She is doing a distance energy healing on me today, and asked what specifically I’d like her to work on. She asked for an email or a brief phone call, and I sent the following letter. You, if you’ve been here before, have read all about this stuff already and won’t care to hear about it again. Why oh why is it taking me so long to get over myself?
Sometimes there is considerable conflict between what I feel/think, and how I feel I must pretend (at least a little) to feel and think, or try to feel and think, in order to be where I am, where I’m content some 95% of the time. But as I read somewhere, imagine you’ve made a big pot of delicious chili and then someone comes along and throws in a single dog turd. Do you still have a delicious chili, or do you have shit stew?
These aren’t situations I can easily walk away from, or I probably would.
One is to do with Himself’s son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren; I care for them much easier at a distance than when they’re here, and the moment I hear they’re coming I feel slightly sick to my stomach, try to hold myself together till they leave, though to be honest I don’t welcome them at all and have to work hard to hide that, so am exhausted when they go and I bet they feel it anyway; and am relieved when they drive out of the yard. And this is only a few times a year for a few days at a time AND they sleep over at the old house so that they can bring their dogs; it’s not like I have to put up with the commotion and crowding of small children and their parents in the house 24 hours a day.
Himself kindly goes out of his way to share with me the grandparent thing, even going so far as to take videocalls from the grandchildren and come to where I am so I’ll be part of it. I appreciate his efforts, it’s thoughtful of him, but I really don’t want to be on the phone/videocalls whenever someone else decides to be, or be in the middle of it for more than a glimpse and a few greetings, while he is happy to play on the phone with the kids until they wander off. Me, I get up and go somewhere — anywhere– after making myself pretend to be interested for about 10 minutes, so as not to make it too obvious that I’m bored by the “conversation” with the three-year-old and irritated by the squeals and noise on top of the fawning Himself is doing at this end. It’s not that I don’t find the little ones sweet and entertaining or don’t care about their wellbeing and so on; it’s that I’m not obsessed like he is, but still have to listen to the all-grandchildren-all-the-time channel, right down to their bowel movements. Thus, conflict: I’m stuck with this as it’s Himself’s happiness and thrill, I know it’s a privilege to be called Gran and have children in my life, I do love them in my no-nonsense way with kids, and I hate the way Himself goes so over-the-top all the time and rather than accepting it because it is what it is — another person’s love of kids, especially his own — I fantasize about living somewhere else altogether so there isn’t so much of it forced on me.
Here are the facts: I don’t enjoy small children; not even larger children for more than a short time if they aren’t well behaved or their parents aren’t particularly good at their “job” but are the kind who threaten consequences, don’t follow up, and use bribery — none of which manage these little ones whatsoever so it’s an ordeal when they’re around. They’re coked up on sugary candy and drinks, from the moment they get up in the morning; and I’m stuck being around them even when they’re not here, because of the goddamn videocalling. I often go into a bedroom or office, close the door, and put ear plugs in after making my necessary appearance; in the summer, I can at least go outside and find something to do, and when they’re here in person I DO go out as if I simply MUST weed and deadhead my flowers RIGHT NOW. Here, now that it’s winter, I pretend I have to do something in the kitchen. Normally the kitchen work can wait, but when I need an excuse to vamoose, it’s handy. When they’re here, there’s no escape. I barely hold myself together while trying not to let them know how I really feel. I keep busy; I’m not one to sit around “visiting” all day or playing with kids.
So: conflict. There’s who I think I should be (which would make all this easy) and thought I was — open-hearted, accepting, loving, warm — and who I am — a person who wishes all this wasn’t so often forced upon her. I don’t feel the connection that Himself naturally does, and if I never saw them again, I wouldn’t mind. That sounds terrible and maybe it isn’t true, but the thought has occurred to me. Now I know just because I have a thought doesn’t make it true; nevertheless I am not proud of the person who’s having it. Also, it has made me recognize that my dad is exactly this way, except he could always find something to do outside on the farm when there were kids around — even his own kids and grandchildren — and when we visited Mom and Dad with our kids, or they visited us, he usually went golfing! I don’t have those options — women don’t seem to, do they. My mom always had her little nieces and nephew staying at our place, and this summer when I read one of my journals, written when I was 15 or 16, I was reminded that I didn’t get any joy from that, even then.
I don’t know; can you manage some kind of heart transplant for me?!!
Another stress is my part-time job, where the books and everything else were left in a real mess and even though I have a lovely mentor and everyone knows the mess wasn’t my doing, I’d love a good reason to walk away from that, too; as it is, I keep my eye open for another job that I hope will come along once I’ve helped through a transition that will be easier if I’m there to do some of the work required. I made a commitment and will keep it.
The third area of concern is Himself’s habit of attack, accusation, and blame; he’s extremely skilled at those and I find them impossible to ignore or even to rise above, even recognizing the things he’s saying as illogical and ridiculous. I realize no couple gets along perfectly all the time and many problems are never solved, but let me tell you, I don’t even want to be here at times like that, when verbal abuse comes out of the blue. I stand up for myself and don’t “take it” but am still here so I guess I actually am taking it. He has improved a lot over recent years but when he falls down, it does as much damage as it ever did. It’s always been shocking to me, and still is, even though it’s more rare than it used to be. Still, whenever something doesn’t go right for Himself, he finds someone to blame.
My resistance to these occasional three realities is such that at times I’m desperate to escape to another location and be out and stay out of it all, and because I feel trapped and frustrated, I literally put my head in my hands and say to the universe “Please, make it stop!”
Whew! That is a lot of “saying” in order to tell you I think I need help with stress, and inner conflict.
Over the past year or two, I’ve been working on two things: accepting reality as it is in this moment instead of trying to control it or insisting it should be different; and keeping my thoughts and judgments to myself. I always had a “Say it sooner, directly, honestly” approach, but have learned that this only seems to create more problems between Himself and me, and that it’s often just me wanting the situation or him to be different than they are at the moment. I see that as trying to control things rather than accepting things and people as they are.
I’ve expressed much of this in writing that Himself will never see, but I figure he can’t help but see the way things are regarding his family, which isn’t very nice for him. I’ve told him most of it, too, if not quite all; and with much of it he agrees, like the way the wee ones are being raised, which irritates us both and won’t make them nice kids to have around. However, grandparents don’t control these things and must hold their tongues.
I know how I’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot. I tell myself that as the kids get older it will be easier for me to cope with, and as Himself settles down about the novelty of being a grandfather, it’ll be easier then too. If not, and the day comes when he wants the grandchildren to come here for weeks at a time in the summer holidays, well … we’ll face that when it happens. His parents had his sister’s boys come and stay for the summers, and his dad would cry — literally weep all the way home after meeting their parents on the highway halfway home; and I can totally see Himself assuming his summers as a grandfather should be the same. That’s not for me, I’m pretty sure, but how far does one need to go in order to support someone else’s dreams?
I feel I know the answers to all these questions, and yet … I suffer with feeling STUCK and often angry. I’m resentful and furious at times.
I’ve shared these challenges with several close friends and my sisters over the years. They are understanding and supportive and actually some say they’d feel the same in my position, when I tell them about certain events and expectations; it’s not like I’ve repressed these feelings and been tamping them down.
There, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Would it be simpler to have just said “conflict and stress?” So I’ll know for next time … LOL.