Yesterday, a real vision of how sick I am
Writing and reflection helped me see it.
Yesterday’s I feel crazy sprawling journal post, combined with self-observation and talks with my mom, gave me a real vision of how sick I am—or maybe just a little glimpse of it that will cover over and leave me feeling that I am the normal one and everyone else is crazy, which is roughly what I have thought my whole life.
I saw, again, that I hound others when they don’t stack up to my unrealistic expectations of their acumen, communication skills and styles, and whatever other characteristics, and they end up not wanting to be in relationship with me because they feel judged. And they are—they are judged by me.
I saw, frankly, how I’m not just letting people be who they are and accepting them as they are.
I see, constantly, when listening to my mom reflect on my actions, that just by who I am, I am the problem. I assume that my sisters, my dad, don’t want to relate to me. Maybe it’s more like they can’t. My mom and her siblings have a well-structured, low-contact type of relationship matrix. I was critical of my mom when I was 31 that she didn’t even have her brother’s phone number, that they never talked. At 38, I see that my critique was immature. From when I was young, I always thought my family was on the same page. Or maybe I just wanted us to be on the same page. Or maybe I was just imagining that we were. Probably this last. But we’re totally not.
Like I press my sister, who has said she doesn’t believe in my nephew’s sensory processing disorder or any disorder, really..I press her on whether she thinks bipolar disorder is real, and she doesn’t answer. While I felt this was relevant..doesn’t it matter if my sister views me as having a real organic brain disorder or rather views me as someone with a healthy brain who has some sort of imaginary disorder built within it? But my mom says, you wouldn’t press her on a matter of religion. Excellent point. I would never require anyone I was in relationship to have the same religious beliefs as me—I would never even ask. And this seems more personal, more relevant (whether my sister believes in the bipolar paradigm)..is it, really? I mean she doesn’t sit in on my doctor’s visits. Who cares what she thinks? She’s not going around bugging me, saying, I don’t believe in mental disorders—but I am going around bugging her, saying, do you believe in mental disorders? And she never responds.
Maybe a little bit of the narcissist in me thinks: The dad of me and the sisters of me and the mom of me should want to be interested in me because I’m worth being interested in. But none of them show that interest. They have their own lives and they are (like most people) self-consumed. This is probably quite natural, and for me to expect different is crazy. My family is not particularly interested in my talents, my illnesses, or anything else about me except (occasionally) my well-being. I mean let’s use this metric: when I wrote my family an email saying I had just gotten out of a mental hospital for a suicide attempt, only my mom wrote back—my sisters, my dad, never acknowledged the event in speech or text. They just ignored it. They just ignored me.
(That’s what it felt like anyway.)
But my mom suggests that their silence had less to do with me and more to do with them—they probably weren’t equipped to handle that sort of information, and it probably stirred up their own un-dealt-with fears of mortality, and she further suggests that it would take a pretty well developed and integrated person to handle that info.
I expect more than that from my family, but maybe my expectations are unreasonable.
I feel very unloved by them. I feel our relationships are asymmetrical, when it comes to caring.
And I’m tired of spinning my wheels with my sisters and dad. I am attempting, now, as I have with my dad before, to simply stop communicating with them. My attempts at relationship are only frustrating everyone involved. I truly wish them, and myself, peace. But I think I see, more than before, that I’ve been trying to paint them in a light in which they do not exist. I want to have a relationship with my sisters, in theory—but do I want to have a relationship with (and can I accept) who they really are? My mom assures me that they want to have relationships with their older brother.
But here’s where I’m a shit older brother.
Or maybe I’m just mentally ill.
I’m not sure that I can be the bigger person.
I may have to let some people go, perhaps forever, perhaps for a while, but decisively—not for them, for only they can take care of themselves—but for me, in my attempt to take care of my own.