Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Struggles, My Guilty Conscience

There are a lot of things going through my head right now. I think my childhood looked to be pretty conventional, I had a Mom and Dad, older brother, younger brothers and little sister. What isn't conventional is the inner turmoil I've felt throughout life for things to be in order. My older brother has autism, this has always necessitated a certain amount of extra work for my mother. She started working when I was little and she would come home really tired. I felt a certain amount of responsibility to try and make things easier for her. Clean the house so that she wouldn't be stressed out, help with dinner.

Through the years as I've grown and made certain choices in my life, I've felt a sense of responsibility to do the best that I could with the circumstances that I've been given. I was a young mother and my husband made choices that led to many difficulties for me. We lived with my parents for a time because we were very poor, I lived with debilitating depression. I felt a sense of dread when I was in that situation, I wanted to fix things, all of my siblings were still at home and I felt like I was adding a burden to my parents that was unfair to them. I felt a great deal of guilt. So I worked hard, I went to school and I tried very hard to make due with the amount of money my husband made so that we could move out of my parents home. I was in school for a long time, my mother watched my children and my sister has helped with them even when she was very young.

I've always had some amount of inner conflict about the amount of control I had over my kids schedules and what they were watching on TV and/or the amount of video games that they played with my brothers. I wanted to be this shining, perfect mother and I've had to compromise in order to become educated. My relationship with my husband was complicated as well, I wanted to be the perfect wife, I wanted to have a stable, happy family. But I had to let those ideals go when it was clear that my husband was abusive and had abused my sister and my daughter. If only I had realized sooner! I wish I could say I would have been able to leave sooner but I know that I didn't have the support or resources I needed to leave.

Now when I go to my parents I still feel a sense of responsibility. I feel a bit of guilt and unease. For one thing, my siblings all are still living at home, it's a frustrating situation because there is a reason for the extended adolescence of my siblings (autism, ADHD, medical issues) but also I can see that my siblings are fighting to get an education as well and that gives me hope. But the strain that it has taken on my parents is difficult to see. Also the state of our family home induces guilt and shame in me.

It's a story of an interconnected chain of events that has led to a difficult situation. My father won't stand up and be the leader of the family, in a way he can't because what is there for him to be in charge of? All of us are adults. My angel mother still works every day and is trying to repair her home but the task is so great, there is so much to do and she is getting older. She has been in charge of our holidays and traditions and it has taken a toll on her. I wish I could swoop in, clean house, fix things and give her the rest she deserves... but I've only got a limited amount of physical, mental and emotional energy to spare.

I guess I'm feeling frustrated tonight.

SG