Over the years I had cultivated a very close relationship with my Aunt Debbie. Of all my mom’s siblings, Aunt Debbie was the one she was closest with. I was also very close with my Aunt Debbie’s daughter, Tina. The previous summer Aunt Debbie and I actually got even closer as we planned Tina’s bridal shower. I was the maid of honor and so I put tons of time and energy into her shower. I spent a lot of money and made custom, professional grade, decorations for her bridal shower. My cousin Tina was an only child and since the time she was young I had made it a point to kind of fill the role as her unofficial older sister. I spent a lot of time with her. Especially when my aunt’s second marriage started to fall apart. When Aunt Debbie would go away on business trips and vacations she would always ask me to stay with Tina. Tina and I even called one another sisters.
With that said, I was really surprised at my aunt Debbie’s reaction to my letter. I thought I had made it clear to her that the letter was more addressed to my Aunt Bea and I had just included her in on it. Me and aunt Debbie had, had discussions in the past how Aunt Bea didn’t understand what was going on with my mom and how she never really listened or cared about her problems and couldn’t relate with her because she lived in la la land. So here is how my aunt Debbie replied to me.
I just had time to read what you’ve written. You’re entitled to give your opinion as I am now entitled to give mine. Like you’ve stated, aunt Bea and I are close to her, just as you are. And believe it or not, we are receiving the SAME results as you are, as we are trying to get through to her with taking care of herself. Aunt Bea and I have spoken about this a numerous amounts of times privately. She doesn’t want to hear it, she doesn’t want our advice, she shuts us out and avoids any and all of our questions and suggestions (just like she does to YOU), which is brought up 99% percent of our phone calls. We are receiving the SAME feedback in assisting in helping her, as you are, whether you want to believe that or not. If she is telling you otherwise, maybe she is not being truthful to YOU either. If you do believe your mother is not being truthful to us regarding her issues, I’m confused on how you think we are all of a sudden going to get positive results now. I know your mom’s depressed, I know what depression is. Do you think I’m new to this? Do you think I’m not familiar with the meaning? I’ve a longer life than you to understand. I speak to your mom everyday for the last ten years, every morning and I see that HER depression stems mostly from her being told she had stage 4 cancer, being told that she is in stage 4 renal failure and you and [my brother’s] relationship for the last two years. (For example: I was talking to her for the last three weeks and I knew something was wrong and she seemed really down. She then finally came out and said to me that she hasn’t seen you or [my son] in the last three weeks. And a light bulb clicked. That really put her down. ) Prior to that, of course she was depressed about your father, and I’m sure will continue to be, but that is something that couldn’t be changed, hasn’t been changed and will probably never be changed unless it’s with the proper help, which is something we never declined or down played when speaking with her, so I’m unsure where you received that information, where you think we have said therapy is not a good place for her to be. Overall, It is not easy getting over a lifelong partner. But back to the therapy. I’m really unsure where you’ve gotten the information that we basically frown upon it. It is her decision on whether she wants to go on her own time or not. It’s not my place to force her to do something she is not willing to do. People in our family, along with you, go to therapy as well, and I think it is great as everyone has their own daily struggles that sometimes need a little guidance and structure, however, it’s not for everyone.
We don’t understand why she doesn’t take care of herself healthwise. It isn’t something that happened overnight. It’s been an ongoing situation, which lead up to her first kidney failure. Was she depressed before that happened to cause her not to care of herself 20 years ago?
As far as low blowing and undermining our lives, we all go through things that we have to take care of. Whether you understand those things or not. Of course you can only understand your life as you are the only one living it, but understand ours as well. There was no reason why you had to add that you weren’t asking aunt Bea to take away time from [aunt Bea’s daughter] or her kids, insinuating, I don’t know what, but obviously something. Aunt Bea doesn’t have to explain what she does and the reasonings behind why she does it. All of these things above have nothing to do with your mother. Everyone has a different lifestyle when children arrive. Some have more help than others. That is something you and your husband need to discuss on your own time. There’s no need to compare everyone’s situation to their own as everyone is dealt with different circumstances. If you need a babysitter, I wouldn’t mind watching [my son] for the day, on the weekend, when I am home, that way you two can do something together.
Also, don’t sit there trying to disrespect aunt Bea and I, saying we basically take NO part in what is going on with your mother. I’ve taken off of work countless amounts of times to take her to her appointments while aunt Bea is taking care of [my grandmother] and her appointments. Also, don’t forget uncle Bob is in remission of lymphoma, and had a double knee replacement, so aunt Bea also has that to worry about along with her job and issues her family is going through. I run a house, pay my own bills, take care of 8 animals, work a full time job as a manager, I’m out of my house for sometimes 12 hours and the remaining 3 hours before bed, I’m cooking dinner, getting my garbage together and catching up on housework. But, as SIBLINGS, we work with one another to compromise to try to help everyone and make sure everyone is okay, at the least.Then the leftover we have, is for ourselves to gain sanity and get the shit done in our lives that need to be done on a daily basis. I’m not trying to compare lives, but rather point out facts so you can see what our day consists of along with caring about our sister. Don’t point fingers at us, saying we don’t care, when your real anger is pointing towards your brother. That is something that YOU BOTH need to deal with privately.
Also, please don’t assume what kind of relationship I have with [Aunt Debbie’s daughter Tina]. I talk to her just as much as you talk to your mother.
And We love our sister dearly and help out in many ways and in different ways, some in which others might not be able to. We do our best to try to make sure everything is going okay, even if you disagree. We know what we do to help your mom and we don’t need to prove it to anyone. We never turned you down for anything you needed. I would spend nights on the phone talking to you about what was going on, don’t forget that.
This is the last email I’m responding to. If there’s an issue, call me. It’s hard to read a really long email and cover all points that were brought up without getting lost in the paragraphs. So if I didn’t answer all issues, that is why.
All in all, I’m still always going to be here for you, but I’m also entitled to speak how I feel. I love you, aunt Debbie.
To be quite honest I was in complete shock at her response. I started to think that maybe my Aunt Debbie was dealing with her own personality disorder because the way she twisted and misconstrued my words, seriously reminded me of Satan. I don’t know where she got that I said they didn’t care or didn’t help my mom. That wasn’t what I AT ALL! When I sit back and think about it though, Aunt Debbie is a very confrontational person. I remember my mom often telling me that she couldn’t believe how many friends Aunt Debbie had gotten into fights with and subsequently cut out of her life. She loved to fight. I even saw it with Tina. If my kid ever talked about my the way my cousin Tina talks about my Aunt Debbie, I would seriously want to kill myself. It’s bad but still I didn’t expect her to turn on me like this.
At this point in time I was completely fed up with my family and I really started to ditch the rose colored glasses I had viewed my family through for most of my life and I was seeing things crystal clear. It was a pivotal point in my life. I had already started to see everyone’s true colors years before when everyone (especially my Aunt Debbie) bashed the victim of a horrible crime and made what happened to her, her and her mother and father’s fault. It was all for her own selfish reasons. Aunt Bea and Uncle Bob help her out all of the time. She relies on them.
Like I said, I was just really fed up with everyone telling me what I should do, what I should and shouldn’t worry about, and how I should feel and so, maybe I was wrong but I didn’t hold back when replied to her. I went through her response point by point. I was really annoyed by her agist remark in that her age somehow made her know more about life than me. In my 35 years here I have been through more than the average adult and so I wanted her to know I was no longer the little girl that she can talk down to. I am a grown woman.
Here is my response.
Wow. Typical [last name of my mom’s family] shit. Everything is an argument. I’m so done with it. I should’ve realized this a decade ago when everyone chose to take the side of the perpetrator over a girl who was victimized and turn a serious situation into a he said, she said, letter writing, insult slinging, finger pointing, popularity, shitfest.
Everything I say is taken out of context. I was asking for HELP and trying to point out the severity of my mom’s depression but of course, you saw it as an opportunity to lecture me and pen an argumentative response and dig your claws into me so you can point out how much older you are and how much life experience you have. Just like when you argued with me about getting a nurse for my mom when she was released from the hospital. Whatever that was all about. I still don’t know.
I can tell by the first five paragraphs that you didn’t read ONE WORD of the original letter I wrote (and probably won’t read this one either so I don’t know why I’m wasting my time). Let me clear it up and then I will be done and go back to not speaking with my family like I have been for that past month and I’ll just do what I have to do. You’re saying my mom doesn’t want to hear it. I KNOW that and in knowing that, I was thinking that by emailing you and aunt Bea, we could come up with some type of way to help her and to get her to listen. Talking to her? Maybe an intervention? Pouring your heart out and voicing your concern? I don’t know. My thought was that the more people she heard it from the stronger the message would become. Thought we could put our heads together because we all talk to her the most and I know of all her siblings, she feels the most comfortable with you two. I didn’t know that you guys talk to her about it. How would I know that without you guys telling me? No one communicates with me. Your words AND aunt Bea’s words BOTH were, “I DON’T THINK SHE NEEDS A THERAPIST RIGHT NOW.”. I will send you screen shots of both if you’d like. I know what I read. When I read something like that, there’s only one way I can take it and that’s, that you guys DON’T THINK SHE NEEDS A THERAPIST and that it’s NOT A PRIORITY. That’s where I got that from. So why are you getting all bent out of shape about me saying you guys don’t think it’s important? I’m only going off your own words and conversations we’ve had in the past.
I know, you know what depression is BY DEFINITION, but I don’t think you REALLY know what it is on a clinical level. Sorry but no I don’t. If you did then you’d understand why I think getting her to a therapist or talking to her about depression should be a priority. FACT: DEPRESSION CAN LEAD TO THOUGHTS OF DEATH AND/OR SUICIDE. Suicide isn’t just putting a gun to your head or hanging yourself off a balcony by your bed sheets. Some people slowly commit suicide by NOT TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES WHEN THEY’RE SICK because they don’t want to live. Some people don’t know they’re depressed. Some people deny that they’re depressed. If you knew the clinical meaning then you wouldn’t reply to my messages saying, once again, “I DON’T THINK SHE NEEDS A THERAPIST RIGHT NOW”! AGAIN, you keep saying “you don’t know what’s wrong with her” and “you don’t know why she’s not taking care of herself” and I am telling you EXACTLY what’s wrong with her and WHY she isn’t taking care of herself!!!! DEPRESSION IS WHY! That’s the answer…… You don’t have to “not know” anymore.
I don’t know what your age has to do with ANY of this. I’m baffled. It has nothing to do with you being older (aside from being a way to have one up on me, and show me that you’re somehow better than me or know more than me, because God chronologically created you earlier than he created me) it has everything to do with your education about, and awareness of what REAL CLINICAL depression is, what the symptoms and characteristics of it are and how it effects people and the way they care for themselves. Depression is different than “being down”, “being sad” or “having the blues”. I’ve been reading about it (for years just as I’ve been trying to tell you that my mom was depressed for years) and talking to other people who have dealt with it first hand, so I can gain knowledge about it and try to help her. Plus going to therapy myself and learning a lot. No one is asking ANYONE to force her into it.
You went on to list what her depression stems from, as if you’re giving me some information I didn’t already know. If you ACTUALLY READ what I wrote, you’d see the redundancy in you writing that because I already acknowledged ALL of those factors in my original letter.
You then go on to say ” she then finally came out and said to me that she hasn’t seen you or [my son] in the last three weeks and a lightbulb clicked, that really put her down”. Let me ask you, when was the last time you went over there? How about [my brother]? How about Aunt Bea? It’s been way more than three weeks, I can guarantee that. So let me get this straight, It’s exclusively MY job to entertain her every weekend? [my brother] went for MONTHS at a time without seeing her but that was ok, right? That didn’t upset her at all? Only ME doing it does. Ok. For three months straight I saw her on a DAILY basis. DAILY. I repeat DAILY. Don’t you dare try to blame ME for her depression getting worse. Talk about “Low Blowing”!!!
I took time to tend to MY LIFE and MY FAMILY just like EVERYONE ELSE DOES and I have EVERY RIGHT TO DO IT. Do you go visit [my grandmother] every weekend? She’s almost 90 and living all alone. Shouldn’t you be just as concerned about her as I am about my mom???? The first weekend I went to see my friend in the city. The second weekend I spent with my husband and son because we had things to do to prepare for his friend’s wedding and his trip to Michigan the upcoming weekend. The “third” week was this past weekend and I went over there! It wasn’t three entire weeks and if the “lightbulb went off,” and you felt so bad, why didn’t you offer to spend some time with her? Guess you weren’t THAT concerned. Why? because you were busy with [her boyfriend at the time] and YOUR own life just like I was busy too. I don’t bother going over there during the week because she tells me she is tired and is in bed sometimes as early as 7:00-8:00 pm and other times even earlier. Don’t try to guilt trip me. I still talked to her though and made sure to FaceTime her with [my son] so she could at least see him that way. She’s miserable and depressed either way, whether I see her or not. My presence doesn’t make her magically not depressed. It’s STILL THERE even when I am. It doesn’t matter. I deserve a break. Also, I’m allowed to get hurt and upset about things. I’m not some fucking robot, contrary to popular belief. There’s always an excuse when it comes to my feelings and I’m always wrong for feeling MY feelings. Everyone else can feel their’s though and it’s not a problem. Anyway, we had this conversation the other day and the other day you agreed with me that it was good I took a mental break but today it’s a problem because it gives you an arguing point. Awesome sauce.
Then there’s this……. “of course she has been depressed about your father and I’m sure will continue to be but that is something that couldn’t be changed, hasn’t been changed and will probably never be changed unless it’s with the *PROPER HELP*”. Wow! Holy SHIT! Isn’t that exactly what I’m trying to say? That’s why I’m asking you guys to encourage her to get her help. Depression is on a continuum. She doesn’t have separate depression for separate things. She’s depressed all around and my dad, her illness, me and [my brother ], etc, are all FACTORS that play into her depression and make it worse. She needs help for ALL of it. Her sadness about my dad is no different than the sadness about herself or her illness or not feeling well. It’s all the same sadness. It’s general depression and she needs to deal with EVERYTHING that’s contributing to it, ALL AT ONCE.
Where did I write that I said you guys didn’t think therapy was a good place for her? Show me while you’re at it, where you wrote that you thought it WAS a good place for her because, again, both you and aunt Bea said that YOU DON’T THINK SHE NEEDS IT RIGHT NOW. When will it be the right time then? Please tell me? You continue to argue with me, reasons you don’t think it’s important as you will see….
I also just stated a fact that neither one of you has never been to therapy. That’s a fact, no? Why are you offended by that? Would you be offended if I told you your name was Debbie? That’s a fact too. I know who goes to therapy in this family and who doesn’t and the only two people aside from myself is Aunt Sue and [aunt Sue’s daughter Nicole] You and aunt Bea aren’t Nicole and Aunt Sue last time I checked. Then you say, “however it’s not for everyone.” That’s a contradiction. You can’t be offended that I’m accusing you that you don’t think it’s a good place for her and then tell me, “it’s not for everyone”. You’re dismissing it right there by saying that! How can you make an assumption like that? Do you speak for everyone? Do you know if so or if not my mom falls into the everyone group? How would you even know if you’re part or not part of everyone, if you’ve never tried it?
Then there’s this. Once again you’re arguing the role and denying the role depression plays in her not caring for herself, why? Do you just want to be right? You said, “We don’t understand why she doesn’t take care of herself health wise……..was she depressed before that happened to cause her not to care of herself 20 years ago?”. I don’t know, you tell me. My dad lost his store right before she got sick and then he was unemployed for almost an entire year. My mom had no CHOICE but to go back to work full time and support our entire family and pay ALL of our bills on a shitty, minimum wage, Retail salary while my dad sat home wallowing in his own depression and drinking his sorrows away. We had to completely change the lifestyle we were used to living. That meant we didn’t get new school clothes that year, we stopped going on vacations, and there were times my parents could hardly afford to go food shopping or pay utilities. I heard them CONSTANTLY talking about money and worrying how they’d pay the bills. I was young but very aware of what was going on and I offered them to take my communion money, a small check I received from the dog bite and whatever other money they had in my bank account so they can pay bills and I believe they did. They didn’t go around bragging about it to the rest of the family. I remember those years of my life VERY vividly because I lived them. She ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY may have been depressed or at the very least, too stressed out to worry about taking care of herself because she had to care for 2 young kids and a husband who was depressed. I’m sure you can identify with some of that.
I HAVE to clear this one up though…..who was “LOW BLOWING” or “UNDERMINING” your lives?????? First off I don’t know how I am undermining anyone’s life. Undermining is synonymous with sabotaging, damaging and compromising. Was I trying to sabotage your lives? I don’t recall doing such a thing. I don’t know what you mean by “low blowing” either? Are you trying to say I’m minimizing your lives? If you are, again you’re taking what I said out of context. It’s a reoccurring theme here. You probably didn’t read what Aunt Bea wrote and you especially didn’t really read what I wrote. I wasn’t “minimizing” or downplaying her life in ANY way, shape or form (and I didn’t even say ANYTHING about you or your life). She contradicted herself (as usual) by telling me that she’s “ALWAYS there for her everyone in her family”. I can prove that’s not true otherwise (I.e.; telling [her son’s girlfriend] not hire me to help her with makeup because I “can’t be trusted and I have a big mouth.”. Unnecessarily going out of her way to comment on [Satan’s] Facebook stuff after being made aware SEVERAL times by SEVERAL PEOPLE that it upsets my mom and therefore DELIBERATELY hurting her, and…..according to uncle Bob, deleting me and my mom off of his Facebook friends list….. The list goes on. Is that how she’s “always” there for “everyone”? ) But let’s not get into those things, let’s talk about this context. She says that but then follows up by telling me that, “she’s so glad my mom has me and [my brother ]” because SHE IS ALREADY TRYING TO BE THERE for so many different people including “her daughter, granddaughters and [my grandmother].”. (But I guess not [her son] or uncle Bob) I took that as she has other things to worry about and doesn’t have the room on her plate to dedicate to my mom. (But she’s “glad me and *[my brother ]* are there.” She knows [my brother] wasn’t really “there”, cmon. Who is taking low blows?) How would you interpret that? Anyway, SHE brought them up, NOT ME! I wasn’t taking a “LOW BLOW”. I completely and emphatically understand that everyone is busy with their own stuff. MYSELF included. All I did was illustrate how I understand, so much so, that I don’t even get a break from watching my kid. It’s called RELATING. I was relating the busyness of MY life to the busyness of hers. I have other people besides my mom that I am trying to care for, just as she does. Once again, IF YOU READ WHAT I WROTE instead of just skimming through and remembering only the parts that can be TWISTED into an insult in YOUR head, I just was assuring her that I wasn’t asking her to take time away from her other priorities that SHE mentioned or to change those other priorities ([her daughter] and her grandkids)in order to help my mom. What’s wrong with me saying that? I don’t get it. I was asking to her to simply talk to my mom which she ALREADY DOES anyway! Instead of talking about [her superstar daughter] for five seconds, she can ask my mom if she’s depressed and maybe have a conversation about her getting help. That’s ALL.
Who said she needed to explain the reasoning behind what she does or that she owes me any kind of explanation about her day to day life? You totally pulled that shit out of the air. I never asked her for an explanation. Not even close. I asked her to clarify what she meant by “keeping my mom on a positive role”. She couldn’t even answer. Probably because it’s bullshit and she doesn’t even know what it means. There she goes “being there for everyone” again. Please.
On that note, you’re completely making shit up when you are saying I’m sitting there “trying to disrespect you and Aunt Bea saying that you take NO part in what’s going on with my mother.” Where the FUCK did I say that or even anything relatively close to it? I didn’t even make any such mention. Maybe that’s your own conscience or something because I certainly didn’t say or insinuate that AT ALL. You are putting words in my mouth that were never even said!!!!! Unbelievable! I know you’ve helped and I’ve expressed my gratitude towards you for that COUNTLESS TIMES!!!! Who said you didn’t care? Did I? I know you do. I just said you guys didn’t know how depressed she was. You guys are minimizing her depression! That’s what I said.
You take EVERYTHING I say out of context and then you just argue for the sake of arguing! Perfect example, you saying this, “there was no reason you had to add that you weren’t asking aunt Bea to take time away from [her daughter] or her kids, INSINUATING, ****I DON’T KNOW WHAT*****.”
You don’t know?????? YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT but you somehow found offense in it and you don’t even KNOW WHY IT’S OFFENSIVE! That makes NO SENSE! You just had to twist my words and turn them into something insulting so you had something to argue about.
Also, you said “don’t assume what kind of relationship I have with Tina”. I don’t know what that means but I assume it’s in response to me saying, “my mom talks to me on a different level than you MAY talk to your daughters.” I wasn’t assuming anything which is why I used the word, “may” as in “maybe”. That’s not a definitive word. That leaves the possibly open that you actually DO talk with your daughters the same way my mom and I talk. I made sure to add that so it wasn’t taken wrong but surprise, surprise, IT WAS! Since when does “different” mean bad anyway? Again that’s YOUR interpretation.
I knew this was going to be the outcome and I shouldn’t have even bothered in the first place to reach out. This is how the [my mom’s family name] operate. Instead of focusing on the real issue, let’s take everything I said that you can find some small, hidden, offense in my words and focus on that. You ENTIRELY missed the point! All I was looking for was for you guys to REALLY understand that she is depressed and it’s serious and to maybe help encourage her to go for help, when you were ALREADY on the phone talking with her. A simple, acknowledgement and we will try, is all I was hoping for. I’ve been trying to tell you guys this for YEARS! Instead, you just want to argue with me, tell me you don’t think it’s important right now, tell me what she should focus on and of course, argue about all of the “he said, she said”, irrelevant BULLSHIT and search for hidden insults. I’m SOOOOOO not surprised.
If you find it more important to focus on how you could misconstrue every single word I said, then I don’t even know what to say. If that’s more important than helping my mom with her depression, go ahead let it be. Just don’t get upset when I stand up for myself and then tell me you’re offended or hurt by what I said. I’m done walking on eggshells to keep up with the [family name] machine and the facade that we’re this big loving and happy family. I’ve learned in the last ten years, that the love in this family has it’s conditions with certain people. If you don’t stay in line with the perfect image, you’ll be shunned. If you stick up for yourself or other unfavorable family members, you’ll be shunned. If you tell the truth, you’ll be shunned. If you don’t agree with Aunt Bea, you’ll be shunned. Just like Aunt [mother Victim] was. She said a few things out of anger and it was, “fuck her” and “fuck her traumatized daughter” and “fuck [victim’s father]” because she said “fuck the [family name]”. Like none of you have ever said anything like that out of anger. Please! I’ve heard nasty things out of everyone’s mouth and I know I’ve certainly said things I didn’t really mean, out of anger. Just like me, she was trying to get you guys to understand the seriousness of what happened to her daughter and NO ONE wanted to hear it. I specifically remember talking about it at Aunt [my mom’s youngest sister’s] house one Easter or thanksgiving and you and my mom were like two little kids LITERALLY putting your fingers in your ears, saying, “la la la la”, because you didn’t want to hear the truth.
Also, I have to tell you that I can assure you that NONE of this is about [my brother]. I gave up on him a LONG time ago. It was about me asking my aunts to possibly try to have a conversation with my mom and to point out to you how serious I think her depression is. Really think about this……You are arguing with me for giving a shit about my mom and trying to help her. I’m sorry but that’s just fucking retarded. Just like when you argued with me that she was “fine” when they released her from the hospital and that she didn’t need a nurse or caretaker. Well that shit went horribly wrong, huh? She made it but it was a HUGE struggle for her and STILL IS!
She’s not the only one. NONE OF YOU LISTEN. I realize that. That hasn’t stopped me from trying to be heard though. Don’t think it’s lost on me that the one thing you didn’t argue with is what I said about myself at the end. I’d rather you hate me for caring too much than for not caring at all. Maybe she needs some tough love. I don’t know. I thought I could turn to my family for help and advice since I don’t have another parent in my life to talk to. Apparently that’s not the case. Actions speak louder than words. Aunt Bea flat out admitted that she DIDN’T even FUCKING READ what I wrote, yet she already had an excuse and response lined up. That’s insulting. It really is. But she “cares” and is “there for everyone”, right? Bullshit.
Don’t worry about responding in ANY form of communication because I don’t care to discuss this with you guys anymore. I just can’t. It’s not worth it. You can be mad at me too for defending myself. All you want to do is argue and talk about everything other than reality and what’s important. Join a debate team because I’m not interested in that. I know where I stand with this family and for the first time in my life, I can say that I don’t really care anymore. I’m not going to fake anything to make people like me. All I know is arguing with you guys is just going to hurt my mom more in the long run and so I’m not going to take the bait anymore. Let the cards lay where they may. I’m done hiding my feelings and going along to get along. I’ll just go graze with the other black sheep. Baaahhh
(To be contributed in my next post)