The Fenestrated Membrane

I’m back. I couldn’t take the lack of posting.

I’ve finally gotten ’round to really really studying for Step 2 CK (didn’t stop posting for 20 days straight for nothin’!). However, I still decided to reschedule the exam…again. I simply was not ready to take the test without a bit more extra time. Will hopefully be taking it mid-July or come the end of July. I want to be done with it already.

And I’ve been holding up, somehow. Living with MM and her husband these past few weeks has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because being away from home has made me realize so many things about my future and things I have to do so that I can become a mostly healthy, (questionably) sane, and independent pseudo-adult. A blessing also, because I’ve been able to just focus and study. No TV on 24/7, no arguments, no emotionally-laden family stuff affecting me at all times….just me and my books and qbank.

But it’s also been a curse because it’s brought to the surface a lot of issues having to do with the codependent relationship I have with my mom. Also, issues relating to the relationship with my dad. G says I have to be selfish in a good way, and continue to pay attention to myself at this time…continue focusing on me and my stuff, because the family stuff isn’t helping at all and they’re not much support either way.

It feels good, but then I get the pangs of guilt. Utter guilt and shame. I feel like the worst daughter ever, like I’m abandoning them and even abandoning my dogs by giving myself any semblance of importance in this world and tending to me. If I’m not being miserable alongside my mom I feel like I’m a traitor. If I’m enjoying my life at any given time, I feel like I don’t deserve any of this and deep down I’m the worst daughter ever for leaving my parents at home to manage their non-existent relationship on their own.

I don’t know if I’ve said this here before, but for a long time now, I’ve felt like the buffer that keeps the tension at home slightly lower than boiling point. But that doesn’t do me any good. I’m working on myself, I’m going to therapy, taking my medication, staying on top of my mental health and trying to find my way in the world. It’s not my job to make them do that for themselves. Although I would give anything to see my parents genuinely happy and I love them so-fucking-much, I can’t do anything for them if they’re not willing to change and put effort into living better lives. That’s their job. (I sound so mature, reading this paragraph now, but really what I feel is 100% guilt.)

Trying to find that balance between laying out a line of boundaries and maintaining a relationship is completely new to me. I’m used to losing myself in people with whom I have a very close relationship (not that many people, actually). And I’m used to losing myself in the black hole that is my mom, specifically. It’s a constant push-pull battle between Just being me and living a positive life feels liberating vs I’m the worst daughter ever and I’ve abandoned them to fend for themselves….and then I go back to But this guilt just feels like the prison I’ve been in my whole life, while living -my- life feels so liberating.

In a recent appointment with R, we compared the process of placing boundaries to a fenestrated membrane…because we’re fucking geeks. (To my non-science-y readers, that’s like a sieve, or a type of membrane with little holes that makes up some parts of the body. I told you we’re geeks.)

And I recently kind of failed at placing that little fenestrated membrane and pushing away the negative parts of my family that take a toll on me. On Father’s day the small family reunion we had was horribly awkward and I felt completely rejected by my mom, who was acting icy toward me and barely speaking to me or MM. I felt she was somehow, albeit unconsciously, reproaching me for taking a break from the home environment. Then my dad, in all his depressive glory, made me feel like shit at one point and it was completely unexpected. (Trigger warning: self-harm) It all resulted in me purging part of dinner that night and then proceeding to burn myself with matches (not as hardcore as it sounds, I’m ok). I had to take the next two days “off” because I was back in the depression hole for a bit.

But then when I get back up and place that little fenestrated membrane again it feels slightly better. At least if I’m feeling down I know it’s due to stuff pertaining to my life, and not my parent’s life. At least if I have problems with food (which of course, I still do even after taking a break from home!), I know that I’m the one in control and -not eating- and I’m the one damaging myself. I’m not using it to get back at my parents, or as a coping mechanism for the crappy home environment when it’s just me. It gives me the time and energy to be able to do what I like to call “STOP, Drop, and Roll”: taking a pause when I’m about to engage in behaviors and questioning it all.

Am I making any sense? It makes sense to me, somehow, and I guess that’s what matters. When I don’t have the home environment as an excuse to flog myself on a daily basis, it’s easier to focus on just growing up and living my life. And, like I said, I still have my shitty stuff going on here even on my own, but the difference in my mood and the absence of constant ups and downs is….astounding. It’s given me a whole new perspective on my future life plans/goals, etc.

It’s all easier when I just have to deal with myself.

Ok, back to the books now.

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