Knowing Nothing Can Be Done

I’ve put in quite a few hours with the house, and several fixtures are installed as a result. My mother asked if she could see the progress thus far, which wasn’t a problem to me. After a few day’s time, she decided today would be perfect to stop by and view it with my father. Being a respectful host and dutiful son, I waited for any sign of them before I started the heavy work on the house… and waited… and waited…

“They probably needed a nap. They like those on a Sunday afternoon,” I rationalized. I know she hadn’t forgotten, as we spoke about this last night. There have been several times in my life where she’s simply forgotten what I was doing, as she was so wrapped up in her own business. Over and over I would be questioned about where was I going or what I was doing simply because she couldn’t remember and wouldn’t write it down. She also asks way too many questions, until her dialog is nothing but question marks. I find that a little much. It’s an inquisition at that point, not a conversation. Why would you ever do that to a person?

Finally, at the six o’clock hour, I called her cell phone with no answer. I’ve stopped leaving messages, as she never listens to them. She simply sees that I’ve called and calls me back to find out what I wanted. It has frequently ended in me regurgitating everything on the voice mail I left. So, I’ve stopped. 

Highly agitated, I went to work. I had house chores to do, as the remodeling had made the place very dirty. I was vacuuming with my gym trunks and no shirt, as I work up a sweat that drenches all my skin touches. After cleaning up the kitchen, laundry room, and part of the dining room, I spin around to see my mother at the back stoop. Startled, I angrily dropped the sweeper attachments and trudged upstairs to put on a shirt. No warning. Nothing. Dammit!

The visit was unpleasant, because I wasn’t happy and she was clueless about how I operate. Voicing any concerns initiates her defensive side, and I will be blamed for being absurd or mean or “on edge” or just plain wrong with what I have to say. In this case, it was simply an asinine request to call a person ahead of time and tell them when you were arriving. How foolish of me to think I would be informed of what time to stick around my house.

This got me thinking. We don’t know how to be a family. We don’t know how to be cohesive, and my family simply doesn’t know how to handle me as an adult. This is infuriating to no end as they tap dance around being a part of my life with no real work. When I say “real work” I mean remembering our interactions, remember my preferences, and otherwise interacting like adults do.

My mother would deny this flat out, but after tonight, she has demonstrated that her life uber alles, and her service to others is to satisfy her martyr complex. My father’s not a martyr, rather self-interested and prefers living in his own world rather than interact with the real world. My personality cannot have a deep, meaningful relationship with them as my desires will always play second fiddle. I need to see eye to eye with people. I have earned that.

I am metaphorically alone, and with them in a state of denial, there’s little that can be done. Acceptance is hard sometimes, but may be necessary in this situation. We can’t always get what we want, I suppose.

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7 thoughts on “Knowing Nothing Can Be Done

  1. kerbey says:

    One the one hand, you’ve been a grown ass man for nearly two decades now, so they should interact with you as they would with any adult, respecting both your space and your time. (Do they treat others like this, or just you?) On the other hand, I have been witness to some dysfunctional parent-child relationships as well. You don’t want to terminate it, but you don’t want to endure this same level of crazy for the next 30 years either. I realize she gets defensive, but that would not (and has not) prevented me from saying to my mother, “You’re making me crazy” or “You need to treat me like this,” etc. I make it clear how frustrated I am when she doesn’t answer her cell. I would have said, “Don’t ever show up at my house again without letting me know first.” Can you say it all relational-therapisty, like, “I am trying to communicate to you my concerns so that we can get along, but it seems like you’re not receiving them…?”

    • As far as I can tell, this is how they think family interactions should be conducted. I’ve voiced my opinion on several occasions all with the same level of effectiveness: zero. She simply does what she wants to do, and it has been a long, long time I haven’t thought, “I’ll give her a hug now, because I know that’s how she communicates.” I try to reach out in my own way, but it falls on deaf ears. I feel so hollow sometimes, even when we’re not fighting.

      • kerbey says:

        😦 Well, take that hollow and dwell on good things: You live in the USA–hurray! You are free, you’re not married to someone you deplore, you don’t have to put anyone through college, fall is coming soon, you have a job and a good head of hair, your internet is working, Olive Garden has a new asiago cheese flavor for their neverending pasta bowl…

  2. Nicole says:

    My mother carried me for over eleven months. She was in labor with me for 22 hours, and that was only before they decided to go ahead and do a C-section. And it’s amazing how often I have to remind myself of that.

  3. I know what you mean about conversations where people only ask questions. They don’t converse, they interrogate.I like to hear people telling me their experiences and interacting. Don’t worry about the parent thing…I had exactly the same. I only got back with my parents through the good services of the woman I married. Nothing really changed, but I got back with them before they died.

  4. I’ve addressed the non-stop streams of questions with her more than once and by multiple means. It’s just not in her nature to either listen or change. Maybe when I stepped outside of the state, and interacted with more people, I started to genuinely understand what real human discussion and the worth of good company is all about.

    Man, oh man, if it takes a marriage to give my family a little more direction, then I’m screwed. There’s not much in the way of compatible marriage stock around Hooterville. I’ve given up in that department. It’s a little painful to think about it, but that’s what I get for not being similar to the people around me.

    Now that I think about it, you’ve given me a better way to describe my familial situation: they are confused on what to do with me and don’t have a traditional direction (i.e. married with kids) to take. They’re flailing about because this is something new to them.

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