22 October 2016

Reluctant Traveller

We are headed on our annual trip to Vegas next month.  I wasn't going to go this year but then things changed and I was going.  Now I'm regretting going. 

Now, how can one be regretting going on a trip, you wonder.  Well, a variety of reasons but mainly one.  I have been a bunch of times so there's not much left for me to see now.  I'm becoming more of a hermit as time passes.  And then there is Kevin's brother.

His brother has mental illness, mixed with just being an ass.  The older he's gotten, the worse it has gotten.  He has anxiety and depression and it's untreated.  He not only refuses to address it, his parents have "allowed" (not quite the right word, roll with me on it) him to exist in this headspace that allows horrible behavior.

I have full understanding that people with mental illness can't always control their behaviors and we have made allowances.  We don't ask him to plan things, we don't have him drive anywhere, we know he can't be counted on in an emergency.

 It's not a case of "Well, he just can't help himself" but a case of "You should have put a stop to this behavior forty years ago."  Plus the need for medical intervention.  Instead, it's just "Oh, he's always been that way." and "that's just him" that just ladles guilt onto anyone who dare express frustration.  He has been consistently dickish and when called on it, can rein it in.  So, there is the distinction between illness and being a jackhole.

We have seen him be an ass, to put it lightly, to everyone from his elderly parents to the new baby, to strangers.  An ass in such a way that friends have backed away.  An ass like yelling at his wife so loudly over the phone that we can hear him as if he's in the room.  An ass like wake up a sleeping baby and saying "I was just playing." 

He doesn't pull it with me because he knows there would be bloodshed, not only inflicted by me but by Kevin.  He pulls it with Kevin but always when it's just one on one, which is abusive and makes me furious.  Which shows control and intention. 

This is the part where I say that Kevin has purposefully pulled away over the last year or two.  He has finally recognized the unhealthy state of that relationship.  He also sees his future without his parents as any sort of buffer and support.  And that we have friends slowly backing away.

So, of course, this is who we are traveling with.  He has an unhealthy attachment to Kevin and he does whatever Kevin does.  He includes himself in whatever Kevin does.  If Kevin friends someone on social media, so does his brother.  If Kevin starts liking something, so does his brother.  If Kevin has a friend, he is their friend too.  You get the idea.

Here's the zippy twist and trip regret.  Originally, I was going to skip this trip.  I can't hardly be in the same room as his brother.  To quote a mob movie, I've seen too much.  It's not just the assholery.  It's having conversations interrupted because he can't bear to be not in on the conversation, it's endless texting, it is relentless.

But months ago Kevin mentioned driving to Vegas.  I told him that if it were just he and I traveling, I am all in.  100% down with that idea.  But the idea of doing it with his brother was a dealbreaker.  So, Kevin decided not to do it.  (there were other reasons also, to be fair)  

His brother had decided that he was going to do it anyway.  We were relieved,  finally he was going to do something separate for us.  And this is where we were stupid:  We believed him.

I booked our tickets and was planning our trip in my head.  We were going to have 1.5 days alone and possible one day at the racetrack alone plus the flights.  It was actually going to be a vacation.  I was thinking of things that Kevin hadn't seen or something we could do together.  I was actually excited for time alone with him and knowing that Saturday and Sunday, I would probably just kick it in the hotel room and wouldn't that be lovely.

Then my sister-in-law texted me and asked to get together to book tickets. (because they are helpless. Seriously)   There was a blue mushroom cloud of profanity above my head for quite a while. Of course they (he) changed his mind and we were stupid enough to fall for it.

To make it more awkward, Kevin was with his brother at an event.  I couldn't call him and yell "AREYOUEFFINGKIDDINGME!?!?!"  So, I texted him instead.  He replied that he was sorry and that he would do everything possible to still keep our plans.  Isn't that just ADORABLE?  Like the narcissist is going to let that happen.  Sweet, sweet boy.

Now I'm back being annoyed and wishing I'd just stayed home. But I didn't want to be away from Kevin for a week, I didn't feel great about him traveling alone and I do love Vegas.

"Lucky" for us, they have to take a different flight home because they waited so long to book tickets. This caused a meltdown "How are we going to get to the airport!?!" he said.  "It's called a TAXI." is Kevin's response.  He's already practicing.

They want to share a car (like always) and I haven't volunteered for that yet.  I may lie and say that we can only get a small car and that they need their own.  But then we're stuck with a small car. That's not cool.

So, we'll see.  This is why headphones and alcohol were invented.  And we're hanging with our friends so I have to focus on that too.  We have 25 days to plan.  It will give us a good story to tell, maybe. 

But I'm still pissed.

12 October 2016

Dog Whistle Trigger Warning

I don't hide the fact that I'm a bleeding heart liberal.  I also don't shove it in people's faces.  I understand that everyone thinks a little differently.  I agree with some principals from the conservative side, I'm not a party-line separatist. I diligently try to see all angles.

In this election however, it has brought out the worst in Americans.  I have to take breaks from social media and the news because it has gotten so dark.  And I don't mean because the "side" I am on is losing or winning.  It's just a vacuum of negativity right now.

I'm utterly disappointed in my friends and family who support He Who Shan't Be Named.  I just can't understand how someone who likes/loves me is totally okay with supporting a racist, sexist, zenophobic, hateful person.  Totally fine with his abhorrent behavior and attitude because he's "not a politician" or the other one is "SO much worse."  How is that even possible?

A writer I recently started following on the facebook finally was able to sum up how I was feeling the night of the debate.  I went to bed exhausted and sad.  I was morose and I couldn't pinpoint exactly why. I read this the next morning and felt like I'd just had a therapy session.

Because it bears being reposted everywhere, in my humble opinion, I am pasting it below:
"Last night, I watched the debate at an oblique angle. From the kitchen. Looking away. Sometimes with headphones playing music. I paced. I left. I sought distraction. I came back. The bile came up in my throat.

I wasn't nerve-wracked by the outcome; the statistical cake is baked. More reputation-eviscerating tapes will emerge. I'm not worried about the guy as president. But I was still a bundle of nerves. I didn't recognize why until this morning.

If you've ever lived with an abuser and made it out to tell the tale, then you remember that not every single day was a nightmare. This was part of the hold over you. Some days were average. Some were somewhat livable. Others were not. You just prayed you could get a little bit of serenity, the tiny chunks on which you learned to survive.

But then, especially if you challenged that person, there was the wind up. You thought last Tuesday was bad? Oh...really? THAT bothered you did it? Thought you'd complain, did you?

The weak signals of the wind up were part of the cat and mouse. Make ME feel bad about something, will you? Well what about...this? Or one of...these? Guess who *I* invited over? When? Oh, this evening. No problem, is there? I'll leer at you and for the millionth time force you to pretend that This Is All Normal.

It was never the electrical discharge of abhorrent behavior that was the crux of the abuse - it was that game right there.

When Trump had that press conference with those women prior to the debate, that's when my pulse shot up thirty percent. I didn't understand it until this morning, when I woke up and asked, "Is it over? Is it morning?" and remembered when else I felt that way.
That same weight, the awful obligation to make it all normal, was plastered on the faces of both the Trump and Clinton families. But you saw it make its surprise appearance on the face of America's top television journalists. Dear God, must we? Can we really make it through...how long will this be? What if he...? What is he planning here?

That series of questions and the inexorable focus onto one person's sick behavior is the essence of living with an abuser.

Luckily, like with all of our adult relationships, we get a choice to be in this one or not.
See you all November 8."


I lived with someone just like he described for two years.  I had people in my life who didn't believe that he was just like that.  I bet, if asked, some would still express doubt.  Even with a permanent restraining order in place, there's a tiny bit of "Well, who knows?"

That is how insidious this type of behavior and person is.  That is how dangerous a person like he is.  Twenty seven years later and I'm still triggered by this type of behavior.

05 October 2016

Completing a Circle

I rarely plan anything in my life.  So it comes to no surprise to me that I stumbled, almost literally, into this situation.

"Closure" is not a word that I enjoy.  It's just too buzzwordy and seems self-serving, in my opinion.  But here I am, feeling the effects of closure.  I mean, I know it's a thing and a thing that has worth.  But I think the need for closure that might never happen will always exist because: humans.

It wasn't really on my to-do list. It was something I've thought about but not something I would have ever had the motivation to put into motion by myself.  It's not an easy thing to do.  Even with still being in contact with this person off and on, clearly there was an elephant in the room that we were ignoring.

It began with an impulsive, simple Happy Birthday text.  Then a joke was made.  Then sh*t got real.  Before I knew it a real and long overdue conversation happened.  The air was cleared, the past put to rest, and a new future is optional.  Not guaranteed because stuff still happened but it's not a duck-down-an-aisle-in-the-grocery-store kind of situation anymore. (which I've totally done)

To protect this person, I am not going into specifics.  This is part of honoring that closure. This is so squelching the need for OMG YOU GUYS. I WANT TO TELL YOU ALL THE THINGS.

Instead of carrying around a consistent feeling of "Sh*t, I effed that all up." when I think of this person; I know that I am forgiven and that person has no doubt of my feelings or intentions, either past or present. And the reverse is true because it takes two.

This is not the part where I recommend "You should do this too!" because No.  I don't know if it was a good idea in the long run, I can only speak for my side, and I think it is a very personal and individual thing.  Really, it's not something I did purposefully so I can take no credit.  I tripped over the universe and here I am, mildly unscathed.  I can only acknowledge that I feel better afterward and hope that the other person does also.