I know the fad of the times is to go to therapy and use our two-bit knowledge of general psychology to blame our parents for all our faults, all our problems. Don’t get me wrong, I love psychology and am a STRONG advocate for therapy. But there comes a point where you have to set aside your childhood and take responsibility for how your life is shaping up.
All while acknowledging that certain traits, certain quirks in your personality are a direct result of how you were raised.
I was raised to be guilty.
That sounds like such a cop-out, but it’s true. My mother is the uncrowned queen of guilt trips. For all the yelling, the belt-whoopings, the slaps across my face, the worst punishment was always five words spoken in her well practiced martyr voice:
“I’m not mad, I’m disappointed.”
With that simple sentence, I was repeatedly brought to my knees, ready to do ANYTHING to regain her favor.
And it has carried into my adulthood.
I find that I wear my guilt like the little demon on my shoulder. I don’t like him there but I can’t have the angel on the other side without him.
The biggest point of my guilt?
That I can’t work a “normal” job. That others hear how broke we are and look at me sitting at home on my ass and judge me. I WANT to work, I WANT to be able to contribute to our household. I also want to be able to live with RA for as long as I am able with as much quality to my life as is possible. So I have to sacrifice working because pushing myself now means I may not have full use of my hands and feet for as long as I would like. Knowing I’m doing what is right for me, for my health, doesn’t ease my guilt.
When my boyfriend comes home exhausted from working a part-time job, my guilt gnaws a hole in my heart. When he only has time to change his clothes and then hustle off to band practice, the hole gets a bit bigger. Not that he doesn’t love playing music, because he does. But the fact that he plays because he HAS to is not lost on me. The money he makes with the band pays our rent. Were he to quit, we would be without a place to live.
And now, with summer coming to a close, the guilt is overtaking my heart. The boyfriend made sure that I was able to take my son school clothes shopping and buy him school supplies. He went out of his way to take a special trip to my hometown so that I could get some extra time with my son. He took us out to eat and to the arcade and never once balked at the money that was flowing from his wallet.
So summer’s close finds us broke, with a broken vehicle that we can’t afford to fix.
I don’t mean to make us sound so destitute. We have food in the fridge and cabinets and the important bills are paid, we’re certainly not at risk of losing our home. But I see the worry lines on the boyfriend’s face and it breaks my heart. I want to soothe him, tell him it’ll all be okay. But how? When day after day he’ll continue to work two jobs to struggle to support us.
And I’ll be sitting here…