Posted by: Judy | August 5, 2014

Following advice…

On Sunday, both my sister and Kara shared blogs about acceptance.

I started yesterday’s post on Thursday. I decided to make a change. I’ve kept contact with my parents at a minimum. I’ve hardly seen NM. I’ve been receiving notes to force interaction. I answered the first but none of the subsequent notes.

I’ve gone as no contact as is humanly possible living in the same house.

Meals are made in five minutes or less and, as always, eaten in my room. Cold pizza, sandwiches, Carnation Instant Breakfast. I cook only when NM and EF aren’t home. I don’t pretend like I have actual time in the kitchen. I’ve given up the fantasy. I’m learning to be happy with what I have.

Unfortunately, NM is making a show of giving me time in the kitchen whenever there is an audience, i.e., company. It would be funny if it weren’t so insane.

I think it helps taking care of my BIL’s dog. It’s too hot for it to be outside all day, so I stop over and let it out of the house for a while in the middle of the day.

Dogs are great therapy. They’re happy with the same dog food day after day. They’re happy with water. They’re happy with a little time outside, a little time to play, a little attention…

I think both my parents would have been much happier with cats. Very little responsibility. They married and had children because that’s what everyone does… Unfortunately, they both hoped the other person would take care of them because they gave each other the impression that’s what they’d do…

I’m piecing together things they’ve said and their behaviors, or I should say that I’m shuffling it into a different picture, one that makes more sense.

Okay… now I have to think on that for a while.


  1. You make a very good point that parents of that generation married and had children because it was what society expected of them. Also if we go back even further people had children so that they had “assets” (i.e. to put them to work young so they could bring money home, or to look after them when they’re older). To some degree this mentality is still in vogue today, I have had a number of people say to me (when I say we don’t have kids): “but who will look after you when you are older?”, I was horrified the first time someone said it, and I had to bite my lips from replying: “Is that why you had kids then, you that you had a free carer when you got old?” (maybe I should have done 😉 )
    In any case, it’s become more and more apparent that a lot of the people in that generation had no parenting skills whatsoever (apart from “feeding and watering”) and this situation becomes even more challenging when we are also dealing with NPD added to the mix. Really, if you think about it, it’s amazing that we’ve made it this far…

    • Yes, it is amazing we survived at all. Learning to thrive is even more amazing. Go us! 🙂

  2. My mother would cry to my father about how “having kids wasn’t worth it!”

    When my father told me this (he was trying to get me to comply with my mother’s “idiosyncrasies,” as he called them), I looked at him like he’d lost his mind.

    “How do you think I felt hearing that my whole life?” I asked him. He looked dumbfounded. But of course, he didn’t do anything differently either.

    I don’t understand this concept of having kids as some sort of trophy or accomplishment or making them caregivers. It’s my job to care for my son. It’d be nice if he chooses to come around when I’m older, etc., but I certainly don’t expect him to take care of me.

    • Isn’t it funny how they lament our existence and then complain when we choose to stay away? Can’t please them. 🙄

  3. I don’t know that it would be possible in your current situation, but once, when one of my sisters lived with me, she put together a sort of mini-kitchen in her bedroom (mid-sized refrigerator and a microwave, sitting next to a little cupboard that she used as a pantry). She said it was so that she wouldn’t disturb me when she got home from work after midnight, but truthfully, she was always afraid I would eat some of her food (because she had lived with a roommate once that had refused to honor any boundaries). In any case, since she had a bedroom with a bathroom attached, she had access to water, plus her fridge and microwave, and she could basically lock herself into that space and survive comfortably for days, never interacting with anyone, if that was her choice. Let’s just say that I’m not the only one in my family that qualifies as a hermit. It is one of the few things we have in common, and is most likely borne from having had our boundaries violated one too many times. When we want isolation, we want ABSOLUTE isolation, and in her case, having a mini-kitchen inside her bedroom allowed for that.

    There was a time that I used to wonder why my parents ever had children, but then I have to remember it was a different time, and my mother was Catholic, and the only allowable course was to go forth and multiply. Her brother had nine children, she had six, and her sister had four, and they all would have had more (and more and more) if it had been possible. It was never a question as to whether they would make good parents, or if they even wanted children … they were Catholic, and that meant having as many kids as possible. Doesn’t make any kind of sense, but then again, lots of things don’t make sense.

    I’m sorry you are in a position where things such as personal space and boundaries are constantly being violated in either small or major ways, but you are a creative and intelligent person, and my guess is that you’ll continue to find ways to make your current situation work. It’s great that you are tending to your BIL’s dog, if for no other reason than it gives you some breathing room each day, where you can be safe and relaxed. I’m still hoping you might find a way, at some point in the future, to change your living situation, but until that time, just hang in there and seize every opportunity to stand firm and draw a line in the sand. Creating the boundary doesn’t mean it will be honored, but it helps you define what is tolerable, and what is not, and sometimes knowing our limits helps us survive.

    • Thanks for your response, ntexas99. It was really helpful. I started me thinking, and the next thing I knew I have a post for tomorrow. 🙂

      • 🙂

        that thinking business is sometimes a good thing

        • As long as it isn’t circular – hamster in the wheel – thinking. 🙂 Thanks for helping me step off the wheel.

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