Saturday, January 28, 2006

Have a beer with fear

They walk among us. Guys that say insulting things to girls they supposedly like, on their birthday even. Last weekend we celebrated my birthday by going to a hockey game and then one of my favorite restaurants. The game was fun, but some drunk idiot boy insulted my friend. Then the manager at the restaurant, who has been asking me out for years, tells me I had better go out with him now or I'll miss my chance to have a baby with him since I'm getting so old.

What a messed up thing to say. Somehow I think I will survive not having his baby. But I couldn't help but wonder (get ready for the Sex in the City rip-off,) is dating based on fear? Actually, I don't think its based on fear, but there sure is a lot of it. Fear of dying alone, fear of intimacy, fear of commitment, fear of STDs (one of the most practical fears), fear of people thinking you're a loser because you're not coupled, fear there's no one out there for you, fear of being a childless wonder, fear of being under someone's thumb, fear of becoming a neurotic single person, fear of being cheated on and/or abandoned and/or hurt, etc.

So there can be a lot of fear. Some, or maybe a lot, of that fear comes from what we think other people think of us. A lot of the rest of it has to do with the fear of an unknown future. I guess things like marriage can feel like security, or prison with lots of torture. Maybe more like an insane asylum. This makes me think of my mom (especially the insane asylum part.) My mom is constantly afraid for me, even though I beg her to stop it. When I lived in S.F., she was afraid an earthquake would kill me. When I moved back to Seattle, she informed me that Mount Rainier could blow at any moment and kill everyone in Seattle. The irony here is that she lives next to a nuclear reactor.

However, her biggest fear in my behalf is that I won't have a man around to take care of me. I just want to take a moment to marvel at the ridiculousness of this. I'm an adult, an adult who, as a child, had parents who didn't even act like parents. Like many people with abusive, neglectful, and/or dysfunctional parents, I felt like I was more mature and capable than both of my parents from a young age. Why did I feel that way? Because my dad couldn't control himself and my mom, instead of dealing with the situation, retreated into herself and spend a lot of time, an entire year in one case, locked in her room all day, only coming out after everyone went to bed. I realize now that she was depressed, but at the time what I knew is that I came home from school and I couldn't talk to her, she didn't pay attention to me, and she didn't care for me. I was usually alone or being screamed at. One time I was so sick with a fever I started hallucinating. My dad, Mr. Angry, was trying to bring down my temperature with cool washcloths, while I screamed and screamed because I was so afraid of him. My mom was in the year of staying in bed, and I never saw her the whole time.

Even my mom is always saying how strong and capable I am, so much more than she is. She still plays the victim and acts as if all the problems in her life are beyond her control because she is so weak and helpless. She says that she married my dad because that's what women did, get married. I think there may have been something more to it than that. A couple weeks ago, I talked about being a drama junkie, which the book The Emotionally Abused Woman by Beverly Engel, gives a definition. I read this book 6 months ago, and I've been coming back to it (despite the irritating title). One of 2 family situations normally create drama junkies. The first is growing up in a chaotic home with fighting, abuse, and other disruptions. These people are so used to constant change, violence, and emergencies, they are also known as adrenaline junkies. (This is like me, by the way.) The other type, i.e. my mom, grew up isolated and without enough social stimulation. My mom grew up on a farm, where her nearest neighbors lived 3 miles away. She went to school in a 1-room schoolhouse for K through 12. Her parents did not express emotions; they never said they loved her. My dad was stationed at the military base nearby, and my dad is emotional, volatile, and unstable. Exactly the opposite of what my mom was used to, and wanted to get away from.

She tells me my dad showed signs of violence from the beginning of their marriage, but she did not think leaving him was an option because "you make your bed and you sleep in it". I could hear my parents fighting about how my dad treated me from the time I was 7. My mom threatened to leave him and take my brother and me with her, but it was an empty threat. She did not think she could make it on her own. That is when she got depressed.

I do not understand why she wants me to be with someone so much. I cannot imagine that she would want me to have her life, but I do feel like she wanted me to stay with the psycho even though he was so much like my dad, and I was scared of him. I have told her about my relationships, and she knows how miserable I have been in them, how I am attracted to people who are either emotionally volatile or unavailable. I recognize that I have a problem, and I do not want to get into another relationship until I figure things out. My mom, who gave up on men and is always telling me they all have problems and just want a woman to take care of them, is desperate for me shack up with the first available guy I lay eyes on. This makes no sense to me. My biggest fear is becoming my mom.

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