I cannot live alone. I tried but I can’t. I need someone to talk to at end of the day. But I also cannot live with people. I end up making everyone close to me hate me. I don’t know what to do. If after every fuck up everybody tries to convince you it’s all your fault, what should you do with yourself? What should you do if you saw this pattern – that from childhood to date, from school friends to family, if it’s always you vs. everyone else, what does that tell about you?
I have said this before here on Facebook that my relationship with my family is broken beyond repair. By family I mean my mom, dad and sister. I cannot live without them, but I cannot live with them anymore. It was already corroding for a long time, but now its so weak that every now and then its crumbling down.
I am openly writing about these issues more these days because I have given up all hopes of reconciliation. I am hurt, and I have no other way of dealing with my experiences than write. I constantly feel alienated, I cry in my bed every night, after every fight everybody make me feel it’s all my fault, that I am a cruel monster.
There are a few common issues on which we all lose our minds, and the same arguments, same accusations, same blaming and shaming are going on for years and decades now. I want to talk about today’s issue, which is not new, happened a hundred times before. Writing today publicly about it is sign that today I am giving up all hopes of every fixing this issue. Last few months this is how things have been, every day I add one more issue to the list of irreconcilable differences and simply count my days when I will leave them and go somewhere nobody can find me.
Coming back to today’s issue, it’s this thing I have. I am desperate for people’s acknowledgement and appreciation for the things I do for them. I don’t do anything selflessly or silently. I will stay hungry myself and cook for you all day but at the end of the day I would expect a bit of appreciation. I would expect you to simply not forget about nice things I did, and say horrible things to me the next time we have a fight.
I have a bad temper. I scream and yell at my parents and sister when I am angry. But I also care a lot about them. They only remember the screaming part, and at the drop of a hat they list out all the horrible things I am. Bad behavior, selfish, ill tempered, a social embarrassment etc. They never remember the good part. If I ask, I always get the same answer, “How would we show that we remember the good part, do you want us to worship you? Fall at your feet? Who told you to do anything for us? And if you are doing, why are sunaaoing? Doing and asking us to be indebted to you what kind of behavior is that?”
This is the central theme. If you are doing something nice, do it without any expectations. Otherwise don’t do it. After 20 years of friendship with Snigdha I learned that none of the good times go anywhere, they don’t build up to anything, they just wither away. Same with family.
So today, I was woken up at 8 by them because somebody had to drive mom to the hospital as she has been unwell for quite some time. Actually I didn’t have to drive, my sister volunteered to drive but I was asked to sleep next to Rosa, my niece, for the time sister would be away.
That’s how the day started. Sister later made tea for me. Around noon, I took up a long pending task of emptying the trunk of books and sorting and arranging them in the book shelf. Around that time dad and mum returned from the hospital, mom was prescribed heavy antibiotics and a host of other medicines so she needed to eat something good before taking the medicine. I went to the kitchen, made her sandwich. It was around 2 pm, I hadn’t eaten anything since morning, sister and dad had barely eaten a slice of bread or two, dad went to his room and lied down, already coming down with the same viral that had attacked mom, sister started making something for Rosa and I looked up the fridge, there was nothing to be eaten.
This is where my curse plays a role. I am incapable of turning a blind eye when I know if I don’t do this, nobody else will. If I don’t cook, people would go hungry. I have been like this since childhood. My mom has always had a bit of health issue she comes from a broken tormented childhood herself so she has aged faster than others. Her major health issues started around the time I was a teenager. My sister was very young at that time. Those days whenever mom would be unwell it was me taking care of my sister and mother during the day and dad took up major responsibility in the kitchen once he was back from office. We never had any full time help, and no grandmothers to help us either. I learned to cook those days as I would be making something for sister and mother who would be bed-ridden.
It was those days, I mean that early in my childhood that I had my life’s greatest realization. At one hand I knew I was incapable of shrugging off responsibilities that comes with marriage and motherhood, taking care of people et all at the other hand I didn’t like it and didn’t want it to be my future. So I decided I would rather not get into those roles ever.
Coming back to today’s situation. So there was nothing to eat, I had a father and a sister going hungry. I made some fried rice out of last night’s left over rice for father and egg roles for my sister. For evening snacks, I made 3 extra rolls with fillings ready.
The things I cook are the things my family likes to eat, aaloo bhaja, begun bhaja. Fried rice for father, maggie, chowmin chilly paneer for sister, she was very fond of my cooking as a child but now she has developed a different kind of taste. The things I cook are things I do not eat myself, as I am on Ketosis. So I first cooked 3 things for 3 people and I ate in the end after everybody else. Must mention that sister made me a cheese omelet. Very kind of her. I also cleaned the kitchen, washed some utensils as we cannot find a maid who would come twice a day to do dishes.
So after finishing all these tasks I went to my room. Soon a neighbor came and said the local municipality councilor is visiting our gully and everybody should gather. I went with my camera and mic to do real grassroots journalism. Took some sound bytes of women complaining about water and road condition in this area. Parshadji came, blamed Delhi government for everything and left. While walking back to my home I got into a parking related fight with a neighbor. Things went out of proportion and I dialed 100. That story another day, the point I am making is I was mentally and physically tired after over two hours of this ordeal.
Yet, around 9 when I saw that father is really coming down with that viral, whole day he hardly had a proper meal, and sister is also feeling tired after continuously taking care of Rosa and making evening snacks for mom and dad, I went to the kitchen again. Nobody asked me to. Nobody expected it from me. But like I said, I just had to.
So again I made some vegetable rice, did some more cleaning, washing all the time keeping a stomach ache (gall stones) and heart ache (man missing – see previous post) hidden inside and as my body felt more and more tired, I heard a voice in my head telling me, I am doing so much for them, and all they do is talk about my bad temper. The voice reminded me that few days back, in the heat of the moment, sister has told me, “You know, since you never had to do anything for anybody, never have to take care of anybody, you don’t get it.” I never have to do anything for anybody she told me while comparing her great acts of taking care of her sister-in-law and nephew and a lot of other people in her in-laws family. The voice reminded me of the time when she said, “You only feel pleasure when you are able to show other people down.” The voice told me that I should tell them, that see, today I was nice, today I did so much so please remember this day the next time you feel like saying something bad to me.
I completed the cooking, wiped my hands off, went and sat by my dad on the sofa and said, “Dad, see today I did so much, when you make those list of my bad behavior please remember this day. This is also behavior.” Dad sat up. In a cold tone he said, “If you didn’t do it, nobody would have questioned you. You did it fine, but nobody asked for it.”
I have a warped world view. In my world view this is not the response a father should be giving to his daughter who was physically mentally exhausted at the end of the day and all she was asking for was a “yes my child it has been a hard day for you.” Dad is 70. Old school. He doesn’t know how to say those nice things. My reaction to dad’s rude and cold statement is a bit of yelling and then go silent. But things get worse when my sister jumps in. More so because she too has always had this position. That if I am doing anything for the family I shouldn’t boast about it, or expect any gratitude in return. Soon my mother also joined in, the ailing woman suddenly found the energy to get up from the bed and defend dad and tell me how wrong I am when I cooked for them and right before serving I boasted.
In their world view I am abnormal. I am horribly wrong to expect gratitude and appreciation. But in my worldview they are abnormal. Nobody should have to hear words like “So What. Big deal” after they have done something nice for someone they love.
It was year 2010, I was freshly out of job and my sister was working. One day I requested her to contribute in the car’s insurance and annual servicing since the car is used by her too. My logic was that it was because of my car that she learned driving, that because I left my car in Delhi when I went to Bangalore so that she could manage her studies and job together so she owes it to me, and now that I am a bit cash crunched I am asking for contribution.
That day was one of her nastiest to me day. She told me I did no favour on her by leaving the car in Delhi, rather she did a favour on me by using it as otherwise the engine would have been damaged due to non-use. She told me when families have cars, children use it, that’s no big deal. She refused to contribute straight away. Today again she did it. Nothing has changed. Once again I heard from all three of them that I am the shallow small self-centered narcissistic person here to expect any sort of gratitude from them.
In the end, I came to my room and locked the door, I had not eaten anything for dinner. This has happened a hundred times before. What had never happened before was what followed. Sister knocked on my door, before having her dinner, she had made special ketosis dinner for me.
It was a big deal. I was hungry. I always go hungry to bed at the end of these fight. First time someone knocked on my door with food. I wish it could mend things though. I don’t know if it can.