I guess it is a bit naive of me to expect certain things from my family. As much work as I have done in therapy, in my efforts to live a happier, less dysfunctional life, it has come with sacrifice. I began to buck the role ascribed to me, one which I didn’t want, didn’t fit into, and wasn’t happy in. Just as quickly as I began to pull away, they noticed and went to great lengths to guilt and shame me back into it.
When I found out I was pregnant, my heart was filled with dread, not because of the baby, but because my family would certainly do their part to take this experience from me. It was something I went to great lengths to keep from them, but eventually, we decided to share the news with my in-laws.
In keeping with the sense of fairness that the announcement should come at the same time, I told the two members of my immediate family as well. My father seemed happy at first, but eventually asked in the guilt inducing tone to which I have become too accustomed: “How long have you known?” His question, though benign on the surface, implied great disappointment that I had kept anything from him at all, and dripped with the guilt I should feel for denying him the information, even for a second.
My father has a long history of involving some bizarre and frankly dangerous women in his life. His last lady friend, whom he kicked out of his house about a year and a half ago, is supposedly now sober and working on getting her life together. She does this with his help of course, to the tune of about $800 a month. He pays her rent, car payment and cell phone. He supports a woman a year ago would get drunk in a flash, using smuggled alcohol she had stashed around the house, and pass out on the floor, sometimes after soiling herself.
I still have the emails he would send me about her. However, now his memory has become faded of this part of their relationship and they are “on the mend.” He intends to move her back into his home early next year, and has been pushing hard for her to be allowed to see our baby. My gut tells me that she is still dangerous and I have resisted, hard.
When I told my father I was pregnant, he said that his girlfriend would be calling me. I asked him to please ask her not to. Besides the stories he had told me about her, she’s a mile a minute talking on the phone and frankly she rubs me all kinds of the wrong way. It’s stress to anticipate this type of interaction at all hours of the day, and stress is something I’m working to avoid.
Of course, he didn’t take any of this news well. He has been persisting how she is sober now, how her own adult daughter allows visitation with her grandchild, and (the real kicker) how she “knows I don’t like her.” Of course, there’s the guilt again. I didn’t bite on any of that, as much as I wanted to. I realized what was happening.
My role in the family was always to roll over and play along with whatever insanity had been cooked up. With the life growing inside me, my tolerance for this had completely dried up. It was almost like a switch in my brain went off, and I no longer would participate in any more of the nonsense. Needless to say, it has not been well received. But, as I sense the stronger and stronger attempts at manipulation, my resolve is hardened and I shall not be moved.