The occasional token visit

This is hard to talk about, but I do this for those of you who are also spending Thanksgiving alone because therapy tore your family apart.

I used to have an intact and happy family until I went to therapy. It was a huge mistake I will forever regret. I remember a few holidays, most likely logged ini here when I got picked up by my brother and his family and it felt like tokenism. They came by my place in Watertown, picked me up and then, went to see my mom They absolutely refused to see me by myself because, I suppose, they had to do the Massachusetts run in one full sweep. My brother referred to it a s “The Mess in Massachusetts” once. I was very well aware that both Mom and I were considered a nuisance, we were seen as people they didn’t want to include, but had to out of duty. They made this very obvious. They spent as little time with us as possible and every time, saw us together, never separately. If I dared point this out I was chastised as disordered or called a complainer. Or I was told it was too much of a nuisance for them to see me by myself.

Quite often they would tell me they “didn’t have time” to stop by at Watertown. They would tell me they were skipping me altogether and just going to Mom’s, spending as little time there as possible, then, going back. Of course none of this was even truthful, since Rhode Island isn’t that far from Boston. They often said they didn’t have time for me. Or they just couldn’t stop by and pick me up, that I’d have to take public transit. If I recall correctly, taking public transit to Mom’s from where I lived was well over an hour to get there. The message was clear: “We don’t really value you nor want to see you.”

The times I did see them I felt embarrassed, especially embarrassed for Mom. It wasn’t the fault of the kids. They were just kids, after all. I am embarrassed even now. The kids were actually encouraged to poke fun of Mom. They were encouraged to put her down. They were encouraged to call her stupid in various ways. They were encouraged to talk about her in her presence because she couldn’t hear what was being said. They were encouraged to say demeaning things, and reassured that Mom couldn’t hear these statements. They were told over and over how computer illiterate Mom was, and that was drilled into the kids’ heads. The kids were told that Mom was behind the times, that she didn’t know anything. Mom didn’t stand a chance with her tech-savvy grandkids.

They never knew how smart Mom was. Mom and I used to play Guess that Composer together. Of all the members of the family she was my biggest challenger at that game. She had a better musical ear than any other family member, and she was the one who discovered I had talent (when I was under a year old). Mom was an amazing dancer and she had climbed Mount Washington as an elder. She taught us to go camping and knew how to bush-whack and build a fire from scratch. She taught me how to do all kinds of stuff. She rode her bike into her 80’s. She went to Antioch College and had a master’s degree, was active politically and in the temple, too. She did folk dancing and stuck up for me when I fell victim to ECT. Mom was there for me when my dog Tiger died. I remember that. I remember Mom crying over Tiger. Where the hell was anyone else?

They kept poking fun at her. I know in my heart that even though she couldn’t hear them, she knew exactly what was happening. She couldn’t stop them. She couldn’t stop the disrespectful attitude, nor change anyone’s mind. Anything she said would be twisted around. It was a lose-lose situation. I dreaded those visits. Sometimes I just asked not to be included, because I knew what was going to happen.

This is the sad shit that happened to my family, which I did not cause and I couldn’t do a damn thing to stop. You can probably find old posts here in my blog chronicling the dreaded visits. Yes it is heartbreaking, and so wrong I want to scream.

2 thoughts on “The occasional token visit”

  1. Yeah, love it how WE are supposed to lack all conscience and empathy, but “normals” are the ones who pull nasty crap like this. My uncle loves to dis me. My aunt says he thinks my “mental illness” makes me inferior and okay to put down. He is actually a misogynist and talks horribly to women–including my aunt.

    It’s mostly because of him I am staying home for Thanksgiving. I refuse to visit his house after a horrible insult he gave one Sunday dinner. Almost like spitting in my face.

    I have other friends though, who don’t tear me down. My sister refuses to visit Uncle Jerkface because he got in a shouting match with her one Easter and said nasty stuff behind her back–that she overheard. She thinks my behavior makes sense now.

    Your brothers and sisters-in-law will get theirs when they wind up in homes and their grown kids bring the grand-kids to mock and put them down. Their chickens will come home to roost!

    1. I don’t really think what goes around comes around, but I do think if you tell the truth enough, it somehow outlives the lies.

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