Monday, March 13, 2006


A line keeps getting stuck in my head from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (Classy, I know.) Someone is describing a torture chamber and they say with great trepidation "And they stretch you and they stretch you..." Gee, I wonder what's bringing that to mind? Probably those rampant bouts of round ligament pain, you think?

I pat myself on the back for surviving the wild wedding weekend. It was a generally good experience all around (although also full of the quirks I don't yet understand from my new family I married into). I was on my feet almost all day Friday, and I paid and paid and suffered for it on Saturday. Oh well.

While I was paying and suffering on Saturday I had a disturbing interruption from my brother the Disaster. Renn had just gotten home from work and I had reluctantly woken up from a desperately needed nap. I hurt all over and was generally ornery. My brother introduced a complaint that his girlfriend (who is nearly as unpredictable and unstable as him anyway, but is pregnant to boot) thinks I hate her and that I needed to go upstairs that very minute to convince her it wasn't so.

In all fairness I do not hate my brother's girlfriend. I don't even strongly dislike her, although I do have a significant amount of distrust for her based on previous experience. She has not got a stellar track record with my family. (Neither does my brother, the Disaster.... they are perfectly disastrous for each other). So my reaction to all the various episodes of deceit and manipulation is to keep as much distance as possible and be as emotionally detached as I can lovingly manage to be. My approach has worked great for the last 6 years, but apparently now that I'm living in my parent's basement and am so close to the action, my tactics are causing problems. Sigh. I am not anxious to set myself up for painful betrayals, manipulation, etc. etc. etc. But refusing to associate with the Disaster and his girlfriend does not appear to be an option.

Long story short, I did not get off the couch and go talk to the girlfriend. To my credit, I did try to sit up and got a wave of dizziness, discomfort and nausea and sent me plunging right back into the pillow. I laid there trying to think what in the world I would find to talk to the girlfriend about. She has decided to keep her baby because the prospect of dressing it up and naming it sounds fun to her. I personally find that abominably immature and selfish. The home environment she proposes to bring the baby into is nothing short of criminally abusive and I cringe to think about it. (But that is way too much information about a sad situation that promises only to get sadder and about which I have no legal right to intervene.) How in tarnation am I supposed to have a coherent conversation with her? I am utterly incapable of small talk. Ask anyone I've ever talked to. I absolutely cannot carry on a conversation about something that doesn't interest me or matter to me (or that I don't agree with... at least without stating that I don't agree with it and picking a fight) , and trying to talk to the Girlfriend about baby stuff on her selfish/shallow level is not something I could do for very long.... 2 minutes tops. Definitely not a conversation I could have without major stress to myself.

I understand and try to make allowance for the fact that the girlfriend comes from a disastrously dysfunctional home. Apparently the reason for my brother's urgent request was that the Girlfriend's younger sister had stolen money from the girlfriend (a lot of it), the Girlfriend's parent's refused to get involved and when the Girlfriend confronted her sister the sister threatened to punch her in the belly and try to kill the baby... fun. The more I am told about what she's been through the sadder and more hopeless the whole situation seems. But because the girlfriend has always been surrounded by dysfunctionality, she seems incapable of functioning in a remotely healthy way... ever. Everything she does carries some weight of deceit or manipulation or malice in it. Maybe that's not entirely her fault, but that doesn't make it any easier for me to be around her. Every night and morning Renn and I pray for opportunities to be a good influence and example for the Disaster and his Girlfriend... and to recognize those opportunities. (Okay... that sounds really cocky, I know...we're not perfect and we know it FOR SURE. But I feel very confident saying we are in MUCH better shape than the Disaster and the Girlfriend.) I'm sure the opportunities are abundant, but I sure am not recognizing them. I'm having a hard time grasping what could possibly constitute a positive influence for folks who are so positively and unhealthily out of whack. What would they notice and process as a good influence instead of just an opportunity to take advantage of me? I've had enough of my kindnesses backfire with them to be extremely wary of putting myself in a situation where they could lie to me, steal from me, or otherwise take advantage of my good intentions. The two of them are in all sorts of dire straights now(unemployment, trouble with the law, finances, addictions, etc.) , and while I do want to help and be as kind as possible, I also don't feel up to lying and acting like I think it's okay what they are going to do (& have been doing for that matter... but that's yet another issue) to the poor baby that's coming. I want to help them, but I, as a tired pregnant lady, don't have any emotional reserves for being taken advantage of. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THIS RIGHT NOW!

And that's what's been circling in my head since Saturday. I've been feeling guilty that I didn't hop off that couch and go have the supportive conversation my brother was hoping I'd have. I have no idea how I would have managed to get off the couch, let alone had a coherent conversation, let alone have had it come off as supportive. Frankly I'm scared to death of trying to have that sort of conversation with the crazy-lady Girlfriend. I'm just not guile-less enough. My little sister is awesome, she'll talk to the Girlfriend and get excited with her about silly little things and be as genuinely interested as can be.... and I just don't think I can do it. So now I'm drowning in guilt that I haven't the foggiest how to process. What a mess.

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