Being the adult child of parents who don’t get along….

I am forty years old, and I cannot remember a time when my parents got along for more than a short time. I imagine my parents must have been happy together at some point, but not in years. I can handle that I have my own life and that my parents have their lives, and that we all make our own choices. They are both good people in their own ways and they often mean well and yet they bring out the worst in each other. It is hard to hard to watch and to hear on almost every phone call.

They did the best they could as parents, each with their own style. I could count on my father to drive me to far away tennis tournaments and to help me with complex homework assignments, while I could count on my mother for encouragement, a laugh, dinner, or to take me to local tennis tournaments or other activities. My father was the strict one; my mother was more lenient but ruled with a look or a quick comment rather than loud, harsh language. I learned a lot from both of them over the years, good and bad, just as I will always have memories of them good and bad. I’m sure that it is the same for them with me and my brother, like all families. Brother and I are both happy, and we wish they would choose to be happy together or apart.

In the three years before I moved to Texas, I started visiting my parents separately because a visit with both of them was either extremely uncomfortable or ended with an argument. My father is loud and verbally aggressive and my mother is passive aggressive, which doesn’t end quietly. I would visit my father while my mother was at church or shopping and I would plan lunch with my mother on a weekday. Did I mention that I have been suggesting divorce to them since I was 12? I don’t know that either of them could live without the daily chaos after all of these years, or that they could afford to separate the house, assets, SSI, etc. There are a lot of things my mother would not be able to manage, and my father has a few health issues, which further complicates this situation. It’s sad to know that both of my parents will live unhappily until their last days.

Even my brother’s wedding weekend, which should have been a joyous and fun occasion, was not without drama. First, my brother and I had to practically beg our parents to hang out with them for a little while before he and I went to the Yankees game and, once we did meet up with the parents at their hotel, my father flopped around on his twin bed when he got upset with my mother or got annoyed with the conversation no less than three times. Other drama included miscommunication with my brother and mother on wedding day, which resulted in me getting cussed and yelled at. I mostly enjoyed the weekend because I spent limited time with my parents, I did what I wanted to do, and I spent most of the rehearsal dinner and reception with my brother’s friends or my extended family. Oh, and I indulged in a few drinks. I had not seen my parents in two years prior to this… go, family!

I wonder if I am the only one who limits contact with their parents because they don’t want to deal with them trash-talking each other worse than NBA players or because they don’t want to play referee. Am I the only one who cringes a the idea of a big family holiday , anticipating a shouting match at the extended family’s home every single time.  My aunt has almost had to drive my mother home because my father got mad and began to drive away because they couldn’t agree on a time to leave. The last Christmas I was home for ended with me and Boyfriend (now Husband) leaving because we couldn’t take the arguing. We even asked them to behave so we could enjoy the dinner we had prepared for them… too much to ask. 

I have accepted that they are who they are, but I try to avoid absorbing any more of their negativity, so we probably talk 2-3x a month. For every great, enjoyable conversation with either of them, there are probably five when my father criticized the conversation in the background or texted complaints while I was on the phone with my mother. With my father, we connect well sometimes and sometimes we don’t due to the limited topics he will talk about and our different hobbies. I love to hear the good in their lives and wish I could share more with them, but it’s hard and often out of my control.

Feel free to share, if you can relate or have a method that works with families such as mine.

 

 

 

Eating gluten-free…

I started eating gluten-free about two months ago at the advice of my NP after reviewing my lab results. I am being treated for a mild auto-immune disease with supplements, my choice rather than taking medicine, and I am trying a gluten-free diet for six months to see if it makes a difference. I believe the logic is that because a few of my hormone levels are off and my thyroid antibodies are attacking my thyroid, that I could have food sensitivities which may be reduced by eating gluten-free. However, I do not have celiac disease.

Courtesy of Cooking Light

Many friends and co-workers think that this is a really tough change for me, but it hasn’t been. I have taken the opportunity to try new foods and to try different versions of foods I already liked. With a recommendation to avoid gluten as much as I possibly can, I have been able to wave off donuts, cakes, work-related food offerings of snacks, junk and fast food, and other things I didn’t want anyway with a  polite, health-related excuse. Honestly, I prefer the gluten-free pancake mix to any other pancakes I previously ate, and I love it with real maple syrup and grass-fed butter. I eat a lot more fruit for my snacks, and I have found that three of my favorite hamburger joints, Mighty Fine, Hopdoddy, and Bare Burger (which I ate in NYC recently) serve gluten-free buns, and that my favorite salad place in downtown Austin, LEAF, has gluten-free salads and salad dressings available. I treat to eat healthy most of the time, but sometimes you just want something tasty!

People have also asked if I notice anything different since I started eating gluten-free. I have lost five pounds and kept them off for almost two months. I feel less weighted down and bloated after I eat certain meals, especially pizza  on a gluten-free crust, and I feel a little more energetic and less tired than I had been feeling.  And, yes, I have seen the articles about the risks of eating a gluten-free diet unless absolutely necessary, but I feel like I am still eating a well-rounded, fairly balance diet even with the gluten-free foods that I am eating. Granted, I may inadvertently be eating some gluten due to cross-contamination, but I have avoided foods I know for sure are not gluten-free, with the exception of not knowing every ingredient in the foods I ate at my brother’s rehearsal dinner and wedding. I still did the best I could and skipped the appetizer/cocktail foods when I was told that they weren’t gluten free.

While I have made these changes, Husband has been very supportive and jumped on my bandwagon, which has helped me stay on track and us to still eat meals together. He has also made diet changes to reduce inflammation in his body, and this has helped with his back pain/arthritis/disc repair, in addition to supplements, enzymes, muscle stimulation, ointments and natural treatments, and his inversion table.

Have any of you made any diet/food changes related to health or health concerns?   Do you know of any awesome gluten-free foods to recommend? Let me know!

 

 

Bitter….

via Daily Prompt: Bitter

Bitter makes me think of unsweet, unripened fruit, maybe lemons or limes, certain  roasts of coffee, and people full of regret and resentment. I can sweeten the fruit and the coffee, but a bitter person is a whole other thing.  ruffled

I think of my parents, especially my father. He has been a reliable father, a dog-lover, and a wonderful friend to many… just don’t ask him about my mother, don’t bring up sports he doesn’t like, or politics he doesn’t agree with. If he were a cup of coffee, he would have an aftertaste, even with a health dose of cream and coconut sugar. On the wrong day, you might switch to another coffee blend, or just drink tea.

Bitter also makes me think of bad choices, like fruit picked at the wrong time or eaten out of season. Have you ever had a good winter peach, or enjoyed a strawberry that is pale rather dark red and sweet? Not my preference, for sure.

Letting go, or taking time to chill out can keep you from becoming bitter, like candy without the sweetness. I am trying to remember this, as I slowly begin to  feel overworked and exhausted. I try to seek laughter and sunshine, rather than darkness, anxiety, and the impulse to recoil. I don’t want to be bitter before my time.

Letting it all out… and letting it go

I deal with people’s problems in my job everyday. I work with multiple people having personal problems currently, and then there is my life.  Although Boyfriend and I get along great,  each of us has our own stresses. This sometimes piles up on me, making me feel like the shaken-up soda bottle that overflows when you open it.

I have a pretty easy to get along with group of co-workers, just leave controversial issues (especially immigration and related issues) out of the conversation and there will be no problems. However, others do not get along quite the same as I do, which leads to some tense, heated moments.

This happened earlier today. I joked with one of the co-workers a little and she gave it right back, but it opened the door for other’s to make comments and be critical about her part in a group project. This put my friend in an awkward position, causing her to stand up for herself and then snap with the other two women kept pushing her. They didn’t care, but my friend, who has been managing a lot in her life, became tearful. It broke my heart. I left the office to handle business and later ironed things out, but it sadly showed who the other tow people really are. They are interested in getting their way, looking high and mighty, and enjoy putting someone else in their place, even to the point of embarrassment.  After working in my job for over a year, people have started to real show themselves, though not for the better.

I am struggling with family issues, as always, and issues related to my brother’s upcoming wedding. I am happy for him and glad for his happiness, nothing changes that. People live their lives as they see fit, and I understand that. I need to let go of things over which I have no control, and not hold on to bad feelings. I just want to say that most parents do have a favorite child, whether they admit it or not. Despite all of the “I’m so proud of you’s” that I now hear or the “you’re so strong and independent” comments, I am not the favorite but I make a hell of a shoulder to cry on. As I tell my clients, “You only have control over yourself and your actions,” and I need to take my own advice.

I need to keep my friends close, and my eyes on everyone else. I need to breathe, and then let it go…. Easier said than done.