Jump to content

Kick 'em When They're Down


VacuumFlux
 Share

Recommended Posts

Last night, brother gets home from camp. He's a high schooler. He's been up a while, is tired, really just wants to get everything inside and get to sleep. Mom's full of trapped energy from being the car all day. She find the mail with some of bro's test results in them. She gets excited, wants him to open them right away. He stumbles around, gets the mail, opens it while mom runs off somewhere. I look over his shoulder. It was bad. Really, really bad. I see him deflate, disappointed in himself. I offer a brief condolence and walk away, pitying the hell he'll go through when mom finds out.

 

Mom was, as expected, not happy when she saw. But the worst came later.

 

It's nearly bed time. I'm up later than I want to be, but hang around for family time. Until the fighting starts. Mom tells brother that tomorrow, they're going to talk, and she wants answers. Answers, he wonders, to what? To what's going on with him, of course. To why he's such a failure in her eyes. It doesn't take long for mom's tone of voice to change to sarcastic, accusatory. Brother doesn't appreciate that, thinks she's being unjust, so she gets more angry and starts yelling. It hurts me to be around, and my presence doesn't seem to be stopping her, so I get up and walk away hoping it'll make her see what she's doing. I try to sleep, but my room is next door and the walls are thin. I can hear every word.

 

I cover my ear with my hand, hoping to block the noise. It doesn't block enough.

I cover my hand covering my ear with a pillow. I can still hear them.

I try relaxation exercises, and manage to pull some stress out of my shoulders that would trigger a headache the next morning, but mostly end up watching their fight through the fear responses in my body.

 

The tone of voice changes. Mom is shriller, screeching. Brother who never shows much emotion is crying. But he's stronger than I ever was, still arguing back. She's not helping him. She's telling him how lazy he is, how he doesn't try at anything, how all his teachers tell her how awful he is. He tries to explain that he's done his best and doesn't know what else he's supposed to do. But nothing he says matters, it all just feeds her rage. I wonder if I should get up and tell them to stop, to stand up for him, to tell her she's only making things worse. I wonder if I could. I wonder if I should at least get up and ask her to shut up so I can sleep, take the coward's way of defending my brother and pretending like I don't disagree with her about how horrible he is. But I don't have the nerve to do that either.

 

Mom's voice hits a new tone, a new level of hate. Something inside me breaks, dies. A voice inside me panics, promises to try to believe again, promises to dump the girlfriend they don't know about, promises to do everything it can to play at being the perfect little christian. I watch in horror as feelings I thought I'd done a decent job of getting past well back up. I watch. At some point the fighting must have stopped, because the welcome darkness of sleep takes over.

 

The next morning I'm in somewhat better shape than I expected to be. It seems I had managed to keep the core of my self somewhat separated from the emotions I was feeling and I don't wake up with a panic attack. Mom wakes up brother, asks him in a (milder than last night) nasty tone of voice if he's just going to sleep all day. They are both up by the time I get downstairs, and acting normal and friendly. It is disconcerting. I walk past mom and have to fight an urge to start screaming at her, to hurt her as much as she's hurt him, as much as she's hurt me. But I keep walking, get some food. Brother is acting normal, and I can't tell if it's a just a facade while he waits for mom to leave.

 

I drive to work and worry about myself, worry about some of the changes I need to make in my life that will make my mother angry. I worry about how easily the brokenness inside me returned. But eventually a new voice, one I've been nurturing carefully but had forgotten about earlier, speaks. It has no fear. It says that I am an adult, and that this need never happen to me again. That if she ever tries that with me, I can walk away. I have that right.

 

Maybe there is hope.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Profound experience.

 

A very mature realization.

 

The road my be rough, but it sounds like you found a place where she can't hurt you.

 

Remember that and use that strength when needed.

 

(((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))) because it sucks to hear family fighting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

This is so sad my friend. I am truly sorry you had this bad night.

 

Somebody in the past tried to train your mother to be perfect in life and it didn't work for her, so now she's trying to to the same thing to her kids - then she won't feel like a total failure. That's what I see. How sad is this? And you and your brother have to be part of the stupid training game; the 'game' she doesn't even know she's playing.

 

Be a 'mentor' to your brother. Help him. Hug him. Tell him to keep trying his best and that's a good thing. Correct your mom to him. Tell him he needs to do his best but he never needs to try and play the 'I am perfect' game. Tell him if he tries - his life will be hell. Remind him that he is human.

 

You keep doing your best. You sound like a very reasonable, smart person. Soon, very soon, you should be able to be strong enough to flee the nest and become the full free thinker that you are. Then you will be able to throw your proud shoulders back and tell the world who you really are.

 

We're in this together. We can do it. Best of everything to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's pretty pathetic when the child is actually more mature than the parent, but you're not the only one on this board with that problem (it's not me by-the-way). Like Margee said, be the oe that nurtures your brother even when your mother is hurting him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone. This is something that's been a problem for me for a while, and it means a lot to me to be able to express it.

 

Somebody in the past tried to train your mother to be perfect in life and it didn't work for her, so now she's trying to to the same thing to her kids - then she won't feel like a total failure. That's what I see. How sad is this? And you and your brother have to be part of the stupid training game; the 'game' she doesn't even know she's playing.

 

Oh yeah, mom's family was (still is) highly dysfunctional. I'm surprised she's gotten over as much of it as she has, really. At least my mom is sane most of the time until she goes off; her mom wasn't. When I first started realizing that my mom was the one who was wrong, not me, I tried to deal with it by feeling compassion for her. Problem was that I still didn't know how to take care of myself, and started making excuses to myself for her, which didn't help me much. I'm still not very good at feeling compassion and still being able to set boundaries with the other person.

 

Be a 'mentor' to your brother. Help him. Hug him. Tell him to keep trying his best and that's a good thing. Correct your mom to him. Tell him he needs to do his best but he never needs to try and play the 'I am perfect' game. Tell him if he tries - his life will be hell. Remind him that he is human.

 

I will remember that. I try to be a good listener for him, but I'm never sure about what to say to help him out.

 

Another part of mom's problem is that dad thinks he's being supportive of my brother by insisting that brother is wonderful and never makes mistakes. This often means that dad stops her from fixing small issues before they turn into huge messes. Brother got kicked out of piano lessons that he enjoyed because dad decided that no matter what the teacher said, my brother was just too busy to practice and too good to need to practice and refused to let mom do anything about it. So mom thinks (justifiably so) that dad's lack of expecting my brother to work hard is hurting my brother, and goes overboard trying to compensate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

VF it sounds like your parents have issues. Possibly she sees that dad is not doing what he is supposed to do and wants to put on the pants and try do his role.

 

Sounds like she is taking her frustrations out on you children.:shrug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be there for your brother. You both can survive just about anything if you can lean on each other for support during the bad spells. My mother had the same wonderful habit of boiling herself into such a rage that she actually threatened my life on occasion. As hard as it has been for me to forgive her I will never forget the three hour, wine soaked Salem 100 induced tongue lashings over bad report cards from a fundie Baptist school I never wanted to attend in the first place.

I truly wish I would have had someone I could have talked to about this stuff but my own brother had long since moved out. My folks were divorced so I became the punching bag of frustrations and unrealized dreams when she got home from work.

You've got a leg up being as mature as you are and it looks like you're pretty handy with words. Like I said, you know what your brother is going through. Talk to him about it because there is nothing worse than being labeled a "lazy piece of no good shit just like your god damned father" in complete isolation. Take it from me, it just ain't worth it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.