Thursday, November 29, 2007

Adoptees and the Extended Family

Much has been said about some adoptees feeling like they don't fit in with their adoptive families.

At least, that's what I've said.

That said, oddly enough, I always felt like I was a member of the family.

My aunts fussed over me. So did my maternal grandmother who always cooked something special when I visited. My paternal grandmother got stuck with me almost every weekend and she was always sweet. Maybe they knew just how lousy I had it with my self-centered adoptive parents and were trying to make up for it.

But now that I look back on it, I don't think that even these kind folk saw me as one of them. I was just too different. Now that I'm an adult, I suspect they felt sorry for me. I also believe there was a lot of talking amongst themselves about me and my quirks and why I was the way I was.

Why do I suspect this?

First, my adoptive family was a closed family system. Suspicious of outsiders.

Second, since I don't run around with "Adoptee!" stamped on my forehead, I pass for regular folk in the community. So at parties people tell me about me about the (usually weird) adopted kid in their family or at my local bookstore the owner tells me about the quirks of her adopted grandchild and the other day at Starbucks, I overheard a woman (loudly) discussing her Guatling niece and attachment or the lack of it and the trouble the little girl was having at pre-school and how, well, quirky she is.

See what I'm getting at?

Despite all this adoption is wonderful business, when you bring a kid into a nuclear family, the extended family is going to have their own opinion. While few dare say anything to the adopted family's face, they say it behind their backs. I've heard it. Believe me.

So that's what I think went on in my family.

And I can prove it.

Besides a cousin telling me I didn't belong to the family and that's why I was so weird, there also seemed to be a lot of whispering and sideways glances. And when I'd look up, they'd have that guilty look on their face people get when they've just said something bad about you. Plus, after my adoptive mother died, her side of the family just sort of drifted off, probably because they no longer had to pretend they liked me. (For the record, I am very close to one cousin because her mother is a narcissist, too, so we've bonded)

Of course, not all adoptess have this experience. Some do. For those of us who do, we're like poor Fanny in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Somebody to take pity on and help, but not the same as the primary children, her quirks of character to be examined and noted.

There's that word again. Quirk. Quirkish. Quirky.

In our adoptive families, we're quirky. But when I met my first family, I was just like them. Or at least parts of me were. This has nothing to do with how I feel about them. But at least I'm finally not quirky.

Hah. A word could not describe us better!

Quirk: 1) a pecularity of behavior;


And that is exactly what happened!

Fate has tricked me.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Aging Narcissistic Parent, Now With Dementia!

Face it. Your lifelong nightmare just got worse.

The parent who neglected you or mocked you or controlled you or made you perform in front of strangers has developed dementia and that, as you must have noticed, has made your self-absorbed parent even more self-absorbed.

So why am I writing about this subject again, when this is a blog about being a Closed Era adoptee?

Because that, my dear reader, is apparently what draws at least half of you here. Specifically, Googling, "aging narcissistic parent" or some other variation.

How to deal or handle them is one issue.

What to do with them is another.

Presumably, some of you are in search of expert advice. Well, I'm no expert, but I am a survivor of two narcissistic parents, both of whom developed dementia. Technically, one's not dead yet, but I'm still standing.

1) Just what kind of dementia are we talking? Alzheimers? The frontal lobe variety called, "Lewy Body?

Both are bad. My adoptive mother had Alzheimers. The good thing was she went from being mostly mean and controlling to nice and compliant. So it made it easier to find and keep an in-home caregiver. The bad thing was my mother lived eight years with this horrible disease. We used all of her personal savings on her care. (She insisted on a separate account from my father)

If you have the extremely bad luck of having your narcissistic parent develop Lewy Body dementia, well, stockpile the Xanax and grow an ever thicker hide.

This frontal lobe dementia basically strips them of their inhibition. Whatever little they had that protected you from hearing the glorious details of their sex life or the wondrous size of their penis or kept them from telling so-and-so they have a fat ass and need lipo, it's all going to come spilling out. There's nothing to stop them now. They want to talk about themselves and act like Simon on American Idol.

2) IF said narcissistic parent develops Lewy Body dementia, start looking for an assisted living facility. It's gonna take an entire team of somewhat professional, emotionally detached staff to deal with them. One single caregiver is probably not a good idea. In fact, the doctor who diagnosed my adoptive father just came out and said it. People like this are at higher risk for elder abuse. You'll have trouble keeping anybody who wants to look after him. They'll quit after a couple days. My Dad was so offensive to this doctor, who had the misfortune of being short, bald and Mexican (resulting in a bonanza of insults!) , the doctor said he couldn't accept him as a continuing patient.

3) The aging narcissist, even pre-dementia, does not deal well with the challenges of aging. Everything is a drama. Everything is harder than it should be. If they opt for an elective surgery against your well-researched advice, you're still going to get blamed. In fact, you will be blamed for everything. They will take no responsibility in planning for their future care and will fight you every step of the way. When they keep falling down or become incontinent, they will blame you for ruining their lives by sticking them in an assisted living facility.

4) The aging narcissist with dementia is STILL capable of trying to control you. It's amazing how this behavior somehow survives. In my mom's third year with Alzheimers, she'd get angry with me and then give me the cold, silent treatment for weeks, months, just like she used to when I was a kid. And my Dad, who even surpassed my mother's skill at The Guilt Trip, can still play the victim like nobody's business.

I'm sorry I don't have better news.

But it's not like we were talking about loving, caring, emotionally nuturing parents in the first place. Still, we can try to do the right thing and be moral, responsible citizens and arrange for the best of care possible, if we can afford it. (Sell their house. Not all of us are cut out to change adult diapers 15X a day). We can still check on them and make sure they are being treated well. And take satisfaction in that.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Revenge is Mine

This is a cautionary tale. Don't piss off an adopted relative. You may need their help one of these days.

My adoption was practically a state secret. An older cousin told me he and the rest of the teenagers in the family were ORDERED never to discuss my adoption with outsiders (and to deny it if asked), amongst themselves and never, ever with me.


They must have discussed it because somehow, the second cousins knew. They were just a little younger than me so I mostly hung out with them.

Well, several years ago, one of these second cousins asked for a hefty loan. At the time, we were on pretty good terms. But the first thing that popped into my head was a fight we had when we were young teens. She settled it by screaming, "And you don't even belong to this family! You're adopted. That's why you're so weird."

She may have called me a freak. I can't remember.

Still, I gave her the money. Like $700. Told her it was an early Xmas gift. We never discussed it again. Not that we talked much since then.

So a few weeks ago I get an email marked "URGENT! REPLY IMMEDIATELY!!!" in the subject line from the same cousin. Pleading for another hefty loan. It also included an apology for not being nicer to me, etc.

And I got to wondering. Did she mean the time she called me a weirdo or a freak or whatever? Or for not doing a better job keeping in contact with the un-family member who helped her out in her time of need?

I turned her down. Nicely, of course. With regrets and all that.

But the thing is, I don't really regret it.

Not all that long ago, when I was still in people pleasing mode, I might have said "yes" and resented the hell out of her. Or I would have felt guilty for saying no. Or I would have been uncertain and called my husband a hundred times asking for advice on how to handle this delicate situation.

This time, I took a trip down memory lane and, for the first time, noticed just how barren that lane actually was.

And you know what?

I spent a lot of time crafting a kind reply, without ever once referring to the original sum given without any expectation of repayment. And guess what? Nada. No acknowledgement of any sort. I'm family when she needs something. I'm un-family when I serve no purpose.

And you know what else?

I don't care. I mean, I'm slightly miffed, but I'm not hurting. I'm not devastated. Now that's progress.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Surviving Adoption

For me, adoption has long meant shame and secrecy and pretend games I didn't fully understand, yet played along anyway under adoptive parental duress.

That I had suffered pain and loss as an adoptee never occurred to my adoptive parents. For whatever reason.

That an adoptive parent would acknowledge that her child had something of value to lose and not everything to gain is, well, hard to fathom. My adoptive mother couldn't even admit that I was adopted because she hated to, "think of me that way" and, "liked to pretend I was hers." This meant that any questions about my adoption and my first mother were about as welcome as a request for a giant dildo.

Yet, there are adoptive parents out there today who a) acknowledge their adopted children had a first mother; b) acknowledge their child's loss; c) encourage their children to talk about their feelings about adoption. Of course, this new breed of adoptive parents do many other things that my adoptive parents did not, could not, would not.

One adoptive mom's blog really got me. Okay, I blubbered. You can check her out for yourself at

Christine talks honestly about her worries as an adoptive mom. She's also a keen observer of her daughter's often painful struggle with being an international adoptee. When I read about what her little girl is going through - with the support of her adoptive mother - I can see it all there, the pain, the loneliness, the unanswered questions and the uncertainty of my own struggle. Yet, many of us from the Closed Era had to wander The Labyrinth completely alone.

And some idiots have the nerve to call us maladjusted. It's a wonder we all didn't end up institutionalized.

Being adopted isn't easy. It's damn hard. It takes an empathetic, emotionally honest adoptive parent who puts their child's needs first. Narcissists need not apply for the job. People who feel cosmically entitled to a child because they're infertile or because they've left things too long and they're past their sell-by date, they're not such a good idea either. Because an entitled prospective parent is going to have expectations that one little baby can't meet. That's where we end up with all these weird notions and justifications about "saving children" and gratitude and all that other adoption nonsense.

Besides, The Labyrinth is like a really bad amusement park ride that severed limbs and decapitated heads before finally getting shut down. Okay, it's still up and running except it's been tweaked and renamed The Open Adoption Not-So-Fun Slide and, in the case of international adoptees, The Chair-O-Plane swing ride. I think you get my point. When adoption is finally making some progress, why go backward?

(Not that I promote adoption. In fact, it's out of control. But in cases where it can't be avoided and where children need homes, at least let them be loving, caring and capable homes)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Depressive Slumps and Other Setbacks

Snapped out of a week long depressive slump. A combination of National Adoption Month and my narcissistic adoptive father got me down. Felt fatigued for no good reason. Took naps. Had a root canal. Writing project suffered a bit. Wanted to disappear.

And then today, much better. Even though it's dreary outside. Spent the morning figuring out a-dad's latest medical bills and writing checks. Assuming responsibility for an elderly parent, even when in an assisted living facility, is more than a part time job.

Today's thoughts, in bullet points, because who has time?

1) I wouldn't wish adoption on my enemy (not that I have any).

2) What's gonna happen to all those aging narcissists who are gonna need help with care (and money) when the time comes? After a lifetime of neglect and emotional abuse, are their child(ren) available, willing or able to step up to the plate? It's not like adult children of narcissists have happy memories to fall back on to get them through the tough times. It's not like their narcissistic parents were ever lovely and giving and nuturing and now they're old and needy and crotchety. They were young, needy and crotchety. This is where the Living Longer trend becomes worrisome. Who wants to shoulder the burden of an aging narcissistic parent for - gasp - 10, 15, 20 years? I've just entered my FIFTEENTH year of being responsible for aging narcissistic parents. You've read my blog. You've seen what a mess I am.

3) Why don't I feel more like a bonified grown-up even though I'm in my mid-forties? Is this because there's something about being forever branded and treated as an "adopted child" (without the same rights as everybody else) or does it also have something to do with being the adult child of a narcissist? We weren't allowed to individuate. Well, I did, but it was like losing several limbs in the process. Basically, like a scene out of Saw.

4) Now that I've spent so much time "unrepressing" myself and finally admitting - yes, adoption sucks - is it time to put adoption back in The Box? Maybe pretend I'm not adopted? Stop thinking about it. Think about other things. Wait. That's what I did before and I was a raging hypochondriac and stricken with anxiety. But now that I've dealt with "it," would I start to have those problems again?

5) Making my way through Nick Hornby books. First time. Some reviewers have described him as a "manly writer" and I thought that meant, you know, Fight Club stuff. So opposite that. Crediting Mr. Hornby for helping me laugh my way out of my latest depressive slump.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

When I was Jewish

As you probably know, I'm 100% Mexican.

For ten years, I thought I was Jewish.

No kidding.

My adoptive dad told me my birth mother was Jewish. Then he changed the story and said she was Latina, but my father was a German Jew.

When I did well in school, he whispered it was because I had Jewish blood.

Whispered because adoption was a taboo subject. Plus, he's an anti-semite.

So for an entire decade, I began to explore what it meant to be Jewish while raised as a Mexican Catholic.

Then I began to ask, "how did this happen?" I was told that I should have been placed in a Jewish home. And then I got angry. If I had gone to a Jewish family, I could have had a lovely bat-mizvah and been raised around books and my plan to go to college would have been encouraged, not sabotaged. During that time I had kids. So I sent them to Jewish pre-schools. Gosh, I even learned how to make those little triangle pastries and a killer brisket. Okay, a somewhat superficial exploration of my Jewish side, but stilll. You get the idea. A whole lot of time and effort was spent thinking of myself as a Jew. Or part Jewish. A big deal if you're raised with saints on alters and St. Jude on the dashboard. A personal paradigm shift. I LOVED it.

And then in a day, I was no longer Jewish.

My non-identifying information had arrived.

Mother? Mexican. Father? Mexican national of German ancestry.

Confused and furious, I called my adoptive father. "Why did you tell me I was Jewish, for Christ's sake?"

"That's what the social worker told us," he replied. "That your mother was a German Jew."

The lights went off. My narcissistic adoptive father doesn't listen. He can't attend to a conversation like most folks. When somebody is talking about something that doesn't interest him, his mind wanders.

"You mean my father was a German Jew?" I asked, thinking of the German ancestry reference.

"I guess," he said.

More prodding revealed that my adoptive father had added one and one and came up with five. He ASSUMED that my adoptive father was a German Jew who'd escaped to Mexico during WWII. Wrongo.

When I finished scolding him for his error, he said he didn't know what the fuss was about. It didn't matter to him whether I was a Jew or not.

"Gee thanks," I snarked. "That's big of you."

This is the problem with adoption. We adoptees are at the mercy of adoptive parents and others who hold the key to our identity. Obviously, some of them (like my adoptive parents) are not capable of acting in a responsible manner. Either heritage is important. Or it isn't. Society can't have it both ways. You can't have the whole genealogy craze AND simultaneously argue genealogy is no big deal and quit obsessing about it. You can't say, as odious Thomas Atwood did on NPR the other day, that the adoptive family is adequate to the formation of an adoptee's identity, when the adoptive family is sometimes INADEQUATE.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Guilt...and More Guilt

Here's one of the challenges of dealing with a narcissistic parent.

Even after you've read every book on the subject.

Even after setting up boundaries big enough to contain T-Rex himself.

Even after putting yourself and your loved ones first for a change.

Even after lots of therapy and remembering just how many times you got the short and sharp end of the stick.

Even after making progress at taking control of your life.

(Even after futilely complaining to your Post Adoption Social Worker about getting placed with two narcissists four decades after the fact, har)

They still manage to lob one over the perimeter.

And whammo, the sirens are blaring and you find yourself defenseless and suddenly feeling...GUILTY...again!!!

I called my (badly) aging narcissistic father after taking a day off. I asked after his health. He said he was not doing so good. In fact, his stomach was hurting. He'd skipped dinner. He was feeling depressed and lonely because he missed me and the grandkids and nobody ever visited him. Then he said he needed to go because he just wanted to go back to sleep.

So I mope around feeling like crap and the world's worst daughter and then I tell my husband what happened and he looks at me like I'm, well, an idiot.

"He'," my husband said slowly and clearly, like I was slow (which I am). "He's trying to make you feel guilty. Remember? He always does this."

And that's the thing.

The response is sooo ingrained that every time it does happen, it feels like it's the first time and not the thousandth.



Saturday, November 10, 2007

Adoption, Adoption....Everywhere

It's beginning to happen so often, my husband joked today that I am an "adoption magnet."

No kidding.

We were in a local store and the owner was telling me about her grandson when her tale took an unexpected turn. Suddenly, she was talking about her daughter's infertility and miscarriage and how her daughter just happened to meet a distraught pregnant woman who'd just been dumped by prospective adoptive parents. So it was like this adoption was "meant to be," etc., etc.

And then, I was at a business dinner and sat down next to a man who told me he and his wife had privately adopted an in-family baby from another country. He and his wife were toying with the idea of NOT telling the child she was adopted. It was clear this man had never read one single book about adoption. Of course, I politely explained why that wouldn't be such a good idea and how it could backfire.

At a friend's party, I sat next to elderly couple. Guess what they wanted to talk about? Their adopted grandson, now a teenager.

In each case, the happiness and merits of the parents were touted...and so were the awful circumstances or unworthiness of the first mothers....and the fact that it was meant to be...and what a win-win it was...and what a good job the parents had done because the children were so wonderful...and so lucky.

And whew. Those conversations wipe me out. And make me sad.

I understand that the above mentioned bio mothers did not want their children or at least act like they wanted them. I'm glad the parents are happy. They are thrilled to be raising these children. On the flip side, I know the inner turmoil these kids will experience. Love is NOT enough to spare them the pain of being given away by one's own mother.

The teenager is hurting and trying to express it. But he's constantly reminded by his well meaning grandparents how lucky he is, because his mom was a loser and an addict. The grandparents were sweet. Really. It just never dawned on them that telling the kid to be happy and grateful was like throwing gas on flames. They seemed to get it after I set them straight, nicely. They seemed quite astonished that there was another POV on this.

At least they listened.

My husband wondered if there's something about me that causes people to tell me intimate stuff. I think there's something to that. (I could talk to a rock and it would probably complain about the dirt it's sitting on.) But then we wondered if it's because there's so many kids being adopted these days and it's way more common than we think. That, too. Definitely.

What's funny about these stories is the absolute belief that these adoptions were meant to be, destined. I know this is just a random sampling. But it doesn't make adoption easier. For the adoptee. Just for other people who can experience it, from the outside.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Smacked by a Narcissistic Parent: The Aftermath

I'm figuring out how this works. Finally.

There's a direct connection between my narcissistic parents, bouts of depression and acute low motivation.

I can look back at my life and say....oh, that's what was going on.

School years? Low achiever.

Finally, college....hit or miss.

Professional career....much better. Then again, I lived far, far away from my adoptive, narcissistic parents so their toxic impact was diluted.

Now....near daily doses of surviving narcissistic a-dad.

So the other day he said something I found VERY triggering. He told me he had no idea I was a month old when I was adopted or that I'd been fostered. He said he didn't care where I'd been during that time because the important thing was, they had a pretty newborn baby of their very own who hardly cried at all.

I'll spell it out.

Once again, a-dad had made me feel invisible. That me as an individual did not count. That if I'd been stuck in an orphanage as a newborn, it was of no interest to him. There was no acknowledgment of my concern over this unexpected information. He's always done this. There is only him. There is no me. A-dad has always talked endlessly. I was hardly ever allowed to talk at all. He'd interrupt constantly. My adoptive mother was also narcissistic. Of the "you are an extension of me" variety. The kind who feared her daughter's growing independence and controlled me with extended punishing silences and, finally, stopped talking to me for years when I went away to college because I'd betrayed her by leaving.

So after a-dad said this the other day, I suddenly felt fatigued. Zapped of all motivation. I couldn't work on my book project. I just couldn't, even though I knew it would make me feel better. I was suddenly thinking, "this is a waste of time," "who do I am think I am?," "who is gonna want to read this crap?,." This depressive sink hole lasted 24-hours. Like a flu.

You can't do something that is important to you when you feel worthless. When you've been reminded that YOU are inconsequential. To my narcissistic father, the only thing that matters is that he's listened to. Preferably by me because I was trained to do so. When I managed to insert an opinion of my own, I was mocked. "Oh, really, little Miss Smarty Pants?" or "Oh, you think you're so smart just because you went to college, but you don't know anything." It's those voices that play in my head when I sit at the computer to write. Which makes my goal of trying to finish a book nearly perverse.

So now that I've figured out precisely how this dynamic works, the challenge is to figure out how to avoid such triggering conversations. I've made a start by not being such a passive doormat in our phone calls, which I've cut back to protect myself. I guess I'll stop asking a-dad any more questions about my adoption. It's always been a taboo subject anyway.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Asking a Narcissistic Parent a Question

Asking a narcissistic parent a really important question is like.....well, I don't know what it's like. It's not like asking a normal person a question, that's for damn sure.

In fact, I don't advise it.

In my case, I had no other choice.

L.A. County won't tell me where I spent the first month of my life. While the social worker confirmed that I'd been in foster care, she wouldn't elaborate, saying this was confidential information. Was I placed in some sort of institution? A private home?

So I just asked my Dad.

He and my adoptive mother had NO IDEA I'd been fostered.

They thought I was a newborn when they "got me."

They had no idea I was a month old, even though they picked me up one month after my birthday.

The information is right there on my adoption paperwork.

They were just so excited to have a beautiful new baby.

He said I hardly ever cried at all.

The next day, my adoptive mother took me to her former place of work to show me off. The ladies there admired me and said they had no idea my a-mom had been pregnant. Of course, she pretended I was biologically hers and pointed out our similar features. My a-dad just told me this. (His long term memory is excellent. What he had for breakfast is a problem).

When I asked him how he couldn't have known that I was a (whole fucking) month old when they picked me up, he said knowing this wouldn't have made any difference. That where I spent that time didn't matter. But it's important to me, I said (in a futile effort to remind him that I am a human being and not merely narcissistic supply.) But he insisted it made no difference at all. To him.

As the now adult child of a narcissist - one who has had lots of therapy - I wanted to scream and shout and say, "IT WAS THE FIRST MONTH OF MY LIFE. I WANT TO KNOW WHERE I WAS!"

Instead, I said nothing.

He said, "You were such a beautiful baby. Just like your mother. And nobody could take you away from us."

I wish SOMEBODY had.

So there.

(This is me having the last word. Something that will never happen in a conversation with a narcissistic parent.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Really Bad Adoption Stories

In the old days, it was that awful Chosen Baby story.

Or hearing that you were "special" (another way of calling somebody retarded, even back then. For a while, I actually thought I was "special" in that way).

Either way, it placed an uncomfortable emphasis on the fact that you were different. And who wants to be different when you're a kid? You just want to fit in. It was also confusing. The whole Chosen Baby tale conjured up images of one's adopters sauntering past rows and rows of cribs filled with babies holding out their chubby arms, begging to be picked.

And now, I've read, some adopted kids are being told by well meaning adoptive parents that they "grew in their mommies heart."

In my opinion, not such a good idea.

In fact, a really BAD idea.

First, think back. Kids are pretty literal minded. I was no dummy, but if I'd been told that when I was young, I definitely would have thought I developed in my adoptive mom's heart. And that was the difference between being adopted and not. Biological kids grow in their mommies tummies. Adopted kids grow in their mommie's heart. Also knowing me, I wouldn't have asked follow-up questions to clarify this alarming news. I asked few questions. Many kids don't ask questions. After all, they haven't yet developed interviewing skills and pretty much accept what they're told.

Also, I just watched Alien Resurrection. And guess what happens? Some evil-doers decide to recreate Ripley from her 200 year old blood and then use her as a surrogate and implant an alien fetus in her chest. Imagine her horror when she figures out the irony of her situation (old Ripley hating aliens as much as she did, she is technically the mother of an alien) while grappling with some pretty serious identity issues, like is she Ripley...or not. Well, anyway, Baby Alien is surgically removed from Reconstituted Ripley's chest cavity.

You know the FIRST thing I thought of?

That "You Grew In My Heart" adoption story. (Actually, I alarmed my teenagers by screaming "Oh No!")

If something grows in your heart, at some point, it's gotta be removed. Otherwise the heart is gonna burst. Analogies are pretty much lost on kids.

I totally understand the desire to explain adoption in as painless and positive a way as possible to one's adoptee. Honest. But it doesn't take forced and painful analogies. One doesn't have to make potentially misleading statements. One doesn't have to say God spent a lot of time getting rid of one set of parents just so another could benefit. One doesn't have to call the kid a Blessing...which is just as burdensome as being Chosen. The adoptee just needs a simple, clear, no frills explanation and, of course, lots of empathy and gentle answers to questions as they arise.

Being told you are adopted is an unpleasant experience. Okay, it's traumatic. There's no way around it. It's like the kid is staring at a really disturbing picture by Picasso - trying to make sense of it - and being repeatedly told how pretty it is. I argue it's the beginning of our disconnection from ourselves and reality. We know how bad it feels. Everybody else insists it's wonderful.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Attaching to the Narcissistic Parent

My aging narcissistic a-father called to ask that I send him more of his favorite candy. Immediately. So there it sits on my kitchen counter. I may get around to mailing it today. Or maybe not. It's my little act of revenge for what happened when I was ten. And basically, for ruining my third decade.

Let's start with my thirties and work bullet points...because who has time?

--after emotionally and financially cutting me off because I decided to go away to college instead of staying home, a-mom develops Alzheimers when I'm 30;
--a-dad and family try to pressure me into personally caretaking rapidly declining a-mom (while also caring for toddlers?); I refuse but manage a-mom's care and find caretaker;
--massive guilt sets-in; I develop severe hypochondria and suffer from anxiety attacks
--a-mom dies; I now become a-dad's caretaker, which really isn't any different from before because he's a flaming narcissist
--a-dad develops dementia; the beginning of my (fucked) forties

So here's where the damned candy comes in.

When I was ten, I stayed in the hospital after doctors removed a suspicious cyst on my forehead. I stayed alone. A-mom was upset and worried and "couldn't take it" and it was more relaxing with her out of the picture.

But here's the new information: a-dad told me that he and a-mom ARGUED over this. The nurse invited a-mom to stay overnight in the extra bed and a-mom REFUSED, saying there was no way she was going to spend the night in a hospital because it was too uncomfortable, boring, etc., and that he could stay if he wanted to. (He didn't) Then she left in a huff.

Now this may not sound like that big of a deal.

But it is.

Obviously, my self-absorbed mother wasn't all that attached to me because otherwise wild horses couldn't have dragged her from my side. Looking back, her comfort and convenience pretty much trumped my needs every time. It was my job to make her happy, not the other way around. She did a lot of fussing over my selfish ways, ingratitude, cold heart, failure to pay homage to the Maternal Goddess, but her expectations far exceeded my ability to produce the necessary demonstrations of affection.

Because it's hard to love a parent when you know, deep in your heart, that they don't love you. Not really. They love the idea of you.

When I was young, I got little.

Then I was expected to give and give and give.

And now that I figured this out, I can't believe I wasted an ENTIRE DECADE feeling guilty for not giving more of myself when my a-mom really, truly didn't care much about me. This realization is pretty awful. So horrible and terrible that when I figured it out, I just sort of fell apart earlier this week. But it's what I always suspected.

I wish people like my a-mom would just remain childless and not try to adopt and make the lives of already once abandoned children a misery...subjecting them to the double whammy of a two mother abandonment.