Hamster Wheel

There was another conversation that echoed one that occurred several months ago. She thinks that we need to "go out to dinner" to have a real conversation. I think that we could have had a real conversation the last time my family was at their house. She tells me, you know I love you so much. Yep, heard that before.

I wonder, if you love me so much, then why don't you ever engage me in a real conversation? Why do I squash it all down only to explode and point out all the times you fail to ask about me and what I'm doing? That it's always a quick, "how are the boys?" before launching into whatever you want to tell me about so and so.

I wonder, if you understand what it's like to be a parent, do you say that we need to come over for dinner more often? Especially after hearing that we are going to both grandparents once a month, which then leaves little time for us?

I wonder, if you love me, you ask in a tentative way if you can just drop over? You know I can't have drop-over visits. I've made that clear. Nobody drops over to our house. It's not how S and I function. Why, if you love me, do you ask me to do things that I clearly have never ever invited?

I was assertive, I was able to make my points in a calm'ish voice, but I was clearly upset. I flashed back over and over and over again to the conversation that happened in January. It was the same.

Nothing changes.

And now that I was assertive enough to ask that she pay for my classes, and she actually did it, I will never be rid of her. You know why that pisses me off?  Because, when I asked her to pay for my classes citing that she's been coming free for a year, and a free person affects the pay I get, she acted offended in the way she acts offended. She made sure to tell me that she offered to pay, but the owner let her take for free. She didn't say, "oh yeah, that totally makes sense". And Dad?  Well, he scoffed as he does, making it clear that he thought it horrible that I was asking her to pay me for my work. My second job. The job that I literally get paid $4/hr when it's all said and done. I don't care that it's a hobby. It's still a job. I still have to learn routines and prepare and buy music, and replace my microphone, and carry liability insurance. My time is worth something dammit.

Pretty sure I did none of this the way Therapist wants me to. Am I perpetuating the whole nasty cycle by not being able to couch it in a different way? By being so afraid to bring any of this up, that by the time I get sick of myself being such a fucking coward that the only way it comes out is with an undercurrent of anger, no matter how I try to make my point?

When I got home, I could barely contain the shame and self-loathing that I can't say what I need to say in the way that it needs to be said. I exploded more at the dinner table. My oldest son got scared. I had to explain to him that sometimes I have trouble with his grandmother. That sometimes she doesn't ask me how I feel and I don't like that. At the same time that I'm explaining this, I'm wondering how much of this will get back to her. He's 4, and he has no filter. I want to be open with him that there is a struggle. He's not part of it, but sometimes he's affected by it.

When I wonder if I'm just making everything worse by going to therapy and trying to work through what has become an increasingly difficult relationship, I stop. I remind myself that there is a reason why I felt a strong need to learn how to parent from other sources. Why I felt like I need to learn how to parent with empathy. Because, I didn't get that. I didn't feel heard.

They did the best they could. Sometimes the "best they could" is damaging.