Thursday, September 06, 2007

through the wringer, again

As some of you know, my parents have been going through divorce proceedings. They have been married, mostly miserably, for 46 years. My father is 68. My mother is 75. The last few months have been extremely stressful. My brother, sister and I have been caught in an emotional wringer since May.

Today my mother called me, to tell me the "good news". My dad is moving back home. The divorce is off. I'd like to slap them both silly. Mom was disappointed that I was not overjoyed. My father is looking forward to us all being a family again.

I have very mixed feelings. On one hand, I feel immense relief. I am off the hook. I don't have to worry what is going to happen to Mom, and I can stop calling her every week. She can stop calling me at work. She isn't going to slit her wrists or drop dead of a heart attack, or get locked in the loony bin. She can be Dad's responsibility and his headache.

On the other hand, I am furious. This is the third time I have been through the parental reconciliation routine. Each time I find out more than a child should know about their parents. Each time, I am supposed to forget everything that has happened and go back to the myth of the "happy family". And I am so tired of the pattern. My parents are bad together. They are unhappy and it shows. They pick at each other mercilessly and it is unpleasant to be around. Each time we have been through this I have lost more respect for the both of them as people, and have locked away a little bit more of my emotion and my trust.

I just don't think I can go through all this again. I don't think I can sit down to holiday supper and pretend we are all so happy to be together. Is it better to have damaged parents or no parents? am I ready to orphan myself? Is it in me to just accept them as is? I really don't know...


elsie said...

Oh, holy crap! Not again!

I think drinking with holiday meals will be essential.

Unfortunately, I have no helpful thoughts at all. Slapping silly really does seem to be indicated ...

Kitten Herder said...

You have demonstrated, time and again, with both family and friends your capacity for forgiveness. It is one of the things that makes you beloved of us all

On the other hand...

Playing the white-creamy-filling to two polarly divergent factions within your 'family' structure seems self destructive.

I wonder if there is a way for you to say, I love you both separately, but not together. I will deal with you as individuals but no longer as a couple. I will support each of your lives, separately, but will not enable your lives as a couple?

While it would be difficult to come right out and say, "Come on, already! Break the heck up!" I think that all five of you, and the spouses you brought into your parents relationship, would be happier if they would just deal.

What made your dad come back this time? Did his girlfriend wash her hands of him?

Why are people so cruel to each other? Why do people allow others to be cruel to them? (Yes, this is totally rhetorical.)


changejunkie said...

Thanks, all. I feel *done* for now. I am decided about Thanksgiving -- I will host at my house, but my parents are not invited. As to Christmas, we will probably visit them on Christmas Eve as in years past, but will not include them in our Christmas Day plans. Other than that, I am not going to allow any unsupervised time with my son, until I see how stable they are, as I don't want him exposed to things he is too young for.