Welcome To My World of Family Insanity

DIABETES

Insidious and so common. People are so nonchalant about it . No one wants to give up their favorite food. They’d rather die – literally.

I sit here with my chin on my hand trying to understand what went wrong. Maybe we get more cynical as we age. Maybe we don’t want to accept the fact that the life we thought we would have when we grew up, when we played at being grown ups and we wore our mother’s shoes didn’t turn out to be much fun as we thought it would. We wanted happiness and perfect families. We didn’t imagine people dying or even getting sick. We didn’t know about trauma. But now that we have lived a major part of our lives we don’t want to let people know we screwed up. It mightchange their perception of us.

Welcome to the real world. We close off the things we don’t want to hear. Is that why it is so hard for most people to listen? Is it ego? Family members instantly jump to feeling criticised. “How dare you! You aren’t perfect!” or “Who are you to tell ME that I am not?”

No matter how I say it; no matter how non threatening the words are, their noses instantly flare, they get defensive and act as though they have been personally attacked. Wow. I wish I had recorded that so they couldn’t get away with twisting it around so they’d look like a victim.

Aren’t families fun? Not at all. We joined the ranks of one of many dysfunctional families that gets worse with age

I admit it, I come across strong when something is important to me – like staying alive – and doing what I need to do to make that happen. The quality of the food I eat is crucial. Someone don’t have to be a vegetarian, or go on a macrobiotic diet, or Paleo, Atkins or Weight Watchers. Those are “diets” and rarely do people stay on them. Some of them are not healthy longterm and even if you lose weight, you gain it back.

If you eat a good, healthy, balanced diet, eliminating fake food high in chemicals and bad crap, you will naturally lose weight. If you have a disease caused by eating a lifetime of shitty, good tasting garbage your body is going to fail you. You need to take the time to read and learn about what the food industry has done to ruin out health.

IF YOU DON’T STOP – bad things happen.

If you don’t like hearing, because you want to stuff yourself with that wonderful bread at Red Lobster, and even get an order to go, AND you have diabetes, your health will break down and you will severely pay for your choices. We are responsible for ourselves. “Poor so and so, she died too young.”

Is it worth it? Emphatically, no! But if you haven’t had a severe illness you don’t understand how hard it is to gain back your health.

THE FOOD ADDICT’S LOGIC

I only eat ( item) once in a while. Once in awhile is okay, right? That may be true for some people, but if you have diabetes and the next day you use the same logic for why you ate a pizza, and the next day your dinner is on a bed of pasta with a side of garlic bread, and it tastes sooo good – you are in big trouble. – even if you spread that out over 6 days instead of three. If you eat different bad things all the time and have an excuse for every one, do you think you are fooling yourself? There are three women in my immediate family with diabetes, that I know of.  I’ve heard every excuse possible.

My mother has Diabetes. She lived with that logic for ten years, after her diagnose. She has charts trapped on her kitchen cabinets about what to eat. These charts do not take into consideration the quality of that food. She had a stroke. I tried hard to help her understand why she needed to change her diet, but she wouldn’t. She “tried” which is a cop-out. It sets you up for acceptable failure. Now she has to live with it – in a wheelchair. Am I 100% sure diabetes caused it? No, but it was likely affected by it because of the failure of small blood vessels in her brain which is what diabetes affects. It is why diabetics also have kidney failure, go blind and have their feet or toes cut off from gangreen. I’d like for her to not have another stroke. I don’t want to lose my mother earlier just because she had to eat cake. Her words, “I never meet a desert I didn’t like.” We all love desert. But it’s more than that. it is starches that break down into sugar. Regardless, at 83, junk food isn’t very wise.

I fell recently and couldn’t continue to care for her so she is living with my sister, unfortunately another diabetic who has the same distorted logic about what is okay to eat. And boy is she is pissed off at me for telling her that cake, pringles, white bread, potatoes, and cream of wheat cereal is not very good for anyone to eat, let alone a woman shooting insulin to stay alive. I could have given her detailed reason why except she was too insulted at being told something she didn’t know. Her hands went up in the air and she cut me off. How childish. “I’ve been feeding mom for four months. I know how to feed her!”   Let me think that through. Is it the fact she has been coming her meals for four months the important thing? No, it isn’t. The issue is I just told her she should change how she feds her because they both should eat better ALL OF THE TIME not sometimes because diabetes is a serious illness. But shell have to learn that the hard way. So – let her eat cake. It’s just a shame she cares so little about what she feeds her mother at the same time.

Because I have been very sick, and it was my own fault, I have learned it is easier and far better to not get sick than to try to regain your health. Some damage can’t be undone. That is not fun watching people hurt themselves and learn it’s too late to go back and change it. It’s hard to watch when you see people being so careless with the most important thing they have – their health. Life sucks when it fails. So my family can be as angry at me as they want. They are on the losing side of this issue.

“You’ve put my life on the internet for the world to read!

Meaning: I didn’t want people to know how I treated you was while you’ve been struggling with your health.” I don’t know how to be a sister, but all my friends love me!” (Direct quote. I couldn’t make this stuff up.) Or, “I don’t want people to know I’m not who they think and have a cruel steak in me”. Or, “I don’t want you to talk about us to everyone” Gee, maybe this family should have stopped wagging their tongues a long time ago. No one would listen. Phone lines have been burned up.

If they refuse to speak to me again – gee, we don’t speak now so where is the loss? If they get rude I have two other posts ready to publish.

All of this is about ego. “How dare she tell ME anything about what to eat.” She could have said, “Really? I didn’t know that.” She could even check it out for herself. In fact, if this makes them stop making excuses and learn why they need to pay attention to what their body is telling them, it might help their health, if it matters enough You’d think that would be important. Maybe it isn’t.

My sister has worked for decades selling Hondas. If I wanted to by one wouldn’t it make sense to talk to someone who knows about that car? Or maybe I should ask my dentist what she thinks. Would that be wise?

My mother told me, “I wish I would have listened to you ten years ago.” She might still be zipping around in her bright blue Honda.

someone-did-you-wrong

My sister and I haven’t had a relationship for quite awhile. I’ll only say she has done a lousy job being a sister. People who know me understand the reasons I say that.  So why I thought she would hear me about diabetes was pretty stupid on my part. I honestly wanted to help her understand how much she was hurting herself – and my mother. They are at a point, when you need insulin – that you CAN NOT eat something just because you want it! Your body will fall you! But why the heck should I care about her life? Because it’s a life? Because she doesn’t care about mine? Is that a good enough reason to say nothing? Even her doctor asked my mother to help her with her diabetes. The blind leading the blind. Of course I know this because no information is sacred in our family.

It’s wrong, but sometimes I want her to feel the pain she caused me so she understands. I guess I have issues, huh? It’s been hard for me to deal with. At least I can admit I’m not perfect. If I hurt someone the words, “I’m sorry” are in my vocabulary. Some people choke on those words. If our mother had not had a stroke we still would not have spoken to each other. It’s not easy to look in a mirror and examine the hurtful things we’ve done to other people. But life always gives back to us the effects of the causes we make.

With diabetes and one stroke under her belt, and needing a wheelchair now, what my mother eats, and more important, what she doesn’t eat is crucial. I believe, because so many people have diabetes, they don’t take it seriously. It has been normalized because it is so common. Even fat kids have diabetes now, which is sad. It is adults who feed them the junk they see on their TV.

FAILURES OF THE FOOD INDUSTRY

Profit is everything. Who cares if it kills you?

I research everything I can to stay healthy. In the 60’s we didn’t know what the food industry was doing. They hid data about lots of harmful products so we would continue to buy them. But once you know, how can you continue to kill yourself by consuming it? And how can you continue to support corporations who harm people and the planet? We have allowed our own destruction. Isn’t that stupid? Taste buds win over common sense.

There are two issues working here. People are now addicted to unhealthy food and to give that up is painful. That is why addictions are hard to break. They’d rather take the chance of cancer, a stroke or heart attack, to name a few, than give up the taste of certain foods they like. The other issue of ego is just as hard. Who wants to think they are looked at as weak and unable to control what they eat – and the person telling you is your sister and you don’t like her. How can you admit she knows something you don’t? You’ve just spent 6 years ignoring her, letting her know you don’t care about her so how can you let down your guard now? We didn’t speak for years, but now our mother had a stroke and it forced us to. It is detrimental to my mother’s health if she feeds her what she eats herself.

I don’t care if I made her angry trying to tell her why certain foods were not a good idea for diabetics to eat. Let that sink in. This entire drama was about unhealthy food. Isn’t that ridiculous? Welcome to my world.

I’ve been called a few choice names over these past few years. Old hag, drug addict, I’m evil and have a black heart. It’s amazing how defensive people get when they don’t like to hear the truth.

Foolishly, I thought I could set an example of how to care about someone. But it seems even the most devout Christians don’t apply the golden rule. As a Buddhist, it is the same as the Law Of Cause And Effect. How about – What goes around comes around? You get back what you dish out? You reap what you sow? Where is that understanding in the effects of each of our lives? That is what we all need to look at. Do you like where you are in your life? Do you take responsibility for the bad things or do you just chalk it up to, “That’s life. It is what it is?” Or maybe God wanted you to be sick. Then you can remove yourself from causing your own illness.

I’ve lived my life with a few mottoes that got me through life. Here is a good one for today. It is one of my personal quotes:

If you don’t like what I’m doing, don’t watch me do it!

Stop Believing Family is Supposed to Love You, When They Don’t

Older sister on the left and me on the right, and younger sister in front.  I remember this day at Wildwood NJ
Older sister on the left and me on the right, and younger sister in front. I remember this day at Wildwood NJ

When I wake in the morning I always grab my Nook, swallow 10 mg of methadone and start my daily routine on the web, while waiting for some of the pain to subside, so I can get on with my day, which usually includes 12 hrs or more in front of my laptop on my other website http://mynameisjamie.net or writing my book “InsideOut” There are three of ten chapters written so far that can be found on the opening page of that site. The weather isn’t nice outside, so I have a reason to hole up inside. I absolutely hate cold weather and won’t go out in it if I don’t have it.

I’m beating about the bush. I happened on some posts at https://drkottaway.wordpress.com/ about how childhood trauma can affect you.  There are quite a few great posts here and is a worthwhile blog going to.   I have some deep issues dealing with my family and they came to a head recently and dealing with them has not been easy. I decided to just write and get it out.

I am inserting a piece of music I recorded. My music is all improvisational, never to be played again.  A wrong note here and there. Keep that in mind and listen while you read.

———————————————–Sonni Quick   copyright 2015 -Watching and Waiting

When we are children, we have no way to process the things that happen to us, so we end up thinking it is our fault and most of the time it affects who we are to this very day. It’s not so easy to just say, “I won’t think about it any more.  It won’t affect my life any more”, because the damage has already been done and all we can do is pick up the pieces and try to use what we have learned in a positive way somehow. Easier said than done.  I don’t think any child escapes trauma of some kind and even though it may even seem like such a small thing today, back then it affected everything – which then affects your existence today.

Me, my father, my older sister and younger sister. Happy family time.
Me, my father, my older sister and younger sister. Happy family time.

I went through a molestation with a visiting uncle who took his penis out and wanted me to touch it. I did. He did it one of my sisters, too. I didn’t find that out, though for 45 years. I never told anyone. Neither did she. He didn’t visit for long, so he had no other opportunities to do anything else. I don’t know why I never said anything, but I knew it was wrong.  What do you say, “Uncle took his thingy out” – when I don’t even think I knew then what it was called? I never told anyone until I was in my 50’s. 

Negative family relationships

I have a sister a year older than me who, when I was 5, when we were walking to school, wouldn’t let me walk with her, and this 6 year old told me, “I don’t want anyone to know you are my sister.” Until we graduated, if she saw me in the school hall she turned her face away. If my own sister didn’t want me around why would anyone? I hated to go to the lunch room in fear I’d have no one to sit with.  Gym class petrified me and I thought of every excuse I could to not have to play games where people picked other people for their team. Since I had no friends, of course I was usually picked last or close to it. Until I graduated I had very few friends. Until I was 34 I had very few friends. I scared people off by not being friendly first, so I didn’t have to worry if I was going to be rejected. I had such a fear of rejection I rejected them first. Why would someone want to be friends with me?

It wasn’t until I started practicing Buddhism and this woman I didn’t know called me and asked if I wanted to come to a discussion meeting.  I stood there with my hand on the phone in total amazement. A woman called me like she was my friend?  She wanted me around? I remember this so clearly.

Aside from this, I hustled pool, changed my name and reinvented myself several timees.  spent many years working as a professional musician, on stage many, many times. Confident, strong and an air of being so sure of myself and my goals.  I needed no one.   My wall was very high. My confidence alone pushed people away.  I could walk into a club and pick what man I wanted to spend time with and walk out with him.  I made myself believe I needed no one.

It’s easy to see why my family didn’t quite know how to deal with me, but did they need to be quite so hurtful? We’re in our 60’s.  Okay, I led a very diverse life. It sure wasn’t boring. This truth telling has only been the tip of the iceberg? Could I have led their lives doing the same thing over and over for decades?

I have a younger sister, but we were never “sisters”. She has recently made it clear that she doesn’t know ” how”.  A few weeks ago at the age of 61 my older sister had quadruple heart bypass surgery. I have a fairly large family. Mom, and also a variety of neices and nephews and their families.  Everyone was at the hospital to support her – except me, because I knew if I went it would cause a big problem. So I stayed home and kicked the walls for a few days. I sent her a card, said nice things in about wanting to see her, wrote her an email asking her to please call. She won’t answer her phone because she sees it’s me. No response.

Four years ago I had to move home to Pa from Key West. I lost my home and my business, a retail store of ten years at the Weston Hotel where the cruise ships docked.  I lost everything. My husband and I moved to my mothers into a 10×10 room.  My whole life was in storage or in that room.  I think my family expected me to be a whole person, but I wasn’t.  I was shattered into tiny pieces that were unable to process thought very well any more. I was very sick and was put on the liver transplant list, because 40 years ago, when I left home to go to college, I turned to drugs.

Drugs took the place of friends. people don’t do drugs because it makes them feel bad. It fills a hole. It puts good feelings in a place there is none. I had no self worth and when I was high I could come out of myself and play and dance and sing and be the person I wanted to be. It gave me fortitude the same way a drink gives fortitude to an alcoholic.

I was raped once when I was about 20. The only person I told was this man’s girlfriend. I ended that relationship. All I did was run away and spent 3 days shooting heroin, but stopped the first time I felt sick and knew it would make me feel better. I made a sign on a piece of cardboard and hitchhiked home, although home was not where I grew up.

Except occasionally,when I went to Pa every couple years to visit, I had no communication with my sisters. Why?

I had a problem with drugs off and on until age 34.  Once and addict always an addict, just like someone never really recovers from alcohol.  One drink can set them back.  I never turned down any drug if it was put in front of my face. But at 34, I found Nichiren Buddhism, which I’ve written about many times. Even my mother changed from Christianity to Buddhism after she took an honest look at what it taught. But it was at age 34, when I realized my life really did have value and I didn’t need to be afraid any more. That was 27 years ago.

That day I stopped doing street drugs. But within months the ugly head of hep C reared with unexplained illnesses.  Since very few doctors knew abou Hepatitis C they gave an addict pain pills for the nerve pain or wanted to give me anti depressants because, since they couldn’t diagnose it, it was all in my head. It was another ten years before I got a diagnoses. I stayed on my feet for 12 more years until my liver was a complete mess and a transplant was necessary. It had turned to liver cancer. I was out of time. I had to move home where there was a good transplant hospital.

Shooting drugs from ages 19-22, hiding from myself and pretending to be someone else was a massive cause and effect.

My mother has always asked me why I did drugs. If I hadn’t left the state to go to college, which I screwed up doing drugs, and stayed home, maybe I wouldn’t have done them? Karma is karma. There are drugs everywhere.  Staying home wouldn’t have changed that, but being away my family also meant they couldn’t see what I was doing.

When I moved back to Pa I thought I would have a family who cared about me.  It was a very big shock, although I don’t know why, to find out that I didn’t.  They didn’t care a whit about what happened to me and proved it over and over and over.  I thought, “Stupid me”

I had that transplant 2 1/2 years ago.  Not one member of my family was there for me that day, except my husband. The rest of my  family went to the beach on vacation. Not one phone call to even see if I was dead. My mother did stop by the ICU on her way out of town. My Dr said my transplant was in the nick of time. My husband was scared to death and there was no one there to support him. My family didn’t like him, either, and they made no bones about saying so. The negative gossip was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  They didn’t know him, but being married to me was all that was needed. I was told I had maybe a couple weeks of life left at the most, if they hadn’t been able to find a liver in time. I’d been bed ridden for about a year by then. My husband had to do everything for me, even wipe my ass and help me on and off the toilet. I was on a massive amount of drugs to keep protein from building up in my brain and going into a coma.  My body swelled up so big with fluid it was leaking out through sores on my legs. Thinking was hard.  All I could was lay in bed and watch movies on my DVD player.  We don’t own a TV.  He would help me walk to the living room to sit or out to the garden and sit. Not one get well card. No one called.  Recently, when talking to my neice she told me how bad I looked before my surgery.  I bit my tongue and kept my mouth shut because I wanted to say, “How would you know?  I didn’t see you once the year before my surgery. . . .  They have no clue.  I was bedridden for a year after the surgery because I had to relearn how to walk and feed myself. After the surgery my back fractured along with 7 ribs, one at a time. The wall of solid pain didn’t even begin to diminish for six weeks. If anyone would have asked me if I wanted to die, I would have gladly gone. Hopefully I will be having spine surgery in the next couple months so they can place sensors in my spine to try and cut off the pain before it reaches my brain. I hate taking these goddamn painkillers. But when I stopped ‘using’ my life made me continue. what would my life be like with no pills, even though half of them are so I don’t reject my new liver.

Now, as I try to bring this sob story to an end, as I try to figure out what all of this means, I know, as we go through painful events in our lives, we want to see them as being separate . We want to see them as things that were done “to” us, and we carry these pains, stuff them down, and try to make ourselves think it doesn’t matter. Sometimes we let it ruin our lives.  I can honestly say that this hateful family of mine is not ruining my life. I seek to understand and change the karma I brought into my life of having a family such as this one.

It hurts me greatly when I think of it, but I have had my practice of Buddhism to help me understand that happiness comes from within.  I can’t ask anything else to change it for me.  That change has to come from within.  Without this practice of Buddhism I would have been dead a long time ago.  It was the direction I was going in.  But winter always turns to spring.  Every single year.  Every year is a new opportunity I have to live a life of value, and to pass that value on, because the only legacy we can every really leave behind is the effect we have had on other people, that has helped their life in turn.  If my family sees no value in me, then that is a cause they make for themselves. I let this consume me for the past four years out of my 60, but no more.  I try to think, what value would they bring into my life?  I have tried, though, because I see how much it pains my mother to see her daughters at such odds.  All 3 of us – none of us are friends.  She thinks she did something wrong.  She didn’t.  I so love and appreciate my mother and if this illness brought me home to live a block away from her, then that is a wonderful benefit. If anything changed with my sisters  it would take all three of us to want it to be better, and two out of three don’t.

I tried for so long to “make” my family see me as a real person – to want to include me in their lives. I’ve pleaded, wrote letters and even screamed and yelled in frustration, “Why? What have I done that is so terrible? Why are you being such a lousy sister?” I wanted to have even one person say they were sorry for letting me go through a traumatic illness, surgery alone, but my younger sister insists, “I have nothing to be sorry about”.  You have nothing to be sorry about??   She doesn’t get it.  Not at all. I wanted an apology for what she did to me. She’s says she didn’t do anything to me.  She’s right. It’s what she didn’t do. 

According to my family I am toxic. I am the scapegoat for all the problems in the family even though they haven’t been around me. This year, for Christmas, my mother and I cooked dinner and invited family to come.  They did, but there was also a Christmas party planned at my nephew’s house.  Everyone was invited but me so there wouldn’t be any problems. There will be no more Christmas dinners, or birthdays or fourth of July picnics.   I won’t be where I am truly not wanted.  What did they think I was going to do?  Christmas presents I had for one sister are still in my closet.  The birthday card I had for my other sister on March 15th was never sent. For awhile one sister did pretend to care – the one who just had heart surgery, but due to urgings from the family passing gossip, she, too, cut off communication. If I could think of what I did to cause this unforgivable animosity I could deal with it better, but I can’t.  I just don’t understand people who can be so hurtful andso selfish

So I ask myself, why do I want them in my life? What is the purpose of family? Do I judge myself by the way I am judged? Am I the person they judge me to be? No.

I know that what happened when I was five, when my sister made it clear she wanted no part of being my sister – she meant it, even though she didn’t think it at the time, and I’m sure doesn’t even remember saying it. I know the way I felt about myself helped lead me to drugs. I also know, through my study of life through Buddhism these past 27 years that this was karma I caused for myself, somewhere, somehow. It is what I do with this understanding that will either change it or perpetuate it.

For my own sanity I have to let my family go. Stop trying to make them love me, because they don’t. They really, really don’t. They are a group of people that kisses and hugs at holidays and talks about the weather and their jobs and kids, and then doesn’t speak to each other again until the next holiday. So shallow. That holds no value for me. I wanted a sister to be my friend. What is an adult sister but a friend. Someone you talk to about your life. Who you are. I wanted too much from my family. I see that now. I have no value to them. How could we possibly be friends? So how could their children or their children want me as their aunt. So here I am at age 60, finally realizing with utter completeness, I – Have – No – Family. I do still have my mother who loves me and shakes her head at the lack of compassion her family shows me. When she passes, I doubt I will ever be a reason to hear from any member of my family again.  I have my own children and grandchildren, but my immediate family no longer exists.

Now I’m going to go blow my nose and wash my face and take this pile of garbage out to the trash for the last time.

September 2015. Labor Day. I just went back re-read this and thought I’d write a catch up. My entire family and friends are at my older sisters camper at Raystown Lake, so nothing has changed there. Even if they decided I was worthwhile to be around I don’t think it would mean anything to me. Such is life. I also had the surgery on my spine a month ago but it caused complications I’m still healing from. AND 3 weeks ago I started on the new Hepatitis C drug so my fingers are crossed!! And lastly, I bought myself a present. A new keyboard I’m excited. I can record 6 tracks.