6/24/12 My family fascinates me. With all of these issues with my Mom going on, there are lights being shone on so many things. I’m seeing it all so clearly with my eyes wide open.
My Mom and Dad’s relationship continues to mirror my husband’s and mine. I realized in watching them communicate (or lack thereof), I was watching my future if I didn’t do something. By neither of them saying what they truly felt in the moment, they let things boil up inside them until it came bursting out in anger toward the other. They each loved to give the other a “zinger” of negativity and didn’t realize how it affected the other. For example, we were talking about my Mom’s medical power of attorney. She said she thought my sister, Ann should be her medical power of attorney since “she understood the medical stuff and my Dad didn’t”. When she said this, I watched as my Dad’s body language was defeat and a shot to his heart. It wasn’t that my Mom was wrong about why she chose my sister, it was the way she said it and the way it made my Dad feel. The other problem as I saw it was my Mom had no idea of my Dad’s reaction and the way her words hurt him. She just kept going on and on about it. I was sitting there wide-eyed not knowing what to do. I could see what was happening and wanted to “fix” the situation but I was frozen. I also realized it wasn’t mine to “fix”; this was their dance. My Dad stayed quiet and I could see it festering in him. He then went on to get defensive, angry and started to confront my Mom about it all. At the end he just threw his hands and said, “Fine, you’re going to do what you’re going to do.” And yet even after all that transpired here, there is still this strange love between them. Unfortunately there is also an overriding anger toward the other that is never communicated. The white elephant remains in the room even after 50+ years of marriage…or maybe BECAUSE of 50+ years of marriage.
Afterwards, I sat with myself about how this mirrored my husband and I. We could each play each of the roles at different times. I could be the one who was a bit direct or passive aggressive and I could also be the one who threw their hands in the air and said, “Fine!” and then go off letting it get further under my skin and vice versa. I realized I had to break this cycle because I didn’t want to end up like this. I deserved a happier life but I knew it was going to be a lot of work to undo all that I have watched modeled for me all my life. But I was also clear in what I DIDN’T want and I believe sometimes that’s the road to what you DO want. I like that road and I choose that road.