I’ve realized that I’ve found myself silently fuming over my parents and all of their negativity and flaws this week. In the last year, I’ve had moments or hours when I would go over and over in my head why they are so miserable and negative when I think about my brother and how he isn’t with us anymore, but they would eventually pass. This week, it seems to be a reoccurring thing that comes and goes constantly throughout the day. When I least expect it, I am getting more and more angry with them. I am remembering one event after another that they have managed to make more difficult or just completely ruin.
I realized tonight that maybe one reason these feelings are re-surfacing to the extent that they are is because the anniversary of Ed’s passing is like a reminder to me about all the anger I’ve had against them and how they helped drive him to the lowest point in his life. As much as I want to have a functional relationship with them, a part of me will never forget how poorly they treated him, especially when you compare their treatment of him to their treatment of me.
Tonight, like I anticipated, my mother asked and obsessed over the same things I predicted. Since she knew I had dinner with my cousins’ cousins in Montreal, she asked me five hundred annoying questions about their family and made sure to add in the 100-dollar question, “I don’t mean to be nosy, but who paid the (dinner) bill?” There’s really no winning here no matter what answer I give. There are three possible answers: 1) I paid, which would infuriate her, 2) they paid, which she would be mad about because then she’d feel a massive, guilty need to re-pay them immediately because it’s impossible for her to truly believe that anyone would willingly do anything nice for me without expecting something in return as soon as possible, or 3) we split the bill, which also would drive her crazy because then we were all cowardly and none of us would take the initiative. Of course, when I said it didn’t matter and that my cousin paid the bill, she got annoyed and asked if I had bought them a gift. No, Mom, I didn’t immediately run to a store to buy them a gift after dinner because I’m not that transparent. But I will remember that they were so generous, and I will most definitely offer and pay the bill when they decide to come to New York eventually.
It’s a good thing that I’ve somehow managed to un-learn a lot of the stupid, negative things my mother has tried to teach me. I shouldn’t feel guilty when people are nice and pay the bill for me and feel like I “owe” them something ASAP. When I pay the bill for others, I shouldn’t feel like I am “waiting” for them to pay next time. It should just be what it is, and if I surround myself with good people, we should all be good and generous with each other. It doesn’t have to be negative if you can just look at it positively and think that maybe not everyone is out to “get” you.