I am finally able to sit and think about my life the past couple of weeks. I have had two funerals to attend. That started a conversation with one of my friends about being an elder orphan – we are both single, no children – we are aging alone with no family available to address our future care-giving needs.
I never actually sat down and thought of this. Now I have to start thinking and working on a plan for aging without a family for support. I am most likely going to grow old alone. So I need to prepare to age alone. I am okay with this. I am and have been a caregiver to many in my immediate family – my grandmother, my Dad, my Mom and even my Step Dad – so I know what it entails. I guess I have to start answering the question, “Who is going to do that for me?” Not overwhelmingly daunting yet … just hitting home that I have to start making more conscious decisions going forward … with hope in my heart and grace in my step.
Emotionally, today has been a very hard day. I am the primary caregiver of my sick, aging mother and step father – today they were down right toxic and I could barely tolerate them. They are so oblivious to my well being and so verbally and emotionally abusive. I am drained. Depressed. Suffering from PTSD. My anxiety is at an all-time high and now that I am upstairs away from them, I can’t stop crying.
I am working on maintaining peace and keeping my self esteem from hitting rock bottom. For so many years, I have tried to have a relationship with them especially my mother, but it has been hard and disappointing. So many times it was painful and upsetting – like today.
I get up early, I run errands for them. I clean their apartment. I pay the bills. I try to be pleasant. But they were both so critical and demeaning today. I was too slow, too stupid, too lazy, too fat according to them. We had torrential rains yesterday and had a leak from the second floor to the first and had to replace some of the drop ceiling tiles. My step dad was insistent on going with me, caused a scene at the hardware store. I found myself apologizing to all. He continued to berate me in front of all these strangers calling me stupid, blind – I was trying so hard to remain calm, not cry. It made me so sad and tired. We finally made it back home. Now I had to write to calm myself down. Words flow out of me, help me focus on good not the bad.
I decided early in my teens to study psychology. I really needed to understand how to survive in a highly dysfunctional family, with emotionally neglectful parents. I know all too well what they weren’t able to give me, how they failed me. I had tried to talk to them years ago but to no avail, They were not willing to acknowledge nor understand. So I kept some distance but the past seven years has me back home helping them full time. It was a decision I made with many doubts but I felt I had no choice. They needed help. I struggle daily on how to handle the pain that I feel every day when my parents treat me as if I am invisible and I don’t matter.
I am a compassionate, sensitive person Always have been – even to my detriment. I understand that my parents did not have the easiest nor best childhoods themselves. I understand how they are selfish and self serving. I am just trying to put some energy into my own healing. I continue to forgive. I know I can’t undo history. I know that I matter and I am not pathetic, stupid nor weak. Just breathing, trying to be patient, love my parents the best I can … with hope in heart and grace in my step.