparent???

My dad is a wreck right now but he thinks he's got everything figured out. He thinks he does no wrong. He thinks he knows everything and will not listen to reason. He is very defensive, and bitter and sometimes very mean. And selfish.

My mom despises him right now. She can't even talk to him nice, or look at him without bitterness. Yet she has lived with him for 35+ years and continues to do nothing about her life with him.

So yes, something has to be done on my part. I guess I got sucked into their mechanics again. But now that I've realized what's going on, I will do something. I just need a couple of days to let this all sink in and and to think about what exactly I need to do.


Emily said...

Good for you for figuring it out. Now the hard part is doing something isn't it?

We've started laying down some of rules we expect to be followed with the baby i.e. no smoking around her (my sisters) and while some of it hasn't been popular, we've been very clear that if the rules aren't followed then there will be consequences. I figure we'll only have to follow through once or twice before we'll be listened to.

Good luck - I think you're right to nip it in the bud now because having your parents undermine your parenting is not a good thing at all!

Somewhat Ordinary said...

Oh, I'm thinking of you. Dealing with addicts is so tough. I agree you need to talk to someone (I should take my own advice) so that you can sort this stuff out. It is hard to make that initial step though. You know I get so sick of people telling me to go to Alanon (I say that as I contemplate going to a meeting tonight). I'm really thinking of you and if you need to vent you can e-mail me.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

First of all, well done you figuring out the problem. And you never know, sometimes just knowing what the problem IS allows you to not NEED to intervene so much. At least, I notice that's true with me, that sometimes when I figure out what's eating at me, I'm more able to allow the behavior to continue without letting it get under my skin. I hope that's the case for you, but if not, I hope that whatever path you pick in regards to resolving this works out.

Second of all, you are Ruby's parent and if you have rules with regards to your father, then he needs to respect them. I'd take a hard line with that one over all else because it isn't fair to you or to Ruby if something happens to her because he violated one of your specified rules.

Alicia said...

"I think your old man and my old man should get together and go bowling."

I know how hard it is to ward off a "proud grandpa" who wants to hold his baby granddaughter when he's completely shitfaced. It's an ugly scene, and it always ends badly.

I've had to pretty much cut my dad out of my life for the most part, but it's a little easier for me because he and my mom are no longer together.

I'm sorry you're going through this, hon. It sounds like just setting some ground rules isn't working. I honestly don't know what will.

Emily said...

I'm glad you've figured out what has been bugging you. It must be hard to deal with a family member with a 'functioning' addiction, it can be brushed under the tablle so easily.

I'm sorry you have to go through this.