There's More to Life Than Knitting!

Join Suna as she stops knitting long enough to ponder her life, share her joys and concerns, and comment on the goings on in the world.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

She Started It!

My Maternal Grandmother
Originally uploaded by

Lenten Ventin': Sometimes I wish that people with child-related issues would not try to raise children anyway. They treat their children oddly, which then causes them to have emotional issues, which they then pass on to their children. My grandmother, the lovely twin who viewed herself as "not good enough" because her sister, 20 minutes younger, was "the baby" and got all the good presents, preferential treatment and such, started a trend in my maternal line (or probably continued something: all but maybe one of her siblings had some pertty strong mental illness symptoms). My grandmother resented her sister her whole life. Then she married a Swede who showed up on a white horse and had a baby, who apparently was quite the wonder baby, until he died around age 2, in his sleep. This did not help matters. She began her history of "nervous breakdowns" at this point. A few years later, she had a daughter, my mother, who was endlessly compared to her dead sibling and found wanting. Her brother would have been smarter, he would have been athletic, he would never have "talked back." My poor mother was treated pretty horribly by my grandmother--some sounds pretty abusive (the grandfather was apparently quite nice, but worked a lot).

Fast forward to my mother trying to escape this family by running off and marrying a dashing alcoholic/drug addict (in the 40s!) after her beloved died in Pearl Harbor (starting HER on her "nervous breakdown" history). She gave birth to my sister, then fled the abusive fellow and went back to live with her parents. So my sister was raised by two women who were constantly told they were not "good enough." She was raised as the Golden Darling of Perfection, which was hard to live up to, since she wasn't a great student and had other normal human elements. She quickly learned to kiss up to her two maternal figures, to survive.

Well, eventually, my mother met my dad and they got married. Due to me coming along. My sister tried to move in with them, but the grandmother had a "nervous breakdown" and she had to go back. I showed up, and was not blonde, thin or doe eyed. I didn't kiss up either. So, I was endlessly found lacking in comparison to my beautiful half sister. I compensated by trying to be smart and not screw up. So, to this day I am really hard on myself if I mess up, don't get the job, disappoint someone, or otherwise exhibit a flaw. Which of course I have plenty of.

So my vent is that I really wonder if my mom and grandmother ought to have raised kids, seeing how they came from a long line of people who compare children and TELL them they find them lacking. (My sister, of course, feels lacking in comparison to me, and my brother's jealousy is pathological.)

Right now I am dealing with having kids who don't have self esteem issues, so are just fine not over-achieving. I love that I seem to have broken the cycle, but dang, it's so hard to watch them not try to be the valedictorian! However, I can see that by being the best person they can be, they will grow up much more well balanced than their mom.

And their mom is a real mess right now. All the job and money stress is taking me farther than I can cope with. And now Tuba Boy's car has broken (I think he may have hit a bump too quickly that broke a clutch cable). I had hoped the car would not IMMEDIATELY become a money pit. And I am having trouble helping the kids, doing what Lee would like, and fulfillling other obligations without disappointing one or more people. Trying to get all the things done that needed done yesterday was quite a challenge, and it still ended up awful, even though I did my part and was everywhere I was supposed to be.

Job Seeking: I applied for some more jobs yesterday, did a phone interview with ALE, and talked to a couple more people. Tomorrow is the big university job interview. Of course, campus will be crazy due to the Presidential Debate later in the afternoon.


nyjlm said...

oi vey. While the issues my ancestors, um, bequeathed their descendants are not exactly the same as your inheritances, let me just say that, sista, I know that story. About all I can say in response is that if they hadn't become parents, then neither you nor I would be here. So I'm grateful for that at least.
As always, wishing for good things for you. You've more than earned it.

DianeS said...

As you know too well, I have some of the same issues and the same feelings -- there are some people who shouldn't have kids and my mom was one of them. Am I glad to be here? Yes. But I'd prefer to be here without the inherited problems. And I also have managed to raise a son without at least *most* of the self-esteem problems but also without the drive to succeed. Yea for us for breaking the cycle of abuse. Perhaps our kids will figure out how to raise their kids with both self-esteem *and* drive!