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Language Log

Monday, Jul. 12, 2021 - 10:34 a.m.

It’s starting to get a little uncomfortable for me in the way I feared it would. So this is venting in my own space where I’m allowed to center myself.

J’s mom is struggling, very tired. I have compassion. But I don’t see that she’s attempted to adjust her activity level much at all.

I suppose I become very critical of people when they’re causing demands to be put on me, and this is part of my avoidance strategy. But it doesn’t mean it’s not true. She honestly needs to unlearn her internalized ableism. FIL had to argue with her yesterday to get her to rest because she was nauseous but “I need to put this laundry away, I can’t leave it sitting here.” I see a lifetime of an internalized role of being the good girl, receiving praise and building one’s sense of value based on being the one who takes care of everything, who must keep up the house in order to be a good person and not lazy and morally bad. I suspect these are the struggles she has, but it becomes a problem (I’ll call it pathological even since I get to use that term for my self-protective mechanisms) when it’s counterproductive and may result in harm.

I’m trying but feeling the insidious desire to retreat and not be around anyone. And it’s not always a conscious decision like, “this is overwhelming and I need to retreat.” It’s just a natural, I find the things I want to do upstairs and I do then there and I stay where I’m happy. I have to finish them. It just takes all day to finish them. I try to come down and offer to help during the evening meal or whenever I hear a disturbance. But it’s not enough, apparently, and without someone to tell me that I don’t know. But I hate it when someone tells me that.

The second issue is J’s dad. When the boys get in a fight, or any of them dig in on anything, he tends to become authoritarian. Again, very tempted to let him handle it and watch them wreck the joint, just to prove my point. (But I won’t).

Last night at dinner there was an issue where E didn’t want any of the foods available (a bit of an oversight, we usually try to make sure there’s one thing everyone will eat, whether that’s part of a coherent spread or not). And he was grumbling about it because MIL got up to make E ramen noodles… again, a thing J or I would have done had she been willing to let the task wait. But anyway she was like “Be quiet. These are not your children to parent.” And he was like, “but this is my table in my home.”

Okay so I never had to deal with this kind of dad shit, with my dad being limited as he was. And I have zero patience for it. And as good as J and I do at talking out our differences on the rare occasion we have them, I don’t really do so well with conflict. Normally it’s full avoid or full IDGAF I WILL BURN IT ALL, FUCK YOU
I have no capacity for deference or to hold back based on… anything. Age, length of relationship, my general feelings about the person. Whatever the reason.

My only thought was, but I don’t even want to be here. I am perfectly happy just fucking not. So if you don’t want us here, if our parenting isn’t good enough for you, I’m happy not to come back. You can run your empty table how you like.

Not an attitude that J appreciates, but like I said, I’m venting. And warning, perhaps.

And it pisses me off because the kids specifically have been so much easier this trip. Fil just was cursed with extremely compliant children, but we have ones who aren’t and that is a feature, not a bug.

Anyway, god help me. I don’t want to pop off like the “cash me outside, howbowdat” girl, but that’s honestly how I feel in these situations. He needs to stay in his lane and learn to manage the manifestation of his emotions. And stop relying on his totally unjustified confidence in his own parenting skills when it comes to our children. They’re both so fucking clueless but trying to explain how in detail wouldn’t get us anywhere.

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