Releasing the past in order to find myself

Monday, August 6, 2012

Crying Wolf

*This post has been edited from it's former self which was loaded with grammatical, thematic, and spelling errors.  In my rush to get it all out, I didn't bother to re-read it and I thank all of you who stumbled through the garbled version I first posted.

You all had warned me.  Told me to be on the lookout.  I had said it was too quiet around here, still in it's quietness.  And you all warned me that  they were just bidding their time and would ramp it up.  Well, today it hit.

I got a call from my Dad this morning.  If you remember, this was the week he was supposed to visit.  I was sure that he was calling to tell me he was coming anyway.  Or that it was bad news.  Either way, it couldn't be good for him to be calling bright and early in the morning.  I let it go to voice mail.  The message was worse than I had expected.   He had received a call from my Aunt saying that my sister had cancer.

I was dumbstruck.  How this Aunt knew my sister had cancer was disturbing as she could've only got the information of FB.  The fact that neither my Dad or I knew nothing about her having cancer was disturbing.  He had tried calling her but got no response or call back.   I was away from home when I got the call, so I stressed the whole way back.   Rushing to get to my computer.   Nothing on FB.  I emailed mom.  She called immediately.  I hadn't wanted to talk to neither her nor my sister.  But I figured I might as well deal with it.

Mom started in with 20 questions about where my Dad was.  Every question she asked, I responded with "Why?  What is going on?"  Again and again, is he home, where is he, exactly WHERE is he?  Why?  I responded.  Where he is at is none of her damn business.  Then she lets loose.  Detailing that my sister had gone to the doctor and been told she had something "like cancer".  Or something that could be cancer.  Or something.   She didn't have any specifics.  But the crazy part is, that this was SIX MONTHS AGO and NSis hadn't been back to the doctor since.   She didn't have any money.  Or was afraid.  Or couldn't deal.  It was all so fucked up.  She had "let it slip" in a conversation with my mother three days ago.

 NM and my conversation was insane.  It wound around to how NSis and her (newly) live in boyfriend are fighting.  And NM had "confronted" him but saved what she really needed to say if she needed to confront him "to his face".  She's all tough and mean, I guess.  What exactly she confronted him on is up in the air too.  I guess because he's an ass (which I think he is) but so is NSis.  She is no picnic to be in a relationship with.   They've only lived together for about two months and this has been the second or third fight where she's kicked him out, or he's not come home, or the drama has reached a fever pitch.  It's ridiculous.  And NM is all in the middle of it.   Telling him that he doesn't need to be supportive of NSis, she doesn't need him,  she has her family.  I really don't know how the conversation about NSis's cancer turned into this.  And back to the cancer.  I argue.  I think it seems fishy.  NSis had posted on FB, late at night, that she has cancer.  Friends and family were upset (understandably).  Who the hell tells everyone about cancer on FB?  Least of all their immediate family?  What the fuck is that?  NM and I go rounds about how NSis always has crap and drama in her life (big drama, ALWAYS).  How this seems sudden diagnosis seems weird to me.  That something is off.    And what was the actually diagnosis, again?  Well, this time NM is certain that  the NSis actually said the words cancer.  That isn't what she said in the beginning.  Then we go rounds about how NSis needs to grow up, and NM needs to butt out of her life and let her grown up.  And NSis needs to make her own doctors appointments and take charge and communicate like a grown up.  NM states she is going go get NSis to sign a privacy waiver so NM can talk to the doctor too.  Awesome.  Then, we have some brief, teary, moments where NM bitches about my Dad and his lack of support for his daughter and how horrible this is for her to go through "alone".  And how she agonized over calling Dad and having to tell him about it.  I took the reigns and said not to worry, I'd call him.

By this point, I was angry.  Shaking angry.  NM said she hadn't wanted to tell me because she didn't want to stress me out.  Apparently, I'm too fucking fragile to deal with this.  Well, it's not the damn cancer I can't deal with.  It's all the drama, and the crap, and the lies, and the bullshit.  It's not even knowing what in the hell is going on.  It's having to call my dad to say that no one knows what is going on.  It's the "bait" that's laid out, so that NSis can feel important while everyone scrambles to call her.  Her holding all the cards.  And I don't know.  Maybe she is sick.  That would be horrible.  But I'm so tired of stressing about "could be" and "maybe" and "possibles".   I'm so tired of the secrecy and smoke and mirrors.  I'm so tired of everyone getting all worked up when no one has anything concrete to get worked up over.  And, frankly, this is nothing new.  There is always some fucking crisis going on.  And yes, they are real crises, but a lot of them are of my sister's doing.  She's always getting robbed or held up or hit by a car or in an accident or beat up by a boyfriend or in a fight or losing her job.  Mom says she has "bad luck".  Really?  How can someone be that damn unlucky????  She's been going around dealing with a lot of the stuff from our childhood lately.  She's been slipping into bad habits, talking to old assholes she shouldn't, drinking too much.  She's always in trouble with money.  She's very bright and a hard worker, but is always getting "screwed" by her employers.  I've spent years with knots in my stomach.  Years dealing with late night phone calls with her sobbing.  She often is sick and has hospital bills.  It's all been too much.  Especially since it's all one way.  There is no return.  There is no support back.  There is no concern or respect for me.  If there was I wouldn't have had to hear THIRD HAND ab out her cancer!!  All I can say  is that I'm so damn angry.  And I'm sure I am a cold-hearted bitch to my NM and NSis.  I'm sure I'm supposed to be doing more, crying more, devastated.  Problem is, I don't even know what I'd be crying about.

I called my Dad, who is on vacation.  We talked about it.  At least he is a voice of reason.  At least he sees through the bullshit.  He can be a selfish ass,  but he is not careless and insensitive and blinded by the bullshit.  He figures he tried to get a hold of her and did his part.  She can call him back now.  He's tired of the games too.  He's tired of my mother's games.  He's tired of her accusing him of not helping out more.

It's just all so fucked up.  I just want to lead a normal, drama free life.  Who has a crazy-ass family like this?  Why is it always such turmoil?  Why is it so fucking difficult?  I know that no life is perfect or that you don't hit rough patches.  But, Good Lord, I feel like we are always on a road with potholes the size of craters.  I'm getting off this damn road.  I don't know what my next step is.  I sent off a quick email to NM, when she inquired how it went with my Dad.  I haven't called my sister.  I don't really have anything to say.  And frankly, if she wants to tell me something, she can call me.  I can support her and be there for her, but I'm not going to chase after her and profess my undying love.  And if this wasn't the millionth time this has happened, I could be more understanding.  If I was told the truth, I could help.  If NM didn't inundate me with weekly reports of the sick and dying, I wouldn't be so calloused.  It's all just so sick.


  1. Yep, they are all nuts and they're going to drive us nuts too, unless, like you said, we get off the damn road, or the merry-go-round or whatever it is that keeps them in motion.
    I think it's so unfair they dumped a bomb like that on you, that's the things with narcs: they are constantly putting you in lose/lose situations. You had no way of knowing what was going on with your sister and now you're the bad one because you didn't know? Where's the logic in that? Crazy-making at its best. Girl, we have to start making ourselves manipulation proof. Never mind if they think we are "unfeeling", it is precisely because we truly feel that we find all this drama so draining. I think it is them that are unfeeling and that's why they're constantly searching to pump up drama, because it's only a vehicle to get attention to them.

    1. Yes, damned if I do, damned if I don't with them. It is so frustrating, and so very exhausting. Even though I didn't jump and cry and run to help like I would've before, it still wiped me out completely yesterday. Their position is that I should have been more in contact with my sister. That I need to reach out to her more. Never mind that she doesn't reach out to me, or "check" on me, or is never there to help me. I'm supposed to be her support because I'm the "fortunate" one in the family. I don't have all this crisis and drama and she does and I some how owe her my support. And support means that I indulge them in a million phone calls and hours of listening to her cry and hours of problems without any plans of action. Just be a dumping ground. But although my life isn't high-drama, I do have a family and kids and a husband and a life to tend to also. They want me to let their problems consume me, take up all of my life, and it is so unfair. And completely life-sucking.
      You are right about them constantly seeking to pump up the drama. I think that that is the only way for them to feel alive. To feel validated and important. It is really sad. But I don't want to live like that anymore.
      NM sent me a message last night, supposed to induce guilty, trying to get me to call. It doesn't matter that NSis hasn't called either of my parents back after all of this. It only matters to her that I reach out to my sister. Makes me angry. I went to fire of a reply to her that I have things going on too, and I'll call when I can, but I left well enough alone. No sense playing into her triangulation.

    2. Deep down you know, Jess, that even if you did all that reaching out it would still be the same, it's like a bottomless pit. I did feel the same with my family that, like you say, "they want to let their problems consume me, take up all of my life", at one point I felt like there was not going to be anything left of me, or like my husband says now: "your sister would have been quite happy to milk the cow dry". And like you say, we still have the responsibility of looking after our own family. It's like they think we do nothing else all day, and our families and houses are taken care by some sort of magic trick.
      "It doesn't matter that NSis hasn't called either of my parents back after all of this." Yep, there's definitively a different set of rules for my sister than there is for me. Can't work out why, she was not a golden child as far as I remember, let me know if you have any theories.

    3. Yes, most definitely a bottomless pit. I do know that. I guess I struggle with the "obligation" I should have (like if they were a normal family, what would be my obligation, or what would I do) and I try to adhere to that (then I feel like I've done what I should be doing. Kind of helps me sort out boundaries with them). But it is like getting sucked into a black hole. And you are right, it would only feed the situation.
      She didn't call anyone all day. But that was OK with my mom. She 'excused' her. But then she's prodding me to call. She's always pushed me into care taking for my sister, expected me to overcompensate for her perceptions of my Dad's shortcomings, and share her parenting burden with her. For me, my sister was the excused a lot because my mother feared her, even from an early age. She didn't want to deal with my sisters attitudes so she gave in and prodded me to give in too. I was always compliant and "easy" which made me a good "helper". As my sister became an adult, I believe that my mother fantasizes a little about living my sisters life. Being the free-spirited, exciting, live-by-the-seat of her pants, unique person my mom wishes she would have been...if she hadn't been burdened with her kids and husband.

  2. If our families were normal it would not feel like an obligation. I've been helping a friend do her house up (her husband left her right after they bought a new house that needed a lot of work) and at no time has it felt like an obligation. My friend has been so appreciative and happy to have any help I could give that it has actually showed me what it would be like if I had a normal family.
    "my sister was excused a lot because my mother feared her, even from an early age", that's really interesting, I hadn't thought of that, but come to think of it I think my parents fear my sister too. She has a horrible cold stare when she doesn't get her own way. I was like you, a "compliant" and mild-tempered so if they have to choose who they're going to appease it's going to be her, right?

  3. I just found your blog, and I come from a similar family. My sister also can do no wrong, is excused from everything. What I wanted to share; from early childhood I was called "the cold bitch", and it took me 40 years to finally come to terms with the truth--that I am nothing of the sort. Neither are you. Remember that.