I Wish Some Day Things Would Just Get Better

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…I wish some day things will get better
I’ve been trapped in this black hole for too long
Can’t understand a word of what you say
I never bother to listen anyway
And I know some day things will get better
I’ve been trapped in this black hole for too long
“Trapped In”, Division Of Laura Lee; ‘Black City’, 2003


At this point it feels like I’m just barely surviving my family.

A couple of weeks ago my grandmother asked me a series of vile, disgusting questions about my girlfriend and our baby.

She asked why I hadn’t insisted on an abortion, she demanded I have a DNA test to find out if I’m the father, and, among other things, she insinuated I wasn’t providing for the baby because I was waiting for my grandfather to die so I could collect the inheritance.

Then she asked if I could help her with a writing project.

I told her to go fuck herself.

My mother cried while I told her. After I was finished she felt it necessary to explain to me the possible causes for my grandmother’s behaviour. My mom talked about senility and the loss of control my grandmother was experiencing due to prescriptions and being 87-years old.

None of her explanations were correct. My grandmother is poison. She’s toxic. She’s been a cancer in the blood of my family for sixty years. We all know this, this is not a secret. I could stand up at the next family dinner and say “my grandmother has done nothing good for this family”, and my family would nod and say “tsk, that’s right”.

But nothing would change. No one would shun her, no one would turn their back on her. There would be no consequences.

She abused my mother for her entire childhood, that abuse was the reason my mother ended up being abused for ten years by my father.

As my mother tried to explain away the disgusting things my grandmother said, all I could think of was the absurdity of the abused trying to defend the abuser.

I understand it, I understand how someone can be beaten — my mother wasn’t — and still desperately seek the approval and love of the person with the stick. Or how someone can be called “useless” and denied the love of their mother, only to later on defend their mother even while their mother was calling their son “useless”.

I get it. But it’s still absurd, and more absurd is when it’s an entire family being abused by one member. Even more absurd is when the abuse is so open, so violent, so disgusting and so focused, and the reaction from the chronically abused is to gather around the abuser and explain away her behaviour.

My grandmother has COPD. She’s 87-years old. She occasionally walks with a cane. But she’s not feeble. She’s not losing her mind. She wrote down a series of questions, and asked them all.

Since I originally told my mother what happened, she has twice tried to rationalize my grandmother’s behaviour.

My grandfather, who only knows my grandmother did something spectacularly bad, and that I haven’t returned any of her phone calls, called me this week to try and mend the fence his wife of 60-years burned down.

He told me “I’ve had to live with her for sixty years, I know it can take a lot to ignore the things she does.”

They want me to understand her behaviour, to look past the insult to see a frail and dying relative.

“How dare you bring a child into this world.” That’s what my grandmother said to me, and everyone around me is saying “tsk” and shaking their heads, and telling me to “take the high road”.

She’ll be dead soon, so lets not make this difficult. Fuck that. There have to be consequences. People still visit her, show her respect, treat her as a valued member of the family. Because it’s easier to accept the abuser, and ignore the continuing abuse, than it is to tell them how fucking evil they’ve been and how many people they’ve crippled.

Having my grandmother insult myself, my girlfriend and my infant son has been very difficult on me. Since it happened I’ve been depressed, my chest hurts, I haven’t been thinking clearly, my head hurts, I’ve been distracted, and things aren’t getting better.

In fact, it’s getting worse because every time someone tries to explain away my grandmother’s behaviour, I feel like I have to defend myself from them — “but… but, she said…”. Like they’re attacking me as well.

So, as everyone seems to be waiting for her to drop dead, I feel as though I’m being boxed out of the family, like what she said wasn’t important, like the waggons are being circled around my bitch of a grandmother.

This is what’s going to happen… there’ll be a family event, Easter dinner, and she’ll be invited to be there. When I don’t show up, when I don’t bring my girlfriend or our son to dinner with the woman who wanted him aborted, it’ll be me who broke protocol.

And they’ll keep inviting her — at least they’ll not un-invite her, and I’ll keep not showing up.

Over the past two weeks I’ve felt increasingly abandoned, like the trust I had given to specific people in my life is being shattered in slow motion… like I just don’t want to be around these people any more, because I’m having a really hard time looking them in the eye.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, Depression, Granny, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to I Wish Some Day Things Would Just Get Better

  1. Lorraina says:

    Well, for what its worth – i’m a grandma myself and i’ve seen and heard of all sorts of estranged families.

    I think you should do what feels right for you. Lifes too short to let anyone wear you down or tear you down or make you feel bad.

    You did nothing wrong; you are not bad and you don’t need those people. You are a valuable person and they need you, they just don’t know it yet.

    Make a better life for your girlfriend and your son. Free yourselves from all the angst and guilt they’ve laid on you, forget them and move on forward.
    Own what you do or don’t do and i think you’ll be much happier. It’s they who will have regrets, not you.
    Just because they are family dosn’t mean you have to keep them. Make better friends who will value you. Treat your gf and son the way you want to be treated and you’ll have the happy stress free life that you deserve.

    Good luck

  2. thordora says:

    It sounds a lot like with my ex. I was so wrapped up in feeling like shit with him-feeling responsible to him, that I had to stay, no matter what he said or did-it’s a pattern and a cycle that is INCREDIBLY difficult to break. Even as I knew, I KNEW I deserved better, it’s family, and you take it.

    I can only imagine how hard it is with someone that age.

    I wish I had advice, but all I can say is stay the course, and focus on your my friend.

  3. bromac says:

    Gwarsh, this is an awful situation.

    But, I have to say, where is all the negative focus getting you? Is it hurting your grandmother? I would imagine it is only hurting you….and so she has accomplished the intended nastiness.

    Why do you expect your family to completely write her off? Regardless of what she said to you, she is still your mother’s mom and your grandfather’s wife. Do you really, honestly, expect them to write her off after decades of dealing with her absurdity, because she did the same thing to you that they have put up with couuntless times? If they put up with her abuse towards them then they most likely expect you to do the same.

    I think your hurting because no one seems surprised or offended by her statements, and that I completely understand. You would expect someone to defend you….they love you and victor, so why wouldn’t they.

    It’s their dysfunction, Gabriel. They have been dysfunctionally dealing with the mad-ass matriarch for many, many years, and it isn’t going to change now. It doesn’t have to be your dysfunction, and you have obviously said loudly that it won’t be.

    But is it realistic to think the rest of your family is going to suddenly take up your cause and kick her out of the family after all these years of taking her abuse? I wish it was, I really do. She is a vile woman and you did not deserve what she gave you.

    So, if you refuse easter and other such family events, you’re only denying yourself and victor, ya know. Is there an option to tell your family-mom, grandfather-that you will not talk about, or to, your grandmother and it is the end of the topic? Continue to see your family, even if she is there, and ignore her existence on this planet until she is gone from it?

  4. markps2 says:

    Yes, she is evil for planting seeds of doubt in you and your child.
    Don’t let worry and distrust (seeds) grow, it may be the intent of the evil.

  5. zoom says:

    I agreed completely with Lorraina until I read Bromac’s comment. Now I agree completely with Bromac.

    I also think part of the reason your family is trying to get you to change your position on this and forgive your grandmother’s vile attack is because they don’t want to lose you and Victor. They’re looking ahead and seeing the same scenario at Easter dinner as you describe, and they want you in the family gatherings. They know there is absolutely no chance of convincing your grandmother to apologize or change, since she’s so old and stubborn and crazy, so they’re working on you instead because you’re more reasonable.

    I think they’re just trying to hold the family together, but you’re feeling defensive because they’re not clearly taking your side by disowning your grandmother – an option which is probably not an option for them.

  6. Stephany says:

    I think Mark has a very good point, that she has done something even worse than that day…she has planted the seed of all of these horrible emotions and may win the attempt to actually force you out of the family gatherings, like she got her way….as painful as it is, I would consider going to Easter dinner, with the plan of action to walk out if she says one thing negative toward you, or your GF or the baby. Let the others know this is your plan, so if you walk out they will be prepared to watch you leave.

    Don’t let her destroy, any longer. I had a relative become hurtful like this when my kids were babies/toddlers. My grandmother told me the person was only hurting themselves not me. It took a lot for me to wrap my brain around that, but in the end it is true.

    Vision a shield around you, nothing she says will be internalized, or felt…repell it, and consider the source…and if she crosses the line and acts like an ass in front of your GF and baby, then no more…tell her where to go and walk away…maybe this will help the rest to see someone stand up to the old vile poison woman.

    Take care of yourself.

  7. Clare says:

    You have to love and care for yourself, your son and your gf. This is the core of your family. Find your peace…don’t let your grandmother in, I say. Don’t hold hate against her but just work at letting her go in your heart. If you harbor ill will towards her it will eat you up. But if you can (it’s hard to do) let her go and move forward in a positive way—you will find peace. You have to be well for you and primarily for Victor. We’ve had to cut ourselves off from some family members and truly it was the best thing. Love you and yours.

    Thinking of you,

  8. yo is me says:

    i HATE these kinds of family members. UGH, it pisses me off to NO END.

    my older sister plays dumb. she’s been playing dumb for EVER. and we let it slide because it’s easier than arguing with her, easiser than expressing our points. but with ignoring her stupidity (i’m not on anything… i’m slurring because i just ate a popsicle and it numbed my tongue), we’re accepting the behavior.

    so…. what do we do? ignore her stupidity and roll our eyes and let it go? or call her out on her garbage? no one wins in either situation. she’s a smart person, we don’t buy her dumb act. she’s manipulative, very smart.

    which is ANNOYING. but we’re all onto her, she just ignores everything.

    i got into an argument with her over the phone earlier today. i actually yelled at her. she hung up on me. it felt kind of good.

    i’m sorry you’re going through this, and for how it’s affected you. it’s hard to separate so many things that have gone on for so many years, before we were ever born. it’s shitty when those things affect our lives, so long after the fact.

  9. mudmama says:

    G, I completely understand how you are feeling. Completely. I understand how you cannot sit down with this person, cannot expose your child to this person, and I support your decision to not put your chosen family at risk around this abusive person.

    I also think expecting the rest of your family to take sides is self destructive. I wish I’d realized that much earlier in my own situation.

    If you can get your family to see that you are not holding them in judgement but you are breaking this pattern by safeguarding Victor maybe your family can see to it that there are opportunities for you and your family to share gatherings before or after the abusive one shares time with them. You can’t make them break out of their relationship however sick it is with her, but you can hold your ground.

    Take care of yourself, my tummy and my chest hurt for you.

  10. Em says:

    This sounds SO familiar to me, you have no idea. In our family’s case, it’s a jackass of an uncle who has always treated my father (and in turn, us, his family) like dirt. My grandmother has always refused to acknowledge his behaviour and thus, my father (and the rest of us) end up looking like outsiders when we want nothing to do with anything that involves him. We also look like jerks when we have the balls to call him on his shit. Of course, this is what my uncle wants. These things are always so complicated – it would be easier to just sit back and take his crap and let him act like the goldenboy grandma thinks he is, but it gets to a point where you just can’t do that anymore.
    I won’t bother you with the rest of the details, I could rant about it forever. I just want you to know that you are not alone. And at the very least, your grandmother is OLD. My uncle is in his early 60s, and unfortunately, in relatively good health. I feel for you.

  11. ed says:

    i don’t even know what to say, but sorry you are going through all of this. stupid.

  12. Marcy says:

    Mudmama has good advice.

    I know I haven’t been around much, but happened by today and read this post and it caught my breath. I have sooooo many dreams in which I try to stand up for myself and the way I feel about things, particularly about the way people in the family are treating me, and everyone tries to laugh it off, ridicule my oversensitivity, or get mad and offended that I’m causing trouble again.

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