Sunday, February 23, 2014

It is the little things that mean so much... And I still have much to learn

So this past couple of weeks have been BEYOND busy at work, and I have been burning the candle at both ends.  (I know, I seem to not learn... anyway...)

I was in a play this past week.  It ran for 2 nights, and this is my 8th year in it.  This was my first time doing a spotlight piece, so this was a new part to the play.  A friend who lives 5 hours away, decided to come, and to bring her husband as well.  They drove 5 hours each way for a 2 hour production, and had to drive back right after.  I was so thrilled they were there... It meant a lot to me.  Probably much more than they realize.  What was a spontaneous moment and an experience for them meant so much to me, and I had an 'a-ha' moment today as to WHY it meant so, so much.

I don't expect much from anyone.  My threshold is super, super low.  I learned that growing up in the hoard.  If you do not expect anything, you are seldom disappointed.  And I do not mean in the negative, Eeyore type of way (Winnie the Pooh reference!).  Growing up, very seldom did I have someone present at my events.  Especially after I went to live with my paternal grandmother after being rejected by my hoarding mother.  The list of things are long... They include:

  • Winning the Best of Fair and 1st place at the annual high school, regional and state science fairs.  My parents did not come to see me get my trophies nor were present to pose for the pictures in the paper any year.  In fact, I was grounded from participating in the state science fair my sophomore year of high school.  My crime?  I advised my parents I was not seeing well, and was advised it was because I ate like crap.  After several weeks, I made an appointment at Lenscrafters (I had a job and a car) and went, and got contacts.  Many months passed, and neither parent noticed I had contacts.  I dropped one and was looking for it one weekend when I was forced to spend the night at 'home', and the 'secret' was out, and I was 'grounded'.  I was advised that an appointment had been made.  Whatever... it was nearly 6 MONTHS LATER.  No appointment was made.
  • Being published in a local magazine for my writing and art in elementary school.  No acknowledgement at all.
  • In high school one of my art teachers was very impressed with my acrylic and oil paintings, and wanted to have a show of my work.  No response from my parents.
  • I won several scholarships for college, and because of my scores, I had my choice of anywhere.  (Failure was never an option I had... this was my only way out of the hoard as I saw it...)  My parents neglected to send in the paperwork needed for the full ride to school, and later, after dad passed, my hoarding mother demanded every cent that was paid out.  I wrote her a check for $27,000.  This was in the late eighties...
  • When I graduated from an esteemed graduate program, no acknowledgement of this from any of my family, or really anyone.  No party, it never occurred to me to arrange one.  No announcements, again for the same reason.  No celebration of it, and I did not walk to accept my degree.  I graduated with honors.  To this day my hoarding mother's only response is to repeatedly ask if it was 'really worth it'.  
  • Any professional honor I have had, I have not ever had any recognition of.
  • In 2007 when I had a hysterectomy, my hoarding mother did not visit, and this past summer when I had emergency surgery and things looked very, very dire... she did not come.
  • I also self isolated and did not allow folks to come help me, and just could not ask at some level...despite lessons learned previously... during my most recent hospitalization and for a few weeks post surgery.  I went through some pretty rough hours, days, and weeks... solo.  Because it seriously did not occur to me it should be any other way.  
  • In 2008 when my second marriage crashed horribly with major collateral damage, no visits, etc.  My mother has never visited me in the 15 years I have lived in an adjoining state, not once.  She only came to my home 2 hours away in the same state the week I was leaving for here, and that was to pick up anything I was not taking with me.
I could go on ad nauseum, and honestly, in the scheme of things, none of these are large deals.  But my friend and her husband coming?  That was HUGE... to me.

Again, more for me to ponder.  I do not want to walk this earth holding folks at an arm's length.  I am always shocked when folks refer to me as 'reserved' or 'private'... or any other way or referring to the fact that I largely seem to keep my own counsel.  

I still have a lot to learn.  Trust.  Vulnerability.  Intimacy.  Maybe I will get it right... it is sad it has taken me almost 45 years to 'get it'.  Now that I see it, I have to take action to change it.  That is not as easy as it would seem.  But I am determined to keep evolving for the better.  

I have a perfect example in my hoarding mother as to what happens when you do not.

Goodnight all... thank you for reading!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Do NOT ask questions you do not want answers to, Mother Dearest...

So my mother's gross obsession with sensationalized 'reality tv' and 'vigilantism' continues.

She was watching some sort of show on folks who were bullied as children or teens and who got the last laugh as adults through intentional machinations or rubbing their success in the face of their former bullies.  Again, I am someone who does not own a TV, and has not watched a TV show in 3 or 4 years.  I advised her that I was simply not interested in that type of stuff, and she launches into the story of a young woman who was bullied because of her skin, found a mentor and the right makeup and skin care regimen, and became a model.  She later snubbed all who made her feel bad as a teen.  Mother was positively CROWING with laughter and vindictive glee, focusing on a statement this woman made that if she was not good enough to be good to when she was younger, now that she is beau coup successful that she does not have time for them now.

My mistake?  Attempting to impart another perspective.  I advised her that I had folks contact me to friend me on Facebook that were bullies to me, and that some apologized and were very sorry for the way they treated me.  I do believe that hurt people, hurt people... and I also believe that people evolve from the children or adolescents they once were.  My hoarding mother cannot discern that people are not single natured...  But that is another blog for another day...

She was immediately in 400,568,231 question-interrogation-mode.  Why...this was the first she ever heard that I was bullied in elementary school and junior high!  She smugly stated, "I think it was because you were an only child... don't you?"  NO, MOTHER.  It was not.  "Well why then?"  Because I was different.  "Different?  HOW?  Why, we..."  I cut her off and ended the call rather abruptly.  I am NOT listening to any more revisionist history.  I hope for her sake that she DROPS THIS.  If she pushes it, she will hear 'why'.

I was bullied in elementary school and in the first two years of junior high because I was different.  I was different because:

  • I was vulnerable, and had a fragile vibe that predators lock in on.  
  • Her ridiculously scorched-earth behavior to neighbors, to teachers, to other parents.  I was never trusted to find my own solutions or to use processes that were in place.
  • The lack of otherization that many hoarding parents engage in.  During my entire 2nd grade year she dressed me like Shirley Temple.  It was 1977.  I would go to the bathroom and wet my hair and comb it straight, and try to do something with my clothes.  I failed miserably.
  • I could not have kids over to my place, go to their houses, or have any sort of interaction after school when I lived at home.  No parties, no sleepovers, and no phone calls that were not monitored directly, and I was never allowed to give out my phone number... I had to do all the calling.  It was like being in a gulag.  The Grey Family Gulag.  And I was in solitary... A lot.
  • I was awkward, geeky, and read voraciously.  In early elementary I was skipped ahead for many classes, and that was NOT ENDEARING.  
  • She was super intrusive and had no concept of the reciprocal nature of friendship, so it took me a while to figure out that friendship is not transactional.
  • I was forced to dress like I was in 1935 in the 70's, when kids are desperately trying to fit in.  I was not allowed to wear shorts ever, and certainly not to school.  She tried to ensure that I never used curling irons (brush rollers or foam rollers, and a bath once a week whether I needed it or not).  I smelled funny.  
  • I was constantly switching classes or schools because of her behavior, and I went out of district most of the time.
  • I walked on eggshells all the time due to the off the hook, sadistic, batshit crazy behavior I endured from her (and beatings).  I was never at ease, anywhere, with anyone.
  • I was not encouraged to be athletic, physical, or to participate in team sports.  In fact, she did everything humanly possible to ensure that I was not in gym class.  When I was, she made me wear her old gym suits from junior high and high school in the late 40s early 50s.  That went over well... in 1980...
I could go on and on, but I think you have a snippet.  And at nearly 45 years old, these things do not haunt me.  They are part of what makes me the person I am today, and it is what it is.  I am thankful for her rejection at age 10 that led me to being at my father's mother's home most of the time, and allowed me to have a more normal experience, friends, and showers once or twice a day... or as long and as many times as I wanted.  And I could ride a bicycle on the street!  <Oh>

But, for me, where it is an issue is I refuse to allow her to whitewash/invalidate/revise history to suit her purposes and to relieve her of any responsibility she might have in these situations.  If she is wise, she will not pick too much at this.  It is like the fact that I have little memory before age 7 or 8 or so, and whole 'the crazy ends with me' thing and not wanting children.  Due to her continuing narcissism, we have mapped three areas that are 'no-fly zones' with me.  And if she continues her efforts to traverse these areas, she will not like the enamored and offensive tactical response she will receive.  

Thank you for reading.  I hope to have more humorous material for you soon.

Hoarding... no one wins.  No one.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

101th Post and the 100th... Yes, it is 'From the mouth of a hoarder' time!

My apologies for such a long absence!  Nearly 3 weeks since my last post.  I did not realize it at the time, but the last post was number 100... and serendipitously... my blog (rant) was about her obsession with POO.  And talking about it, despite efforts to maintain boundaries with her.

She has continued her out-there-comments and assumptions, and below is a compilation of the most recent.

Without further ado... ENJOY!
"[In reference to the feral cats she feeds and waters...] Would you believe the water bowl FROZE SOLID?  I guess if the little animals are thirsty they can just lick snow, right?  That IS what they do, right?  Just lick snow?"

"I was told that even though I do not have THE INTERNET {emphasis mine} I can still get information and stuff from my computer.  Is that true?"

"I guess I did not need two separate cell phones to keep one charged all the time for the car.  I changed my plan and my other phone was supposed to be no good after midnight on the 12th, but I waited a few days and called it to make sure that nothing sneaky was happening."

"[After lots and lots of snow during a recent snowstorm] Well, it is 2pm and still no paper.  That is ridiculous.  The TV does not show anything but crap and now no paper?  I am now not connected to any news at all!"

"[Speaking of the neighbor behind her that has resumed dating and has a live in boyfriend] ... How long is it before you can 'draw' against a spouse's Social Security Benefits?  Ten, eleven years?  She better hurry up and marry him, he has worked all his life and put away some money and would leave her a nice income."

"I just noticed on that guy's RV thing, that all the windows are tinted except the front windows.  I first thought someone had broken out the windows.  Why would they tint the back windows but not the front ones?"
She has also been a broken record on:

  • Her concerns for a hoarding acquaintance who has dementia...
      • "She could forget to feed her dog or it could get away from her and die!  That poor little thing!  I know how it is to have no one to help you or see about you..."
      • "She is going to die, or someone is going to take advantage of her.  And that daughter?  She does not deserve anything when she dies!
  • Commenting on her neighbor's live in boyfriend...
      • "He has been complaining of not feeling well and his stomach hurts.  Why... I bet he has cancer!"
      • "He seems to have a lot of money to throw around.  Wonder what [his pension and job]pays?
  • Commenting on various neighbors offering to take her to the store since the hoard-mobile is snowed in the garage and she has been unable to leave the place for nearly two weeks.  She makes a big kerfluffle of them calling, speculates on motivation, and refuses their assistance, then wails to me that she is running out of pet food, food, and medicine.
      • She finally called the Area Office on Aging and got a ride to Walmart.  
      • She now has a new wonderful stranger that was appalled she is on her own the way she is.
  • She has been fixated on any child maltreatment case in the news, and has been simply ruminating and obsessed on the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and the death of Shirley Temple Black.
  • She keeps asking weird and random questions about the protocols of the place that I work and the types of clients we serve, and gets annoyed when I will not engage.
  • Obsessing about the weather.  EVERY OTHER BREATH IS A COMPLAINT.  No one is really all that thrilled right now, but complaining does not do any good as far as I can tell...
The bulk of her verbal diarrhea is complaining about how she cannot get out and do what she needs, railing about all the injustices she has been dealt in her life, complaining about her health, and refusing for a second to be part of her own solution... and attempting to be an 'askhole' and keep asking the same detailed questions on the same topics that she has no intention of acting on.

Calling her is painful.  And again, this is not going to end well.  It cannot.

Hope something here made you laugh a bit.  Have a great weekend!