She’s Got A Way With Me

Everyday we make decisions; some are good, while some are bad. Sometimes we grow to regret a decision more and more over time, because the consequences of it cause our entire lives to change. I know that I’ve made a few of those decisions in my life. They were little things that I never thought would cause any major problem. They were things that I can name dozens of other people who’ve done the same exact thing and had nothing go wrong because of them, but the badness came to me.

Obviously, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you may be able to tell that this is yet another post lamenting on the bad decision that I made that Spring day in 2002. You know, the day when I made a negative post about Eric’s wife Eileen’s parenting skills. And again I will point out that I was 18 years old, and, like any 18 year old, entitled to be a bitch if I wanted to be. I will also point out that it has been 11 years, and that the continued punishment from that one act is ridiculous. Hell, the reaction at the time was ridiculous.

I regret that post a lot of the time.

Today is one of those times when I really regret it.

I really didn’t have a right to judge her laissez-faire style of parenting. I just felt that it wasn’t going to help her son in the long run. I’m not a parent, and I guess that means I’m not supposed to know about parenting. Oddly, if I remember correctly, I was in a class on developmental psychology at the time, so I probably thought (like any psych major) that I knew better than I actually did. Anyway, I made some unfair remarks, and I had people who loved me decide to not speak to me for nine months. Then, when they started talking to me, I knew I wasn’t forgiven.

Years of knowing that someone doesn’t want you in their family causes more problems for a person. It’s especially hard when, like me, the only way that you ever really feel free to talk to another person is when you type out the words. I can’t talk to people easily…for a lot of reasons. I could say it was the paranoia or the anxiety, but the reality is that it’s more than that. My voice is extremely quiet. I get frustrated because people want me to talk in a level where they can hear me, but I have trouble making it louder. I always have. And I don’t know what to say when I’m expected to talk. I don’t usually even know what to do. Conversations and interactions of any kind leave me like a deer in the headlights. My mouth clamps. My brain shuts down, except for those inner voices that are screaming at me to figure out what to say. Somehow I can’t get through that. I try. I really do. I’m getting to where I can sometimes force myself to carry on difficult conversations with my parents, but I’m still nowhere near where someone my age would be expected to be…and these are the people who taught me how to talk.

I bet that if I had been able to properly question my cousin-in-law back in 2002 that I would have been told to “be quiet” and that it was “none of my business”. The separation of the family might have happened anyway. I don’t know for sure. Or I might have grown more and more used to just keeping my mouth shut and just using the blog as my way of communicating with the world. That really isn’t much different than it is now. But if I had kept my mouth shut, then maybe when I saw the news story on WHNT that night where I found out that Will (my cousin’s son who was almost 11 at the time) had a developmental disorder, I wouldn’t have responded by within hours making a post, where I single-handedly ripped apart my family by saying:

Oh, I found out this past week that a certain family member told my mom back in 2002 that my mom didn’t have any disabilities and was milking the system. (As much as my mom and I argue as of late, I can say that my mom doesn’t milk the system.) I thought that was kind of funny, since this certain family member also likes to make anyone who uses pain medicine out to be a drug addict, but doesn’t care that a drug used in her house everyday is probably inadvisable for the person using it. (Since stimulants are linked to earlier onset of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and we all know that those run in the family.) I also thought it was interesting that that family member won’t discuss certain topics (when genuine concern is shown) with family members, but has yet to have a hissy fit that a video was on the news the other night about people with developmental delays and someone she won’t discuss was in it. Maybe she just doesn’t know yet.

Now she does. She should also know that other people get to put videos and pictures up of this, so if news outlets, groups, etc. get to talk about it, I figure I should, too.

That’s it. That is the paragraph that caused the demise of my family. The 2002 post is one of the few exceptions to the claim that anything posted on the internet stays on the internet. Yes, I was bitchy in that little bit, but I was pissed off–newly so, which means I was extremely pissed off, as opposed to a general level of malcontentedness (probably not a word, but right now I don’t care all that much) that I had been feeling that winter.

That day, I got a call from Eileen. She proceeded to bless me out. She didn’t want anything negative about her or her family on the internet for all the the world to see. She told me that I’m not her family. My response to her was that it was my blog and that I could write what I wanted, but that she had the choice of whether to read the blog or not. Most people understand that if you don’t like what you see on the internet that you just don’t look at it. I thought that Eileen should have been capable of that, as well. What really irked me that day was that, within hours of the post, I was getting that call. It meant that they were waiting for me to screw up again. (And you can just imagine how great that feels.)

In the 2002 post, I mentioned the names of those involved. In the January 2011 one, I didn’t. The only people who would have known who I was talking to are the people involved. I didn’t mention which kid in the video was her son. I didn’t mention anything that was truly identifiable. Her privacy, for the most part, was protected. She shouldn’t have felt embarrassed, ashamed, angry, etc. Maybe the internet has given me a tougher skin than some folks, but what I said really wasn’t that bad.

But what I said translated to being ridiculed even more often by my Aunt’s family, more regular visits to all of my internet accounts by their family, and having to go through being badmouthed while we stayed at Nana’s house last year. The past two and a half years, I’ve known exactly how shitty they think I am because of their behaviors. And the only time that I bother mentioning what they’ve done and continue to do is when they do something even more outrageous–i.e. when they printed out my Tweets and put them anonymously in Nana’s mailbox.

Those of you who’ve suffered through this post are probably getting the idea that something new has happened. Guess what? You’re right. Something very new has happened.

Barbara, my aunt, has convinced Nana to move into assisted living. Apparently, when my mom told my aunt that we wanted Nana to move in with us, this ruffled some feathers. More specifically, my aunt’s feathers were ruffled when my mom mentioned that we would take the money from Nana’s house being sold and use it toward building a kind of mother-in-law suite/apartment for Nana on the back of our house. That way she could still maintain some level of privacy. It was something that mom and Nana both talked about doing, and it was something that they both thought was a good idea. Well, Barbara thought that the idea made us sound like all we cared about was Nana’s money. Oh, honey, no. Nana’s poor. We get that. We actually lived with her, saw the payments she had to make, bought her food for her, etc. for almost six months. We know that the only thing she has, in terms of assets, is her house, which has some structural issues that would definitely impact how much it could be sold for. If we were going to go after a relative for their money/assets, we would probably go after the relative who has a house on a golf course and drives a Mercedes, but doesn’t have enough room or money to make her house handicapped accessible for her own mother. I mean, if we were really greedy bastards, we would do that, but we’re not.

But that does not convince my aunt, who says that we can’t take care of ourselves and that we’re just awful people because we got kicked out of our own home for that period of time last year by the city and that she really wants nothing to do with us. She said that if Nana moved in here that she wouldn’t visit her. Mom said that if Nana went into assisted living, she would eventually go into a nursing home, and that mom knew she didn’t want that and that if Nana was in either type of facility that mom wouldn’t go visit her. She also pointed out that the payment for both types of facilities would require the sale of Nana’s home. Oh, and when mom pointed out that what was really going on was that her sister was still pissed about that blog entry, her sister said that it was none of our business that Will has a developmental disorder and that we should never have known. This was when my mom pointed out how ridiculous that was because the rest of the area found out at the exact same time. Then my mom made the mistake of saying that we knew that there was something “wrong” with Will. (She didn’t mean that he was broken or that he was a bad person. She just meant that it has been obvious throughout his childhood that he has problems communicating with people, looking people in the eyes, and that, for a long time, he didn’t speak at all. Basically, that we had seen that he had the signs of something on the autism spectrum, but we hadn’t brought it up because it wasn’t our place.)

Well, apparently, this offended Barbara. She said that there was nothing wrong with her grandson, and my mom told her that there was. And my aunt said something along the lines of, “I say there’s nothing wrong with Will, just like you would say that there is nothing wrong with Janet.” Well, this caused my mom to say, “I never said that there was nothing wrong with Janet. There is something wrong with her. Janet’s a step away from being Schizophrenic. That’s what’s wrong with Janet.” I have no idea what my aunt said to that, but my mom suggested that she look it up because she might figure out that the same things are going on with her. My aunt responded with, “I’m the most stable person in the family.” Well, my mom laughed at that. It was a hardy chuckle. That was when my aunt hung up on her.

So that is what brings about this blog entry. My “stable” aunt wants my grandmother to go into assisted living because she can’t stand the thought of her mother being anywhere near me. It’s bad enough that I carry around the weight of knowing that I single-handedly broke up our family, but when I see my mother reduced to tears by her big sister because of it, it breaks my heart. Half the time, when I contemplate suicide, I think that that is the perfect option because it would bring my family back together. And I will admit that I had one of those thoughts this afternoon, but then I realized something. She would find another reason to hate my parents. She would find another reason to blame them for everything. Nothing would be solved because I’m not the only problem in this family.

One of the worst problems is that we are a family of obsessive stalker types. My mom called my aunt on her stalking behavior and pointed out that her IP address had been blocked from viewing my domain. My aunt said that she “had ways” of finding out what I was saying, which my mom pointed out is stalking. Barbara justified it because I put the information on the internet for all the world to see. And that justification reminded me of the justifications that I have seen on Investigation Discovery by other stalkers. It’s always the person being stalked who gets blamed for the behavior. Well, that’s bullshit. Yes, I talk about her. Like I mentioned earlier, I talk about what goes on via blog entries because sometimes the only way that I can communicate is through typing it out. This is my way of relieving the stress that would get pent up. This is how I cope.

I know what it’s like to want to know exactly what someone who you love or hate is doing. I have Analytics set up so that I know who from my family is trying to keep up with what I’m saying. It’s a way of counter-stalking. It eases the inner nervousness sometimes; more often than not, it actually makes it worse.

I want my aunt to get the help she obviously needs. I want her to admit that she has a legitimate problem. I want Deb and Billy and anyone else who is helping her to do this stuff to quit enabling her. They may think that they’re helping, but they’re really just making the whole situation worse. They’re not just hurting me by doing this. They are hurting everyone.

I know that I could probably “lead by example” and not talk about them, but that wouldn’t make things better. Obviously, they watched for nine years, while I didn’t do anything that should have upset them. They never trusted me, but I tried to trust them. Now, they have to trust me to stop, and show me that they’re worthy of trust again. If they want the family to get better, then they have to put some work into it. I refuse to continue carrying the weight of this strife on my own.

I also refuse to be blamed for why they want to put Nana in a home.

I want Barbara to admit that she’s angry with Nana because Nana took my side. I want her to admit that she’s jealous because Nana actually wanted to live with us. I want her to admit that her actions in ostracizing me from the majority of our shared family members is not all my fault, but was her decision and is akin to a type of abuse where an abuser cuts off a person’s support system so that when they need help, they can’t get it. I want her to tell my mom and Nana why it is that whenever she is told that Nana or mom is sick that she believes that there is nothing wrong with them, and why she makes a decision not to do the decent thing and call or go visit without some level of pressure on her. I have spent a decade in hell because of this grudge-match and I want to know why. I deserve that much.

Right now, I’m still trying to calm my mom down from that phone call. It shot her blood pressure up to high enough to cause a stroke. I want my aunt to think about that. Since she has her ways of knowing what I say on here, then she needs to think about the fact that the stress from that phone call could have killed my mother. I want her to understand that every time that she makes my mother cry or get stressed out that I think less and less of her. She’s her big sister. Even though my aunt is in her sixties, she should have some level of compassion towards her baby sister. And even if she hates my mom enough to let her stroke out from a phone call, she should care enough about her own mother to not put her in the middle, stress her out, and endanger her health from this tantrum thing she does. (Manipulative, but true.) Of course, now that I’ve said that her words caused mom’s health to be endangered, she’ll probably use that as further “proof” that Nana shouldn’t be here.

I readily admit that I screwed up and caused some of the problems in this family, but I don’t understand why she has to make things worse. One day we’re all going to grow up and stop trying to tear one another to pieces.

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.