Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Out of Sight ...

It has been almost 3 months since I returned from the UK.  I haven't spoken to my parents since the fight with my father and my communications with my sister stopped weeks ago.  My mother is in no condition to talk to anyone anymore apparently, but I am receiving updates now and again from other extended family members who are still talking to my father.

I have tried all manner of ways to move beyond the traumatic childhood that I (and my sister) endured.  I harbor a lot of resentment towards all of the extended family members who sat by and allowed my father to abuse us all the way he did.  No one said anything about his behavior then, they aren't saying anything now.  My mother truly has paid the price of being married to an untreated mentally ill man for all these years.  She has become a shell, neglected and allowed to waste away.  Meanwhile, my father plays the role of the martyr, garnering sympathy from anyone who will listen.   No one has any idea of what goes on in that house when my parents are alone together but I have a good idea.  I am hoping that my mother gets placed in a home soon because she'll actually be better off.  That will mean my father will have to part with some of the money that my grandmother left him when she died, even though he would rather my mother died at home to save him money.  He is angry that he might have to spend thousands of pounds on my mother.

I am adopting an 'out of sight, out of mind' approach to my UK 'family'.  Whenever negative thoughts pop into my head, I push them right out again by focusing on the fact that no one from that side of the pond knows what I am up to, how I spend my day, what my moods are like on any given Sunday.  They have no idea whether I'm laughing or crying.  So, I choose to laugh ..... and I have been.

Our Thanksgiving was hilarious.  Different cooks in the kitchen, all giving an opinion as to how the turkey should be cooked, the gravy, the stuffing and so on.  I had my own ideas (naturally) .... the simpler the better.  I managed to talk one of the cooks out of slathering the turkey in some thick butter spread sauce but I didn't succeed in putting an unstuffed turkey in the oven.  I like my roast fowl to be bare of sauces and stuffing .... just the bird.  I add the accompanying dishes after the fact.  I don't like stuffing that has been cooked inside the bird is what it is.  Well, I got outvoted on that one.  The bird was filled with all manner of fruits and vegetables, shoved in the oven for 5+ hours and ....... when it came time to carve, the turkey wasn't cooked!  Everyone was sitting around the table, all the side dishes were hot and ready to eat .....and we had just a couple of slivers of turkey breast to fight over.  The turkey was put back in the oven for 2 more hours and STILL wasn't cooked at the end of it.  I gave up.  I stripped the meat off the carcass and froze it all for future curries.  I figured that the large amount of fruit and veggies that had been placed inside the cavity was responsible for the turkey's lower half not cooking properly and that will never happen again on my watch!  Next time, my NO will mean NO!  The gravy wasn't a big hit either.  All in all, we had a great time but the sheer amount of energy expended on the preparations didn't translate to a stellar end result and I was absolutely exhausted that evening.  Painfully exhausted.

Our Xmas dinner was scaled back years ago.  Two big family dinners in the space of one month became too much for me about 5 years ago and I called 'time' on the whole thing.  We took a vote and decided that Thanksgiving was more important to us, and so Xmas has been reduced to a 'meat loaf and mash' type dinner.  Very low key for us, in keeping with our reduced consumer activities.  Don't get me wrong.  We used to splash out and splurge at Xmas, spending hours in the mall and thousands of dollars on the perfect Xmas Day.  I had decorations for days, piles of wrapped Xmas gifts and tons of food, a complete contrast of how we do It today.  I whittled my Xmas card list down to a handful of people, we draw names for Secret Santa, and there is a set low budget.  The spouse and I did our share for the economy but no more.

My daughter has already begun her year long challenge to get fit.  I will be joining her.  I'm not very good at challenges, I always give up before I really get started but I want to give this one my best shot.  I need to lose at least 70 pounds so that will be my focus, along with setting my weekly grocery budget at $100 and sticking to it.  Food is my last hurdle to overcome.  I've overcome everything else, the hoarding, the crazy spending, the denial, some of the overeating.  The challenge will focus on changing my eating habits and the dependent relationship I have with grub.  Naturally, I'm an emotional over eater and I have already spent some years working on this and so the challenge will force me to make some final necessary changes.

It's never easy to beat an addiction.  When I stopped hoarding, that really brought out some demons and I wonder if I will be able to deal with that again when I'm not able to stuff my feelings down by eating.  We'll see.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sounding Off

Well, I am still here.  I've basically spent the past 2 months beating myself up for being so stupid.  How could I ever have thought that my opinion would have any effect on my father's failure and ineptitude?  It's ridiculous.  My sister wound me up so much regarding my father's neglect of our mother that I was just ready to go for his throat.  My melodramatic, drama queen sister exaggerated the entire situation, dragging me back over to the UK with the thought that my mother was dying.  My mother is 83 years old.  What do we expect?  Of course, she isn't going to live forever but she certainly wasn't in the throes of death, far from it.  Well, mission accomplished, Sis.  You know how much I hate our father and it wasn't a stretch for you and your husband to imagine me going off half cocked.  The only possible motive for this scheme has to be MONEY. 

Still, I blame myself too for being so fucking stupid.  I should never have gone, I should've made my excuses for not going, and I should've just carried on living the life that I had put back together here.  I'm not being selfish, am I?  Both my sister and I suffer from PTSD.  We exhibit that in different ways. I should've recognized that I was getting sucked back in.

Regarding my blood family in the UK, I have made 4 observations:

1.  My sister is not the trustworthy, neutral sibling I thought she was.  I have discovered that she is conniving, unstable and full of a rage which is kept barely under wraps underneath her 'tolerant' attitude.  As soon as my back is turned or I am out the door, my sister starts imagining all sorts of other dialogue in her mind and our detente no longer exists.

2.  There is nothing I can do for my mother even though she asked for my help.  My father is the proverbial narcissist, a sociopath even, and my mum has been trapped in his web for years.  I feel horrible about this situation and feel that I have abandoned her.  My sister tells me that our family is not close and this is why so much of what has happened to our mother flew under her radar.  Oh really?  Are you sure it's not because you just couldn't be bothered?

3.  I haven't had a real relationship with my father, ever.  Maybe when I was a kid we came close a couple of times but the truth is, I have hated the man since I was about 8 years old.  He beat all the love out of us.  I don't care if I never see him again.  He is the source of ALL of my rage.

4.  I am effectively an orphan, with no family left in the UK as of this moment.  My sister and I were regularly abandoned emotionally as kids so I'm used to being frozen out.  After the big fight with my father, I have most definitely been frozen out.  My sister wants whatever money my father has left when both he and my mother are dead so she stopped giving me text updates weeks ago.  She has erased her competition!  Therefore, I have no idea what is going on over there in the UK with regards to health, doctor and hospital appointments, or scheduled surgeries that either of my parents are enduring.  I have no plans to crawl to my sister for information or anything.  I have lived for over 30 years without her input, help or company and I will live another 30.  I hope.

My eating has morphed out of control!  I can't stop it.  Food is my drug.  I stuff my feelings down and then feel shame and guilt at what I am doing to myself.  I cannot keep on like this.  I know that my feelings stem from the chaos of my childhood and those feelings run deep.  I keep setting myself up for anxiety and self loathing and I want it to stop.  I don't have any answers but I feel that my eating habits are becoming as out of control as my hoarding and spending once did, so I must find a solution.

When I stopped hoarding, I focused on the piles of stuff that had accumulated over the years and obsessed over how much money had been wasted.  Therefore, I have spent the past 8 years getting rid of the stuff and building savings.  It took 8 years to get to our present position of solvency.  I don't hoard.  I don't spend.  I'm still a work in progress but I'm winning.

As I've said before, my biggest opponent is ME.  It was drummed into me consistently as a kid that I was greedy, that I ate too much, that I was fat and useless and unlovable.  Especially unlovable.  So now, even now, I am constantly fighting with my poor self image and low self esteem.  I am overweight now, although as a kid and adolescent, I was model thin.

Two of my kids have arrived for Thanksgiving and I am impressed by how much they have grown emotionally over the past year.  They are strong and confident, so different from me despite my years of life experience.

My daughter has advised that I start to really challenge myself in order to break the bad eating habits that I cannot (or will not) shake.  So, I am going to give her advice some thought. 

January 1st 2017 seems like an obvious choice to start a challenge LOL, especially seeing as how we still need to get through Xmas and the New Year's Eve holidays.  I cannot allow myself to continue this negative pattern of thinking because it is dragging me under, so I'll be back with some ideas on how I plan to give my outlook a much needed lift.

I will also focus more on our planned move from house to RV because, after all, that is supposed to be the focus of this blog!

Happy Thanksgiving.