I know that I do not get the same consideration from my own daughter when it comes to “cause and effect” that my mother continues to be shown, and somehow always has been shown, in spite of our tattered history. When my little brother killed himself, my mom’s way to cope with the blow was to try and erase him from her memory altogether: an element between she and I that hung bitterly in the stale air between us for years. She never speaks of him; she never lets me talk about him in any context in her presence without either full-blown freaking out, or changing the subject with blatancy sharp enough to leave a mark.
I have come to accept and understand over time that this has been the only way she has been able to continue on with her own existence after losing a child to suicide in the way that she did; and am only now beginning to see that this response was initially not one of choice for her. It was the effect attached to specific causes: those of profound emptiness, loss and failure. One of the most difficult things about coming to grips with acceptance surrounding my own child – and my own loss, emptiness and failure – has always been the absence of so many points of reference for me. I don’t know what a mother “should” look like or act like to her child; I have only ever winged it and did what felt right when it came to Boo.
Now, it has become unarguable that most (if not all) of those things were not right; no denying that I was an inadequate mom or else she would never have grown up to become what she did. But, I also think of a lot of other facts and truths that surround us such as how I also had an inadequate mom. I had a mom who was a violent and unstable drunk during my childhood; she was always high on drugs also, and kept like-minded company. My father fought tooth and nail to keep us protected from her unpredictable nature; she was painted very differently than I could possibly come close to being depicted by my daughter. Or was she?
Granted, I was not the type of mom who hit – I never even spanked Boo besides to SWAT at her backside with gentle care when she was a toddler; our experiences with a mother in the big, bad world were most certainly very different in almost every way. I am nurturing because my mom was the opposite; I was attentive because my mom seemingly forgot all about me and my brothers after we were born; I was protective and overbearing because of those reasons, too. I was so involved with her life as much as possible: a yard duty at her elementary school, the PTA, class mom, field trips, etc. I exhausted myself at all times with her IEP and the constant red tape around getting her through school because of her behavioral issues. I admit that she overwhelmed me at times, but I always wanted best for her, I never got any satisfaction from her struggles or tears like my mom did with me. We had very different mothers, indeed.
Now comes my point:
I had a father.
Not just any father, either – I was blessed with an exceptionally special Dad (and a long line of older brothers).
Boo had…well, we all know what she had, don’t we? Boo had the Ripper for a father in the slice of time that she had one in her life at all, before he tried to murder her mother and then was gone to prison before dying on the inside of those walls…Boo never had a Dad, hardly a father. I have concluded that it is this (very often overlooked) factor in the comparisons people (including myself) make between me and my daughter’s characteristic traits that defines the essences of those differences down to the nano-fiber. When I think of what my own existence could have and likely would have been like in the absence of my Dad, my knees often feel weakened by the thought alone. Now, I imagine actually living that reality from one day to the next like Boo must…and yes, I see.
I know that in many ways, I haven’t failed as Boo’s mother in the years I was allowed to be her mom; but in this one major and unfixable way, I failed her immeasurably.
The drill never changes, if looked at from a very broad perspective:
my parents give in and allow themselves to be further abused and mistreated while I desperately try to distance myself from the situation (because I will ALWAYS eventually be defeated by the helplessness attached to it), before the proverbial explosion takes place once again.
My daughter knows the drill all too well, also; which is the only reason why it works out to her own benefit over and over, without fail; she knows that when she has created a rift and I withdraw from her obnoxious bullshit (while my parents do not), it is at that time that she must strike and strike hard in order to keep the distance in place between then and I. She is well aware of the plethora of ways to manipulate people; she is already a seasoned veteran at doing this as a means of survival. She has honestly been manipulating adult professionals from various backgrounds and specialties in the system since she began counseling at age 6, so the puppeteering of her own grandparents must feel like something she could do with her eyes closed if she wanted to.
I know when she is busy digging down the trench between me and my parents; I know because she holds them hostage through her behaviors (just like she used to do to me in the months leading up to her placement in a “treatment facility” for those very characteristics. I know because I stop hearing from my mom at all – due to the fact that my daughter will have by now painted my mom into a psychological corner, and in turn my mom has been enabling too many things to make excuses for. I know because of a sudden but sharp slice through the fabric of my own meager reality: the silence replacing my mother’s voice in the background of things that creeps its way back into my daily routine in the absence of her constant play by play updates. All of the things that I always wish would cease to exist about my relationship with my mom seemingly CEASE TO EXIST when my daughter is in the picture – and up to no good.
So this is how it ends for you…after all you have managed to survive against all odds; you are going to be your own demise in the end. You have missed today’s surgery, because you disappeared into the night last weekend with the promise of returning on time to take care of your own physical needs…once again, you have highlighted for the world: your complete and total lack of any self-respect or desire to take control of your issues. I can’t say that I was honestly expecting you to show up for something that only a responsible individual would have the nerve to do; I recognize that despite your fearlessness, you have a very low-functioning ability to actually handle yourself in the Real World. Perhaps, that is why I had already thought ahead and cancelled your time in the O.R. today; because I knew deep down that you not only lack the care or concern for your own health – but for anyone else’s also; and so I made sure that whomever was in line got to go in your place this morning for their’ surgery. I wonder if you ever consider anything outside of yourself in any context at all…like, do you think about what you are psychologically doing to your grandparents? Or me? Or anyone who has had the humanity to give you another PASS since the most recent Return from the Dead? How many times might your peanut sized brain expect to be forgiven and allowed to return for more destruction to be left in your undoubtedly impending wake? You obviously harbor a completely unreasonable idea of who you are, nor have you a fairly accurate perception of anyone who has been fixed in your life, thus far; while you have been blessed with a family that has been patient and understanding to the best of its ability, you have done nothing but shame yourself and everyone attached to you.
They say that psychopaths have no shame or fear built into the mechanisms that make most people “human”; they say that there is a total lack in the ability to feel for others, or for the part – themselves even. I can say with certainty at this point that you fit that psychopathic profile to a T, as did your father. Any creature with even half of a brain cell would have learned some very lasting Life Lessons after surviving what you have come through…yet, here you are doing the same old shit and another year older, somehow. I have accepted the loss of you, Boo…I know that I am no longer anyone’s Mom, and to be honest there is something disturbingly refreshing about such a notion for me these days; but you still exist (for now, at least)…and I can’t grasp the concept of your choices in regard to HOW you choose to make your existence be like. I cannot feel sorry for you anymore…not after so many times finding you with your entire hand in the fire before it’s anywhere near healed from the last time(s). To pity you only means that you are the victim…and that is NOT always the case, is it? You have been foolish in every element of your life to the point of disbelief; you have essentially shit away any access to the Trust Fund that I fought tooth and nail to ensure through a Civil Lawsuit – money that would easily get you set up in a “normal” scenario, if you had the sense or maturity to just fall in line long enough to get your ducks in a row…but that’s too much for you, even.
I don’t feel sorry that you live on the street and sell your ass to get by, not when I know that it IS NOT NECESSARY AT ALL and you CHOOSE that lifestyle in the face of normalcy and/or self-sufficiency. I don’t wish for you to return like I used to anymore either…because the bonds have been broken already and I now harbor mostly a complete lack of understanding or tolerance for your behaviors and actions. I will not allow my parents to die in brokenness and sadness, missing money and heirlooms that you stole without a second thought as to THEIR existences. What kind of person steals from their grandparents, anyway… not to mention, brings friends home to steal from their grandparents, also? I think we both KNOW what kind of person does that kind of dirt…and I think we both know that I am NOT that person, and never could be. Can you say the same? I didn’t think so…
None of it is MY loss anymore, you know? You’re an adult now, remember? Mrs. Big Badass whose wanted to be grown for so long now, and for what? Ain’t nothing changed, you still do the same immature and despicable stuff that you did as juvenile delinquent, don’t you? How’s that adult thing looking now, kid?
I am randomly typpling (type babbling), yes, I know this… my personal Microsoft Word screen seriously could fuck me with all the secrets and truths it has seen at my hand, fuck it though…transparency is the new thing isn’t it?
I have given up my appearance altogether, I suppose…couldn’t tell you when the last time I looked in a mirror at myself…hmmmm…the possible causes behind this fact aren’t lost on me, either…
Something is happening inside of me again; although I couldn’t possibly describe any of what those “somethings” may actually be in the big picture of things; and I am not trying to find any way to describe it – there’s just a slew of mental data on upload at present; and my mental data down-link seems to be broken, too. There’s just a fuck-ton of shit coming in, and nothing moving aside to make room for it; if that even makes sense to anyone reading this.
Failure is something has come to define my every moment of each passing day for me; it began slowly when Boo was put into “residential treatment” almost a decade ago and only snowballed from that point on. The many things that have subsequently gone horribly awry since then have accumulated into a vast and freezing cold tomb; each instance of my own perceived failings stacking up against the previous until the room shrinks. Failure has been something that I struggle with regularly, and I often lose the fight with it because of its overwhelming and constant presence. I go to a psychiatrist based on this failure (and its many facets and faces); he repeatedly instructs me to “just let it go”…
Abandonment is another key element that is deeply embedded in my marred psychological profile; this element is born of my inability to “just let it go” when it came to my inter-personal relationships with parents during infancy and childhood (most notably a then ever-absent mother). It has mutated the human being that I was born as into a different version of who I might have been in a “healthy and/or intact family setting”; over time, it has warped my perception of others who I feel any closeness to – a mechanism of the emotionally fearful and unstable. I am extremely insecure inter-personally, and it only becomes an exacerbated symptom when I give two shits about the other person involved. I am afraid of people in general; not in a physically cowed way though…I am terrified of interacting with others because of the emotional traumas that inevitably attach themselves to each and every experience with closeness to another human being (or the socially mutated versions of one).
Truth is another crucial piece of who I am from one moment to the next; it has come to burn in my veins like molten lava these days, and growing increasingly more important to every nano-thought in my head. Acceptance of truth is part of this element; and as painful as this aspect often is for me, in my own experiences, the truth carries weight that is undeniably addictive to my heart, spirit and mind somehow…
Perhaps after all, “the truth shall set me free”.
I have come to several understandings over these past few weeks while I have been MIA from my blog; I do not fully comprehend every element of every understanding I have found and tucked into a mental pocket – on the contrary, I have only been collecting these understandings to sort through on another day.
Boo was released from the hospital a week ago pending her next major surgery at Stanford (the one that focuses on the scar tissue building up at the base of her vocal chords and keeping from speaking on her own); she came home to my parents’ house because that’s where she wanted to go. My parents were gracious and forgiving enough to allow it (at the time that the decision was made, everyone was so desperate to keep Boo from returning to the track and many acceptations were made as a result of that desperation); it only took a matter of hours for Boo to begin to fall back into her old routines after being released from the hospital: wanting to go here or there on a whim, spending countless hours on my phone with any one of the stupid people she calls “friends”, being secretive and sneaky, dishonesty, shadiness, and eventually stealing again, too. My parents made her leave and I tried to let her come with me – but she proceeded to steal from Dice, my roommate right away. I can’t allow her to spread her affected instabilities to the realm of my ONLY safe haven; she had to leave my house as well.
She hasn’t changed; despite all of it, there isn’t even a slight shift into a more mature and/or personally responsible creature in regard to who Boo continues to be.
The thing that has driven the biggest and longest standing wedge between my daughter and me in more recent years has been BOO. Boo is 110% incapable of owning her faults, much less her personal actions…it is increasingly more impossible to try and reason with her at any given time because she has this obnoxious entitlement issue that causes her to fly off the handle defensively whenever she fucks up – which is often. As soon as she becomes aware that I’m onto her, or as soon as I call her out on anything shady or dishonest that she does, she blows up and leaves (especially now that she can play her “I’m eighteen” card). It’s always been this way though, even when she was very young – her best defense has always been a good offense. And she makes certain that by the time she’s ready to come back into one of our homes, we are so happy she’s alive and safe that one of us will bend and let her in.
I am sick of it. It is unhealthy. I see what it is doing to my parents again, mentally and spiritually and financially, and I can’t let it continue. The question now is:
How will I clarify myself on this issue for all to understand and perpetually respect? Is that even possible?
I will not allow my child to hold my family hostage through her outrageous behaviors anymore; things have changed for me since she turned eighteen, also, and it is a card that I can now play as well. But where is the line that defines dead and cold from wounded and bleeding out slowly in the snow? All that know for sure is that I will not spend a single year more of my own life in feeling as if my very existence is hinged upon Boo’s behavior and the things that her behaviors create in the lives of those around her. There was a point when it dawned on me: how her father continues to abuse me through her very actions…I escaped her father and have risen above his reach, such abuse cannot continue in any context.
At what point does it become okay to admit how unhealthy my own child has been to my own livelihood and how destructive she continues to be in the midst of the tiny village I have managed to construct and maintain in her absence?
All that is happening now does, indeed, go back to the incident in Arizona. The surgeries that she has already undergone and recovered from have each been in attempt to separate scar tissue that has grown around Boo’s trachea from being cinched by a belt for nearly two days; also – her inability to speak has finally been de-mystified as well. The same thing is happening at the base of her vocal chords, as a result of scar tissue build-up, only the vocal cords have been permanently affected by residues left from the chemicals that Boo had been forced to drink during her captivity. The doctors have done what they can without sending her to a specialist for what is considered as “delicate surgery”; the next step to come.
Within the month, she will be going to Stanford for such things…and I have little doubt behind her strength or ability to deal with it. She remains in care still – a milestone in and of itself; she is bored beyond description, covered in bed sores, and must be feeling pretty low…yet, she hasn’t left again. Her little boyfriend (the one who do not necessarily like so much but cannot deny his humanity in comparison to the other men she has surrounded herself with in the past) comes to visit her now; I know that makes her feel like the world isn’t ending, after all. Anything that helps her to stay put and ride out the road ahead through her physical recovery – I am on board with it.
She has grown up so much…in such a short time…she is so jaded and darkened by her own experiences, that I watch her struggle with simply being cared for by another human being…it’s rough. But she’s letting it happen – as hard as it may be on her.
At this very moment in time I am so overcome with love for Boo. There’s not a particular reason why besides that she’s my daughter. And despite it all, she’s so brave and so strong. Even if she has a complete lack of her own self-worth…she is beautiful.
My best friend Sam (more of a guardian angel the gods have blessed me with for whatever reason, I don’t ask questions) helped me to understand a key element of this nightmare situation a few weeks back…and yes its only barely setting in now.
“Babe, the Boo you are waiting for is not going to come back. She’s gone.”
Admittedly, this was NOT an easy conversation for me to digest; and luckily I have a best friend who understands my slow computation process; part of her likely expected me to explode at such a statement. But between me and my best friend, anything can be said without such lingering negative affect – and so the story goes. After my conversation with my best friend, I went through some different things: types of mourning, grief, and acceptance of a loss so deep that it cannot be treated or cured.
During all those trials and emotional roller-coasters, things continued to play out with the current situation surrounding Boo and her status, reinforcing the fears and sadness and loss. And then, something happened. The last time Boo was found unconscious and unresponsive – right before they gave her the first tracheotomy – my perspective and/or perception had shifted somehow.
Now, anytime I spend with Boo is different, but not in a bad way. I do somehow see her as a different girl from my own, yet, she is still my daughter. And, all I can do is try my best to be a good mother to the Boo before me today. She will not be the things I have been hoping to see her become…now at least, maybe never. But should the Boo I have today survive through this, there’s hope for a relationship with her, instead. Which is good enough for me.