Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Rebel With a Cause (getting so-called grown ups to leave me the fuck alone)




I sent this clip to a friend to illustrate that Anna Paquin and Diane Lane were in the same movie and did a pretty good job of acting and as I watched them struggle as child and parent I realized that I had no idea how to relate to even a dysfunctional dynamic between a mother and a child. I can relate dozens of superficial stories and spout hundreds of facts about her and us. But while watching this clip I realized I still have no idea who this person was who called herself my mother. That even when she was there, there was no there, there. 
I can tell you what day her birthday fell on, and I can tell you the things that would most likely set her off.   But she had relegated us so thoroughly to props in her show for my father, that outside of that, I really have no clue what she was about as a human. She like to seduce guys that were friends of her husband and she liked to seduce guys that were husbands of her friends. She never held a job and she liked to sit and primp and watch soap opera's and other than that she might as well of been a mannequin.    
   I was e-mailing that same friend and we were discussing  the teenage angst thing and I was telling her that I couldn't quite figure out how my mother who so loved to fight and cause trouble became such a blank slate to me? I watch things about teens asserting their independence and breaking free from the gravity that keeps them bound to their parents and how it stops them from becoming a fully formed adult and I find myself completely confused.  And I think I figured it out. My birthday is on the 17th of July and on September third my father committed suicide and my mother pretty will drove off  and left me at her mothers. So if you really want to cut nuts I was 14 when he died and I literally didn't spend another night under her roof for the next 35 years. I have discussed it with  others and I always say that I missed the whole rebellious youth thing. I just wasn't afforded that luxury. I tell people I would have loved to sulk and yell and be high maintenance, but I would have been rebelling against people that didn't give a shit.  I would have been rebelling against a metaphorical grand canyon and depending on when and where I rebelled I probably wouldn't have  heard my own echo coming back to me.  And there was no guaranty of even that. Which had it's benefits. I was my own captain and did whatever I wanted, while my friends butted heads with their parents and I would try to do the wall paper thing and blend in.



 But for me there was no resistance for me to fight against. I think it was better than worse because I grew up wildly independent and way too young. But no one asked me what my thoughts were. My grandmother started to put me on a short leash the first time or two I came home way late and still very drunk and instead of challenging her I just said really? And with all due respect. My father committed suicide and your daughter just dumped me up here. I was still a polite country boy but I said something to the effect of I'll call you and keep you posted if you want me to, but I want you and the so called grown ups to butt out. If you want me to be accountable you guys need to be accountable to me. I am grossly over stating the conversation. It lasted all of 20 seconds and was the 70's version of really? You know how I got here and if I am acting out, you know why, so  you guys need to pick a side and stick with it. I either matter or I don't and all signals point to I don't so with all due respect leave me alone. Here is a good example of the level of thinking I had foist upon me . I was in school and signed up for an English class that was to teach you how to write term papers So I showed up and said I am going to show up and not disrupt your class but other than that I am not going to do a single thing in here but study for other classes and nothing. And that's just how it was going to be. I don't think I would have authorized myself to be a free agent before all the other, but I was the highest authority and I just didn't take no for an answer. That thinking is just what my default became.

 I had to look out for myself anyway so in my mind that's what I was doing.  All I ever got from the adults was a hard time, so I really don't need it from you (them) so I am just going to study for other classes and that's exactly what I did. She would occasionally try to get me interested and I would respectfully say "you know my position here and you are violating the terms of agreement I stated in the beginning". I am not bothering the other students so until I start disrupting your class you are supposed to leave me alone. She never agreed to those terms they are just ones I stated and vigorously enforced. Back then they had the school year cut in thirds and sometime during the third trimester I figured out I had enough credits to graduate so I told my teacher in study hall that I want to go talk to the councilor which is what I did and told him I am withdrawing and will come back after the year is done and pick up my degree and he said go for it and that's exactly what I did.  I had had all the shit from adults I was going to take and as long as you sold it with authority and did it in a respectful and courteous way there was nothing they could do about it. I didn't ask for these things I just told them how it was going to be. And the option I presented was never up for debate so I did what I wanted and they left me alone.  
It' just was what it was. I remember coming back from San Diego after living with my sister for the immediate time after my fathers death. I had negotiated air fare etc and the cabby wanted 20 dollars to drive me from the airport to the bus station and I told him all I had was a ten and he settled for that and when we got to the bus station I asked him if he could break a 20 because that's all I had. He laughed it off and let me pay him 10. That's just the way it was if I didn't look out for myself no one else was going to step up and take care of my needs, so I did it myself. 

28 comments:

Joan S said...

That was a very terrifying video to watch. I imagine rebelling against my mother as a teenager, I imagine my own death. Mother was obsessed about the law, she couldn't even read or write, but would ask anyone and everyone questions about it. Then she would hold up moral standards for this law or that one. There was a law and she was proud of it! She held no varying opinions about it. Guess that's why I'm still alive, because of the law.

I never rebelled, but my brother sure did! But he could have group sex if he wanted to, he was a boy afterall. Wish someone would have told me mother was crazy.

Elli G said...

Q,

you can take this as the only good thing your mother did for you,even though it wasn't deliberate. She left you alone and you got the chance to grow a backbone.

I was mentally slapped back to my seat so many times that I survived the first three decades of my life in a state of learned helplessness. I am still trying to figure out how to fix this, today I was stressed about asking the prices at the hairdresser's because I thought she would think badly of me if I just walked out after asking her. So to avoid the irrationality taking over my head I just went and bought hair color to do it on my own. But knowing how I am wired I will procrastinate and not do it for a looooong time due to my fear of failure. PTSD is soooo much fun, woohoo!

q1605 said...

My wife tells me abandoning me at my grandmothers was the best thing she could have done. It arrested the damage I accrued by living with her. And when I went down to spend spring break with her and my step father she was rude enough that I never made that mistake again. I think I would have liked the option, but no one ever asked me what I wanted. I don't look at it as abuse though. I just look at it as the early start of an adventure. I can't say I got out Scot free. I think it was more like taking someone from a totalitarian governed country and placing them in a capitalist nation. There were too many options so I sort of withdrew. I would smoke pot in my grandmothers barn without burning it down and go inside and listen to music on my head phones. I did get death benefits from my fathers death, but figuring out what to spend it on was not easy. I knew if I blew it I would be stuck on the farm so I always had to be mindful of pacing the money with what was left of the month.

q1605 said...

Yeah Joanie I still had not figured out my mother was insane so I thought I had a safety net. Turns out I was free to fall off the high wire if I got reckless.

q1605 said...

Kind of like those birds that technically shouldn't be able to fly. If any one had ever said no you can't do that I would have dropped all the plates I had delicately balanced in my act. But that was how well I sold my don't tread on me act. It was way more bluster than balls.

Five Hundred Pound Peep said...

Getting out of 14, you were better off. It gave you space to grow and you learned to stand on your own two feet and get independent.

Even if you thought it was bluster maybe you faked it til you made it. I rebelled and didn't escape and sometimes I want to puke just thinking of going back after the first NC, she always got everyone to "submit" to her, it was sick.

I wonder now sometimes why I put up with some much total crap. Even now I get the feeling she is waiting for me to break so she can gloat, I went into this knowing I would take the streets even before dealing with her again.

All this kicking jerks to the curb thing for me is new, I wish I had gotten a handle on it far earlier.

I agree about the "learned helplessness". Even now I struggle in my mind of mine being able to always "win" and "getting whatever she wants" why I struggled just to survive. I "rebelled" at 19 but it was like slamming my head into a wall over and over. Full cuss-outs and everything as I walked out the door on the first NC, didn't matter. Nothing mattered to mine. How do you rebel against sociopaths?

I think it's good you became more independent and rebelled against authority to a degree. I rebelled in a different way, it hard to explain but I know a lot of my opinions people angered then and do now. I don't trust the experts. I stopped following the herd but that can bring a price in life that is huge.

I rebelled when I went away to college and went "goth" and the first NC was the "total rebellion". High school I was a cipher and at 14, I was "owned". I changed so much from 17 to 18 it blew the narcs minds and they'd cry and whined about how college had changed me.

Your bargaining with the cab driver, I didn't figure that stuff out until I was 35. Figuring it out that young you were definitely a few steps ahead of me. I still am only NOW figuring out how much of the world is a complete scam. It's probably one reason I can't even sit in a church pew anymore knowing how much of it is "business".

q1605 said...

Bailing out at fifty-ish was like being born again. I figured I was not going to come out unscathed but what she did was pure treachery even for her. I feel confident that the world will settle the score with them both. I just want to be there when it happens so I can watch my ex die in front of me. And be able to watch my mother writhe in hell!

q1605 said...

Once my mother got her hands on the farm every single cent was immediately blood money and no good will come to whoever touches it. This will be Shakespearean tragedy happening in front of my eyes.

q1605 said...

One thing about that clip is that her daughter is fucking with her because she saw her hanging off the character played by Viggo Morgenstern. At my house we would have thought it was the end days if my mother WASN'T spending all day in the rack with some guy.

Joan S said...

I know a lot about learned helplessness. I'm too terrified to talk or ask things. Sometimes when I'm out, I get lost even though I've trekked the same area many times. I feel stupid about it. I make lists and hope to get through some of the things. In relationship I always expect the worst of him, that's what he told me. I'm working on that. I know the things I have to do, logically, just not automatically. Prayer and breathing through things helps.

mulderfan said...

My older brother's rebellions were scary as hell. He modeled then after our father's behaviour by losing it and going ape shit. NGC had no real reason to rebel as everyone, including me, thought the sun shone outta his bum! Also he was smart and got the hell out for university then moved to the opposite side of the country. Not sure why he ever came back.

As for knowing my parents: they were one entity, so I never truly knew either member of the "tag team".

q1605 said...

M-fan I just posted a cartoon on handling the family narc. And I dedicate it to your brother. Bof'em

q1605 said...

Joan my mother just liked to express her lack of confidence in any endeavor you wanted to undertake. It was her way of undermining you and never having to leave her couch. Like I liked to scuba dive and was certified etc. And after my father died there was no one to take me so I would plan to take myself. Which would instantly start her protesting about how you don't want to do "THAT" I always read it it as her fearing for me having a diving accident. Now I know she didn't give a flying fuck about my safety. Now I know that she abhorred the thought of HER getting out and getting wet with lake water and it had nothing to do with me.

Judith said...

You really were lucky to get out at age 14. I wonder how much better off I'd been if I'd gotten to live with my grandparents at age 14.

As it was, I was way too independent for my mother's liking. She wanted me to defer to her for everything, and that I didn't was offensive to her.

I definitely did the "fade into the wallpaper" thing, not any rebellion. Although if you asked my parents, they would tell you I rebelled. My mom told my sister I'd gotten detention for skipping class -- which never happened. I never once got detention for any reason. God knows why my sister believed that bullshit since I was her ride home from school, and we never stayed after for detention.

q1605 said...

Judith Miss R tells me my mother jettisoning me at my grandmothers was the best thing she could have done. I can see it logically in hind sight but it was scary at the time. In my mind I was working without a net from very far up. That's why I had to develop a finely honed bullshit detector. I didn't have time to decide the best course of action. I just knew spending an hour a day learning how to write term papers would be best aborted. And forcing them to discharge me early from high school was time I could spend on my job making money. Unfortunately it cut into my SS benefits from my dads death. Which I had to settle up for/with after I got sick and put on disability.

Judith said...

Bullshit detecting is a fine skill to have.

Still, I can see why it was scary and alienating to be ditched like that, even if it was to someone who loved you.

q1605 said...

I was talking to my grandmother years later and told her that in hindsight I can see you were going to give me a soft place to fall but at the time I thought I was lost and washed out to sea.

q1605 said...

Peep if you wonder about what your mother thinks, take mine to heart. She gouged me all through life and gouged me in death. I guess I was a sucker and in her world you don't give suckers an even break. Even if they are your kids. I was also thinking about the actions of mine she would use to justify her parting shot and it makes me wonder. If it fractured her fragile ego that I would tell people about her past I wonder what she thought it was like living with a mother that every one whispered about whenever we went inside a store in our home town. My ex wives parents lived in Dallas back then and they remembered it all and made sure she knew who she was marrying. So if a 70ish woman couldn't handle the truth behind her own actions how did she think we handled it as kids in fourth grade and my sister who was a freshman in high school. My mother was just dealing with what she did herself whereas we were dealing with consequences from a person we had no control over.

Anonymous said...

"It was way more bluster than balls."

Well, doggone, it takes balls to do that bluster the way you did it! Well done!--quartz

q1605 said...

At last I am getting my due quartz. I knew if I waited long enough the world would recognize the genius that is me. I have this shooting pain in my arm......arrrrrrrgh. Do you spell arg with 7 r's or 8? I can never remember!

Anonymous said...

It think it depends on how arrrrrrrgherific your pain is.--quartz

q1605 said...

Is this like a three dog night? It's a six arrrrrrgh chest pain........maybe seven. My underlying joke is that after a life of living under the boot of a narcissist and having about 30 minutes to bask in the glory of my new found genius and I no sooner get the honor bestowed on me and my heart seizes like rusty chain saw.

q1605 said...

But I am sure a reader as discerning as you and any one else here already knows that.

Anonymous said...

Ummm, are you maybe needing to go to the hospital and extremely understandably not wanting to go?-quartz

q1605 said...

I checked with an arrrgiologist and he said not to worry.

q1605 said...

The next time I leave here in an ambulance we will be going straight to the funeral home. Do not pass go, do not collect $200

Anonymous said...

I'm relieved that the arrrgiologist said not to worry. I got a good laugh from that, thanks. I can understand the stance on the funeral home.--quartz

q1605 said...

Not to worry. I talked to god and asked him to make me better or take me home. I guess this means god bye quartz.......I hardly knew ya.